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WMU report points to ‘full circle’ ministry and transformation

Sandy Wisdom-Martin (left), executive director-treasure of the Woman's Missionary Union, and Connie Dixon, WMU's president, give the missions auxiliary's report to messengers June 14 at the 2023 SBC Annual Meeting in New Orleans. Photo by Josselyn Guillen

NEW ORLEANS (BP) – The WMU is all about being “full circle,” said Sandy Wisdom-Martin, executive director-treasurer of national WMU, in a report to the messengers June 13 during the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in New Orleans. She compared the 360 seconds of her report to the 360-degree transformation that happens when the power of God is at work in His people.

“Ashley found herself in prison, fighting substance abuse and addiction and in the depths of despair,” Wisdom-Martin related. “She reached out to committed Christ-followers at the Christian Woman’s Job Corp doing prison transformation in Oklahoma, and they helped her understand that her soul matters to God.”

Ashley, whose life was completely transformed by the Gospel, completed the program while she was incarcerated and upon her release, she found employment and continued in her personal recovery program through her local church, Wisdom-Martin said. Then she completed her associate degree in business, her bachelor’s degree in psychology, and now she is working on a master’s degree in addiction recovery.

“Ashley is a 360-degree, full circle story because her passion now is to help others beat addiction all while sharing hope in Christ,” Wisdom-Martin said.

Connie Dixon, of First Baptist Church, Elida, N.M., said she was blessed in her role as WMU president to hear 360-degree story after story of lives transformed through WMU’s missions and discipleship.

“So many missionaries have shared with me about how they first felt their calling through at RAs or GAs at our WMU missions camp,” Dixon said, pointing to Hannah’s story.

Hannah, not her real name because of security reasons, told Dixon that one of the main things that she learned through WMU educational offerings like Mission Friends, GAs and Acteens was that missionaries are ordinary, everyday people whom God has called to do extraordinary things around the world.

Hannah was an ordinary girl who grew up hearing all the missionary stories and started asking, “Why not me? If God could call them, He could be calling me, too,” Dixon related. Hannah grew up going to WMU missions camp – “her favorite time of the year” – and at one night at those camps, God called her to be a missionary. She told Dixon, “I was really not all that excited, to begin with, because I thought missionaries ate bugs and slept outside.”

Hannah laughed and said, “Well, I have ate bugs, and I have slept outside.”

Dixon said Hannah went home after that camp and immediately shared with her family and church that God was calling her to go to Africa as a missionary. She recalls that many had a “bless her heart” response and thought she would grow out of it. Instead, she leaned into her calling, with the help of WMU.

“They have now been in Africa for 17 years. She shared that there have been difficult times, but through it all WMU has prayed for us and provided for us. We have witnessed amazing things in Africa,” Dixon said. “God has brought Hannah full circle. She is now one of those ordinary people God is using to do extraordinary things.”

WMU seeks to come alongside the church to help accomplish the mission, Wisdom-Martin said, affirming God desires to see all ages energized and motivated and equipped for missions.

“Would your church benefit from learning about God’s workers – Southern Baptist missionaries around the world? We can help you with that,” Dixon said.

“What would happen if your congregation, if your members were praying more, if they were giving more generously, if they were doing missions, and if they were telling others about Jesus? We can help with that.”

Wisdom-Martin concluded, “We make disciples of Jesus, who live on mission. That’s what we do. That’s all we do. And it is our joy to do it in concert in partnership with you.”

    About the Author

  • Shannon Baker

    Shannon Baker is director of communications for the Baptist Resource Network of Pennsylvania/South Jersey and editor of the Network’s weekly newsletter, BRN United.

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