WMU Blog

Encouraging the "Thanks" in Thanksgiving

I love this time of year. The leaves turn many shades of beautiful, people wrap themselves in comfortable sweaters, and something about the air feels different as it turns crisp and cool. The fall season sets itself apart in beauty and the promise of something new. It’s a time to think about the past year and what God has done in our lives.

November is my favorite month—and not just because it’s my birthday month (shout out to my fellow November birthdays!). This month is the time when we give thanks for the many provisions, blessings, lessons, and growing moments God has given us. With Thanksgiving in our line of sight, why not start counting our blessings a little early?

Put the beauty of November to good use as you spend this month focusing on thankfulness. Teach your GAs, RAs, and CAs about the meaning of thankfulness and why we give praise and glory to God for everything from joys to hardships. Try these ideas to get your kids into a spirit of thankfulness as November kicks off:

Growing Toward God

Looking at the Bible together

The first 5 years in a child’s life are crucial, as these are the years of the most growth both physically and mentally. Their personalities are set during this time as they grow emotionally. Preschoolers’ social development is also enormous during these years as they learn language skills and how to relate to others. If growth in all of these areas is of such importance during the preschool years, it stands to reason that their growth spiritually is also crucial during these years. What a privilege we are given to have a part in guiding preschoolers’ spiritual growth. Our purpose in teaching preschoolers about missions is to lead them in developing a heart for missions so that a missions mind-set becomes part of their lifestyle.

Catching Up with Donna Shelenhamer

WMU is honored to interview Donna Shelenhamer, a longtime Girls in Action leader. Donna has taught Girls in Action for 52 years and counting. She felt a calling to missions when she was young and wanted to share her passion, so she began teaching first- and second-grade GA groups and fifth-grade boys in Sunday School. Her most vivid memory from teaching GA is something that occurs at every recognition service: she always says, “This is the best group I’ve ever had!” and genuinely means it every year.

We All Need Redemption sidebar

Pastor David Tarkington shared this additional advice and resources about gender-identity issues as a supplement to the article on page 24 of December 2017 Missions Mosaic.

As parents of children with gender-identity issues, remember

  1. It’s not your fault. I emphasize this reality to Christian parents who have done the very best they knew how to raise their children in the ways of the Lord.
  2. To trust God. He loves your child more than you ever have or can.
  3. To love your child. This may be the most challenging aspect of the journey. Remember that loving your child does not mean affirming sin.
  4. Prayer is vital.
  5. God is good. God is great. He is not taken by surprise, though you were. Trust Him.

Remember God knows grief and will stay in the valley with you until you make it through.

Resources

Out of a Far Country by Christopher Yuan and Angela Yuan

Praying God’s Heart

Prayer is such a privilege. How amazing that we as humans are gifted with a connection to God, the ability to communicate with Him. What a mystery that the Creator of the universe somehow hears us. He listens to our concerns, our hurts, our dreams. He hears what is on our hearts. And He responds.

What about Him? What is on His heart?

All Aboard the Kindness Express! IMS: Russia

In early October, Janet Erwin (Missions Mosaic editor) and I traveled to Appling, Georgia, to experience this year’s International Mission Study (IMS) at Patty Blanton’s farm. For nearly 20 years, Patty has sought fun, creative, interactive, and meaningful ways to provide an unforgettable IMS experience for the Girls in Action and Royal Ambassadors of Kiokee Baptist Church and Damascus Baptist Church. It was an invitation we did not want to miss!

As we turned down the gravel drive leading to her farm, the brightly painted onion domes of Saint Basil’s Cathedral peered through the clearing in the trees. Just around the curve, the whole facade of the barn had been transformed into the iconic symbol of Russia, welcoming everyone to a whole new world. I knew then that we were in for a treat! Patty’s husband later exclaimed, “I can see Russia in my backyard!”  

Six Ways to Engage Families in Missions

Helping Others

When families learn about missions, pray for missions, give to missions, and work together to help others, preschoolers will develop an “all in” heart for missions. While preschoolers certainly learn a great deal about missionaries in Mission Friends®, we must also enlist our preschoolers’ families to engage in missions at home.

Our ministries consultant, Lena Plunk, recently shared a story about how her nieces are on mission in their neighborhood. While Lena was visiting, her nieces were watching a video when they heard the garbage truck coming up their road. Her niece MJ jumped up and said, “The garbage truck, hurry, we don’t want to miss them!” Lena thought the girls were going to the window to watch the truck. Instead, they grabbed thirst-quencher drinks and ran out to give these gifts to the men on the truck. Lena says that her nieces enjoy sharing water, cookies, and snacks with all of their community helpers. Out of their love for Jesus, her 2 nieces enjoy giving to others.

How can you help your preschoolers’ families become Families on Mission?

Reaching the Unreached with Prayer

In the United States, the beginning of fall signals a season of bonfires, football, and cooler weather. In South Asia, fall is the beginning of festival season. Hindus across the region celebrate some of their major festivals, including the Ganesh festival and Diwali.

It has been quite the culture shock to see idols of Ganesh, the elephant-headed god, being displayed everywhere in my city and celebrated by many as the god of new beginnings.

According to the Joshua Project, 3,322 unreached people groups are in South Asia. These are people who haven’t heard the gospel yet—people who, as you read this blog, will be born, will live, and will die without knowing Jesus or the grace He offers them.

The amount of lost people can be overwhelming. Knowing where to begin to reach so many can seem like a lost cause. Not doing anything is not the answer though when the opportunity for people to hear and respond to the gospel and avoid eternal separation from God is at stake.

6 Things to Celebrate on Orphan Sunday

Orphan—it’s a word with a decidedly sad connotation. The United Nations Children’s Fund and its global partners define an orphan as a child under 18 years of age who has lost 1 or both parents to any cause of death. Nearly 140 million children around the world meet that definition. So what is there to celebrate on Orphan Sunday, November 12? Plenty.

1. Celebrate adoptive families in your church and community. Enlist 1 or 2 adoptive parents to share their story of how God used adoption to grow their family and their faith. Ask them to speak during a morning worship service or another churchwide event for this special emphasis, or record their stories and show the video during the service or post it, along with prayer requests, on the church’s Facebook page or website. Pray for these families as they seek to train up their children. Pray for those going through the adoption process as they wait to bring their children home. Ask about other ways your church can support these adoptive families financially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

Pray for the World

You only need to glance at a newspaper or listen to the news to become aware of the urgent need for prayer. No longer can we be concerned with praying only for our family, community, church, and state. As leaders, we need to engage our members in sincere prayer for the entire world.

Why not start with the Baptist Women’s World Day of Prayer on November 6? Consider implementing one of the strategies Gwen Moor, former president of Northwest WMU and member of Dayspring Baptist Church in Chehalis, Washington, used to involve her church in the Day of Prayer:

• Involve all the Baptist churches in your area. Make phone calls and send invitations. Enlist a contact person from each church and ask her to personally invite women to attend.

• Plan to alternate which church hosts the prayer event each year. Or host the event at a Christian Women’s Job Corps site to highlight the ministry hosting the prayer event.

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