RIDGECREST, N.C. (BP)–Kaye Miller of Little Rock, Ark., and Kathy Hillman of Waco, Texas, were elected to serve another year as national officers of Woman’s Missionary Union Sept. 29 at LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center in North Carolina.
About 750 members were present at WMU’s 118th annual meeting to re-elect Miller to a second term as president and Hillman to a third term as recording secretary, both by unanimous vote.
Miller said she is looking forward to another year of prayerfully guiding WMU.
“It really is an honor and a privilege to serve the Lord through this organization,” Miller said. “It’s been incredible to see God using WMU on all levels — national, state, in our associations and in our churches.”
Miller devoted much of the past year planning WMU events and guiding the organization with a focus for the future. The daughter of Southern Baptist medical missionaries, Miller’s love and appreciation for missions education through WMU runs deep. But it has been in her role as national president that she said she’s gained a deeper understanding of the scope of WMU.
Having served as state president of Arkansas WMU from 2002 to 2005, Miller knew that the national headquarters in Birmingham, Ala., partnered with and helped provide resources for state WMU offices. But she said she didn’t fully understand the complexity of the national branch until she worked directly with them.
“I think I always knew the incredible amount of work that national WMU does making wonderful resources for the states, but I have a new appreciation for what it takes to really make that happen,” Miller said. “Because they [national WMU] work hard, it really helps their state partners.”
Of all the programs and activities WMU sponsors, Miller said she believes FamilyFEST and WorldCrafts has had the most impact this year. FamilyFEST is a three- or five-day missions experience in which volunteers age 6 and up from across the country actively serve in a designated city. Pre-planned missions activities often include prayerwalking, sports camps, health fairs, block parties, light construction and more. Each FamilyFEST is a partnership between national WMU, state WMU and area Baptist associations.
“I think this generation wants to do things with family,” Miller said. “Our goal is to be intentionally intergenerational by offering avenues of service through FamilyFEST and other initiatives.”
WorldCrafts is an outreach ministry that imports more than 300 handmade items from around the world and provides hope and income for more than 60 artisan groups in 37 countries who live in poverty.
WorldCrafts was established in 1996 and initially worked with just one vendor, a cottage industry called Thai Country Trim. Thai Country Trim was established by Southern Baptist missionaries in Thailand more than 20 years ago and actually began under the house where Miller grew up. She saw firsthand how much marketing handmade items through WorldCrafts can assist people in poverty, and she said she hopes to promote WorldCrafts even more next year so poverty-stricken artisans can make an income, provide for their families and hear of the love of Christ.
According to Miller, being a missionary kid greatly influenced her and directs much of her decision making. Watching her parents’ passion for Christ as they daily served the people of Thailand drove Miller to serve throughout her life, and it ultimately led her to serve as national president of WMU.
“Being an MK helped me see the urgency of sharing Christ throughout the world,” Miller said. “This urgency drove me to be involved in WMU, and it drives me now to do what I do. Being an MK colors everything I do today.”
Reflecting on the past year, Miller spoke of her travels throughout the country speaking at various conferences and attending meetings, and she said it was a reminder of why she loves her job.
“Thinking back on this year, I crisscrossed a lot of states,” she said. “Women in different states do things differently, but they all have the same heart for missions. It’s that passion for missions that binds us together.”