Women on Mission

Rice for Christmas

Mrs. Susan captivated the VBS children with the huge Christmas package. But they were crestfallen when the contents were revealed. Rice, dried beans, flour?

Having made innumerable medical mission trips and also dispensing staple food items to families, Mrs. Susan explained that children in other countries are elated when they receive a bag of rice. Whereas, “unfortunately we all have so much that we are ungrateful.”

Surrender Reaps Eternal Results

In December 2000, Jeff and Barbara Singerman and their family were held at gunpoint in their Benin home; death seemed certain.

Instead the robbers left in the Singermans’ truck that was purchased with funds from the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

“On that very day, we were being featured in the Week of Prayer for International Missions,” Barbara Singerman said. “That incident generated greater boldness in our lives . . . and made us more willing to preach Christ to the death.”

She knows surrender to Jesus stretches a believer, fostering greater dependence upon Him.

After 24 years of sharing Jesus with and loving the people of Benin, God moved the Singermans to Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Leaving the Beninese “was one of the most painful experiences of our lives,” Barbara Singerman said. “But God calls us to obey, even when obedience is excruciatingly painful.”

Surrender Brings Blessings Multiplied

Surrendering to Jesus may require giving up something extremely important to do the unexpected.

Brenna Stull experienced that when she and her husband, Chris, felt God prompting them to relocate to plant Wellspring Church in Goodyear, Arizona.

Leaving McKinney, Texas, meant uprooting—in particular—one of their teenagers who had influence and promising opportunities at his high school.

“My thought was, ‘How could we do this to Derek—moving right before his senior year?’” Brenna Stull recalled.

The next day, she heard in a sermon that whatever a person is unwilling to lay down to obey Christ has become an idol.

“My heart was pierced,” she said. “I confessed . . . and surrendered myself to His will.”

The day before school started in August 2013, the couple and their 5 children arrived in the Litchfield Park/Goodyear area west of Phoenix. The Phoenix metropolitan area is home to nearly 5.4 million people. Only 12.6% affiliates with an evangelical congregation; 62% has no religious association.

God-Pleasing Sacrifice

“Sacrifice” is not a word frequently heard in our postmodern culture.

In a society that strives for more, bigger, and better, the idea of sacrificing anything is almost unthinkable. However, the concept of sacrifice may be widely misunderstood, even for Christians.

We recall the Old Testament stories of sacrifice involving the slaughter of animals for the redemption of sin. And we accept that Jesus became the Lamb slaughtered—sacrificed—for our personal sin so that we have been redeemed by His blood shed on the cross.

Under the New Covenant—in other words, after Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as a substitute for our sin offering—we are told to “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship” (Rom. 12:1). Our bodies—our entire lives—are to be living sacrifices instead of dead sacrifices. What we have to offer as worship is not a dead substitution but, instead, a life that is “holy and pleasing to God.”

Pack Your Shoe Box before Your Beach Bag

School is out and summer has officially arrived!

It’s the time for sleeping in, diving in, sun-scorched days at the ball field, and long trips in the family minivan. So gear up, and get ready to head out!

But wait! Before building that sand castle, what about building God’s kingdom? Rather than rushing to pack your beach bag, why not first pack a shoe box?

Each year, Samaritan’s Purse sponsors Operation Christmas Child, a project that collects gift-filled shoe boxes for children in need. Download a promotional video or create your own to share with your group or church.

Selflessness Continues!

The cards keep coming in. Expressions of love and sympathy flood the post, as selflessness continues to console and bless. The heartfelt sentiments, the verses of prayer —each message is another reminder of God’s never-ending faithfulness!

There, in the midst of the stacks, are sweet, comforting words from friends like Donna Kirby— each among numerous, other souls. Hands that have lovingly composed words of sympathy, and words arriving at just the right time.

Selfless acts of love. A first-class stamp representing the heart of God reaching outward to serve a grieving daughter and her family.

Thank you, friends, for reflecting our Father’s love. Thank you for pausing to sacrifice your time, and for taking up your cross and following Jesus.

Your selfless acts of love will never be forgotten.

 

Joanie Ballard will be forever grateful for her earthly father’s legacy of selfless living! 

 

 

 

 

In the Wings

As the world jockeys for position at center stage, Christ followers are answering the call to serve in the wings of life. Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34 NIV).

Selfless service requires self-denial, followed by missional action. My friend, retired IMB Missionary, Donna Kirby, displays this kind of lifestyle.

Serving in Hong Kong for over 35 years as a teacher and church planter, Donna’s passion for God and His people has followed her across continents and throughout communities.

Retirement is absent from Donna’s vocabulary, as she loves and leads in the English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) ministry at Fayetteville First. Selflessness exudes from this petite, 5 ft. frame as she engages in lessons and Bible studies.

Yes, the wings of life are brighter because Donna Kirby has answered God’s call!

Joanie Ballard is blessed by Christ-followers like Donna Kirby who inspire her to keep serving.

 

Wrap It Up!

Steeped in over 180 years of missional history, Fayetteville First Baptist exemplifies The Great Commission! With nearly 10 active groups in place, Women on Mission® remains vital in answering the call of Jesus to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19).

Members of the Primetime/Coleman Group are wrapping up another missional year by taking up their cross and celebrating a lifestyle of selflessness! Whether assembling Easter baskets and teacher appreciation gift bags, or providing meals for ESL classes and serving at the Midwest Food Bank—Georgia Division, these ladies are continuously on assignment, identifying needs and sharing the love of Christ with every encounter.

From classrooms and offices to neighborhoods and hospitals, members of the Primetime/Coleman Group beautifully personify the Christ-like qualities of surrender, sacrifice and service.

Joanie Ballard would especially like to thank this group for their selfless support during her Dad’s illness. 

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! 

Doing Less Brings Peace

Missionary, wife, and mother of 4 Heidi Sivonen is learning that doing less brings peace to her home.

“As a big family, we have learned as parents and as a couple that we need to prioritize life in such a way as to not be busy-bodies. Protecting the family from ‘busy-ness’ and learning to say no to the plethora of opportunities has helped us to create more peace in the home. Our ministry is full and we need to know our limits as we take up our cross and follow Jesus.”

Heidi and her husband, Mikko, serve as church planters in Finland. Mikko is the church-planting pastor of Espoon Kotikirkko and cofounder and coleader of Agricola Theological Institute, where he helps train local church members, elders, and pastors in church planting. Heidi helps a national crisis pregnancy group (her husband’s church houses 1 of 10 trained crisis pregnancy centers in Finland) and blogs at HousewifeUniversity.blogspot.com.

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