Missouri women touch Puerto Rico
JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Women’s Missionary Union (MWMU) has entered into a three-year partnership agreement with the Puerto Rico/Virgin Islands Women’s Missionary Union (PR/VI WMU) to challenge each other “to understand and be radically involved in the mission of God.”
Vivian McCaughan, WMU/Women’s Missions & Ministry specialist with the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC), and MWMU President Lorraine Powers flew to Puerto Rico for a Feb. 9-12 visit to sign the official partnership documents. The official signing took place Feb. 10 during the PR/VI WMU annual meeting at Puerto Rico Baptist Seminary in San Juan.
“I think it’s an opportunity for them to have some training opportunities and to see the larger scope of what WMU and Women’s Ministry can be in an older, traditional, organizational setting,” McCaughan said.
Language was not an obstacle for McCaughan and Powers as they often managed to communicate without interpreters to the Puerto Ricans, who are citizens of a United States territory and tend to take learning English seriously. It also helped that the Virgin Islanders spoke their “strange-to-the-ear accent” otherwise known as true British English.
“We did have the partnership agreement translated into Spanish so the ladies who were there could actually read it and ask their questions in Spanish,” McCaughan said. “The only question that came up before they voted was a monetary question, because they will be making some trips.
“Their Acteen girls will be coming to join our Acteen girls in Blume (the National Acteens Convention) in July in Kansas City. They were asking if they could afford this, and finally one of the ladies stood up and said, ‘If we are really going to believe God to share the Gospel with people around the world, we’ve got to believe God that He’s going to provide and show us the ways to find the resources.’”
The two key leaders of the PR/VI WMU who signed the partnership agreement are Executive Director Nellie Torrado and President Rosa Cruz. They have committed to visit Missouri soon for the April 27-28 “M-Counter,” which is the combined annual meeting of the MWMU and Women’s Ministry on the campus of Hannibal LaGrange College. Plans call for Torrado and Cruz to lead a workshop about missions and ministry in Puerto Rico.
In another early manifestation of the partnership, representatives from Missouri Baptist Women’s Ministry and MWMU are planning to go to St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, in May to lead a workshop at a women’s retreat.
Missouri is about to launch a two-year trial with MWMU and Women’s Ministry coming together for the first of two annual meetings at the same site. At the end of this emphasis in 2008, representatives from the MWMU Board and Women’s Ministry Leadership Team will meet to evaluate how things went to see what the next step ought to be.
“Missouri WMU and Missouri Women’s Ministry Leadership realize that we have something to learn from each other,” McCaughan said. “The first-ever M-Counter in Missouri is an effort for the two groups to blend in Bible study and missions education.
“The question continues to be, ‘Are we losing anything?’ My evaluation is no one’s losing anything. We’re all gaining.”