I was not raised in church, but as a young teenager, I began attending a Baptist church with a friend. It was the first time in my life I felt as if I really belonged. I quickly got involved in Sunday School, Training Union, youth choir, and Young Woman’s Auxiliary (YWA). I was loved and nourished by Christian leaders who were dedicated to God and His Word. I was saved at a summer youth camp the next summer.
In YWA, I learned about missions through the study of God’s Word and WMU® literature. I prayed for missionaries whose names were on the prayer calendar. I participated in mission action projects. I learned how to share my faith and actively witness to my family members and friends who were not Christians.
As I grew stronger in my Christian faith, I surrendered my life to full-time Christian service with the thought that if God called me to the mission field, I would gladly go. God led me to my future husband who had been called to full-time Christian ministry. He eventually graduated from seminary, and we settled into the church pastorate and began our family.
Throughout my young adult life, I was happy to be involved in WMU, whether it was leading a group of Acteens® or Baptist Young Women or simply being a member of a Baptist Women’s group. Through WMU, God spoke to my heart, and the result was a personal call to missions. In fact, it was one particular lesson I was teaching from Contempo magazine titled “Is God Calling You?” that began the process. As I directed that question to the young women in my group, I was convicted to ask it of myself, “Is God calling me?” and the only logical answer I could come up with was “Yes!”
As a young mother and minister’s wife, I surrendered with my husband to that call on our lives, and we served for 10 years overseas with the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board). I took with me to the mission field my rich education and experience in WMU organizations, and I was a better-equipped missionary as a result. The prayer calendar became very personal to us, as our names were now listed in the WMU literature on our birthdays, and I can honestly say we felt the impact of those prayers from our sisters and brothers in Christ back home.
Now my husband serves as a state missionary and I am back to being an ordinary church member in the United States. But I have gladly continued to be involved in WMU organizations throughout the ensuing years. Being a part of WMU is like finding a comfort zone—it just feels like “home.”
WMU’s history is remarkable, its reach is expansive, and its impact is eternal. May God continue to bless WMU!
Karen Quimby is a member of First Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama.