WMU Announces 2012 National Acteens Panelists


WMU selected six teens to serve as 2012 National Acteens Panelists based on their commitment to missions and participation and leadership in their Acteens group, church, school, and community.

The National Acteens Panelists are Jessica Francis of Abbotts Creek Missionary Baptist Church, High Point, N.C.; Sarah Gaby of Heritage Baptist Church, Grand Blanc, Mich.; Mary Virginia Harper of First Baptist Church, Prattville, Ala.; Alyssa Hargrove of First Baptist Church, Spring Hill, Tenn.; Sarah Harris of University Hills Baptist Church, Charlotte, N.C.; and Lacey Wheeler of Abbotts Creek Missionary Baptist Church, High Point, N.C.

Acteens is WMU’s missions organization for girls in grades 7–12. Through Acteens, girls grow in their relationship with God and each other as they learn about and participate in missions, develop leadership skills, and live a missional lifestyle. 

“Acteens has broadened my perspective of the world and increased my awareness of missions across the globe,” shared Harper. “It (Acteens) empowers girls to make a difference in their world for Christ, deepens their knowledge and relationship with God, and it gives them a safe haven where they can rely on the guidance and support of other strong Christians.”

Each of the six panelists has been involved in Acteens for many years and is committed to serving others and sharing Christ.

“Acteens has had a huge impact on how I view my responsibility of sharing the gospel, and I do see it as a responsibility,” said Gaby. “It is our responsibility as Christians to share the good news of Jesus Christ. It is my job to be a missionary wherever I am . . . in my family, my neighborhood, my school.”

Harris agrees. “Missions involvement has opened my eyes and helped me take the focus off of myself and to view the world through God’s eyes,” she said. “These experiences have helped me to personalize the Great Commission and feel that I can make a difference even though I may be just one person.”

The Acteens Panelists, who serve from Feb. 1 to Dec. 31, each receive $1,000 from the Jessica Powell Loftis Scholarship for Acteens from the WMU Foundation.

These National Panelists will be featured during the WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting in New Orleans, La., June 17–18, where they will also have opportunities to meet national and international missionaries and interact with missions leaders from across the country. They will also write articles for The Mag, the Acteens missions magazine, and for the Acteens Web site, wmu.com/students.

Churches, associations, and/or state Acteens and WMU groups may request the Acteens Panelists to speak to their group.

WMU also recognized additional Acteens as National Top Teens for their involvement in missions. The following have been selected for 2012: Kendra Bollinger of First Baptist Church Jackson, Burfordville, Mo.; Alysia Funderburg of St. Stephen’s Missionary Baptist Church, La Puente, Calif.; and Makayla Swygert of Bethel Baptist Church, Sumter, S.C.

Applications for the 2013 National Acteens Panel are due to national WMU by Dec. 1, 2012. The applications are available on the Acteens Web site at wmu.com/students and in the fall issue of Acteens Leader. For more information on Acteens, visit wmu.com/students.


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Author John Maxwell wrote, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” I believe this is so true. In recent months, I have written From Missionary Ridge articles about 2015 being a year to focus on equipping missions leaders in the church. Through events in the Midwest and western regions and during the WMU® Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting this past June in Ohio, much attention was given through conferences to help missions leaders feel confident in their role of leading small groups of children, youth, or adults.

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