WMU Blog

A Leap of Selflessness!

Today, I am with my Daddy—who is in the last days, perhaps even last hours, of his earthly life. Selfishly, I find myself grasping for every minute, every moment of his final season.

Today, I have witnessed “selflessness” in action! Hands that have provided comfort; hearts who have stood watch and accompanied our family in grief! Nurses, people, servants of our Lord Jesus Christ who are now forever part of our eternal story!

What transforms a spirit of selfishness into a gift of selflessness? Is it sacrifice or simply service at its best?

The answer, I believe, must begin with Jesus—who "for the joy set before him he endured the cross" (Hebrews 12:2 NIV).

Yes! Selflessness requires a choice, a choice to take up one’s cross and turn from an inward place of focus to an outward position of love—complemented by an upward expression of surrender!

Today, I have witnessed selflessness at its best!

Just after penning these words, Joanie Ballard had the privilege of celebrating her Daddy’s journey to Jesus! 

Children's projects for a postmodern world

Construction paper ready for projects

As our society believes more and more that any belief is acceptable, children need plenty of practice sharing truth and what they are learning about the one true God. As children's missions leaders, you and I have the awesome opportunity and responsibility to empower children to speak out about Scripture. 

Try these ideas with your children’s missions group to give them opportunities to share truth with others in your community:

Recognize Spiritual Growth

I’m going to reminisce a bit here so please humor me for just a moment. I’ve had the privilege of being a missions leader for a number of years. In years past, I served as GA director in my church. One of the highlights for the girls was the recognition service in May.

Each GA had been paired with a woman in the church who was a part of Women on Mission. Throughout the year, each GA and “mentor” had forged a relationship with each other and the family of the GA. The mentor would come to GA on the fourth week of the month to help her GA with her individual achievement plan activities. In addition, the GA and her mentor would do things together at various times during the year as well as attending our GA/Mentor Tea on a Sunday afternoon in the spring.

Full of Ourselves

As humans, it is our very nature to be selfish. We want everything done our way and on our time schedule.

We become wrapped up in “my world” that we don’t think of others. Our schedules are busy running hither and yon, we don’t have time to be bothered or inconvenienced. The world teaches to do whatever feels good, no matter who it hurts.

Pride keeps us from becoming a humble servant. We pursue everlasting joy in earthly things. We tend to place our hope in the things of this world. We were born with a sinful, selfish nature.

We are constantly searching for worldly pleasures. We are obsessed with getting more and having more than our neighbor. We are so busy “keeping up with the Joneses,” that we leave God out. God can’t fill us when we are already full of ourselves.

 

LaNita Mitchell lives and serves in Princeton, KY. She has a Master’s Degree in Christian Ministry.

 

 

 

 

 

Skype ‘Scape

You can meet a missionary! Get some friends to join you and learn about how missionaries do their work in answer to God’s call.

Putting a face on missions is an exciting experience that can help you understand how important your prayer and financial support are. Here are some tips for hosting a successful event featuring missionaries who serve in North America and overseas.

 

What Makes an Event Successful?

1. Begin early. Enlist someone to help you make arrangements to talk to missionaries via Skype. You’ll need to confirm the date, time, and questions you will be asking. Go to namb.net for information about contacting a North American missionary, or to imb.org for info about international missionaries.

2. Make technical arrangements. Ensure connections and monitor are available and sound is appropriate. The success of the event hinges on these arrangements!

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May I Rest?

May . . .

I love May . . .

Warm air, sunshine, flowers, birds, strawberries—even mangos—my local store has mangos! What’s not to love? We have a holiday in May. It’s the end of school. My daughter was born in May. I love May . . .

So why am I tired? I don’t know about you but for some reason, this year, I’m not finding that extra boost of energy and excitement. Everything is good; it’s actually great! My family is great. I am happy, healthy, loving my job, growing in a community, and having opportunities to be on mission. Hmm . . . maybe, this May, I just need a bit of rest.

When you lead something—a group, a family, a trip, anything—you can become tired. I hear it’s OK to be tired. Jesus was tired. He took time to sleep in a boat, walk in a garden, pray alone, go to weddings, talk with friends, and even rest at a well.

Bigger Than Me

In 1953, Dr. Wana Ann Fort arrived in Zimbabwe, where she and her husband became the first doctors at the primitive Sanyati Baptist Hospital. In addition to serving as a doctor, Wana Ann was a cook, Sunday School teacher, hospital correspondent, language student, and mother of five sons.

Life on the missions field was difficult to say the least. The Forts not only faced physical and environmental challenges but also encountered a culture deeply rooted in witchcraft. The more the Forts understood the people’s tribal religion, the more they desired to show them the light of Christ.

Wana Ann tells incredible stories about how God changed the lives of the people in Sanyati in her memoir, A Thousand Times, Yes. I love this book and encourage my friends to read it, especially those who are interested in medical missions.

One day I loaned the book to my friend Annie, who is studying to be a physician’s assistant. A few months later, she called me and said, “Rachel, you’re not going to believe this!”

Breaking the Selfish Cycle

I am a selfish person.

I want things to happen the way I want them to happen and when I want them to happen.

And, if I may be so bold, you are a selfish person, too.

“Looking out for number one” is more than just a cultural phenomenon. Selfishness is rooted deeply in our fallen, sinful nature.

Even as a follower of Christ, I exhibit self-centered tendencies daily.

I struggle with this “Selfish Cycle”:

  1. I act selfishly.
  2. I realize I have been selfish and regret it.
  3. I put myself down for being selfish.
  4. I try to make up for being selfish by doing something good.
  5. I am proud of myself for the good things I have done.
  6. I realize that I am being prideful.
  7. Repeat from step 2.

Sound familiar?

The Source of Selfless Joy

Until recently, my one-year-old still woke overnight to eat. Every night since his birth, he would wake around midnight to 2 a.m. for this purpose. For the first six months of his life, I was his only source of nutrition, so I was burning the midnight oil with him every night. After I returned to work, we transitioned to a bottle, which meant freedom—my husband could now share in the midnight feedings. For weeks, I would feign sleep or ask my husband to take the night shift because, after all, I’d woken with him exclusively for six months. It was about time he shared the responsibility.

Weeks turned into months, however, and my husband was regularly exhausted from night shift duty. I could see his exhaustion, yet I still let him get up for the majority of night feedings each week. I allowed my desire for sleep to deprive my husband of much-needed rest. I acted like my husband owed me for all of those sleepless nights I endured, and I didn’t care enough about my husband’s needs to share the burden. I was being selfish.

I’m Selfish

Have you ever had one of those really busy days? When everything you do seems to be overlapping with the next and you can’t seem to finish anything well?

Or, maybe you are like me lately, and this has been a season you are in. I feel like over the past few months I have grown to become queen of the to-do list.

My days, give or take a few changing variables, look like me groggily waking up to my alarm, rushing out the door to my 9–6 job, filling my breaks and lunches with an errand, then going straight from work to my next activity. Most of my evenings I have planned. Whether it’s small group, church volunteering, homework, or time with my husband.

None of these things on my list are bad. But over the last year, I have formed a cadence to my life.

My schedule, my time, my to-do list, and my rushing around, all of the sudden, has become a lot about me.

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