WMU Blog

Summer Opportunities Abound

How’s your summer going? Have you been busy? What kinds of opportunities have you had? Have you served in a ministry? Participated in a missions project of some kind? Maybe Vacation Bible School or a community event? Is your schedule full? Are you running ragged? Or perhaps you’re at the beach—finally resting—feet propped up, sun block on, and cold lemonade in hand. Mmm, I can almost taste it. . . . Rest is a good thing, too! Wherever we find ourselves this summer, opportunities abound.

I love the summertime. It has a different feel. Feet in the sand, sun on our faces; even if we’re working, running errands, or taking care of others, we can sometimes sense an energy with more hours of daylight and time to take a few breaks.

The good news is that God created summers. They were His idea! He also made us in His image, which means that we can get creative, too. In the summer, we sometimes have a different schedule that lends itself to drawing out our creative side. We may have many different opportunities to choose from, or we can create some of our own! What have you been thinking about this summer?

Henna Storying

Knowing hundreds of Southern Baptists would pray for me on my birthday, I decided to share the gospel on that day with as many Muslim women as possible. I invited six co-workers to join me in a visit to an outlying park in our Central Asian city. We took henna paste and a sign saying, “Free henna tattoo with a story.”

Many women stopped to sit for the tattoo and listen to the story. One woman announced, “They’re doing henna tattoos and telling Bible stories, and it’s like they are worshipping God.”

One middle-aged woman named Zeynap* stopped with her sister and baby. As she sat for the tattoo, I began the story, “In the beginning, God created the world and it was a perfect place.” I shared the story of the Fall and the story of the Savior. Zeynap was touched and wanted a Bible. She said, “I’ve been visiting old Orthodox churches looking for someone to ask about Jesus and trying to get a Bible.”

She came to church with me the next Sunday. The pastor told the story of Nicodemus. After the service, Zeynap whispered to me, “Today I was born again.” We’ve been meeting for discipleship ever since.

Praying for Christmas in August Missionaries

Christmas in August package

Christmas in August is a wonderful way to involve preschoolers in supporting missions by giving ministry supplies requested from a North American missionary. This is also a great opportunity to support Christmas in August missionaries through prayer. As your Mission Friends® collect the items needed, lead them in praying for the missionary and the ministries in which the items will be used.

Mary-like Hospitality in a Martha World

“Have you had dinner yet?” our neighbor asked.

“No,” we replied.

The next thing I knew, my roommate and I were eating a dinner of fried egg and a South Asian sweet in the home of our Muslim neighbors.

We had talked with them only as we passed by on the street, but a simple dinner invitation got us into their home and gave us a chance to get to know them better.

The hospitality in South Asia rivals that of the southern United States, any day, anytime. Whenever I’m invited into a home, I can expect to enjoy a cup of hot tea and warm cookies or even a full meal.

My roommate and I have been able to return the hospitality, having friends over for holiday parties and having curious neighbors over to see our apartment. Regardless of the why, we take these opportunities to share our faith with whoever enters our home.

Hosting someone in your home is a big deal to South Asians, and they show their appreciation for the person visiting them by being gracious hosts and serving lots of food.

God-Sized Mission

I am always amazed at how God plants a little seed in someone's heart and mind, lets that seed grow a little, and then sprouts out something more amazing than our minds could have ever imagined. That's what happened to our GA and RA groups at Northside Baptist Church in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

My name is Tiffany, and I am the GA director of our group at church. As the director, I plan out all the missions projects during the summer for the coming year for the GAs and RAs of our church. Last summer, I planned for our kids to memorize 6 salvation verses to help equip them to talk with their friends at school or in their neighborhoods about the love of Jesus and the gospel story. We planned several projects using these verses to help the kids with memorization. One of these projects was marking 50 Bibles with salvation verses. At the time, I didn't have a plan of whom we would give the Bibles to. I just felt a nudge that this was a project we needed to work on. And I knew God would show me who needed them and once again nudge me at just the right time.

Sandy's Desk: Cultivating a Missions Lifestyle

Someone once asked me, “How do you cultivate a missions lifestyle in young believers?” I answered the question with examples from my life. It started when I was in Acteens. The Girls in Action leader of my church asked if I wanted to help her with GAs. Then I was given opportunities for leadership through state missions camps and state Acteens Activators teams.

In college, the associational WMU council invited me to join its team. We traveled for hours together to state training events. I taught missions discipleship conferences in the association. I was awful. They loved and encouraged me anyway. When I felt God’s call on my life and made the decision to go to seminary, my associational WMU director used her own money to drive me to visit the campus two states away.

Do you get the picture? Missions leaders taught me. They loved me. They accepted me. They gave me responsibilities. They let me fail and learn. They poured their lives into mine. We have to love, nurture, bless, and turn our young people loose for God to do what He wants through their lives.

Literal Thinkers

salt shaker

A preschooler and I were talking about the ocean, and he asked, “Who put salt in the ocean?” Of course I responded that God put the salt in the ocean. By the look on his face, I could tell my preschool friend was thinking of someone with a big salt shaker over the ocean. I realized my response was too abstract for his preschooler’s mind. He was thinking of what he knew about adding salt by a person using a salt shaker.

Preschoolers think of words literally. They take the literal meaning of words or phrases. Another way of saying it is that they think concretely. Their thinking goes to what the word actually means. If you say, “I feel blue,” a preschooler would look at you to see if your skin is blue. As literal thinkers, they are not able to understand abstract concepts or words. Our words can also be very confusing to preschoolers when the words have different meanings.

WMU in the New Year

The summer season is quickly coming to a close. Before you know it, it will be time to start the new church year. What are you as a leader doing to prepare for the new year in WMU?

If you have not considered attending training in your state, then you should definitely look into it.

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Creating Space: Christ and Hospitality

Creating space for others—it’s what I think of when I focus on hospitality. And as mothers, we know a thing or two about creating space for other people. I would imagine a few of you have some little person invading your space even as you read this.

A long, wooden table filled a spread worthy of Pinterest with fresh bread, decorations for the season, chicken spiced and cooked well, and vegetables straight from the garden—this is what I believe our culture wants us to think of hospitality.

Oftentimes, we get caught up in the external features of hospitality and forget the internal characteristics of what it means to be hospitable people. However, as we look at Scripture and the example Christ set for us, we find a hospitality focusing much more on the relationship between the guest and the host rather than the presentation.

Christ welcomed the least of these.

In With the New

It won’t be long and the familiar sound of a ringing school bell will be heard in classrooms. The wheels on the big yellow school bus will be going round and round. And, kids will be dragging themselves out of bed and back to school for another year of learning.

So, what does the new school year and going back to school mean for missions education in your church? For some churches, the new school year will mean restarting their missions education programs after taking a few months off. For those who continued with GA, RA, and CA during the summer, it will mean more stable meetings as fewer leaders and kids will be out on vacation.

As you prepare for the beginning of another new school year and another year in missions education, now is a great time to evaluate your organization and material needs. Now is also a great time to order the Mission: Hit the Road Promotion Pack. This annual pack provides an overview of the year ahead. You’ll find great decorating tips, ideas, and learning activities that’ll help you have a successful new year.

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