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Koreans say ‘thank you’ to WMU’s mission support

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–Moving to the beat of a native drum, a Korean girl shyly peaked out from behind a brilliantly colored fan, stealing the hearts of a standing room only gathering of Woman’s Missionary Union during a pageant featuring the Korean Children’s Choir and Baptist World Alliance President Billy Kim.

The Korean Children’s Choir performance was part of an elaborate thank you to WMU for their support of international missions.

Kim, pastor of the 15,000-member Central Baptist Church in Suwon, Korea, told the gathering that these children are the products of American missions endeavors.

One hundred years ago, there were no Christians in Korea, Kim said. Today, there are 4 million Christians living there, he said, thanks to the mission initiatives of Christian organizations like WMU.

“Thank you, WMU, for your vital part in sending missionaries to regions beyond,” Kim said. “Without them, we probably wouldn’t be able to fulfill the Great Commission.”

Christian women in Korea also are playing a vital role in evangelism efforts in their country, Kim said. Korean Baptist women lead 90 percent of Bible studies in the nation, 70-80 percent of prayer meetings and represent 60 percent of church membership, he said.

“Korean Christian women have learned the power of prayer,” Kim said. “Their prayers have been the secret for revival in our churches.”

Revival also is needed in the country that helped bring the gospel message to Korea, Kim said.

“What America needs today is a generation of God-fearing women to get on their knees and pray,” he said. “I believe prayer is the criteria for revival for this nation.”

America is still a land of opportunity rich with blessings, Kim said, but “the escalation of social and moral ills is alarming.”

“The land of the free and the home of the brave is becoming the land of criminals and the home of the scared. Despite the blessings in America, there is sin on every head.

“Pray that we bring this nation back to the fold of God,” Kim urged the WMU gathering. “Pray for revival and for people to put their hope in Jesus Christ.”

During the opening session, Rhonda Kelley told the story of the Samaritan woman at the well to illustrate that believing in Christ is just the first step in serving him.

The Samaritan woman accepted Christ’s offer of living water, then left her water pot at the well to tell others, said Kelley, author of the “Woman’s Guide to True Contentment.” She also is the wife of Chuck Kelley, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

“Because of our faith, we should continue adding and applying our faith in godly living and Christian service,” Kelley said. “We are saved by faith but we are saved to serve.”

The Samaritan woman moved beyond her belief and added to her faith virtue, a godly lifestyle, a passion for people and an immediacy to tell others, Kelley said.

She encouraged the women to pray, “Lord, help me today understand the importance of picking up my water pot and going into town and speaking of you to a lost and dying world.”

In her annual report, WMU Executive Director Wanda Lee interviewed women involved in WMU ministries of Christian Women’s Job Corps, Acteens, Baptist Nursing Fellowship and the Second Century Fund for leadership development. “Whatever our abilities, God uses them in a unique way,” Lee said. “God has called each one of us to be his hands and feet in this world, making a difference in the lives of people.”

Lee also recognized Southern Baptist literacy pioneer Lillian Isaacs, this year’s recipient of the Dellanna O’Brien Leadership Award, for her role in advancing literacy missions.

Speaking on the conference theme of how God works “Beyond Belief,” national WMU President Janet Hoffman said the Old Testament patriarch Abraham exemplifies how God uses ordinary individuals in extraordinary ways.

Abraham, like many missionaries today, left familiar surroundings to go into uncharted territory that was sometimes fraught with danger, Hoffman said.

“God gives you the faith to venture into the unknown,” she said. “Because some people are still groping in darkness, our journey continues until Jesus comes — enlisting others to join us in the journey.”

During the meeting, Hoffman, of First Baptist Church in Farmerville, La., was re-elected to a second term as national WMU president for 2001-2002. Yolanda Calderon of First Baptist Church in Ripon, Calif., was re-elected to a second term as recording secretary.
(BP) photo Posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: INTERNATIONAL PRAISE.

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  • Kristi Hodge