WMU Blog

Authentically Honest Relationships

three young women

Recently, one of my friends reached out to me after a few months of us not really contacting each other. Nothing bad had happened between us, but a period of change had come upon us in the form of moving homes, towns, and churches. It’s easy to lose touch with someone we don’t see on a regular basis. We like to convince ourselves that the smartphones ever attached to our hands keep us connected with others. But truthfully, it becomes so much easier to give a person a passing thought (“Oh, I should text her soon.”) and then go about our days until a few months have passed and we wonder what could have happened to the time.

My friend was a bit offended that she hadn’t heard from me since the “Big Move,” and I didn’t blame her. Promises of keeping in touch and hanging out were made but not kept, as they should have been. Instead, I told myself that she was really busy moving and acclimating to a new time in her life so I should give her a little breathing room. And honestly, I had several not-always-pleasant changes going on in my life as well.

Summer Sun, Family Fun: How to Be a Family on Mission This Summer

Summer is imminent — and so are opportunities for your family to serve others and share the love of Jesus together! Whether you can’t wait for the sun, heat and beach-weather clothing or you’re just biding your time until it cools off again (me), summer is too important to waste. With most schools on break until the fall, your kids are probably ripe with excitement to be out of the classroom for an extended amount of time. Rather than let your family fall prey to the apathy of sitting around your house, brainstorm together to decide on a missions project (or projects) that fits your family’s interests and strengths while sharing the love of Jesus with those who desperately need to know Him.

A little inspiration goes a long way. If your family brainstorming session needs a little kick-start, here are some fresh ideas to help your thoughts flow:

Tell Me about Your Country: 4 Ways to Help Refugees Feel Loved and Welcomed

Asian boy at laptop

Kelsey Smith has met a lot of refugees, but she remembers 1 boy in particular. “He was 14, fresh off the plane from his country of asylum, spoke almost no English, and no one else in the program spoke his language,” said Kelsey, who works with a nonprofit organization that helps refugees begin to build a life in the United States. “He appeared tired, dispirited, and completely uninterested in participating in our activities.” She couldn’t figure out how to connect with him.

Then 1 day, Kelsey walked by the computer lab and saw that he was using Google Earth to look at his home country. “I sat down beside him and used gestures and simple words to ask him questions about his country, and that was the happiest I’d ever seen him,” she said. “His face lit up as he used what few words he had to tell me about his home.”

Reaching out to refugees is important—and making them feel at home is vital, Kelsey said. She offered several ways to interact with refugees to make them feel loved and welcomed in their new country:

“Siri, What Is an Association?”

AME 2018 clipart

During my 18 years as director of missions, the world of handheld technology has exploded. On my cell phone or newest tablet, I can talk to this pleasant person named Siri or Alexa and get a fast response to the question, what is a Baptist association? Siri’s response quickly reveals an article saying a Baptist association is “a self-governing fellowship of churches on mission.”

Thank you, Siri! It is hard to believe that in the palm of my hand, I hold a device that has more computer capacity and memory than the computers on the first lunar module. I am truly amazed at the amount of information that is available right at our fingertips. I am even more amazed that after more than 300 years, so many in Baptist life do not know the power contained in the association.

The association is

Invest in Gospel-Centered Relationships

South Asian women

I got out of my taxi and walked down the street, stopping at Rajani’s* gate. Rajani, a neighbor named Swetha*, and their friend Lukshmi* were talking. I said hello, but what Rajani said next caught me off guard.

“Emily, tell Lukshmi about Jesus!”

My neighbors Rajani and Swetha aren’t followers of Jesus, so this was the last thing I expected to be asked.

“Well, what do you want to know?” I replied.

It turned out that Lukshmi was writing a report for school on Jesus and needed some facts. About an hour later, the girls gathered in my apartment and they drew henna tattoos on me while I shared the gospel.

I gave Lukshmi a Bible and prayed for the girls. I haven’t seen Lukshmi again, but I see Rajani and Swetha whenever I’m out in my neighborhood.

I make it a point to stop at Rajani’s gate and talk with her anytime she’s outside to build my relationship with her. Before that night, I had told her about Jesus many times but was never sure if she understood. The fact that Rajani recognized me as someone who knew about Jesus was a step in the right direction.

Top 5 Tips for Telling a Great Story

Storytelling

Don’t you sometimes wish that the missionaries you are highlighting in Mission Friends could just stop by and visit with your preschoolers? Well, the next best thing is for you as a Mission Friends teacher to introduce those missionaries to your preschoolers through stories.

Here are 5 top tips for taking the words off the printed page and turning them into fun and enjoyable times of learning.

Camping: It's Intense! (Get it? In-Tents?)

School is almost out for the summer, and you know what that means: it’s vacation time, y’all! All year long we eagerly await the summer, and when it finally arrives all seems right with the world. Maybe you’re already making plans, or (if you’re like me) maybe you’re ready for the summer breeze to blow you where it will! No matter what your summertime planning inclinations may be, make sure you make a little room for children’s missions camp.

Camp is such an important time in a child’s life. I can still remember many of the lessons I learned years ago at camp. One of my memories involves a fire-building competition mishap resulting in the loss of my singed eyebrows.

The other memory I hold close even to this day is one of a missionary who was involved in a terrible car accident on the field. He had learned how to walk and talk again after many months of grueling physical therapy. But when he did stand and speak at camp, he spoke about the cost of living as an ambassador for Christ. Costly, yes, but completely worth every minute of struggle.

Are You Doing Ministry or Missions?

Is there really a difference? Yes. Over the years, I have heard many leaders tell me they were actively involved in missions. But when I dug a little deeper, it seemed they were actually doing ministry.

Okay, stay with me because this is when it gets a little Charlie and the Chocolate Factory crazy: you can be a missions group without doing missions, and you can be a ministry group and do more missions than a missions group, or vice versa.

Did you get that? It’s true. Ministry and missions can be 2 different things, and the way to tell the difference is to look at whom you are focusing on. Ministry typically happens within the church walls and to a body of believers, whereas missions happen outside the walls of the church and to those who have not responded to the gospel. See the difference?

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Teaching Tools

Three Teaching Tools

Everything is easier if you have the right tools. For example, the thimble is one of the basic tools for any quilter. I was updating a fellow quilting buddy that I was hand-sewing the binding on a quilt. I must have mentioned using a thimble, because that is when she told me she has never used a thimble. I was so surprised and wanted to react, “What?!” I still cannot imagine doing all that hand sewing without using a thimble. This little tool is such a help on the tip of your finger as you pull the needle and thread through the fabric over and over. It keeps your finger from getting sore, too. My friend said that no one ever showed her how to use a thimble when she was starting out, so she had just never picked one up.

What I Learned before Turning 30: Investing in Others

young women talking over coffee

I turned 30 this month. When I turned 29, I searched for one of those “30 Things to Do before Turning 30” lists. However, my search left me uninspired; therefore, I decided to write my own “30 Things I Learned before Turning 30” list. One of the main concepts that came from this was that of investing in other people. The following are a few excerpts from my list:

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