Nice to Meet You

Nell Branum

My name is Nell Branum. I am one of your Preschool Team writers, and it is a joy! I love preschoolers (good thing, as I have 8 grandchildren!) and I love writing. But as 2018 picks up steam, a new opportunity has presented itself to me, and it has to do with your WMU Preschool Team.

Our beloved editor, Robin McCall, is making a shift in her job responsibilities at WMU. For the past 5 years, Robin has served as editor of Preschool Resources, leading the team that produces our helpful Mission Friends curriculum and products. Robin was a Mission Friends teacher long before she became an editor, and she has a true love for preschoolers and missions. She has done an amazing job. But the trouble with multi-talented people is that they can do many things! And God has led Robin to shift into helping our WorldCrafts and WMU customer engagement hubs to deepen their ministries. Robin, we thank you for your energy and commitment, your invaluable contributions to preschoolers, and your sweet spirit, and we are praying for you as you follow this new path.

So. . . (insert deep breath and lots of prayer here), now it has become my privilege to take the baton and serve as editor of Preschool Resources! And what a privilege it is, working shoulder to shoulder with the WMU team and with you, as we guide our precious little ones to love and serve our gracious God.

I thought I might introduce myself by walking backward in time. I am a recently retired elementary school librarian and children’s author, and love to do school author visits with my co-conspirator, who happens to be my 95-year-old mother. I am married to Jim, my minister of music husband, and we have three grown children and the aforementioned 8 grandchildren, ages 2, 3, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, and 12. Christmas at Lolli and Pop’s house is quite something!

But before I was a librarian, I was an editor at WMU for 5 years. And before that, I was a stay-at-home mom for a while, teaching Mission Friends, GA, RA, Acteens, preschool Sunday School, preschool choir, and VBS through the years. I volunteered with Alabama WMU when we lived in Alabama, and served as state Mission Friends director when we lived in California. We were planting a new church in California, and at one point I taught Mission Friends in our son’s bedroom while the church met in our living room.

Before that, when I was single and moved to Fort Worth to attend Southwestern Seminary, I ended up working as state GA/Mission Friends director for Texas WMU. And all the while, for just over 40 years now, I have been steadily writing preschool and children’s curriculum, plus other fun tidbits, for WMU.

Before seminary, I worked as editorial assistant (now called copy editor) for—guess what? The WMU Preschool Resources team! And I was drawn to apply for that job because in my last year of college, I was asked to write a GA curriculum unit and attend a writers training conference at the national WMU building. I was hooked!

That was not my first introduction to WMU, however. I had worked for 2 college summers as a counselor at Alabama WMU’s GA camp. And growing up, I was a fanatical GA, and a Sunbeam before we even had Mission Friends. And I have to mention the life-changing event that occurred when I was 10 years old, when my parents taught for a semester at Hong Kong Baptist College, and we visited missions work in many countries, taking a month to get to Hong Kong and 2 weeks to travel home. I had given my heart to Jesus for keeps when I was 8, and missions became very real to me on that trip.

I have learned that God leads us on these adventures for reasons that become clear as we go along. So I look forward to seeing what God has in store now, and I pray for you as you move through your adventures, too! Jeremiah 29:11 has never been sweeter.

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