June 2023 OTJ Little Girls Grow Up
On the Journey

Little Girls Grow Up

Baptists represent more than a third of church members in the United States. More than 40 percent of all Baptist churches are affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Local churches aligned with the SBC are committed to sharing Christ with every person in the world.

This month, members of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) will gather in New Orleans, Louisiana, for the annual Convention to be inspired and conduct business. The Executive Committee of the SBC acts on behalf of the Convention between sessions. Shortly after the SBC Executive Committee meeting last February in Nashville, Tennessee, I saw this social media post by SBC Executive Committee member Dani Bryson. Dani wrote:

To every Mission Friends teacher:
To every GA and Acteens leader:
To every camp counselor:
To every Sunday School and Discipleship Training teacher:
To every VBS worker:
To every woman who was willing to mentor, to pray, to go, and to give so little girls could learn more about Jesus:
Little girls grow up.

June 2023 OTJ Little Girls Grow Up fullThis photo is of Dani in front of the Southern Baptist Convention building in Nashville. She is holding the May 2005 issue of The Mag, a missions magazine for teenage girls, where she was featured as a National Acteens Panelist. I went to the national WMU library to locate the magazine to see what 17-year-old Dani said about herself.

When asked, “What do you think are the major issues that teenagers face today?” Dani replied:

“I have many friends who don’t have good relationships with their parents. Because I have such a strong relationship with my parents and other family members, my heart breaks for my friends. I think the lack of respect between teens and their parents is a major issue; however, it is not impossible to fix. Teens need to talk with their parents more, even if the conversation centers on insignificant issues. The “big” stuff will come after a real relationship has been built.”

It sounds like good advice 18 years later. After high school, Dani attended Middle Tennessee State University and then the University of Tennessee College of Law. Today Dani is an assistant district attorney in the Twenty-Third Judicial District in Tennessee. Dani said, “I’m incredibly thankful for my WMU legacy.”

Thank you for investing in the lives of preschoolers, children, and youth who grow up and continue making disciples of Jesus who live on mission.


Little girls and boys grow up. Fill us with kindness, gentleness, and patience as we lead children. May Your light shine brightly through us. May Your love pour out of us and into those entrusted to our care.

In Jesus’ name, amen.

Sandy Wisdom-Martin serves as the executive director/treasurer for national WMU.