ST. LOUIS (BP)–It has been a busy year at the national Woman’s Missionary Union office in Birmingham, Ala., the auxiliary’s executive director/treasurer, Wanda Lee, told the Southern Baptist Convention June 12 in St. Louis.
The fruit of WMU’s labors includes “SyncroNations,” an upcoming National Acteen Convention in Nashville, Tenn., July 29-Aug. 1, 2003.
“Imagine thousands of girls from every state spending three days together to experience hands-on missions, great worship and the chance to capture a vision of God’s plan for their lives in the coming years,” Lee said of the national gathering, sponsored by WMU every five years.
The upcoming NAC conference has an added dimension with the inclusion of 110 international teenage girls in the seventh to 12th grades, Lee said, noting, “It will be an international missions experience as we welcome the best of the best from across the world to join us.”
The national Acteens Panelists who helped introduce SyncroNations included Nichole Beatty of Humble, Texas; Regina Bishop of Deming, N.M.; Stephanie Irwin of Houston; Karla Kerr of Platte City, Mo.; Jennifer Lynn Martin of Stonewall, Miss.; and Megan Smith of Waco, Texas. The teenagers served as pages for the WMU officers as well as the June 11-12 SBC annual meeting in St. Louis.
“Missions has no age limit,” WMU President Janet Hoffman told the WMU meeting. “Though some think of WMU as an organization for women, we have organizations for every age level, because we are committed to training the next generation of missionaries and mission supporters.”
WMU has accomplished this training through age-level organizations, including Women on Mission, for women 18 and up; Acteens, for girls 12-17; Girls in Action, for girls 6-11; and Mission Friends, for preschool girls and boys. WMU supports these organizations through age-appropriate magazines and other resources.
In addition, WMU provides structure and resources for coeducational organizations: Adults on Missions, Youth on Mission and Children in Action.
“Preschoolers learn that Jesus loves all the children of the world, and that missionaries go to tell them of Jesus’ love,” Hoffman said. “Children learn the plan of salvation and begin to develop spiritually as they pray for and give to missions and to hands-on mission projects. High school students discover their God-given gifts and experience using them in mission settings.”
Other ministries organized through WMU include WorldCrafts, Volunteer Connection and Christian Women’s Job Corps.
WorldCrafts gives indigenous crafters in various parts of the world a chance to make a living, while at the same time offering them the hope of the gospel. WorldCrafts produces a party kit that contains instructions for a hostess to hold a party in her church or home.
WMU’s Volunteer Connection sponsored four MissionsFests and one FamilyFest in 2001, along with placing 759 Acteens in assignments around the country and overseas. More than 330 people from 14 states participated in these MissionsFests projects, and the first-ever FamilyFest brought more than 100 volunteers from 11 states to Little Rock, Ark., prior to the MissionsFest.
Another first in 2001 was the national Acteens/Challenger Event June 25-29 in Charleston, S.C. Some 275 teenagers from nine states participated in a variety of ministry projects.
Christian Women’s Job Corps, which celebrated its fifth anniversary in May, provides women in need a hand up toward self-sufficiency.
Presently operating with 125 sites in 22 states, the job and life skills mentoring ministry has added three new international sites: Chile, South Africa and an unnamed country.
Two other expressions of CWJC are being developed: a “Behind and Beyond the Bars” initiative which reaches out to incarcerated women six months prior to and for a year after their release, providing assistance in life skills and reentry into society, and an organized outreach to women involved in the adult entertainment world, assisting them with the life skills necessary to free them from their destructive lifestyles.