Earlier this year it was my privilege to speak in a variety of diverse settings that ranged from church and associational events in Georgia and both Carolinas to Alaska, where I presented a series of Bible studies and conferences at their state Women on Mission Celebration. In each setting, unique in culture and assignment,
diverse in structure within each convention, one thing was common to all—we are part of a great missions community with a worldwide impact through WMU. Many of the leaders I met were laywomen . . . volunteers who believe in the purpose of WMU and can envision all the possibilities for involving their church in missions. They serve often at great personal sacrifice in time and resources in response to God’s call to service and are doing so with distinction.
I was particularly struck in Alaska by the vastness of their state with many who drove seven to ten hours just to be at this once-a-year gathering with fellow missions advocates. A late April snow threatened to derail their plans but the women came anyway and celebrated the joy of just being together. Young or more mature in age, children and grandchildren, we were all there for a common purpose—fellowship with one another, a desire to grow spiritually, and discover ways to increase our missions awareness.
From the police officer who opened our minds to the issues of human trafficking in Alaska to the 40-year veteran leader of Missions Friends who shared her passion for reaching preschoolers and families with missions, we each found something that met a specific personal need. We found a visible example of our connection to the larger WMU family through the volunteer team from Louisiana who came to cook gumbo, care for the preschoolers, and just express love for the Alaskan women. I think each person left inspired to press on in the work of missions.
With each experience this year I have been reminded of the truth that yes, we are all different, but we are also all the same. We share a common bond because of the love and forgiveness we have each experienced through Jesus. We share a common calling because we serve a God who loves us unconditionally and wants us to share His love with all the people of the world, both those close by and those on the other side of the world.
Our approaches will not all look the same but our purpose is the same. With each of us doing our special part, sharing our resources and ideas with one another, we can face the challenges of our day with much enthusiasm. So take heart, whether you are in a small church with only a few people or a large metropolitan city church with many, celebrate the uniqueness of your setting, your culture, and allow God to lead your efforts to embrace missions learning and going and giving so all the world may know our Savior. From Georgia to South Carolina to North Carolina to Alaska and all points in between, I’m proud to be a part of the wonderful family we call WMU. Aren’t you?