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WMU slates array of training & hand-on missions opportunities


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)–Numerous missions opportunities for people of all ages are on the calendar this year under the banner of Woman’s Missionary Union.

WMU’s Discover the Joy of Missions event, encompassing a WMU Conference and a Missions Weekender, will be held this fall at the LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center near Asheville, N.C.

The Sept. 28-30 Discover the Joy of Missions WMU Conference will include sessions relaying numerous ideas for involving the entire church in missions, along with times of worship and testimonies from the mission field. The conference is geared for any missions leader, including pastors, ministers of missions, children’s ministers and all volunteer group leaders — or any others wanting to learn more about missions and ministry involvement.

The Sept. 30-Oct. 2 Discover the Joy of Missions Weekender will provide participants with a time of enrichment and challenge through Bible study, ministry ideas, worship and fellowship to broaden their worldview and learn more about living as a committed follower of Christ.

For hands-on experiences, several WMU MissionsFEST and FamilyFEST three- or five- day pre-planned ministry experiences will offer volunteers an opportunity to partner with Christians in designated cities to support ongoing missions projects and to use their individual gifts to reach out, help others, and share the love of Christ.

MissionsFEST experiences are open to adults 18 years and older, while FamilyFEST is open to anyone in first grade and above, offering a unique opportunity for adults to model a missions lifestyle to their children, their grandchildren and other young people in working together to serve others.

With each MissionsFEST and FamilyFEST, the types of ministry projects vary depending on the needs of the local community. However, common opportunities include prayerwalking, servant evangelism, light construction and repairs, block parties, health fairs and sports camps.

MissionsFEST will be offered in New York, April 9-16; Salt Lake City, July 9-16; North Carolina Triad (Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem area), July 16-22; and the Appalachia area (western Maryland and Clarksburg, W.Va.), Sept. 17-24.

FamilyFEST sites include San Diego, Calif./Tijuana, Mexico, June 26-July 1; Salt Lake City, July 12-16; and the North Carolina Triad, July 19-22.

WMU’s International Initiatives, meanwhile, will offer several missions trips, including two trips to Paris to work with International Mission Board field personnel there in direct evangelism from April 30-May 7 and to provide servant evangelism from Nov. 12-19.

In 2005, International Initiatives launched a new partnership with the Moldovan Baptist Union’s women’s department. A team has been enlisted to go to Moldova in May to lead retreats sponsored by the Moldovan Baptist women’s ministry for younger women. Another team will go to the European country in November to help church leaders establish missions education through Girls in Action and Acteens organizations.

In partnership with women’s leaders in Croatia, an International Initiatives team will travel there in May to lead seminars and conferences for approximately 150 women in leadership roles throughout the country. Following the conference, the team will travel to local churches to visit with women’s groups.

WMU and its WMU Foundation also are organizing a July 21-Aug. 2 tour to England for the Baptist World Alliance “Seeing With New Eyes” women’s leadership conference. The 13-day trip will include the BWA’s Centenary Congress and historic sites in England.

For female college students, WMU is offering two missions trips in 2005. An Aug. 1-15 backpacking and prayerwalking trip through the Croatian islands will focus on ministry to European tourists. Collegiate women also may serve in inner-city Houston at the Gano Mission Center July 10-15.

REGISTRATION INFORMATION

For registration information for the WMU’s Discover the Joy of Missions event (WMU Conference and Missions Weekender), visit www.wmu.com/ridgecrest2005 or call toll-free 1-800-588-7222.

For MissionsFEST and FamilyFEST, contact WMU’s Volunteer Connection, visit http://www.wmu.com/getinvolved/ministry/volunteer or call (205) 991-4097.
For WMU’s International Initiatives, visit www.wmu.com/getinvolved/ministry/International or call (205) 991-4096.

For WMU’s trip to England, visit www.wmufoundation.com or call toll-free 1-877-482-4483.

For collegiate women, visit www.missionsinterchange.com.

Kristy Carr, WMU’s Volunteer Connection specialist, said MissionsFEST and FamilyFEST attendees “return home eager to learn about needs in their area and do what they can to be on mission wherever God calls them to serve.”

“It is such a privilege to see volunteers beam with excitement and enthusiasm as they see God working and realize that He has not only called every Christian to be involved in missions, but He has equipped them for missions,” Carr said.

Joyce Mitchell, meanwhile, national WMU’s leadership development team leader and organizer of the Discover the Joy of Missions event, noted that attendees “may learn a new skill such as creative storytelling, how to lead a team, how to involve and recruit volunteers, or how to conduct a spectacular missions event. Others may be inspired to share their faith more effectively or deepen their prayer life. Still others may have their eyes opened to contemporary youth culture and discover their calling to be a mentor.”

Mitchell continued, “But in addition to this time of discovery and learning, attendees will be provided with tangible resources and practical suggestions for ‘next steps’ related to their area of interest.”
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