WMU Blog

Thank you for Listening!

I am a Vietnam War veteran, U. S. Women’s Army Corps, stationed in Augsburg, Germany during my tenure. Over the years I have met veterans who were dealing with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). However, PTSD is not confined to those coming home from military service. It affects people from all walks of life who are dealing with traumatic situations. The good news is we’ve come a long way in being able to recognize this disorder and offer support. You and I may not be trained counselors, but we do have the same credentials—ears to listen.

Listen with your body language. Sometimes it is not about the talk, simply be willing to be there. Listen with your facial expressions. This means good eye contact, a smile, not sighing or rolling your eyes when the individual is sharing the same scenario or event repeatedly. Listen with your heart. Be patient, don’t push them to talk, be respectful and non-judgmental. Listen without expectations and remember you are not there to tell them what do or how to move on.

“Thank you for listening to my story,” may be the compliment which opens the door for you to share His story.

 

Are Summer Camps Still Relevant Today?

We live in a world where technology is integrated into just about every aspect of our lives. Self-driving cars, microwaves, phones with computers in them (or is it the other way around?) and even electric toothbrushes! And yet, every summer, thousands of children and their leaders flock to summer camps all over the country. How can this be? No WiFi? No phones? Say it isn’t so!

Send out the Missions Volunteers

Your missions team has prayed and is ready to go. Now it’s time to figure out how to get them there. The more folks involved in sending, the more will also be praying and feeling they are a vital part of the kingdom work God has planned for the team. Many hands also make for easier—and quicker—work.

Consider these ideas to spur your church on in its sending efforts:

Bake and Serve Silent Auction

As the WMU director, solicit donations from church members: plates of cookies, loaves of bread, or gift certificates for a pan of lasagna or a homemade meal. Consider asking for services to be donated as well: 2 hours of leaf raking, 3 hours of housework, or 4 hours of babysitting.

Carryout Dinner

Sell tickets for a barbecued chicken dinner. Ask members of adult missions organizations to gather at the church kitchen early in the day to prepare chicken, baked beans, potato salad, and rolls. Set up an assembly line to fill carryout boxes, and deliver to vehicles as folks drive by to pick up. Recruit students to direct traffic in the parking lot.

Missions Books for Bucks

The Blessing of Listening

When was the last time you really felt heard? When have you really felt like you heard someone else’s heart?

This month, we have been thinking a lot about how to grow relationships. One way that is harder than it sounds is by learning to listen.

The gift of listening is more than just keeping our mouths shut. To listen, really listen, we need to engage with our minds and hearts. We need to enter into someone else’s reality to the point that we can sense what God is doing in their lives. It is rarely what we think about on the surface. Something is always deeper. Our God’s love is deep and wide. It removes our sin as far as the east is from the west. Truly only He knows the plans He has for us. Only He can walk us through the valleys. Our relationships with others recognize His work in their lives and we must listen well to even begin to see His ways. He often surprises us in the journey.

Getting to Know Thailand

discover Thailand

Thailand is a beautiful country where most people do not know about Jesus. As a believer, we need to learn as much as possible about countries like Thailand and about the Thai people who live there.

To learn more about Thailand and the people who call it home, go to each of these links.

Thailand is a country in Southeast Asia about the same size as France. It is bordered by Burma, Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia. To understand the size of the country, check out this map

There are beautiful national parks in Thailand. Some are tropical evergreen parks. Some are marine parks. In all of the parks, there are interesting animals and plants. 

Most of the people in Thailand do not believe in Jesus. Ninety percent of the Thai people are Buddhist. Three million of the people of southern Thailand are Muslim. 

Listening: A Relationship Builder

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” It is an old quote and it holds the key to building deep and lasting relationships. One of the ways we genuinely show we care is by listening.

Offering Biblical hospitality in my home and office has generated spontaneous moments to listen and to show I care. Over a cup of hot tea served with scones or coffee served with muffins, what has started out as a generalized conversation turns into my guest sharing their most deepest needs. Once a person knows you can be trusted and that you truly care; pretenses crumble and the foundation is laid for an authentic relationship.

Everyone needs someone to simply listen. It isn’t that you hold the answers or can solve the problems, but there is something therapeutic about being able to voice our ‘whatever’ to someone who will accept us as we are with a listening ear and heart. Who in your life that needs Biblical hospitality and a listening ear is God placing on your heart?

 

If I Will, You Will

One minute I had my perfect post-college plans set, and the next I was convinced they would never come to fruition.

The plan (or so I had hoped) was to move overseas in 2015, a few months after graduation. I saw no need to look for a full-time job or move back in with my parents, because I was going to start my life as a cross-cultural worker when I wanted.

It quickly became apparent that my timeline and God’s timeline weren’t matching up, despite my best attempts to get my way. I went to my university pastor for advice, and he told me to pray and listen to what God was telling me about it.

I prayed and very clearly God told me, “If the Lord wills, you will do this, but wait.”

While that wasn’t the answer I wanted, I listened, and it paid off. I’m only a few months into my term, but I can see that if I hadn’t waited and listened, delaying my plans by a year, so much would be different.

Even as I try to stay focused on my work in South Asia, I find myself wondering about what’s next, and He continues to remind me, “If the Lord wills.”

More than Bunnies, Candy, and Eggs

This past Sunday at my church, children of all ages joyfully paraded into the sanctuary, waving palm branches and singing loud hosannas. What a simple act to actively involve kids in a meaningful worship experience!

But do you struggle to explain the meaning of Holy Week to your child? After all, we just celebrated the birth of baby Jesus a few short months ago! Yet now we are going to celebrate His death and Resurrection? And what do bunnies, chocolate candy, and colored eggs have to do with any of it? For many kids, particularly younger ones, this concept can be especially difficult to wrap their heads around.

This Easter, I encourage you to sit down with your kids and read the Bible together. As a family, share the amazing stories surrounding Jesus’ death and Resurrection. Be prepared to answer their questions by pointing them back to the one true source, the Bible. In doing so, you set a positive example as you connect kids to God’s Word for a lifetime.

I have laid out a daily Bible reading plan that you can use to guide you as you move through the week.

Greetings from Guatemala

Please read below for an update from one of April's featured missionary families!

Greetings from Guatemala!  The hot season has officially arrived, bringing with it daily temperatures of over 100 degrees. It also means water shortages and power outages. It is definitely not the easiest month to live here. On top of that, we are all battling head colds and chest congestion. Pray that we will all get well and start feeling better soon.

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Update from Guatemala

White family in Guatemala

David and Regina White recently sent us an update on their ministry. We pray that these updates will help shape your prayers for the White family:

In Guatemala now, the hot season has arrived. With daily temperatures over 100 degrees, families have to deal with water shortages and power outages. The Whites have been experiencing some head colds and congestion. The heat makes these illnesses even more difficult. Please pray that their health will be fully restored.

The Whites held 10 Bible studies last month. In 1 village, there is only 1 family of believers. Pray that this family will remain strong and will be a light in their community. Additionally, a Bible study group from 1 village is visiting another village to begin a weekly study. Please pray for the visiting group to soon see fruit from their visits.

The Whites are involved in the construction of a new church building. They report that this construction is going well, and ask for continued prayers for this project. They ask that we especially pray for the construction workers and the project manager.

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