Women on Mission

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.

Missionary Spotlight Update: Nathan and Andi Knight

Restoration Church continues to reach a global population in the nation’s capital. One such example is a young Chinese girl who began attending the church more than a year ago. She could be found at many of the fellowship gatherings but continued to only “consider Jesus.” Recently, after a sermon addressing the meaning and importance of the Lord’s Supper, she came to copastor Nathan Knight and, in broken English, said, “I have decided to follow Jesus. What must I do now?” The church celebrated her conversion as she was baptized. This young girl gave an incredibly God-glorifying, Christ-exalting testimony in front of many people. Today she continues to be mentored and discipled by another girl from China in the church.

“Broken” Revisited

I don’t like the word “broken.” Broken is not a word that brings forth positive visual imagery to my pondering mind. It’s a sad word, a despairing word. Consider some of the connotations for broken:

  • broken hearts
  • broken bones
  • broken homes
  • broken relationships
  • broken people
  • broken dreams

Even broken things can produce frowns. I still remember the day my toddler made a mad dash through our home and knocked over a stone pitcher. It was one of the few heirlooms from my mom who died when I was only 13. Thankfully I quickly acknowledged that my son’s heart was of greater value than even this crock—but the loss associated with this now broken (but repaired) object still resonates.

In light of the negative associations, we wonder, can anything good come from “broken”? Oh, yes.

Benefits of Brokenness

A broken heart invites the notice and attendance of God into our need:

Loving Different People

Cissy McNickle; her husband, “Buff;” and their 3 children moved to Atlantic City, New Jersey, almost 3 years ago to plant a church. They believed God had equipped them, but it was still a scary move.

In the Northeast, only 5.9% of the population is affiliated with an evangelical church. Cissy had to learn to love people different from her genuinely. That includes girls working in strip clubs.

Cissy oversees a ministry to these girls called Love’s Way Out AC. The ministry is affiliated with Grace Falls Church, which Cissy and Buff planted.

“I love the ministry of church planting God has called my family to, and I will continue to allow God to use my circumstances to conform me more and more into the likeness of Jesus,” Cissy said.

She has witnessed the power of prayer in their ministry and requested prayer for the protection of her marriage and children as well as for boldness to do the work God has called her family to do.

LaNita Mitchell writes and serves from Princeton, Kentucky. She has a master’s degree in Christian ministry.

Perseverance: What Can We Do When Someone Else Loses Hope?

There’s so much in God’s Word about perseverance. But what do we do when another believer is worn out . . . has lost hope . . . or is physically drained? This is when we come alongside one another and build each other up. This is when our own faith and what we’ve been through ministers to another soul.

Proverbs 27:7 says we are like iron, sharpening one another.

One Thessalonians 5:14 tells us to “encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone” (NIV).

One of the most beautiful pictures of spiritual assistance is in Exodus 17. Moses lifts the staff of God upward during the battle between Israel and the Amalakites. When his arm is lifted, Israel is winning. Then Moses’ body becomes tired, his arm lowers, and Israel starts losing. Along comes Aaron and Hur to stand alongside Moses, helping support him to stay upright. The nation of Israel is victorious in the battle.

Who do you know that could use some prayer and spiritual support?

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