MWMU hears reports from a host of missionaries
By Barbara Shoun
April 19, 2005
ELLISVILLE – Getting on a ski lift at Lake Tahoe, may get you more than a ride because that’s one of Debbie Wohler’s favorite places to tell people about Jesus. She says they’re captive audiences.
Wohler, a home missionary with the North American Mission Board, was one of several speakers who gave their testimonies and explained their ministries to those attending the Missouri Woman’s Missionary Union’S annual meeting April 15-16 at First Baptist Church here.
Wohler said she procrastinated answering God’s call to the mission field because she didn’t see how He could use a physical education major and she didn’t want to become a nurse. Finally surrendering her will to His, she went to seminary.
Just before graduation, she was offered a job as chaplain at the Olympic Training Center at Lake Tahoe in California. She’s been at it for 25 years and has worked at eight Olympic games. In addition, she offers nine week-long Vacation Bible Schools each summer and outdoor church services at six ski locations in the winter.
She said that 12 million people visit Lake Tahoe each year, and she’s the only full-time missionary.
“Be obedient to what you know to do, and God will take care of the rest,” she told her listeners.
Wohler was one of many speakers during the two-day gathering of worship, fellowship, and mission emphasis. Theme of the meeting was “Celebration of Missions: Christ Followers.”
Jeanne Todd reported on the work of Christian Women’s Job Corps (CWJC) in the Hannibal area. CWJC equips needy women – in a Christian context – for employment and life.
Sherry Kinsey testified to her work with Project Help, a literacy ministry. Project Help’s philosophy is to meet basic needs in order to earn the right to share Jesus Christ. This is done through English as a Second Language, through Adult Reading and Writing, and through Tutoring Children and Youth. All three programs are phonics based. She pointed out that literacy is a relationship ministry.
She noted that 25 percent of Missourians are functionally illiterate and another 25 percent do not read well enough to hold a good job. Project Help teaches churches how to do their own tutoring programs.
Janet and Dudley Graves said they are not discouraged, even though they have led no one to Christ in the eight years they have served on the mission field in Italy. The Graves’ ministry is in a predominantly-Catholic country. “Satan has blinded these people. Europe is so blinded to the truth.” Janet Graves told her audience.
The Graves are returning to Rome in June of this year.
Alpha Goombi, missionary to North American Native Indian Nations, was the annual meeting’s final speaker. She and her husband, Ron, are Kiowa Indians, but they didn’t grow up on a reservation. She says she experienced retro culture shock when she went to Nebraska as a missionary 18 years ago.
“My husband and I are classified as home missionaries for NAMB, but we’re on a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, international mission field,” she said.
Ron pastors Omaha Baptist Center (OBC) in inner-city Omaha. The center houses three separate congregations: the English-speaking OBC congregation, the Spanish-speaking Premiera Iglesia Baptista, and the Arabic-speaking Faith of Arabic. The third congregation, consisting of 10 tribes from Africa is pastored by James Geek (pronounced gwek) who was trained in a Baptist seminary in Lebanon.
The Goombis, who attended Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, also minister through the All Nations Church, a network serving North American Native Indian Nations. Over the years, they have started outreach ministries at the Omaha Indian Reservation in Macy, the Winnebago Reservation in Winnebago, and the Santee Sioux Reservation in Santee.
Alpha Goombi brought Jennifer Mayfield with her to the meeting. Jennifer is an Acteen from Dexter who is serving on the Santee Sioux Reservation.
Other home and international missions were featured through speakers, exhibits, and breakout sessions. Foreign countries represented, in addition to Italy, included Puerto Rico, Ghana, India, and Mexico.
Many strategies were presented for reaching the lost. All could be summarized in the words Wohlen used to describe her ministry to people who are learning to ski.
“I love helping people who have fallen and can’t get up,” she said.