WMU Blog

Communicating Effectively

My best friend and I don’t get to see each other often, but we make a point to regularly keep in touch either by phone, messaging, or lunches together. A card from her in my mailbox reminds me that I am important to her and that she is thinking about me.

Through my years as a WMU leader, I have found that consistent communication with my leadership team is just as important. When I visit a Mission Friends class as the teacher is setting up for the lesson that evening, we have the opportunity to share our hearts for those preschoolers and how we are reaching them. A snail mail card sent saying, “I appreciate you,” or a Facebook message lets my teachers know they are important to me and to the ministry of our church.

Working Together to Make Missions Successful

The most beautiful thing about missions is not simply that it exists but how God gets His work done and invites us to join in His mission. Using His people, God instills in us a desire to serve Him, different talents, and passions and a focus on the gospel.

One of my favorite missions projects is Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse. I love watching how many different types of people it takes to get thousands of shoe boxes packed each fall:

There are year-round bargain shoppers who check toy aisles and back-to-school sales, socking away their blessed stash.
There are parents who use the project to teach their children spiritual lessons about other children.
There are artistic people who love the decorating part of the project and enjoy making the boxes beautiful on the outside.
There are the people who quietly donate toward the postage needed to ship the boxes to their destinations.
There are churches who pray over the boxes, asking the Lord to bless the recipients and make Himself known to their families.
There are countless people I never see who sort boxes and deliver them to places all over the world. 

Why? When? How Come?

I just love when my children ask me questions that I am required to delicately think of age-appropriate answers for (sense the sarcasm?). Children have no filter so a Mama has to always be on her toes. There have been times when their questions make me smile, like when my five-year-old wanted to know why his athletic shorts did not have a protective cup like his eight-year-old brother’s. He stated he was not going to play baseball without having one himself.

Then there are the more serious questions like when my mother was involved in a serious accident earlier this year and my boys wanted to know if Grandma was going to walk again? I did not have a definite answer to give, but my five-year-old did. He proudly spoke up and said, “If Grandma has to be in a wheelchair then we will get Daddy to build her a ramp so she can get in our house.” His precious heart was so overwhelmed with the circumstances and trying to figure out the future that he was seeking to find a solution.

Antonym of Sorrow

Hope.

In the midst of devastation, people are able to find hope—this is my life’s greatest challenge.

Living in West Africa in the second poorest country in the world for two summers, I observed the most beautiful smiles I had ever seen in the middle of devastating poverty. This joy felt impossible to wrap my head around.

Then I lived in the Middle East for two years, hearing stories of God’s Kingdom expanding throughout the lands. I saw a woman throw her head back in laughter—true joy—in the middle of her homeland being destroyed, when only hours before she recounted story after story to me about how her relatives were brutally murdered in the streets. 

How can this be?

The gospel is powerful. It’s not a story we get to share or we have to share. God has flipped our world’s story of brokenness on its head. When we think all is lost; it’s not.

A Small Me in a Big World

SPOILER ALERT: For anyone who hasn’t heard, the Tooth Fairy is not real. When I was seven years old, I demanded the truth from my can’t-keep-a-secret grandmother. Although I had been suspicious, the Tooth Fairy revelation changed the way I viewed my tiny world. I realized I had not fully understood something, and I needed to shift my perspective.

Fast-forward 13 years, and my perspective on life continues to expand. College makes you realize that you’re a little person in a very big world. You become aware of serious social issues, extreme poverty, and people groups still unreached by the gospel. You come to the sobering realization that you can’t fix all of the world’s problems. However, the real question is not what can’t you do, but what can you do.

1. Educate yourself.

Sometimes it is hard to relate to people who are different from us. As Christians, we can’t write off people groups around the world because they’re from a different culture or background. Instead of ignoring what we don’t understand, we need to dig deeper. The more we understand, the more we can tell them about Jesus.

2. Find your passion.

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.

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