BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — From Alaska and Hawaii to Maine and Florida, Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) board members and state leaders from across the U.S. gathered at national WMU in Birmingham for their biannual board meeting, Jan. 11–13.
More than 200 were in attendance, including representatives from the International Mission Board (IMB) and North American Mission Board (NAMB) to share inspiring stories and hear updates of God at work around the world.
Gordon Fort, senior ambassador for the IMB president, thanked WMU for their support and partnership for the cause of missions before introducing his daughter, Lizzy, who served as a journeyman in Central Asia.
Lizzy shared the story of meeting Mary who told her she had dreamed about Jesus. The two became friends and began studying the book of Luke in Kurdish. However, Lizzy said Mary began to worry she would be persecuted if she accepted Christ and decided it was too risky, so she quit coming.
“I prayed for her,” Lizzy said, “and Mary came back one day and said she felt so lost. We began studying the Bible again. When we read Romans 10:9 about confessing with your mouth that you believe in Jesus, she prayed to receive Christ…. The lost need to be found.”
Andrew Kelley, who serves with his family through IMB, shared about their efforts among Rohingya refugees in South Asia. NAMB church planters JD and Andreina Fasolino shared about their Hispanic church plant in Toronto.
NAMB president Kevin Ezell thanked WMU for their partnership in helping raise a record $61.4 million in 2019 through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions and shared updates related to NAMB’s Send Relief ministry centers and outreach efforts.
Ministry highlights in 2019
WMU President Linda Cooper said 2019 was a banner year for international missions efforts in WMU.
“We are a national company with a global reach,” Cooper said. “Through Pure Water, Pure Love, we provide all IMB missionaries with water filters and funded water projects in 12 different countries including Cuba, India and Liberia — providing clean drinking water for people in need and the opportunity to experience the Living Water.
“More than 1,800 impoverished artisans in 22 countries earned a sustainable wage and find real hope through WorldCrafts,” Cooper continued. “In addition to nearly 200 Christian Women’s and Men’s Job Corps sites in the United States, there are Christian Women’s Job Corps sites in Mexico, West Africa, South Africa and soon to be Thailand with IMB personnel.”
Shifting to WMU’s online leadership development opportunities, Cooper said, “Women from around the world — including Afghanistan, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Ukraine — take WMU’s Christian Women’s Leadership Center classes, and a second international student just finished all nine courses representing 150 hours of coursework.”
Sandy Wisdom-Martin, executive director of national WMU, said, “In 2019, WMU’s ministries touched countries from A-Z — from Afghanistan to Zambia — 39 different countries! When you include ministry partners here at 100 Missionary Ridge [the address of WMU’s building], the number of countries touched moves from 39 to 65. And then factor in what each of you are doing in your states — it’s astonishing. The breadth and scope of global Kingdom impact is stunning and beautiful and humbling.”
Cooper and Wisdom-Martin continued to recap some the year’s highlights, including:
— Milestones marking decades of changed lives: Mexico WMU and Nigeria WMU both celebrated 100 years. Taiwan WMU celebrated 60 years, and Brazil celebrated 70 years of Royal Ambassadors.
— Following an 18-month collaborative process that included three national WMU staff members traveling to South Korea, WMU signed an historic agreement with Korean nationals on the campus of IMB’s International Learning Center. Koreans will have the rights to WMU’s chronological Bible storying resource, Tell the Story: Bible Storying for Kids, to sell in Korea. In exchange, Korea Baptists will translate Tell the Story into Korean and gift the translation to WMU.
— After leading Korean WMU for 30 years, Angela Kim passed the mantle of leadership to Joy Lee.
— WorldCrafts welcomed four new U.S.-based artisan groups: Refugee Sewing Society in Clarkston, Ga.; Baptist Friendship House in New Orleans; Christian Women’s Job Corps of Monroe, La.; and Christian Women’s Job Corps of Madison County, Ala.
Click here to read more.
Source: Baptist Press