MWMU prepares ‘Story to Tell to the Nations’
Missouri GAs summer camps experiencing brisk registration
By Allen Palmeri
April 4, 2006
JEFFERSON CITY – The spirit of the Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) is alive and well in Missouri as the Missouri Woman’s Missionary Union (MWMU) passionately prepares for its “Mission Footprints: The Impact of a Christ Follower” annual meeting April 28-29 at Forest Park Baptist Church, Joplin.
The anthem of the WMU is “We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations,” with words and music by H. Ernest Nichol, in The Sunday School Hymnary, London, 1896.
“When I think of the task of missions and sharing the story, the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the nations, that song just shows it all,” said Vivian McCaughan, WMU/women’s missions and ministry specialist for the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC). “We’ve a story to tell, we’ve a song to be sung, we’ve a message to give, and we’ve a Savior to show to the nations. We wouldn’t have ‘Mission Footprints’ if we weren’t doing ‘We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations.’”
International missionaries scheduled to speak at the annual meeting include: Larry Carnes, International Mission Board (IMB) strategy coordinator in southern and eastern Romania, which is in partnership with the MBC; Iracema Kunkel, Brazilian-born IMB missionary to Paraguay who recently served with her husband, Tim, as a missionary to Uruguay; and David and Robin Stow, IMB missionaries in Kenya.
Closer to home, North American Mission Board (NAMB) Missionary Randy Poole, who is over the Tennessee portion of the Mississippi River Ministry, will speak to the group about touching impoverished hearts and locales in and around the river that Mark Twain loved. It is good to meet physical needs like hunger and shelter, McCaughan said, but the preeminent need in the human soul is the need for Jesus, who is the Bread of Life.
“I’m looking for Randy Poole to give us some creative ways of walking through the open doors of the physical needs to earn the right to get to the spiritual need,” she said. “We stretch from Alexandria, clear in the northeast, clear down through the Bootheel.”
Headlining the breakout sessions during the MWMU annual meeting will be presentations by David Tolliver, MBC associate executive director over the Cooperative Program. On April 29, Tolliver will talk about the Cooperative Program in the afternoon general session. McCaughan also pointed out that Nona M. Renfrow, emeritus missionary to Brazil, will be honored at some point in the gathering.
IMB Trustee Bill Curp, director of missions for Jefferson Baptist Association, is the father of Robin Stow. He and his wife, Beverly, have led the association on several mission trips to Kenya.
Presiding over the Joplin meeting will be MWMU President Lorraine Powers, who is a member of First Baptist Church, Blue Springs. Powers began serving as president in 2004. In the context of the national auxiliary outreach, WMU has been on mission with God since 1888.
“We’re making an impact in the international scene, but we’re also making an impact here in North America where 225 million are lost and needing Christ,” McCaughan said. “The WMU is not just women. WMU is the umbrella for preschool through adulthood. Mission Friends is boys and girls, and now we have Children in Action, which is not just GAs or RAs but is a co-ed (ministry) for the children’s age. We have Youth on Mission, which is teenage guys and gals, and then Adults on Mission, which would be men and women, and not just the women on mission. All of those separate age organizations fit under the big umbrella of Woman’s Missionary Union.”
Girls in Action, or GAs, is in the midst of its retreat season, with Teri Broeker, volunteer GAs specialist from Ewing, hard at work. The four camps – Grand Oaks Baptist Assembly in Chillicothe, Camp Inlow in Philadelphia, Baptist Hill Assembly in Mount Vernon and South Missouri in Van Buren – are full of registrants, McCaughan said. The official numbers for girls and leaders are 389 in Grand Oaks, 143 in Camp Inlow, 510 in Baptist Hill and 136 in South Missouri.
McCaughan noted that 2006 marks the 110 th birthday for Mission Friends, which was first called Sunbeams.