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Strong future in missions voiced by leaders of Woman’s Missionary Union

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)–A forward-looking advance by Woman’s Missionary Union with courage, power, love and self-discipline in the mission of God were voiced by WMU Executive Director Wanda S. Lee and President Janet Hoffman during the national organization’s board meeting Jan. 11-14.

More than 200 people attended the meeting at Shocco Springs Baptist Conference Center in Talladega, Ala., including executive board members, both state and national WMU staff members, staff from the International and North American Mission boards and several international and North American missionaries.

In Saturday evening’s opening session, Lee quoted an anonymous writer in issuing a challenge to: “Not worry about the past, build on it; not condemn the present, live in it; and not fear the future, believe in it.”

“We firmly believe in missions and the future of WMU,” Lee said. “We are first and foremost a missions organization that seeks to equip preschoolers, children, youth and adults for personal involvement in the mission of God and the world. We focus our attention on helping people understand what God is doing in the world and how they can be radically involved in his great plan for reaching a lost world.”

With this clear focus, Lee said WMU’s unwavering commitment to the future of missions education and involvement is evidenced by the priority the organization places on equipping missions leaders through many training opportunities and educational materials.

Hoffman, in her address during the meeting’s final session Tuesday morning, echoed Lee’s enthusiasm and passion for the future of missions and said now more than ever missions leaders need to display courage, power, love and self-discipline.

“As Christ’s followers, we are empowered to do whatever God calls us to do, nothing less and nothing more,” she said.

In addition to courage and power, Hoffman proclaimed that unconditional love also is necessary to be an effective missions leader.

“Let us ask [God] to give us eyes to see others as he sees them, seeking their highest good, meeting bitterness with forgiveness, meeting indifference with a flaming passion that cannot be quelled,” Hoffman said. “Never has there been more need for this kind of love in our world, our nation, our denomination, our churches, our offices, our homes and families than now.”

In keeping with specific growth goals adopted by the executive board in 1999, Lee reported that WMU continues with its commitment to strengthen and build relationships with ethnic missions leaders; to intentionally seek international missions involvement through its International Initiatives ministry; and to enhance technology within the organization. WMU incorporated significant changes in technology in 2002 as order fulfillment systems and website design and management moved in-house. In addition, the redesigned website, www.wmu.com, went live in early January 2003.

In other business, the executive board:

— awarded $78,245 in Second Century Fund grants and $28,539 in scholarships, for a total of $106,784 to support missions work in 2003.

— named Carol J. Causey as director of the missions resource center for national WMU. Since joining WMU’s staff in 1986, Causey has served WMU in a variety of roles, most recently as director of the editorial department.

— approved a recommendation for Girls in Action, WMU’s missions organization for girls in grades one through six, to adopt new Scripture verses, a motto, and pledge to help members identify with the organization and its missions purpose.

— approved new curriculum for Acteens, WMU’s missions organization for girls 12-17 or in grades seven through 12. In a marketing field test with feedback from 25 states, 92 percent of Acteens said they enjoyed the new materials and described them as “fun, interesting and hands-on.” The new material will be premiered at the National Acteens Convention in Nashville, Tenn., in July.