BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)–Thousands of teenage girls from across the nation will come together for the National Acteens Convention (NAC) in Nashville, Tenn., July 29-Aug 1.
“NAC is truly a life-changing experience for the young women who attend,” said Wanda S. Lee, executive director/treasurer of Woman’s Missionary Union who attended the convention for the first time in 1989 in San Antonio as an Acteens leader with a group of girls.
“We were a small group, and their experience at NAC made them realize they were a part of something much larger than themselves for the first time. They learned about missions through the testimonies of missionaries and through the examples of ordinary women and girls who were involved in missions in their own communities.”
Lee relates that years following the experience, her daughter Allison, who was one of the Acteens she took to San Antonio, referred to the convention as a key experience that helped shape her future goals and life direction.
This year’s National Acteens Convention, with the theme of “SyncroNations,” is designed with an international focus. In addition to young women from the United States, 20 girls representing six different continents will have the opportunity to participate in the convention. They will come from Australia, Burkina Faso, Brazil, Canada, El Salvador, Fiji, France, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Malaysia, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, Thailand, Ukraine, Venezuela, Wales and West Indies.
“We are so excited to be able to bring girls from all around the world to join in this National Acteens Convention,” said Andrea Mullins, NAC steering committee chair and co-leader of WMU’s missions leadership development team. “NAC provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for girls to connect and develop a deeper understanding of God’s love for all the nations.”
Featured speakers during the general sessions will be field personnel from the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board. Celia Whitler, a Christian recording artist and songwriter in Nashville, Tenn., will be the praise and worship leader.
Additional guest speakers include authors Donna Greene and Casey Gibbons. Greene, author of “Growing Godly Women” and “Letters from Campus: College Girls’ Insights for High School Graduates,” has a passion for guiding teenage girls into spiritual maturity. She is founder and director of Community Ministry for Girls and lives in Birmingham, Ala.
Casey Gibbons, who lives in Ozark, Mo., and was Miss American Teen 1998, is the author of “A Girl’s Life with God.” She has co-hosted the “Life of the Edge — LIVE!” teen talk show and has challenged numerous groups of teenage girls to take a stand for Christ in their daily lives.
In addition to general sessions, a global village will provide attendees with the “next best thing” to being on mission around the world.
“We anticipate the global village being one of the highlights of NAC as participants enjoy an interactive experience with multicultural virtual communities,” said Becky Yates, director of WMU’s product development center. “Each interactive experience offers unique opportunities for prayerwalking and specific prayer requests.”
While the girls are in Nashville, they will serve as volunteers on community service projects in nearly 70 elementary, middle and high schools in the area July 31. Convention participants will work on school beautification projects both inside schools and on school grounds, organize supplies, unpack textbooks and library books and assemble mass mailings.
In addition, each girl will bring a set of school supplies to give to needy children in the metro Nashville school system in kindergarten through the fourth grade. After the girls fill 1,000 donated backpacks with school supplies, remaining sets of supplies will be prepared in plastic bags for students.
On July 30, convention participants will be led on an organized prayer march to the Tennessee state capitol building to pray for the city of Nashville, the state of Tennessee, the nation and the world.
Other convention features include the Zambian Acapella Boys Choir, encompassing 12 boys between the ages of 11 to 19 who sing native African songs and songs learned from missionaries in several native languages as well as in English, the official language of Zambia. On Aug. 1, Souljas 4 Christ, a step team from Fremont, Calif., comprised of 18 young women between the ages of 12 and 18, will take the stage.
Evening activities include taking in a Nashville Sounds baseball game on July 30 and a special concert featuring contemporary Christian music artists Out Of Eden on July 31.
Woman’s Missionary Union launched Acteens, a missions organization for girls in grades seven through 12, in 1970. Through Acteens, girls are inspired and challenged to be involved personally in missions and fulfill their part in God’s plan as they pray for and learn about other cultures and missionary work, both nationally and internationally.
The first National Acteens Convention was held in 1972 at LifeWay’s Glorieta Conference Center in New Mexico. Taking place approximately every five years, subsequent National Acteens Conventions have been in Memphis, Tenn., in 1975; Kansas City, Mo., in 1979; Fort Worth, Texas, in 1984; San Antonio in 1989; Birmingham, Ala., in 1994; and Louisville, Ky., in 1998.
For more information on the 2003 National Acteens Convention visit the official Internet site, www.SyncroNations.com.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at www.bpnews.net. Photo title: NAC LOGO.