Women on Mission

Overcome Fear with Prayer

scary street

My daughter’s gym is in an area where crimes occur regularly. Parents are careful not to leave valuables visible in our cars, and we are cautious about walking outside alone especially after dark. In our first months at the gym, I was often fearful if I had to park too far away from the front door.

This same area is one where Diane Smith spends many of her days. Diane is an evangelism catalyst with the North American Mission Board. Her mission is to share the love of Jesus with the people in this community, regardless of their economic, racial, or religious status.

Diane holds Bible classes for local children each week, passes out popsicles in the park during the summer, and works with the homeless. Her ministry works daily to help the hurting in this community. Diane does not let fear overcome her passion for Jesus.

After hearing Diane speak about her work, I knew I needed a change of attitude. Instead of hurrying into the gym each evening, I began to spend the first few minutes praying for the community and the people who live near the gym. The words of John 14:27 guide me: “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (KJV).

Get Creative to Focus on WMU

Focus on WMU week provides an annual opportunity to remind your church of the role WMU plays in the church’s missions efforts and to recognize church leaders and WMU members who are making those efforts happen.

This year, increase awareness of WMU in your church by highlighting missions activities from the past year. Include weekly ministries as well as events and trips. Here are some easy ideas you can use to engage more age groups in Focus on WMU week.

One Step at a Time

In one family photo, Dave is holding a 2-year-old girl. In another, a 4-year-old boy. In yet another, three children stand with Dave and his wife, Kara. Each photo represents a step in the journey Dave and Kara have been on since they became foster parents.

When Kara first mentioned foster parenting, Dave was uncertain. Could he love a child coping with unimaginable emotional or physical pain? How would he respond in love to the biological parents of these children? Would he be able to pour his heart into a child and then say goodbye?

Saying yes to God’s call on his life to become a foster dad required a huge leap of faith for Dave, but the rewards of trying something new for the sake of the Gospel have been great.

In his book Faith & Foster Care: How We Impact God's Kingdom, Dr. John DeGarmo emphasizes the need for foster parents who are willing to put feet to their faith and love the estimated 400,000 children who are in the foster care system. Who better than followers of Jesus to teach these children that God knows and loves them?

What is God calling you to do for the sake of the Gospel? What’s holding you back?  

Love in Action

Children’s Ministry Day has become a much-anticipated annual event for our church. Each year, we choose a country, and members of our team lead the children in playing games, creating art, and eating food from that country. We talk about similarities and differences between our culture and that of the focal country. We emphasize the work missionaries are doing in the region and pray for them and their ministry.

We also spend time preparing for a local missions project. Last year, the children decorated cards with drawings and a Bible verse. We attached each card to a loaf of bread. After lunch, leaders took teams of children to a heavily trafficked area in town to give out the bread along with the message that “Jesus is the bread of life.” Our kids learned that people respond in many different ways to the Gospel but that does not stop us from sharing the Good News.

Children’s Ministry Day is an opportunity to get children engaged and excited. Don’t feel like your day has to follow a particular model. Remember—the goal of the day is to help children learn to put love into action.

Moving Forward

Jesse and Kathy Morales moved from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Cochrane, Alberta, in 1989 to attend Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary. In 1994, they started a home Bible study that grew into a church in Calgary, Alberta. They were planting their second church when Jesse became terminally ill with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and died in 2009.

Kathy found a new direction in ministry with the University of Calgary women’s basketball team. Last year, her missions group began serving a monthly home-cooked meal for the women, always making sure there was food left over to take for the next day.

At first, Kathy did not share Christ or pray because they were on university turf. One day, the basketball coach asked her to have prayer and a short devotion with the women. At the end of the season, he asked her to continue doing it the next year. When he learned about a summer missions trip to host a sports camp in northern Canada, he decided to take his women “on mission.”

God Never Fails

Bob and Pam Brownfield met at church when he drove down from Alaska to go to school at Auburn University in Alabama. Upon graduation, Bob worked as an engineer, while Pam was a clinical microbiologist. When God called them to be missionaries, no organization would appoint them because Pam has lupus. Finally the directors of African Bible Colleges urged them to obey their calling and trust God with Pam’s health.

In 1994, they arrived in Malawi, along with their 4 children. There were many adjustments to be made during their 2 years there. The biggest adjustment at first was all the family members being together most of the time, but they quickly learned to love that. The children missed their activities like ballet and gymnastics. Grocery shopping was a problem because the products available changed from day to day, causing Pam to have to improvise menus.          

Community Missions: Shock the Community for Christ!

How would you like to shock your community for Christ? Take your missions group outside the church walls to impact your area with God’s love.

Here’s how your group can do community missions:

Missionary Spotlight Update: Martin and Debra Hasler*

Celebrating American holidays in a different culture, especially in the Middle East, provides the Haslers with an outreach opportunity.

“We usually have big holiday celebrations at our house where we share about Jesus and what He did for us so that we can have salvation,” Debra Hasler explained.

“Recently the groups have gotten so large that we could not fit everyone in our house. Our last celebration, we had over 100 people come for a big holiday meal and celebration where we shared with them about how Jesus died for our sins to free us and give us salvation. These events are big events to plan, but God makes it work every time.”

On the missions field, the entire family—Martin, Debra, and sons Robert* and Michael*—works together to make things happen because God always has a plan. What Debra Hasler has learned is “God does not seek to keep us in the dark about what He wants us to do.”

Your Friend, the Chaplain

“When you’ve seen one chaplain . . . you’ve seen one chaplain.” Many people lump chaplains into one big group and, quite honestly, don’t have a clue as to what they do or who they are. In many environments, such as the military, chaplains gain a great deal of respect. Even respect, however, can become burdensome.

The word chaplain originates from the root word, cappella, indicating a piece of music unsupported with instrumental accompaniment. In a very real sense, that definition could be applied to most professional chaplains. By the very nature of their calling and ministry, they are often left standing alone, carrying the burdens of those to whom they minister.

A chaplain friend told me that one of the loneliest times of his life was his deployment in Iraq. “I listened to their struggles and secrets during the day. Then, in the evenings when they got together just to let their hair down, I was never invited. They couldn’t imagine just having fun or relaxing with me.”

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The Ox in the Ditch

My pastor tells the story of discovering the best over the better in a former church. Fairly new in the farming community, he arrived at 6:00 for evening services. He arrived, but no one else did. The building was empty at 5:45, 6:00 and even at 6:15. Discouraged, disgruntled and puzzled, he slowly started to his car. That’s when he saw the lights. Even a mile away on the flat country plains he could tell there were car lights, many car lights. Curious, he drove toward them.

What he found amazed him and then inspired him. Mr. Heiland’s fence was torn and his cows had gotten out. Some were on the road and others were grazing on the grass along the road. My pastor looked from one car to another and there he found his church. Every person he had expected to be at church was trying to help Mr. Heiland lead his cows back into their pasture.

Finally, when the task was done, a church member suggested they just cancel church for the evening. All agreed. That’s when my pastor, with a look of satisfaction and awe, spoke up. “Friends, I think we’ve just had church!” The building was empty but the body had functioned as it should—to help a friend in trouble.

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