Missouri WMU ministers to Puerto Rico
By Susan Mires
KANSAS CITY — A mission trip by four Missouri women has strengthened the bonds uniting two Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) groups.
The ladies traveled to Puerto Rico Feb. 17-21 to view firsthand some of the ministries they have supported over the last few years. One of the highlights of the trip was attending the WMU annual meeting.
“Having prayed and supported them in other ways, to have our state represented at the annual meeting is wonderful,” said Lorraine Powers, president of the Missouri WMU and one of the participants. Others taking part in the mission trip were Joan Dotson, Frankie Contrell and Vivian McCaughan, WMU/women’s missions and ministry specialist with the Missouri Baptist Convention.
More than 60 women representing 14 churches participated in the annual meeting held at Calvary Baptist Church in San Juan, Puerto Rico. During the business portion, the name of the group was officially changed to Puerto Rico/Virgin Islands (PR/VI) WMU. The Missouri women participated in the program, with Powers speaking to the group and McCaughan playing the piano.
The new WMU president installed at the meeting, Martha Aponte, was a familiar face because a few years ago, she attended the annual meeting of the MWMU at William Jewell College in Liberty.
The Missouri partnership with the Puerto Rico WMU grew out of a partnership with the Blue River- Kansas City Association WMU established several years ago. Although many Missouri Baptists have visited Puerto Rico, this was the first mission trip taken on behalf of the MWMU.
“It was a true joy for all four of us to be in Puerto Rico,” Powers said. “We enjoyed the friendship and fellowship of the partnership. The weather, foods and worship styles were all bonuses to being able to meet and to pray with our WMU sisters in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.”
One of the ongoing mission projects has been building Camp Moca, which the women got to visit during the trip.
“It was great to see the camp and the work that has been done there,” said Powers, who is from Blue Springs.
Nodell Dennis, director of missions for the Blue River-Kansas City Association, has coordinated the construction mission teams that have traveled to Camp Moca, she said. The camp is already in use and the next project is to complete the multi-purpose building, then to build a women’s dormitory.
On the mission trip, the women got to worship at local churches and speak to the congregations. They also took a prayer walk around the community of Levitown with about 60 local church members. Powers said they distributed tracts and New Testaments and prayed over the community.
MWMU has supported the Puerto Rican group by providing Spanish-language tracts, which they have developed into an effective mission tool.
“They said if they put something like this in their hands, they will read it,” Powers said.
In addition, Missouri has provided missions education materials and lifted up Puerto Rico through the prayer calendar and paid to bring some of the women to WMU training events in the United States.
“I am certain that the MWMU-PR/VIWMU partnership was strengthened by the trip and we both will continue working to be Christ followers through WMU,” Powers said.