WMU Announces 2012 National Acteens Panelists


WMU selected six teens to serve as 2012 National Acteens Panelists based on their commitment to missions and participation and leadership in their Acteens group, church, school, and community.

The National Acteens Panelists are Jessica Francis of Abbotts Creek Missionary Baptist Church, High Point, N.C.; Sarah Gaby of Heritage Baptist Church, Grand Blanc, Mich.; Mary Virginia Harper of First Baptist Church, Prattville, Ala.; Alyssa Hargrove of First Baptist Church, Spring Hill, Tenn.; Sarah Harris of University Hills Baptist Church, Charlotte, N.C.; and Lacey Wheeler of Abbotts Creek Missionary Baptist Church, High Point, N.C.

Acteens is WMU’s missions organization for girls in grades 7–12. Through Acteens, girls grow in their relationship with God and each other as they learn about and participate in missions, develop leadership skills, and live a missional lifestyle. 

“Acteens has broadened my perspective of the world and increased my awareness of missions across the globe,” shared Harper. “It (Acteens) empowers girls to make a difference in their world for Christ, deepens their knowledge and relationship with God, and it gives them a safe haven where they can rely on the guidance and support of other strong Christians.”

Each of the six panelists has been involved in Acteens for many years and is committed to serving others and sharing Christ.

“Acteens has had a huge impact on how I view my responsibility of sharing the gospel, and I do see it as a responsibility,” said Gaby. “It is our responsibility as Christians to share the good news of Jesus Christ. It is my job to be a missionary wherever I am . . . in my family, my neighborhood, my school.”

Harris agrees. “Missions involvement has opened my eyes and helped me take the focus off of myself and to view the world through God’s eyes,” she said. “These experiences have helped me to personalize the Great Commission and feel that I can make a difference even though I may be just one person.”

The Acteens Panelists, who serve from Feb. 1 to Dec. 31, each receive $1,000 from the Jessica Powell Loftis Scholarship for Acteens from the WMU Foundation.

These National Panelists will be featured during the WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting in New Orleans, La., June 17–18, where they will also have opportunities to meet national and international missionaries and interact with missions leaders from across the country. They will also write articles for The Mag, the Acteens missions magazine, and for the Acteens Web site, wmu.com/students.

Churches, associations, and/or state Acteens and WMU groups may request the Acteens Panelists to speak to their group.

WMU also recognized additional Acteens as National Top Teens for their involvement in missions. The following have been selected for 2012: Kendra Bollinger of First Baptist Church Jackson, Burfordville, Mo.; Alysia Funderburg of St. Stephen’s Missionary Baptist Church, La Puente, Calif.; and Makayla Swygert of Bethel Baptist Church, Sumter, S.C.

Applications for the 2013 National Acteens Panel are due to national WMU by Dec. 1, 2012. The applications are available on the Acteens Web site at wmu.com/students and in the fall issue of Acteens Leader. For more information on Acteens, visit wmu.com/students.


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In his book Both Feet In, retired missionary Dr. Bud Fray references an old African proverb that says: “Only a fool tests the depth of the water with both feet.” It’s like testing the temperature of the pool water before you jump in; we stick our toe in first and if it’s too cold we have the option of pulling back. Once we jump in with both feet we are committed . . . and we better know how to swim!

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