News Articles

WMU names 2024 Acteens panelists

Teenagers from Alabama, North Carolina and Texas have been named to the 2024 National Acteens Panel.

“I am excited to work with these Acteens this year and know that they will represent Acteens well,” said Heather Keller, Acteens consultant with national Woman’s Missionary Union. “These young women have missional hearts and are already doing so much to share the Gospel in their own communities and through experiences across their states and even internationally. I am amazed at their service and know God will be glorified throughout their lives.”

Sarah Elizabeth Shelton of First Baptist Church Columbiana, Ala.; Gracie Stamey of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Hudson, N.C.; and Faith Howard of Retama Park Baptist Church in Kingsville, Texas, were recently named to the panel.

The young women will be part of WMU’s Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting in Indianapolis in June prior to the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting. The panelists also will blog for wmu.com/students and be given leadership and speaking opportunities throughout the year. Each will receive a grant from the WMU Foundation through the Jessica Powell Loftis Endowment for Acteens.

Sarah Elizabeth Shelton

While Shelton gave her heart to Christ when she was in second grade, she has had three heart surgeries in her 18 years. She admits to succumbing to fear and anxiety especially over medical issues.

“At times, (I) have allowed fear and anxiety to rule my life,” Shelton said. “They have been idols that my world revolved around, but not anymore. I still struggle with the temptations of worry occasionally because I am human, but I just give it to God, and He handles it.”

Shelton has been an Acteen for seven years. She served as a Mission Friend and GA before that. She is very involved in her church’s outreach as well as U.S. and international missions.

“She is a strong leader with a creative mind, a compassionate heart and a warm personality,” Shelton’s pastor, Michael Miller, said. “She loves God and loves people.”

Faith Howard

As a pastor’s daughter, Howard, 16, has been exposed to numerous missions opportunities in everything from rodeo outreach to volunteering at a local pregnancy resource center.

She admits her heart has truly changed since she came to know Christ at age 6. Her sister, Hannah, who was named a national Acteens panelist in 2020, helped lead her to Christ.

“Instead of a constant desire to serve myself, I am filled with a desire to serve and help others,” Howard said.

Marisol Sandoval, age-level consultant for WMU of Texas, said, “Faith is very active in missions with her family and her church family. She wants the opportunity to be able to grow in sharing the Gospel with others, and she wants to influence younger students to do the same.”

Gracie Stamey

Stamey, 16, accepted Christ and was baptized at age 7. She volunteers with her church’s food ministry, Backyard Bible clubs and other ministries. But it was during time at Fort Caswell on Oak Island, N.C., this past summer that she responded to an invitation to talk to others pursuing a call to ministry.

“Over the past year, I have felt a call to ministry,” Stamey said. “Being an Acteens panelist will help me pursue my dreams of working for the Lord and influencing others to do missions.”

“She is one of the most active students in our church,” said Stamey’s pastor, Edward Ford. “Gracie exemplifies a godly and loving character. Her heart for the Lord is evident in how she carries herself.”

Stamey said it was an aunt, who served with the International Mission Board, who made “a huge impact on how I view missions.”

The teen has been active in her association’s Parade for the Hungry each year. She and other volunteers walk through the community collecting food for the local food banks and travel with their church to Shelby, North Carolina, to lead Backyard Bible Clubs. They also offer lawn services as well as simple construction projects and cleanup efforts while there.

For more information about Acteens and student missions discipleship, visit wmu.com/students.

    About the Author

  • Dianna Cagle