Women’s ministry leaders enjoy trip to Romania
By Allen Palmeri
November 23, 2004
JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Baptist-Romanian Baptist partnership took on another dimension Oct. 4-13 with the introduction of women’s ministry through the personal touch of Vivian McCaughan, Woman’s Missionary Union / Women’s Missions & Ministry Specialist, and Lorraine Powers, WMU president.
McCaughan and Powers traveled throughout Romania, speaking at luncheons paid for by the Missouri Baptist Convention and listening to Romanian women talk about their needs.
“We’re excited about our WMU getting behind our partnerships in major prayer strategies all across this state,” said Roy Spannagel, MBC associate executive director. “If there’s anything we need on the front lines of mission work it’s the ladies in our pews praying for our mission endeavors across the ocean.”
Powers said that was precisely how God moved her in Romania.
“There are some women who are very much on my heart right now,” Powers said. “There is a young woman, Veronica, who really wants to be a leader in women’s missions and ministries in Romania, and there is no avenue available for her right now. I can’t stop praying for her, that an opening would somehow come around.”
McCaughan was encouraged by one meeting where about 135 Romanian women came together on their own to talk about women’s ministry.
“They’re right at the beginning of trying to think about women sharing their faith with women,” McCaughan said.
MBC Partnership Missions Specialist Norm Howell, who wanted McCaughan and Powers to go on the trip so that the overall partnership could be strengthened, said that Missouri Baptist women traveling to Romania must be culturally sensitive.
“The Romanians are not interested in starting a women’s movement,” Howell said. “They are interested in women’s ministries. They would like to see the women of Romania, with this freedom that God has given them, become much more involved in spiritual ministries to other women and children.”
McCaughan said she noticed Romanian women involved with Bible study, community projects with hospitals and prison ministry. They inquired about such things as fellowship, discovering one’s spiritual gift and neighborhood ministries. They also wondered if Missouri Baptist women could come over for a conference.
“We asked, ‘What kind?’” McCaughan said. “They said, ‘Oh, we want to experience worship together.’”
McCaughan and Powers worked as a team as they shared messages and personal testimonies. Because the MBC paid for the luncheons, it was an opportunity for them to explain how the Cooperative Program worked. They also handed out mementoes in the form of key chains.
“We wanted them to remember that this is just the beginning,” McCaughan said. “We are starting the partnership.”
Powers said she can point to many memorable moments from all of the meetings she enjoyed.
“I was thrilled to meet those women,” she said. “They want to make their Christianity more of a lifestyle, and they are searching for ways to be able to do that. I’m looking forward to being able to partner with them and help them do that.”