Ohio Baptist women’s retreat and missions celebration invites women to pursue deeper relationship with God

SENECAVILLE, OHIO—Meshing the impact of Woman’s Missionary Union and women’s ministries, more than 110 women from across Ohio gathered Sept. 6-7 for the Ohio Baptist Women’s Fall Retreat and Missions Celebration.

The retreat, held at Seneca Lake Baptist Assembly, explored the WMU theme, “Unshakable Pursuit: Chasing the God Who Chases Us.” Keynote speaker Kristy Carr, senior hub manager at National WMU, challenged participants to “stand firm” in their faith.

In a pair of messages highlighting I Corinthians 15:58, Carr urged participants to give themselves fully to the work of the Lord, “knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

“If we truly believe the gospel, we will live it and we will tell it,” she declared. “We are very relational people. For us to know people, we really have to know our Father” through such disciplines as prayer, Bible study, worship and ministry to one’s neighbors.

“Isn’t it exciting to know that God is chasing us?” Carr asked. “We can know Him more and we can make Him known. … That’s what it’s about – one soul at a time.”

Kristy Carr, senior hub manager at National Woman’s Missionary Union, served as the keynote speaker for the 2019 Ohio Baptist Women’s Fall Retreat and Missions Celebration. Carr highlighted the retreat theme, “Unshakable Pursuit: Chasing the God Who Chases Us.” (WMU photo by Pam Henderson)

On a practical ministry level, the weekend included such activities as an early morning prayer walk and an offering for the Joan White Scholarship Fund to help finance women and girls going on first-time mission trips. Participants also collected practical and personal gift items for the Appalachian Backpack Ministry and designed note cards to send to missionaries.

The women had the opportunity to choose among several breakout sessions ranging from how to minister to victims of human trafficking and reports of recent mission trips to Kenya and Nicaragua to a ministry wives’ tea and ways to grow in one’s personal faith.

Jean DiFilippo, who was re-elected as Ohio WMU president, said, “One of my goals as president is to bridge together women’s ministry and WMU. We’re all serving the same God. We need to all be working together with missions, of course, being one of our central focuses but also building each other up in Christ.

“Events like this are so important to help us grow,” said DiFilippo, a member of First Baptist Church of Athens, Ohio. She also cited the significance of “just being with other sisters in Christ and sharing together our stories and worshiping together.”

The women also enjoyed lighter moments of fellowship throughout the weekend, including a bonfire, movie night and even spontaneously breaking into the “OH-IO” cheer.

“It’s a joy to see the women here really getting something out of it and just being happy to be here,” DiFilippo pointed out.

Retreat participants designed note cards to send to missionaries as one of the retreat’s early bird activities. (WMU photo by Pam Henderson)

“When you think of missions, it’s easy to focus on international,” she said, “but there are so many ways people can be serving the Lord right in their own community.

“So many of us need to be doing that more than we are,” DiFilippo acknowledged, adding that the retreat is designed “to help the women understand that and to help equip them for it.”

Cathy Pound, Ohio WMU executive director, emphasized that “the No. 1 thing we hope the women take away is a deeper personal relationship with the Lord.”

“We also would hope that this would be a time, especially for women who are so busy with many responsibilities, to be able to hear His voice in a new way or in a specific way that speaks to the situation that they’re in right now.”

The annual retreat helps women from across the state affirm that “we are sisters together,” Pound concluded. “What God is doing is not only impacting our churches, our communities; it’s impacting Ohio.”

By Trennis Henderson, WMU National Correspondent


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