:: 01/21/2015 - 8:29am ::

Girls loaded into van. All doors securely closed. Arriving at the nursing home and raring to go, we girls piled out of the van, hymnals in hand. Walking inside, we met 2 precious women at the dining table. “May we sing for you?”

One eagerly smiled. The other voiced, “I have a headache. No.”

Room after room, we were refused. In frustration and a tad bit of humiliation, we nabbed the only male technician in sight. Though he didn’t seem impressed by our vocal skills, he reluctantly sang alongside us through restrained laughter.

What to do? Give it one more try.

One more try led us to Lilly and Gene. We sang together. Their eyes glowed with the Holy Spirit. They begged for more.

When it was time to leave, Lilly pulled our leader aside to say because of her husband’s declining health, certainly this was the last time she would share worship with him this side of heaven. “Thank you. I felt so loved,” she shared. “This was no mere accident. You were here by God’s appointment.”

Shelli Littleton lives in Royse City, Texas, and blogs at ShelliLittleton.blogspot.com.

:: 01/19/2015 - 9:34am ::

That’s what some might say about Dr. Wana Ann Fort, but that’s not God’s description of her. His timing for her was precisely correct. Although she encountered many challenges as a medical missionary in Africa, when asked if she would do it all again, her answer is “a thousand times yes.” That’s also the title of her memoir, written with Kim P. Davis, also a former missionary to Africa.

One of only 3 female graduates of Baylor College of Medicine in 1949, Wana Ann sensed God’s call to Africa, as did her husband, to whom she was married for more than 66 years. Challenges and sacrifices were numerous as the couple raised 5 boys and served nearly 36 years in the most primitive conditions.

Now retired, and widowed since 2013, Wana Ann lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Inspired. Convicted. Challenged. These are all emotions you’ll experience by reading Wana Ann’s splendid account of her family’s service. Don’t miss this blessing!

Sammie Jo Barstow lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and loved reading Wana Ann’s memoir.

:: 01/14/2015 - 8:25am ::

Not getting back into the swing of things after Christmas is mind-boggling. For those of us who are active or have active children involved in functions, we seemingly have no choice.

But we can choose our attitude.

Here are some suggestions for motivating yourself with a joyful heart:

  • Remember to fear God—be respectfully obedient to Him (Deut. 6:2).
  • Remember friends—accountability groups keep us going. Pray for cherished friends as the New Year begins.
  • Remember holidays/birthdays—identify upcoming reasons to celebrate and begin preparations. Utilize those spiritual gifts.
  • Remember blessings—thank God for His past faithfulness.
  • Remember Jesus—don’t let the season’s busyness shift your thoughts from Christ and your call to serve Him. Participate in the Lord’s Supper at church or home.

Then “do this in remembrance of me” (1 Cor. 11:24–25).

Shelli Littleton lives in Royse City, Texas, and blogs at ShelliLittleton.blogspot.com.

:: 01/12/2015 - 8:31am ::

We would object to that frivolous description, but recently I was challenged to think how hobbies could be used missionally, and I realized that I do that with my favorite hobby. 

I love good books and love to share books. Fortunately my hometown offers a treasure trove of used books (many look new) for a great price. Our Friends of the Library bookstore has a huge selection; paperbacks sell for $1 and hardbacks for $2.

Happy is the day when I look through the Christian inspiration section or the Christian fiction section and find one of my favorites. (I have to admit this happens every time I shop there!) I take these books home, put them on a designated closet shelf, and eagerly anticipate learning who God has waiting for each specific book.

Which hobby can you use for a mission project?

Sammie Jo Barstow lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and has several hobbies she uses for missions.

:: 01/07/2015 - 8:24am ::

“Maybe we shouldn’t memorize so much lengthy Scripture this year,” I reluctantly suggested at the leader meeting.

I had great reasoning. With my daughter having survived cancer—having endured much as a tiny tot—her learning skills have never seemed to equal that of other children her age. In the past, I had to help her memorize. With my schedule, it seemed a daunting task.

“Who wants to memorize Scripture?” asked the leader at our first group meeting. Every child raised an excited heart and hand. My heart sank. Here we go again, I thought.

I remained quiet.

I prayed.

God came right through. Watching my daughter team with others to memorize those lengthy passages was exhilarating. In a room full of parents and ministers, she nailed each passage—without my help.

Shelli Littleton lives in Royse City, Texas, and blogs at ShelliLittleton.blogspot.com.

:: 01/05/2015 - 2:23pm ::

The last gift has been unwrapped. The feast has been consumed, maybe even the leftovers. The guests have left. There’s a certain sense of comfortable solitude after the holiday rush. It’s good to enjoy the respite.

But as the year draws to an end, there’s also the expectation that comes with putting away the decorations and preparing for a new year. A new beginning. A blank slate. How will you close out the old and prepare for the new?

Consider starting the new year with a new devotional book. Perhaps you have your favorites, but a quick trip to the bookstore will reveal a wide variety of daily devotional readings. You can choose one for your particular age and life stage, a certain activity or interest, or even a particular study.

Linger over the words of the first devotion and think about how to apply them to your life. Perhaps you’ll want to copy the Scripture on a small card and put it where you’ll see it several times during the day.

Don’t be afraid to write in your new book. Jot down your thoughts as the Holy Spirit whispers in your soul. As you end your devotional time with prayer, list the prayer concerns for the day. As the year progresses, you may want to refer back to those notes to see how God has answered.

Blessings for you as you begin the new year!

Sammie Jo Barstow lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and is getting back into the swing of things after Christmas.

:: 12/24/2014 - 10:29am ::

My favorite Christmas memory includes sleeping in a bunk bed, eating burritos, taking cold showers, and being afraid to drink water. I was in Juarez, Mexico, handing out Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes to street kids and orphans. That’s the Christmas that I felt as if I understood Christmas.

It’s the Christmas that I knew I was celebrating Christ, not using His name in order to have a day off with my family and get a lot of stuff I didn’t need.

Seeing the faces of children as they received their small box of gifts and watching them raise their hands in response to the gospel presentation, I got past my idea of Christmas and started experiencing Jesus’ desire for His birthday. Not everyone has the chance to deliver shoe boxes in another country at Christmas, but there are opportunities to celebrate Jesus all around us.

This season, pray for a deeper understanding of Christmas. Burritos and bunk beds, anyone?         

When not on the yearly Christmas mission trip, Deb Douglas serves in Bossier City, Louisiana.

:: 12/22/2014 - 10:42am ::

Allow me to introduce you to some of my favorite gals. They are no ordinary bunch of women. In fact, these women put the “extra” in extraordinary. They are intentional, tested, committed, and true. Most of them work all day and are willing to serve all night. They’re beautiful reflections of what it means to deny self and take up one’s cross.

Notably known as the “Sloppy Joe” Girls, they generously feed English as a second language groups at First Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Georgia. They also permeate the church walls by taking Jesus into their community by running races to combat human trafficking.

Head north on an autumn evening, and you’ll find them in Atlanta sorting shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse. On Saturdays, they enjoy fellowship as they serve in the clothes closet at our pregnancy resource center.

These are the praying, sowing, Jesus-sharing women of the Coleman Women on Mission® Group. Graciously they negotiate life’s detours with faith, hope, and love. Prayer and service consume their monthly meetings, and their mission field is wherever God chooses to place them.

Merry Christmas, ladies! What a joy to call you friends. May you keep on serving and sharing Jesus for years to come!

Through the example of the Coleman Group, Joanie Ballard is inspired to serve intentionally.

:: 12/17/2014 - 8:23am ::

The big reveal comes and what was formerly unsightly, inefficient, and all-around horrible is now gorgeous, marvelously functional, and all-around wonderful. That is how it works on the makeover reality shows.

Whether it is a house or a person, what was unwanted becomes something everyone desires. It is the same when we do a mission trip makeover.

A mission trip makeover happens when we discover what we thought of as a mission trip is not the reality. We think of mission trips, especially international ones, as being for other people, too expensive, and only for the spiritually mature. Consider these points:

  • Our world is getting smaller; travel is easier.
  • The price of a mission trip is small compared to the value of life.
  • Mission trips are for people who are growing in their faith.
  • With a Bible app, anyone can share anywhere (check out apps that share the gospel in any language!).

One mission trip will makeover how you think so step out in faith and go! A makeover may be just what you need!

One trip changed Deb Douglas’s life! Now she leads trips for women for First Baptist Church, Bossier City, Louisiana.

:: 12/15/2014 - 9:11am ::

Quietly I enter the room. Before my eyes rests a sea of girls’ dresses humbly displayed wall to wall. A pure and unedited outpouring of God’s omnificent love is deeply woven throughout every stitch. My heart is overwhelmed.

A group of missional women at New Hope Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Georgia, is sharing Jesus’ heart 1 stitch at a time. These women recognize the importance of a missional lifestyle as they surrender, sacrifice, and serve. While some may not be able to physically travel abroad, each woman embraces this occasion to apply her gifts in meeting an international need.

What began as a single request for 150 dresses to be taken on mission to West Africa has resulted in nearly 400 dresses completed in 6 short months. The dresses, intricately sewn and uniquely designed, will bless girls as far away as Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Haiti, and Thailand.

Making a commitment to international missions transforms the human heart. Among every thread and embellishment, God is revealing His heart through the hands of these missional women. For them, the mission is clear. God calls us to “go and make disciples,” (Matt. 28:16–20) and that calling makes these women “SEW” blessed!

Joanie Ballard is a Southern girl with a Jesus heart for international missions.

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Preschool Poll

What new thing do you plan to do in missions this year?

Lead a missions small group
92% (511 votes)
Participate in a missions small group
1% (6 votes)
Go on a missions trip
2% (11 votes)
Get involved in my church's missions efforts in the community
5% (26 votes)
Total votes: 554
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