Women on Mission

Catch the Vision

Have you ever tried reading your Bible with a magnifying glass? It’s challenging. Your field of vision is limited to that little round circle of glass. I’ve done that when I absent-mindedly misplaced my reading glasses.

Instead of being absent-minded, my goal is to be intentionally present in things I do. What does that mean? It means I have a plan, a purpose, and a goal. I’m not just present physically, but I’m alert and paying attention to everything around me.           

Are you getting ready for a mission trip or a mission action project? The goal of any missions activity is sharing God’s word and, hopefully, leading people to faith in Christ. To reach that goal, we must be aware of the people around us, and be ready when they ask spiritual questions.

Let’s not limit our vision by being absent-minded. Let’s be intentionally present so we can see the big picture. When we look at what’s happening from God’s perspective, we won’t miss any opportunity to share God’s love.

Missionary Spotlight Update: Antonio and LaRonda Anderson

God has been good to Antonio Anderson and his church, providing a new worship site in a more convenient location and people to serve alongside them. His core team is very helpful in serving at Hope Church Philly. David Pearson, the regional leader for the Philadelphia region’s church planting catalysts, has been instrumental in helping the church craft its ministry vision and how that would look and work in its community.

The congregation is becoming more community focused—going on prayerwalks, handing out water, and speaking to people about the church. “God has been speaking to me about having a community day, a town hall meeting, for the people to express their community desires and how Hope Church Philly can help,” Anderson shared.

God has also been good to Anderson’s family. They just returned from a vacation in Canada. Anderson said he is enjoying having weekly family devotions and watching his 2 daughters grow and mature in ministry. One day, the children’s church teacher got sick on her way to children’s church and Anderson’s oldest daughter asked if she could teach the lesson, stirring his heart.

A Ministry in Transition

The summer of 2016 brought a big transition to the life and ministry of International Mission Board missionaries James and Angela Roberts and their 3 children. They moved from northern Poland, where they spent more than 5 years, to London, England, where they will work to connect with American churches, international business professionals, and university students interested in doing missions work.

Angela Roberts said her primary responsibility at this life stage is to be a mother to her daughters who range in age from 9 years old to 25 years old. Her children are able to connect her to people she might not otherwise meet, and they open the door to having spiritual conversations with other moms.

Cross Generational Missions & Ministry: Take Sophomores to Seniors

Nursing homes and senior living centers are the last stop for many before entering eternity. We don’t always think of a nursing home as a target for evangelism, but perhaps it should bubble up to the top of our urgency list for sharing the gospel. Our presence there could ripple out to also impact family members of residents, visitors, and staff members. A nursing home is a fabulous place for doing missions!

Scripture calls us, as older men and women, to mentor and disciple the next generation. While we may feel a call to do it, we are often confounded in exactly how to make it happen. Millennials (those born after 1980) value authenticity and embrace hands-on service. What better way to mentor and disciple the next generation than to serve alongside them? Pulling in high school students to partner with us will not only bring youthful enthusiasm to a geriatric community but also provide opportunities to train the next generation for kingdom work. Here is a plan for making it happen:

Church Planting in Arizona

Debbie and Mike Bishop are experienced at listening and responding to the call of God as He has moved them many times throughout their 40-year marriage. Debbie Bishop is originally from Alabama and Mike Bishop from Illinois, but they have lived in Southern California, Canada, Texas, and Arizona.

God moved them to Florence, Arizona, in 2010 to plant Harvest Church at Anthem, where Mike Bishop is the lead pastor. “The people we minister to in our community, comprised of families and retired people, come from various religious backgrounds and places in the country. We have people in the community that are unchurched, and we live in an area where there is a large Mormon population,” Debbie Bishop said.

Her main responsibility as a church planter’s wife is to encourage her husband. Beyond that, she serves as children’s ministry director and leads a women’s Bible study in her home.

Valued

On a daily basis I deal with individuals who have committed some type of crime. It could be speeding, a DUI, drug possession, or an alleged murder. I work in a county jail as an administrative assistant. People come from all walks of life, different races and from around the world. Then I interact with their families and friends. For a person who is an introvert, I’ve been moved out of my comfort zone.

For years I’ve struggled with my worth as a person, my value to others, and why was I created. Then came the day when I finally understood the depth of God’s love for me and how He sent His only begotten Son to pay the price for my sin (John 3:16). Psalm 139:14 (NIV) states we are all "fearfully and wonderfully made” and the book of Colossians tells me who I am in Christ.

Studying and knowing God’s Word shows me every person is valued by God. Christ died for everyone, and only He can forgive and transform hearts. So as I interact with others, I am more aware of the need everyone has to be valued. It is my responsibility to show them Christ!

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.

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