WMU Blog

Learning from a Preschooler

Preschoolers always teach me a lot, but this was particularly true last week as a preschooler taught me about Indonesia. Each year during the first week of December, national WMU has a program and open house to observe the Week of Prayer for International Missions. People from many surrounding churches come to sing Christmas carols together, meet retired and stateside missionaries, pray for missions, and sip a cup of hot apple cider. Sometimes we might Skype a missionary or show a video of a missionary, but this year we were blessed to have special workers who serve in Indonesia as speakers at our Week of Prayer program. They are on stateside assignment and will return to Indonesia soon.

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The Man I Admire

Unlocking the door, I walk into my home after a long day at the office. The floors are swept, the house dusted, the dishes are clean and there he is—smiling, welcoming me home.

His acts are never done in order to be praised, he sees a need and he will work as long as it takes to complete it. Staying late at church he makes sure all the trash is picked up from the youth group. He is always the first to volunteer to carry in boxes, set something up, or volunteer for an event.

If I’m being honest, humility is not something I have consistently prayed after in my life. I’ve struggled with how it is embodied and wanted to learn how it plays out in day-to-day life—then I met my husband.

It is so not about him.

He will serve until everything is done. He doesn’t desire to be praised, it is simple for him; his desire is to live a life of excellence before the Lord, honoring Him in everything he does.

My Secret Gift

When I was in second grade, I grew my hair out to donate it to an organization that makes wigs for cancer patients. By December, I finally felt like my hair was long enough to cut off eight inches. My aunt is a hairstylist, and she agreed to give me a haircut at my grandparents’ house on Christmas Day.

When I first looked in the mirror after I heard the loud snip, I was taken aback by the drastic difference. My hair was short! But when Aunt Jen handed me an 8-inch ponytail, a warm feeling of excitement bubbled up from inside me. Someone with cancer was going to wear my hair.

Pretty soon I was flitting about my grandparents’ house, getting oohs and ahs from all of my family. “Rachel, your haircut looks so good,” they told me. “And that’s amazing that you’re donating it to help people. How cool!”

It didn’t take long before my head (not my hair) started to grow. Later that afternoon my Nana pulled me aside. “Rachel, I’m very proud of you,” she said, “but I want you to remember something. The Bible says that when we give, we should give in secret. The best part is that God is watching, and He will reward you” (Matt. 6:1–6).

Language Learning

My gifts are teaching, speaking, and writing. I have known two of these for a while and one was just beginning to develop back in 2011 when I stepped on the distant soil of Madagascar. I was anxious to develop relationships and share the gospel with anyone who would listen. That was, until about ten minutes later as I went through customs and realized no one could understand anything I was saying.

For the first couple of days, it was entertaining. It was almost comical how much we could not understand and how little we could communicate (unless it was in the form of pointing and gestures). Soon though, our lack of communication became part of our motivation to learn the language and to learn it quickly! Over the next six months, we were in formal language school and once we passed our final exam; we moved to the town where we would do ministry. I began to understand that I would indeed never be out of language school . . . it may not be formal but there would always be something new to learn.

Eight Things You Need to Know About Lottie Moon

Many people in our Baptist churches ask each year, “Who is Lottie Moon?” Others have been giving money in her honor for so many years they ask, “When will ‘the debt’ to her ever be paid?”

Let’s learn a few things about Lottie Moon.

Christmas and Missions

Growing up in a Baptist church there are two distinct times of the year that I remember different looking offering envelopes in the back of the church pews. It was around Christmas and Easter. These special offerings are named for two past servants of Jesus on the missions field, abroad and at home—Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong. These two offerings then and today provide for the missionaries who serve “at home” (North American Mission Board, or NAMB) and “abroad” (International Mission Board, or IMB).

During December, WMU® provides an excellent resource to intentionally explore an international missions field and its needs. This year the focus is Indonesia. I am super excited about the literature and resources they have available to explore all the areas of this country; it will be like taking a trip minus the airfare.

Humbly Surrendering

What comes to mind when you think about surrender? Failure? Giving up? Raising the white flag? Do you think about submitting to the authority of another? The first step of humility is surrendering to Christ’s authority over you. I’ve found that it’s much easier said than done.

Humility says, “I know I am totally dependent upon God, and I need the body of Christ.” Knowing this and allowing this to guide my actions are 2 very different things. I’m quite competent after all.

My pastor teaches us to be prayerfully dependent upon God for everything and trust Him for the outcome. Prayer is the key to humbly surrendering, and God is faithful to show me when I step out of surrender into prideful actions.

Prayerfully surrendering is a lifelong journey full of promise. “Well done, good and faithful servant” is the prize.

Lucretia Mobbs is learning to be prayerfully dependent.

Working with Church Staff

As a pastor’s wife, I have a unique perspective on working with church staff. Here are some insights I have gleaned that could help you as a WMU director:

Do 

  • plan ahead. Have a yearly, monthly, and even weekly calendar. The church staff plans a year ahead and the church calendar fills up quickly. Know when publicity is due and don’t miss deadlines.
  • make appointments. Don’t talk to staff members in the hall or just “pop” in their offices. Make an appointment so the staff member can pay attention, take notes, and respond with undivided attention.
  • be flexible. Be willing to change your plans. Expect the unexpected, because things happen—that is the life of a church.
  • take care of as much as you can yourself. Try not to use the staff as your setup crew, teardown crew, or audio/video people.
  • develop relationships. Work on developing relationships with each staff member so you will know how to pray for him or her and what he or she is responsible for.

Don’t 

Really Quiet Moments

I have a friend who talks about RQM (Really Quiet Moments). For her, those moments are a time to pause, stop talking, and listen more intently to God.

I have another friend—whose job involves the constant use of the spoken and written word—tell me that upon her death, she wants this description etched on her tombstone: “I ran out of words.”

I understand both of these friends. Besides being an editor at WMU, I also serve as a bi-vocational pastor. I understand the need to be quiet at times. By the time I’ve preached two sermons on Sunday, talked with countless church members and guests, attended commitment meetings, and etc., I’m ready to head home and enjoy some peace and quiet. No words spoken. No words heard. Just quiet.

Ever have those moments? Ever desire to run out into the woods, get away from everyone, and just be alone?

All Wrapped Up?

Two wrapped packages are set before you. You can choose only one. The labels tell you one contains opportunities to increase your strength and have greater independence, while the other will result in weakness of some kind and a greater dependence.

The choice seems easy . . . unless your goal is to be like Christ. You see, in God’s upside-down economy,

weakness is strength (2 Cor. 12:10b);
wisdom is foolishness (1 Cor. 3:19);
humility is honored (Prov. 22:4);
death produces life (John 12:24);
surrender is victory (1 John 5:4–5);
loss is gain (2 Cor. 4:17).

We can often observe this paradox of reversal in the lives of Christ followers. My daughter had a wasting muscle disease resulting in extreme weakness. She never weighed more than 55 pounds. Yet her contagious smile, perky disposition, and bold faith made a strong impact for Jesus. God’s power was reflected in her weakness.

Jackie Leggett’s husband, Chris, was murdered in Mauritania in 2009. He was targeted because of his faith. But today his bold witness and sacrifice continue to live and bear much fruit among the people he served. His death produced life.

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