Surrender, sacrifice and serve: WMU exhorted to live a missions lifestyle

Lawrenceburg—”All for You: Surrender, Sacrifice, Serve” was the theme of the Kentucky Woman’s Missionary Union annual meeting April 10-11 at Sand Spring Baptist Church in Lawrenceburg.

“This emphasis is causing women to weep and say they made a new commitment to WMU to live a missions lifestyle,” Debbie Akerman, national Women’s Missionary Union president, said during her reflections on Friday morning.

“This topic, surrender, the hardest topic that they have embraced in many years, is waking them up to missions,” she said. “It’s causing women to step back into WMU, to step up and do missions—meeting eye-to-eye the one who is lost and hurting, and saying to God, ‘All for You.'”

Akerman attended Kentucky WMU’s annual meeting her first term as president and now during her last, said Joy Bolton, executive director of Kentucky WMU.

“WMU has been purpose driven, and WMU has been radical long before there were books with those titles,” Akerman asserted, tying the descriptions into WMU’s mission statement: “WMU challenges Christian believers to understand and to be radically involved in the mission of God.”

She also emphasized the importance of WMU’s GA and RA programs and missions education and shared testimonies from students.

“I stand amazed that all God has allowed me in these years as your WMU president, and I hope the sample of my reflections has revealed Christ’s light shone out through our WMU family through you,” Akerman concluded.

Before she spoke, two missionaries shared their testimonies and experiences.

“We are very thankful to Kentucky Baptists; you laid a great foundation for us. Everything we have is because of you. Everything we can do is because of your giving,” said Melva C., a missionary to Asia.

She and her husband’s ministry began in Kentucky, and they chose to complete their stateside assignment in state.

Melva thanked Kentucky WMU for giving, going and praying.

“WMU is about prayer, and I thank God that I learned how to pray as a child for people around the world in GAs,” she said, echoing the importance of missions education.

“Kid’s today want to grow up and be Superman; all I ever wanted to do was grow up and be Lottie Moon,” she continued. “I learned later that I was too tall to be Lottie Moon,” she chuckled.

Joe Joe H., missionary to France with her husband and two children, was another Kentucky-bred missionary directly influenced by WMU. She grew up minutes form Jonathan Creek Baptist Camp, and as a result, a love for missions was planted in her heart.

“I get to stand before you today as a missionary because of the part that you lovely ladies had in that,” Joe Joe said.

She shared her personal struggles with anxiety, connecting it to the conference’s theme of surrender.

“I was inspired by your theme this year. That’s pretty intense,” she said.

Joe Joe continued, “I listened to God for guidance. I heard Him say resoundingly, ‘I have made you to follow Me. All I ask for is your devotion to where I called you. Remain faithful to the next step, and I will make your path sure.'”

“He shows us that in surrendering and remaining, He can bring healing to our lives, renew our passions and increase our ministry despite the difficulties,” she shared.

When she returns to France, she will be leading support groups for women who face similar struggles. “God has shown that He makes beauty from the ashes,” she said.

“I want to encourage you to continue to live your lives fully and vulnerably despite the pain, because there’s joy and blessings when we follow,” Joe Joe added. “When you live in surrender, you will bless and comfort others as well.”

The afternoon business session included the executive director report by Joy Bolton and the Kentucky WMU staff in a rhyming alphabetical presentation, recognition of the retiring board members, and the nominating committee report and election of officers and executive board members.

Susan Bryant, of Grafenburg Baptist Church, was reelected president; Cathy Terrell, of First Baptist Church of Barlow, was elected vice president; and Cathy Mattingly. of West Broadway Baptist Church in Louisville, was reelected recording secretary. (WR)