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WMU celebrates Defining Moments

Baptist Press photo by Van Payne

PHOENIX (BP) -- Around 250 Southern Baptists gathered for the opening session of WMU's 2017 Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting on June 11 in Phoenix.

"Every moment has a series of defining moments -- moments that shape us and change and make us the person we are today," Sandy Wisdom-Martin, newly-elected national WMU executive director said. She and Linda Cooper, national WMU president, opened the evening and shared personal and biblical "Defining Moments," in keeping with WMU's theme for the year. The focus for the opening night was "Redeemed."

Throughout the evening, various others shared with attendees moments that defined them, ranging from childhood calls to salvation to adulthood calls to live a missions oriented life.

"A defining moment in our lives was when we discovered, even though where we lived was good, and life was great, we had a holy discontent inside of us. We could not sleep peacefully at night knowing that there was something more that God had for us," said Brandi Parrish, a NAMB church planter in Colorado, originally from Texas. Brandi and her husband Kelly were the highlighted missionaries for the Sunday evening session.

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Heart for orphans stirs panel conversation

Baptist Press photo by Van Payne

PHOENIX (BP) -- Four Southern Baptist national entity leaders shared their insights on adoption and foster care during a panel discussion June 13 at the Southern Baptist Convention Cooperative Program booth at the Phoenix Convention Center.

Chad Keck, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Kettering, Ohio, and the Cooperative Program catalyst for the Midwest with the SBC Executive Committee, moderated the 20-minute discussion featuring North American Mission Board president Kevin Ezell, Woman's Missionary Union executive director and treasurer Sandy Wisdom-Martin, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission president Russell Moore and International Mission Board president David Platt.

After opening the discussion by asking the panelists to share about their personal involvement with adoption and foster care, Keck asked the group what Southern Baptists can do to better engage on this issue.

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WorldCrafts partners with Mully movie ministry movement

(Birmingham, Ala.) – June 21, 2017 – WorldCrafts, the fair-trade division of WMU, is partnering with Mully Children’s Family (MCF) to help share the story of Dr. Charles Mully and expand WorldCrafts impact among impoverished artisan groups around the world.

MCF, a nonprofit organization in Kenya that seeks to transform the lives of street children and youth living in poverty, was founded by Mully.

Mully was the first born in a family of eight, living in poverty in Kenya. At age 6, he was abandoned by his parents as they left in search of a better living. He grew up begging on the streets and became a Christian as a teenager.

When Mully was 17, he walked more than 40 miles to Nairobi to seek employment. He found work and met his future wife, Esther. He became a wealthy entrepreneur and respected community leader, and he and Esther had eight biological children.

WMU celebrates 20 years of Christian Women's Job Corps

Baptist Press photo by Van Payne

PHOENIX (BP) -- Linda Cooper, president of national WMU, and Sandy Wisdom-Martin, WMU's executive director, highlighted 20 years of ministry through Christian Women's Job Corps (CWJC) during their report to the Southern Baptist Convention.

"Twenty years ago, WMU began a dream that has grown into a nationally recognized program for helping women in poverty become equipped for life and employment in a Christian context," Cooper said June 14 in Phoenix.

"[CWJC] is about courageous women fighting for their families and their futures," Cooper said. "It is about godly people sacrificing themselves to make a difference in someone's life."

Since Christian Women's Job Corps started in 1997, 40,000 women have been touched through the program in nearly 200 sites and, collectively, 160,000 volunteers have served 200,000,000 hours in the ministry, Cooper reported.

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Moments of restoration recalled at WMU annual meeting

Baptist Press photo by Van Payne

PHOENIX (BP) -- "Defining Moments," those dramatic, life-changing experiences that make an eternal difference in the hearts and minds of the Christian believer, were recounted and celebrated during the Monday sessions of the WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting, held June 11-12 at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel.

The 325 registered participants of the two-day meeting explored defining moments in the Bible and in the lives of missionaries, national WMU leaders, Acteens panelists and other SBC leaders.

The Monday sessions paralleled the Sunday opening theme examining "Defining Moments ... Restored" and "Defining Moments ... Released."

"Often we make a mess of our lives and wonder if it can ever be fixed," said Linda Cooper, WMU national president. "When Christ shows up, He restores us and give us new purposes."

In the annual President's Address, Cooper, a member of Forest Park Baptist Church in Bowling Green, Ky., shared the first of many defining moments in her life when as a 12-year-old in a revival service in a small country church she accepted Jesus as Savior.

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WMU explores ‘defining moments’ and missions involvement at Missions Celebration

(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) – April 11, 2017 – Be encouraged to identify those defining moments that affect and inspire your missional journey during the WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting, June 11–12, in Phoenix.

Defining Moments will be a consistent theme of featured missionary speakers, including Kelly and Brandi Parrish, church planters serving with NAMB in Denver; Jacob and Jessica Dahl, church planters serving with NAMB in Washington; and Ross and Dena Frierson, IMB. Focused times of prayer will be led by Carlos Ferrer, executive vice president and chief financial officer NAMB; Edgar Aponte, vice president of mobilization for the International Mission Board; and Ken Weathersby, vice president for convention advancement for the SBC Executive Committee.

Spartanburg Missionsfest Volunteers Serve in Creative Ways

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Music fills the air as participants sing and motion along with the lyrics. Later they gather together to listen to a Bible story and then construct a related craft. This may sound like a typical Vacation Bible School for the children in your church, but for the volunteers at Missionsfest in Spartanburg, S.C., this VBS was for a more mature audience: residents of a local nursing home.

Missionsfest, held July 16–20, allowed 85 volunteers age 18 and older to gather from 12 states to spread the gospel throughout Spartanburg through construction, outreach projects, evangelism, acts of kindness, prayerwalking and much more.

Throughout the week, volunteers found unique ways to approach the community for Christ. Residents of White Oak Manor, a 192-bed nursing home, experienced a VBS, complete with decorations, crafts, music, memory verses, and Bible stories.

“It was such a hit!” exclaimed Sandra Tapp, associate executive director of South Carolina WMU and trip co-coordinator. “It also proved to be life-changing for one resident of the facility.”

During the week, two volunteers led a resident to a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Familyfest displays Christ’s love in Colorado community

Members of Moundville Baptist Church, Moundville, Ala., came to Familyfest to serve the needs of the people in Aurora together as the body of Christ.

AURORA, Colo. -- For 10 years, Owen and Ruth Ann Smith prayed a special prayer for the people of Colorado. After serving 14 years on short-term missions trips in various locations across the country, the couple longed for their state to experience a nationwide missions event as well. This year, that prayer was answered, as the Smiths served at Familyfest in their home city of Aurora, Colo., from June 25–29, marking their 25th missions trip with national Woman’s Missionary Union.

The Smiths served alongside 110 other volunteers, 50 of whom were children. The volunteers represented nine states and served eight ministry sites in Aurora through construction projects, outreach events, evangelism, acts of kindness and prayerwalking.

Familyfest offered a real-world, hands-on opportunity for families, youth groups and friends ages 6 and up to bridge generational gaps and display the love of Christ together among those who don’t know Him.

Wisdom-Martin elected executive director of WMU, SBC

(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) -- Sandra Wisdom-Martin, executive director of WMU of Texas, was unanimously elected executive director/treasurer of Woman’s Missionary Union, SBC, by the WMU executive board during a special called meeting, July 29-30, in Birmingham, Ala.

Wisdom-Martin succeeds Wanda Lee, who has served as executive director of the 128-year-old missions organization for the past 16 years. Wisdom-Martin, who will begin her new role on Oct. 15, was presented to the board by a search committee appointed in February following Lee’s announcement of her intentions to retire.

Prior to leading WMU of Texas since 2010, Wisdom-Martin served as women’s missions and ministries director for the Illinois Baptist State Association, 2001-2010; and as Cooperative Program Missionary with the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, 1991-2001.

National WMU welcomes new ministry consultant for boys

(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) – Zachariah Seanor joined the staff of national WMU on July 18 as ministry consultant with responsibilities for the growth and development of missions education for boys through Royal Ambassadors (RA), WMU’s missions program for boys in grades 1–6, and Challengers, for boys in grades 7–12.

“We are delighted to welcome Zachariah to our staff,” said Carol Causey, director for WMU’s Missions Resource Center. “His personal knowledge from being raised in RAs, along with his training in education and missions, make him uniquely equipped for this position. We look forward with great anticipation to his contributions.”

For the past year, Seanor served as chaplain and interim dean of student life at Live Oak Classical School for grades 7–12 in Waco, Texas. From 2013–2015, he served as associate director of student recruitment for Truett Seminary at Baylor University in Waco; and minister of students at Taylor’s Valley Baptist Church in Temple, Texas, from 2012–2013.

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