‘Blume’ becomes amazing experience
on Kansas City for national convention
KANSAS CITY—Over the course of four days, July 10-13, Kansas City was home to the National Acteen Convention, known as Blume.
Blume is sponsored by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU), and is held every four years in a host city. Kansas City’s location and architectural beauty made it an ideal site for girls from across the United States and the world to meet, worship, and learn together. More than 3,500 students, including about 300 Missouri Baptists, attended the event, which was held at Bartle Hall in downtown Kansas City.
Blume, the German name for flower, was created as a missions event for teenage girls and collegiate young women. The flower represents growth and new life as students “bloom” into the women God has created them to be. Blume is an interactive event for Acteens and “they can learn what Jesus can do for them in their lives while having fun,” Lacey Tarpein, an eighth-grader from First Baptist Church, Canton, observed.
The event is centrally focused around the cause of missions; especially leading girls to discover God’s plan for their individual lives. This year’s theme was “The Amazing Life” and concentrated around the words of Jesus found in Luke 10:25-28. Clella Lee, a staff member at Lafayette Baptist Church in Fayetteville, N.C., challenged the girls to love the Lord with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love their neighbor as they love themselves.
“When we hear the words, the Amazing Life, what does it look like?” Lee said. “We have been singing about God, talking about God…that should be our answer, but what do you think? Since the beginning of time, people have been searching for the Amazing Life…. if you want to have it, you must look in the right place. It is Jesus.”
The girls were challenged to take the rest of the week to focus their attention on these verses and think about how to truly love God with their lives.
Each worship session was intentionally centered on the presence of Christ. A lamp housing a single burning flame was reverently brought to the center of the stage at the beginning of each general session. The light served as a symbol that the presence of Christ was among the worshippers. Sessions concluded with the light of Christ exiting the arena as a reminder that Christ is with us wherever we go.
Celia Whittler and her band led the girls in worship during the conference. The music allowed the girls to learn new ways to worship through song, dance, and prayer. “I loved the sessions…especially the music in the sessions,” said Cheyenne Zeigenbein, an eighth-grader at First Baptist Church of Richland.
Missions also had a large part in each service. Southern Baptist missionaries from the International Mission Board (IMB) and the North American Mission Board (NAMB) gave their testimonies to the girls and challenged them to love God with their lives through service and love. Alpha Goombi, a North American missionary serving to Native Americans in Kansas and Nebraska, implored the students to learn the hard truth about themselves and learn to love who God made them.
“I was inspired by what Alpha Goombi said and how God had worked in her life… it was so amazing,” said Marlayna Haywood, a ninth-grader from South Ridge Baptist Church in Jefferson City.
Goombi’s testimony about the hardships of growing up as a Native American touched the girls to love others in spite of race or status. “I liked the testimony of Alpha,” said Hannah Howlett, an 11th-grader from First Baptist Church, Richland. “It showed me that racism is a big part of today and I learned we need to watch what you say about people and watch what your friends say.”
Missouri was represented by a large number of Acteens from around the state. The first night, each state gathered for a private party, allowing the girls to interact and share with each other. The Missouri party allowed the girls to see the unique differences in each Acteen group and how they are bonded together in service to Christ.
Each group made t-shirts showcasing their individual personalities and rallied state spirit through songs, cheers and dances. First Baptist Odessa, the largest Acteen group in Missouri, closed the party with 38 girls performing an interpretive dance to “Arise my Love.” The group received a standing ovation from their Missouri Acteen sisters.
Ashley Brumbaugh, an eighth-grader from First Baptist Church, Canton, sees this interaction and camaraderie as one of the most important aspects of Blume.
“I think it is important for Acteens to come to Blume so they can learn and meet other Acteens and to see what others do in their own groups,” she said.
Missouri is also blessed this year to have Christie York, a senior Acteen member from First Baptist Church, Richland, to represent the state as a National Acteen Panelist. The panelists are chosen from hundreds of Acteens from across the nation through a rigorous application and interview process. This year, eight high school girls were chosen, representing seven different states. The girls serve on the national panel for a year, and serve as Acteen ambassadors in Southern Baptist Convention gatherings and conferences, and as leaders at Blume.
“I got to serve in San Antonio at the Southern Baptist Convention,” York said. “I served in the WMU Missions Celebration for a week by leading litanies for each session and helping lead worship in Spanish.”
The panelists played a large role behind the scenes at Blume and also served on stage as leaders. “At Blume we helped out wherever we were needed,” York said. “We would set up conferences (and) interact with girls in Mission and Ministry centers. We also led the girls in worship.”
The panelists served as role models to the Acteens by teaching them ways to worship through song, drama, dance and prayer.
“It is a great honor to have the girls at Blume look up to you and ask you different questions,” York said. York was an example to Missouri girls to live the Amazing Life in their own church. She encouraged the girls to apply for the National Acteen Panel.
“It is an amazing honor to come from a small country church of 45 people and an Acteen group of five girls,” York said. “It doesn’t matter if you come from a small church or a big church—go for it!”
Blume concluded on Friday morning, July 13, with an encouragement by Clella Lee. Hebrews 12:1-3 was read as Acteens acted out the scripture by completing a relay around the arena. The reading served as a visual reminder that the Amazing Life is a life-long race where the girls must fix their eyes on Jesus in everything we do.
“We carry the name of Christ,” Lee proclaimed. “We are called to carry the name of Christ in everything we do… do this and live.”