BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The National Board Meeting of the Woman's Missionary Union closed with great plans and even greater hopes for the future of Woman's ministry. The 200 plus executive board members, state and national WMU staff members, staff from the International and North American Mission boards and missionaries who gathered at the Shocco Springs Baptist Conference Center were filled with courage, power, love and self-discipline throughout the three-day convention, Jan 11-14.
The WMU Executive Director Wanda S. Lee opened the conference with an anonymous quote, "(Do) not worry about the past, build on it; (Do) not condemn the present, live in it; and (Do) not fear the future, believe in it."
"We firmly believe in missions and the future of WMU," Lee said. "We are first and foremost a missions organization that seeks to equip preschoolers, children, youth and adults for personal involvement in the mission of God and the world. We focus our attention on helping people understand what God is doing in the world and how they can be radically involved in his great plan for reaching a lost world."
Keeping in faith with the focus of WMU - equipping mission's leaders through financial support, various training opportunities and educational materials - the ministry decided to award over $100,000 grants and scholarship to support missions work in 2003.
$78,245 was given to Second Century Fund in the form of 23 grants. With the exception of 4 grants amounting to $16,900, the funds were allocated to domestic initiatives.
In addition to the Second Century Fund grants, $28,539 was awarded as scholarships to 14 designated children of missionaries serving in the International or North American Missions boards.
Lee also reported WMU's commitment through its direct involvement in the ministry field. The WMU, said Lee, will continue to strengthen and build relationships with ethnic missions leaders, and intentionally seek international missions involvement through its International Initiatives ministry.
Lee announced the significant technological changes undertaken in 2002 in the form of website design and fulfillment systems and managements. In addition, Lee introduced the redesigned website, www.wmu.com, which launched in early January 2003.
At the final session, President Janet Hoffman echoed the enthusiasm and passion for the future of missions that permeated throughout the whole conference. She spoke of the ever-growing need for mission's leaders to display courage, power, love and self-discipline.
"As Christ's followers, we are empowered to do whatever God calls us to do, nothing less and nothing more.
"Let us ask [God] to give us eyes to see others as he sees them, seeking their highest good, meeting bitterness with forgiveness, meeting indifference with a flaming passion that cannot be quelled," Hoffman continued. "Never has there been more need for this kind of love in our world, our nation, our denomination, our churches, our offices, our homes and families than now."
By Pauline C.