Women on Mission

Weaving and Working

Years ago, at the end of the church service on the first Sunday of a new year, I stood before my church mumbling something about sensing God’s calling on my life to minister to women. I had no clue what that meant or looked like. I just knew I was to surrender my life to Him and His purposes!

I started my journey with intense Bible study. I had to know Him, who I am in Him, and I learned I had a responsibility to make Him known. Over time came invitations to speak, developing a ministry which led to serving on the state WMU visionary team (I had no background with WMU), and opportunities to write. God was weaving and working in my life, moving me out of my comfort zone, challenging me, and opening my eyes to live more intentionally on mission. Ministering to women as I go.

Jesus knew who He was, God’s Son, with a mission, providing redemption to all who would repent and believe in Him. Are you sharing this Good News? Are you allowing Him to weave and work through your life for His purposes? Where are you on mission?

Time to Fish

When I was a little girl I looked forward to traveling with my Dad to Minnesota. We spent a week focused on catching bass, walleye, and northern pike; he was a great teacher. “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” This is not a Bible verse, but a principle as a way to alleviate poverty by promoting self-sufficiency.

Jesus said, “For you will always have the poor with you” (Matthew 26:11a ESV). It is an issue which will never be eradicated. So how do you and I apply a biblical response to such a vast need in our world? Study the Word, pray, and read books about poverty written from a biblical perspective with economic principles.

“Follow me and I will make you fishers of men,” Jesus told his disciples. As we meet people who are living in poverty we begin with providing the food, building relationships, and teaching them how to fish. Remember: someone has to grow the worms!

Hungry Versus Hunger

“I’m hungry,” remarks my grown son. He opens the refrigerator door, studies the contents, and then declares, “There’s nothing in here to eat!” and walks away. Vegetables, milk, eggs, and a casserole sit on the shelves.

Contrast this scenario with refugees living with no food in war torn Syria or elsewhere. This is the reality of the hunger crisis plaguing our world on a daily basis. What can you and I do? 

Start by praying. Pray for those in this situation. Pray for creative ways to make your church aware of Global Hunger Relief and Global Hunger Sunday on October 9, 2016. In the past our church sold tickets for a secret meal. Imagine the surprise of the attendees when they received only a bowl of rice.

Missionary Spotlight Update: Mark and Claire McIntosh*

After more than 15 years as missionaries, Mark and Claire McIntosh have successfully adjusted to most language, cultural, and daily challenges. They acknowledge, however, how frustrated they grow when they stumble over “the same things we have already stumbled over.” Most of that stumbling may relate to spiritual difficulties.

One less spiritual problem many of us can readily identify with: Claire McIntosh’s hatred of rats. Although she probably shared that tidbit of information with tongue in cheek, it serves as a valid reminder. How often do we pray for the “minor” daily frustrations we face? Missionaries receive no pass from them. If anything, they intensify because of the distance from much of their support system.

Training Other Missionaries to Serve in the Americas

As the field medical coordinator for all missionary personnel serving in the Americas, Jennifier Barger helps those entering the missions field in a medical capacity understand their role as they prepare to minister to people in the Americas.

A former nurse practitioner, Barger is familiar with the maladies that plague the human body. An International Mission Board missionary for nearly 2 decades, she also understands the spiritual needs of sin-sick people. Not so coincidentally, it was a series of medical issues her family experienced several years ago that most recently reminded her of her identity in Christ.

Within 2 years, Barger and her daughter both underwent surgery. Her husband, Don, suffered a mysterious illness that sent the family back to the United States for treatment. Then, in one particularly harrowing experience, her eldest child endured respiratory distress while in the middle of the jungle. There was no way to get medical treatment until the next morning. These experiences might drive some away from their beliefs, but they drove Barger further into the arms of her Savior.

Giving Hope to Survivors of Disasters

It’s been more than a decade since Henrietta Gentry first took up the plow—or in her case, a chain saw—in the missions field with Texas Baptist Men’s (TBM) disaster relief ministry. She has served the survivors of disasters—Hurricane Ike, Hurricane Rita, and a volcano eruption in Hawaii—in the hopes that those in the most desperate situations would realize God’s plan for their lives.

“We want to be able to help and give hope,” Gentry said.

She currently serves as the chaplain coordinator for TBM’s disaster relief ministry, equipping men and women to serve a missions field ripe with those seeking hope. It’s a physically demanding job, Gentry said, but one that carries the added joy of pointing others to Jesus.

“It’s giving a cup of cool water in Jesus’ name,” she said, referencing Mark 9:41. “We minister to the physical needs first. Then, once they are comfortable, the chaplain can talk about spiritual matters with them.”

Choose Ministry That Matches Your Skillset

Placing square pegs in round holes is a mistake in every scenario—including missions! A major pitfall in missions is attempting to accomplish what we’re not gifted to do, simply out of obligation or because we see others doing it. Maybe we keep doing what we’ve always done in missions even if we’re not being successful because we haven’t opened our minds to new possibilities. Missions comes in all shapes and sizes, and an important key to success is to operate from our strengths and giftedness.

Think about the strengths, spiritual gifts, interests, and talents of your missions group. What have you done well in the past? What gets your group excited? What are the vocational strengths and experiences of each group member? How have you seen God at work through the spiritual gifts of each person? Is there a special gift or talent within your group that makes the group unique?

Finding Refreshment in Prayer

In Luke 5:15–17, we see Jesus’ source of strength sandwiched between His ministry: “Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick.” (Bold added.)

Jesus was busy about ministry. He was healing and teaching large crowds all the time. So how did He refuel? Where did His strength come from? He regularly stepped away from the demands on Him to pray, to talk with and listen to His Father.

When we are busy with our lives—work, family, friends, church, ministry—and we find ourselves exhausted from all we have to do, let’s follow Jesus’ example. Find regular time for Bible reading and prayer, spending time with God, and allowing Him to refresh you.

Whatever It Takes to Spread the Gospel

Some of you live in big cities, with the nations surrounding you on every street corner. But some of you are like me—you live in small towns and smaller cities, with neighbors who, for the most part, look, act, and think as you do. So how do we put the principles found in 1 Corinthians 9:19–23 into practice in our daily lives, doing whatever it takes to spread the gospel to all people?

I have learned to be the first to bend—the first to be flexible, the first to apologize, the first to compromise. No, that doesn’t mean I compromise on the gospel. Jesus was, is, and will always be the only way to God. His death, burial, and resurrection are the foundations of our faith, and the Word of God is true. Those things don’t change.

But when it comes to welcoming the drug addict and her rowdy children into our worship service, I need to put aside my reservations. When it comes to welcoming people of other races into our church, I need to put aside my prejudices. When it comes to helping the down and out, I need to put aside my judgments.

Reaching Others “by All Means”

We live in a world defined by boundaries. We talk of setting boundaries with people, with our jobs, and even with our churches. We want “space” and “me time.”

Quite simply, we think of ourselves a lot.

WMU’s emphasis theme for 2016–2018 encourages us to do something else—to think of reaching others with the gospel “by all means.”

In 1 Corinthians 9:22b, Paul tells us how he is willing to “become all things to all people so that by all possible means [he] might save some.” Rather than talking about the ways that he is excluding people, Paul encourages us by his example to include others, regardless of socioeconomic divisions.

Why is Paul willing to do this? “ I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings” (v. 23).

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