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1000-plus Acteens Activators share Christ in WMU initiative


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)–More than 1,000 Acteens Activators and Acteens Activators Abroad will never forget Puerto Rica, Brazil, England, Australia, Charleston, S.C., the District of Columbia or the 24 other sites where they went to volunteer during this past summer.

Acteens Activators and Acteens Activators Abroad are favorites with teenaged girls involved in Acteens, the organization for girls in grades seven through 12 sponsored by Woman’s Missionary Union. The volunteer programs allow the teens to have hands-on experience in missions in the States and overseas.

Through WMU’s Volunteer Connection, Activator groups are matched with a North American or international missionary who needs the kind of ministry the Acteens group can provide. Each Activator team is connected with a local supervisor who gives the specific missions assignment and handles arrangements directly from the mission site.

During the past summer, 94 Acteens Activator teams, totaling 1,040 teens and leaders, from 21 states connected with missionaries to do migrant camps, hospitality missions, construction and home repair, Vacation Bible School, resort ministries or whatever was needed to help the missionaries. Tennessee and Alabama led the states in the total number of teams with 18 and 14, respectively.

One of the most concentrated efforts was in Charleston, S.C., where 170 Acteens served as volunteers for the National Acteens Activators Event 2000, in conjunction with Charleston Outreach, a ministry of Charleston Baptist Association. During the last week of June, Acteens contacted 2,337 people and witnessed 153 professions of faith.

Alabama WMU youth and missions ministry consultant Candice McIntosh attended the Charleston event with the Acteens Activators from First Baptist Church, Columbiana, Ala., along with their leader, Barbara Joiner.

“The Charleston workers were impressed with the girls’ ready-to-work attitude and their sense of knowing what God wanted them to do,” McIntosh reported.

McIntosh described the Columbiana Activators as shy and insecure as they began their week’s prayerwalk assignment, but as the week progressed, “I watched shy, rookie Acteens Activators grow into bold witnesses, compelled to share God’s love.”

On the prayerwalk, their witnessing tool was a box of Little Debbie snacks. The cakes were given to people they met along the way as an expression of God’s love. Joiner recalled the bold witness of her Acteens as she watched them hug a man dying with AIDS and saw them affirm a young girl’s faith as she stood in front of the crack house singing, “My God Is an Awesome God.”

“Many Alabama Acteens will tell you that of all the mission trips they participate in, Activators is the best because they do the planning and the work,” McIntosh said. “They are willing to put in the 50 hours of training because it’s worth it.”

Acteens Activators are required to have at least 50 hours of training before going to their mission field. The benefit is twofold: the missionaries can be confident that what they ask of the team will be done well, and the Acteens Activators leave the mission field confident in their abilities and have witnessed God at work through their efforts of personal evangelism and ministry.

Jack Little, director of Charleston Outreach, worked with more than 2000 volunteers this summer. He said he was especially pleased with Activators because of the diligence they showed in accomplishing their assigned tasks.

“I was particularly impressed in the spirit the team leaders had when we had to combine several groups at sites where larger groups of volunteers were needed,” he said. “There was always an attitude of ‘getting the job done in the name of Jesus.’ There was no individualism or selfish attitudes. There was always a spirit of cooperation and teamwork so Jesus would receive the glory.”

The success of the 2000 Acteens Activators national event has inspired a second event to be held June 24-30, 2001, in Charleston. This event is open to Acteens and Challengers, the mission education organization for teenaged boys sponsored by the North American Mission Board. For information about the event, log on to www.acteens.com.

Little is exited about the Acteens returning with the Challengers next summer. “It is going to be another exciting time to see God at work,” he said.

A favorite site every summer for Acteens Activator teams is Gatlinburg, Tenn., where they work with North American missionary Bill Black, director of Smokey Mountain Resort Ministries (SMRM).

Black said he depends on missions volunteers every summer. “With 8 million visitors a year, we can’t hope to reach the multitudes without help from missions volunteers such as Acteens Activators,” he said. “We particularly like Activators because they are focused, intentional and the best prepared.”

Black talked about his personal connection with the Activator team from Kansas/Nebraska. He spoke at the WMU state meeting last spring during which he participated in the training for the two-state Activator team. State Acteens consultant Mary Matthews, along with six girls and three leaders, traveled to Gatlinburg this past summer to work in the SMRM day camps.

“These girls were wonderfully prepared and had high energy, a great example of the best of missions volunteers,” Black said.

Acteens leaders also find the work with the teens rewarding.

Danielle Azar took Acteens from First Baptist Church in Alachua, Fla., to serve on the island of Dominica in the Caribbean this summer.

“The flexibility, love and unique leadership that each Activator models during our training together as a group and as leaders in a foreign land makes me proud and privileged to be part of such a wonderful group of young ladies,” Azar said.

For more information about Acteens Activators, contact Delane Tew at (205) 991-4097 or email volconnection@wmu.org. You may also contact your state WMU office.
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(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at www.bpnews.net. Photo title: CHARLESTON OUTREACH.

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  • Becky Nelson