WMU Blog

Why Women Join Groups

I know many of you have thought of this challenge—how do we get younger women involved in missions? Why don’t more women come to the group? Or if you haven’t started a group yet, why is it not on more people’s radar? Maybe you are very passionate about missions, but it doesn’t seem that others share your passion at times.

Studies have been done in the secular and Christian world as to why women join all kinds of groups, but I feel we can apply the research to growing our myMISSION groups. A woman joins a group for these four main reasons:

The Action of Compassion

"Salama!" She looked up, surprised that a foreigner was speaking her heart language. She was a shop keeper, peddling goods to foreigners. No one had ever stopped just to talk with her. It was on that day that she knew there was something different about this foreigner who wanted more than a colorful basket.

Choosing to stay that first time I sat down with her was a big deal. I was nervous, and anything but fluent in her language. However, I knew the Lord was telling me to sit on that rickety wooden bench. Sitting there in the sun, trying to piece together the vocabulary that I recognized, I wondered what I was doing. Surely, this is not what missions looks like.

Looking back, on that day, something changed. She became real to me; not someone I saw in passing or prayed for off a prayer card. I heard stories of her three girls and the school they attended. She talked about her husband and how he had not accepted the Truth in his heart. My heart broke as she told me that she had learned to read but could not afford a Bible. I was introduced to compassion. For the first time it was not just a word, but an emotion that produced an action.

Helping and Loving the Youngest of These

I’m in the nana stage. And I love all it entails—hugs, kisses, messes, playtimes, sleepovers, exhaustion, and joy. I understand how fleeting childhood is and how quickly little ones grow up. God is using this life season to allow me to sprinkle patience, wisdom, experience, and much love into the lives of my grandbabies.

I adore children of all ages. My heart breaks and I am filled with compassion when I consider the terrible news one hears about things that happen to children. I am called to pray and plead for the babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and children who face unthinkable challenges like hunger, homelessness, loss of parents, abuse, neglect, and poverty. These little ones are my neighbors. I must help and love them.

The Lord blesses me with a compassion that causes my heart to ache. I must allow that compassion to lead me to find ways to put hands, feet, and heart to work to help the little ones. Compassion needs to spur me to do something to love and help children, no matter how small.

Angie Quantrell is a happy neighbor in a growing, active group that loves to attack missions projects with great gusto.

 

Building Missional Churches

We all have them in our associations—churches that have not caught the vision for how WMU can be an integral part of missions in their churches. Does that mean that those churches will totally miss the boat when it comes to missions involvement? Not at all. But it often requires that we come alongside them in order to help them develop a heart for missions.

As an associational WMU director, I made a point of getting to know the pastors in my association. Getting to know about the pastors and their churches helped to make a connection with them and understand their direction. I always made sure that the pastors and key people who didn’t have WMU in their churches received the same information as other churches. This might be through letters, emails, or phone calls. And since everyone seems to be on Facebook these days, you could start a group for associational churches to keep them informed of missions opportunities and allow them to interact as they post on the page as well.

Brokenness: The Seed of Compassion

Compassion isn’t something we possess on our own. It is often born of deep brokenness in which we experience the unspeakable comfort of God.

When our son was diagnosed with severe autism before age 2, I had only a surface grasp of God. He was a feel-good God to me. He was the God we begged to remove our problems, the God whose job it was to make us comfortable.

But my relationship with God became intimate, soothing, and more precious in the years that followed. I learned Who God really is through His Word. As I trusted Him more, God revealed His sovereignty over all of life. While I walked through the dark valley of suffering alongside our son, I experienced sides of God not visible to the naked eye:

God showed me such love that it overshadowed the heartache of the hour.
God showed me He was for me, not against me.
God took my prayers and answered them according to His will.

The time of suffering would prepare me to minister to people. Because of God’s compassion, I now feel compassion for others and it has been woven into nearly every act of ministry or missions I’ve been a part of.

Global Hunger Relief—Pray and Promote It!

Three times a day the majority of us eat a satisfying meal. And we are largely unaware of the 795 million undernourished people worldwide.

Global Hunger Sunday is October 11. Pray and do something!

Our church held a successful drive for world hunger. We created soup canbanks and purchased bread banks for our congregation. Families collected spare change and delivered the money to the church. The project’s simplicity made participation easy.

Does your local food bank or soup kitchen need help? Perhaps funding is desperate and you could donate, or ask your Adults on Mission group to make a donation.

Do you know someone who could be struggling with hunger? If you suspect it, it’s probably true. Reach out to this hungry soul. Do this anonymously by passing along a grocery store gift card through a confidential source or use your family mealtime to show grace and meet a physical need by inviting this person over for supper.

Mom . . . I’m hungry

As a mother I am sure you can relate to the following scenario: Mom enters kitchen to find pantry door wide open, refrigerator door open and standing in the coolness of the fridge a child searching high and low for . . . something to eat. I am fairly certain you have also heard your child say these four famous words, “There’s nothing to eat.” It can be very frustrating to hear these words come out of your child’s mouth when you know there are boys and girls who truly have nothing to eat, let alone have the luxury of being choosy.

It is heartbreaking to see pictures from around the world of hungry children who are not guaranteed to go to bed with a full tummy. The thought of world hunger relief can be very overwhelming. Where do we start? How can we help? I believe before you can go global you need to address local too. We need to ensure that we are aware and engaged in meeting the needs of our own community.

The Cyclone

The email from the embassy should have been our first clue. Rumors of cyclone seasons of past were quickly turning into reality. After watching the weather and talking with other missionaries, we decided to stay put. A little rain in the dry land of Tulear would be nice!

Two days in, as I ran around the house putting buckets under leaks, I wondered if staying was the right choice. Electricity had been cut the moment the rains started and the wind gusts were powerful enough to blow a person down. When it finally stopped, and we stepped outside, I realized how selfish my thoughts had been.

Our home was standing but the Malagasy ones were destroyed. Our lives were inconvenienced but theirs were devastated. I had never seen such destruction in all of my life. Families had lost loved ones in the flash flooding. The small amounts of rice or vegetables they had were gone. The homes that held their few possessions were washed away. My eyes filled with tears, and my heart was flooded with grief. What could we do? How could we help?

Your Choice

Would you describe your myMISSION group as predictable? What if your group never knew what to expect next? Does your group meet at a location in your church or do you meet in a home? My preference is meeting in a home. It makes me feel more relaxed and better able to connect. It’s a warmer atmosphere if I’m inviting someone to come along for the first time with me. Ask your group members what their preference is.

Ever thought of taking your meeting on the road? How about meeting in a coffee shop occasionally? Sometimes my team leader at work would announce that our monthly team meeting was going to be at a nearby coffee shop. We would get our hot drinks, gather around, and accomplish much. Sometimes someone at another table would comment on our meeting or ask questions of one of us. What if the patrons overheard about the work of a missionary or parts of a missional Bible study? What if they listened in as you prayed?

Learning Can Be a Life-Changing Experience

What takes place in our society when listening, learning, and loving converge? What changes occur when your missions group collectively answers God’s call to learn and compassionately shares His love in an educational environment? Being disciples becomes the focus, and the effect is contagious. Communities are transformed. Families are restored. Lives are changed forever!

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Through recognizing and serving the needs of others, your missions group can become intentionally involved in the spiritual journey of those right around you. Without warning, you learn that missional living is the ultimate destination of your day-to-day journey and not just a random side trip.

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