By Kayla Rinker
ST. JOSEPH – Just like the sun finds a way to break through the clouds on a stormy day, M-Counter 2010 brought much-needed hope to an otherwise sad turn of events.
Vivian McCaughan, the Missouri Women’s Missionary Union (MWMU) and Women’s Ministry Specialist for the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC), was unable to attend this year’s M-Counter because of her battle with cancer. McCaughan, who passed away April 18, was also the Multihousing Church Planting Catalytic Missionary and a career appointed missionary by the North American Mission Board (NAMB). Her overall tenure as an appointed missionary based in Missouri totalled 22 years.
“I think everyone is very sad and hearts are very heavy but, through it all, this situation with Vivian has pulled us together,” said MWMU President Joan Dotson. “We know we have to work a little harder to fill the gap and we know it’s not just one … it’s all of us together.”
McCaughan did much of the pre-planning for M-Counter, which took place April 9-10 at Frederick Boulevard Baptist Church in St. Joseph and was the fourth event of its kind. Part of McCaughan’s legacy is bringing all women together to celebrate missions and ministry in this type of setting once a year.
“We have certainly felt her not being here, especially in getting it all together,” said Brenda Poinsett, author and Bible teacher who served as this year’s M-Counter keynote speaker. “Vivian was such a vibrant and gracious presence and we miss her. I think we are feeling very fragile without her.”
About 300 women participated in the event, which also included the 86th annual MWMU meeting. Poinsett, who also serves as an ex-officio member of the MWMU Board as the Women’s Ministry Consultant, interpreted the theme of the weekend, “Called to Serve.” The theme verse was I Chron. 28:9: “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts.”
“There is a transition that is happening in this passage,” Poinsett explained in one of her segments. “David is dying. He is frail and in that frailty he is trying to tell his son, Solomon, what is important and what is not important. He is also trying to share his vision with his son. And what was David’s vision? He wanted Solomon to build the temple … to carry on the work that has already been started. What is our vision as Missouri Baptist women? We also want to carry on with the most important work.”
Poinsett said the weekend’s theme passage is unique in that it is not often used. Though it’s unknown whether McCaughan chose the passage or not, the message nicely conveys the current time of transition that MWMU and Women’s Ministry is going through.
“Don’t become discouraged,” Poinsett said. “Trust is going to be needed. We need to trust to keep people together and unified and we need to trust when He asks us to do things that are hard for us to believe. The woman who trusts is the woman who serves God, and the woman who serves God is the woman who trusts.”
MBC Executive Director David Tolliver took the stage April 10 to report on McCaughan’s health and to bring a word of encouragement to the M-Counter women.
“Here’s the realization … . We are being confident in the good work God has done in Vivian,” he said. “He has completed it just like He will complete it in us. Make no mistake; Vivian is very much alive and living in victory right now.”
Tolliver concluded by saying, “You are the people who know how this ministry will go on. And though it may take several people to fill her shoes, in Christ, and as the spirit of God leads us, we will complete the work of Vivian McCaughan.”
This year’s M-Counter also featured its ever-popular flag processional. MWMU women and members of this year’s Missouri Acteens Council proudly paraded and displayed 70 colorful flags to the battle hymn, “We’ve a Story to Tell the Nations.”
Twenty new MWMU program starts were also recognized and awarded with a gift certificate to the M-Counter bookstore. The new starts represented each age level, from Mission Friends (preschool) to Women on Mission. The MWMU was also pleased to know that there were new starts in every region of Missouri this year.
“We have really been trying to get the word out about our programs and it has been neat to see churches beginning their missions education all across the state,” Dotson said.
The 2011 M-Counter will be held April 15-16 at First Baptist Church, Springfield.