Women on Mission Blog

Ministry, Russian Style

A simple man, long past middle age entered the room. Well-worn clothes and shoes that had traveled too many miles failed to dampen his spirit. He spoke of torture at the hands of the communist government. With a hint of a smile, he said churches now meet where his torture occurred—in the building where we sat. He captured our mission team’s attention and hearts.

We served with Brother Edward shortly after the Soviet Union’s fall. He arranged the first ever women’s prison visit. Through his passionate preaching, the women turned to Jesus, tears flowing. Our tears mingled with theirs.

Although Brother Edward’s wife neared death, their fervor for ministry continued. They knew their temporary suffering would soon lead to eternal comfort in the presence of their Savior. Until then, they continued to invite others to join them there.

They accomplished so much with so little. What are we doing with what we have?

Living a Missional Lifestyle by Refocusing

How can I refocus my life to have a missional lifestyle and take up my cross to follow Jesus daily?

Volunteering as a Missional Lifestyle

Let me begin by saying since I retired from my career in public relations and teaching public relations, I have coined the job title professional volunteer. A friend of mine calls me a schizophrenic missionary because I’m always going in so many different directions. For example, I love volunteering with WMU because it offers many opportunities to serve in various missions-related activities, from short-term missions trips to leading missions education at the local church. Additionally, I have a very missions-focused church. At our recent missions fair, we had more than 40 missions/ministry organizations participate because each had a personal connection to our church body. And yes, I wanted to be involved with every one of them.

But, alas, to be intentional about serving Christ with my best, I need to focus on the cross I am to carry daily. Or maybe just refocus. What missional lifestyle has Christ called me to live? Where can He use my gifts and talents best?

All Talk?

Often we concentrate on missions in foreign lands, losing focus of needs lurking close by. I was shocked to learn that an area of our city was the most food-deprived in our state. Although our thriving congregation contributed during holidays, we could do more.

Learn-Serve-Fun Days

Kindergarteners through sixth-graders at our church engage in unique missions during their SON Kids summer program. Three areas of activities are involved.

On Learn Day, the youngsters are taught basic skills of using hammers, rakes, garden tools, scissors, needles, and thread. These new abilities will be implemented in the next phase of SON Kids.

Don’t Go There!

“I shouldn’t have done it. I knew better. Once I got started, I couldn’t stop.”

My remorseful friend stood before me with head down. I reassured her that I understood. We all travel damaging paths sometime. But hers was a craving that could end her life, and she knew it. Determination was on her side though, as she resolved to “get it together.”

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.”

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.”

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!

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. 

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