WMU Blog

Easter Bracelet

One spring afternoon, I invited the women in my section of the neighborhood to come to my house for a finger-food supper and Easter fun. We shared food and exchanged pleasantries and then I handed each woman a paper plate covered in beads, thread, and a bracelet clasp. Beginning with the Last Supper, I shared the Scripture of the Easter story, instructing the women when to add the next bead of the story. A brown bead symbolized the bread, and a deep purple bead the wine. A flower bead represented the betrayal kiss in the garden. The women listened intently to each set of Scriptures, waiting with anticipation to find out which bead came next.

Halfway through the story, one woman said shyly, “Excuse me; do you mind if we stop for just a moment? I left my boyfriend when I came over for the party, thinking I’d just drop in for a minute and come right back, but I’ve decided I want to stay. I just want to call him and tell him not to wait on me.” What a beautiful confirmation that this Easter party was God’s idea to share Christ with my neighbors!

Learning about Missions

Long ago, Annie Armstrong spoke of the importance of study of the missions field. What the first corresponding secretary of WMU called “study of the mission field” we would now say, “learning about missions.” She identified this as the driving force between studying God’s Word and how much we pray and give. During this month of the North American Missions Emphasis, it is good for us to consider Annie Armstrong’s insights as we encourage preschoolers to pray for and give to missions. They first need to learn about missions before they can then pray and give.

It is good to consider Annie Armstrong’s insights as we encourage preschoolers to pray for and give to missions.

Show Your Love and Say Thanks to Military Wives

In thinking about Project HELP: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, I thought it might be a good idea to plan a retreat for military wives. We honor the enlisted men and women who defend our country, but what about their spouses and the sacrifices they make? Little did I know that some of the military wives who came would share that their husbands have PTSD or were wounded and they needed this time for themselves so much!

To provide this time “away” was a blessing as I watched them connect with each other and our leaders. The retreat was beyond anything I could begin to explain—it was a God-appointed time just for them and they “soaked” it up.

Our purpose was to provide an opportunity for them to be refreshed and renewed. Using my military task force and my special PTSD task force, I had great resource people to help me think through this idea. I applied for a grant for military ministry, wanting to be able to use some of those funds to provide this retreat for the military wives so they would not have to pay anything to come.

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Glorifying Jesus

We want our life, our work, and all that we do and say to glorify Christ.

We pray, read our Bible, keep the commandments, and guard our marriage vows. We show compassion to others and follow the Golden Rule. We are involved in church and strive to trust Jesus more. We exhibit a good work ethic.

All those are indeed vital to living a life that pleases Christ.

Lloyd Stilley, pastor of First Baptist Church in Gulf Shores, Alabama, noted that there is something more we can do to bring even greater glory to Jesus.

“Serving Christ by serving others is your destiny in this life,” Stilley said. “If serving Christ by serving others is your destiny in this life, then the best possible way to serve is by leading another person to Jesus.”

Helping someone come to forgiveness in Christ is the utmost service that a believer can do for Him, Stilley said. Telling an individual how to receive Jesus Christ as Savior is a Christian’s “best possible work.”

That brings glory to our King!

Leigh Pritchett lives in the southeastern United States, a missions field that is “white unto harvest.”

I Didn’t Want to Do It

What teenage girl hasn’t begged God, “I know I have done wrong and have no right to ask this, but please don’t let my mother find out!” Certainly I had many times. But 15 years into adulthood, what was God asking of me? I’d been invited to speak at a church on the topic of my choice, but God was calling me to share the testimony of my tumultuous, sin-laden teen years. Why make me do this in front of several hundred women? It was going to be painful. I probably wouldn’t be invited back. But worst of all, my mom’s best friend asked to accompany me to the event. Oh, the humiliation!

I didn’t want to do it. Talking about one’s sin and failures is never fun, but I had to believe that God had a purpose. On the evening of the event, I took the stage and told my story. Some women wept. Some were flabbergasted. Some nervously nodded on their way out the door, but a few stood in line to weep with me over their daughters’ trials. It was in these intermingled tears that I witnessed how God blesses obedience. And praise God—Mom’s friend and I both survived.

Courage to Obey

We often stumble all over obedience. Yet when we do obey, we find how powerfully God uses it.

Carrie Stallings discovered this on a Peru missions trip. Carrie walked by a field and saw a woman using a tub and washboard to do laundry.

“God spoke in my heart and told me to go and wash her clothes,” Carrie said.

As she washed, she talked to the woman named Exalta. Carrie learned that Exalta felt unforgivable because she had had an abortion.

“As I was washing Exalta’s clothes, I was able to witness to her and tell her about God and how much He loved her; . . . He sent Jesus to die for all [her sins].”

That day, Exalta traded her guilt for a new life in Jesus.

“It taught me that when I surrender to God and His perfect plan, then there is peace, joy, and blessings like no other,” Carrie said. “Through my surrender and obedience, I was able to see a woman forgiven of guilt and sin that had plagued her for years. I was able to experience the joy of leading her to forgiveness and to Christ!”

Leigh Pritchett lives in the southeastern United States, a missions field that is “white unto harvest.”

Connect the Dots

National WMU has launched a new growth plan called Connect the Dots. I believe you will find this to be an effective plan as you share the joy of what it means to serve God and His people.

Discover New Members 

Look around your church and discover how you can add new members to your existing WMU organizations. Many people are looking for ways to get involved; they just need to be invited.

Organize Groups 

Could your church form new WMU groups? Are you currently leading children in missions through Children in Action but could transition to Girls in Action for girls and Royal Ambassadors for boys? Do you have missions education for every age level, including young women? If not, consider starting a myMISSION group for them.

Teach Churches 

There are churches in your community without missions education for children and adults. Build relationships with the leadership in those churches and share the importance of ongoing missions education for all ages. Assist them as they begin and encourage them in their efforts.

Spotlight Entry Points 

When a Child Hurts

 

Think about the children you teach each week. In your CA, GA, or RA group, is there a child who is withdrawn? How about one who blurts answers out of turn or constantly seeks your attention? What about a child who seems angry most of the time?

Instead being frustrated with the child’s actions, consider that something might have happened in that child’s life to cause him or her to act that way.

Children, like adults, cannot check their emotional baggage at the door. Unfortunately, they bring those experiences with them when they come to missions classrooms. And, those experiences sometimes cause children to act in ways that may take away from learning activities that are happening with other children.

Every week, you have the opportunity to reach out to the children in your care and remind them that regardless of what has happened outside of the walls of your missions classroom, they are valuable to not only you as their leader, but they are also valuable to God. Their lives have great purpose!

Hot Fudge Cake and the Gospel (Part 3 of 3)

I did not see that coming. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I was not expecting a positive response. I assumed this entire scenario was about God testing me, and perhaps He was, but how self-focused of me not to realize that this wasn’t just about God working on me! This scenario was also 100% about a young waiter at a diner, feeling Holy Spirit conviction and needing guidance.

My waiter shared with me that his grandmother had been sharing Jesus with him, but he still had some concerns about his sin. God gave me the words to assure him of His grace, and then he sat across from me in the booth, bowed his head, and prayed to receive Jesus as his Lord and Savior.

I couldn’t help but wonder if his grandmother had been praying for his salvation that very night. Maybe she prayed for God to send a messenger. Truthfully, if God had asked me to go to that diner to witness to a waiter, I may have given into fear and found some excuse not to go, but God knew He could get me there with hot fudge cake. Thank you, God, for hot fudge cake.

Author and speaker Kimberly Sowell calls women to live beyond themselves and surrender their lives fully to Christ.

Obedience and Mistakes

During our apprentice term with our missions organization, one of the things required was to share a Creation to Christ story in the heart language of our people . . . from memory. Sigh. I was seven months pregnant with our second child when this requirement needed to be fulfilled and while pregnancy brain may have been my excuse, I'm not sure how much easier it would have been otherwise.

To say that I struggled with this assignment would be putting it mildly. I had spent two years studying the language and still had difficulties with it daily. I knew who the Lord wanted me to share this set of stories with, but I was anxious. Roxanne was a friend who was a nonbeliever and I was convinced that if I messed this up, she was never going to want to accept Christ. Selfish? Prideful? Yes, to say the least but it was (however sadly) my mindset.

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