JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri Baptists attending the recent Missouri WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting enjoyed two days of activities and encouraging messages on being relentless by living an authentic faith through prayer and sacrificial giving, by witnessing and being on mission.
Connie Dixon, president of National WMU and keynote speaker at the annual Celebration, helped guide the WMU theme Relentless by delivering several messages to empower and encourage the 163 men and women in attendance. IMB and NAMB missionaries, other guest speakers along with 37 diverse breakout sessions, hands-on mission projects and Missouri WMU businesses provided for a very productive experience.
“I could not be more pleased with this year’s Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting,” MWMU President Jan Turner said. “I believe that all who were able to attend left with a renewed sense of purpose to live on mission, and as a collective group we accomplished the annual business of our state’s organization.”
During the business session information was shared, including reports on the board of directors, staff, Alberta Gilpin Fund, Madge Truex Fund, elections, retiring board members and mission projects.
Turner provided the following highlights:
• The new officers elected to a one-year term, serving 2022-2023, were Jan Turner, president; Janet York, vice president; Juliana Rhea, secretary; and Paula Hupe, treasurer. New board members include Angelia Carpenter, communication specialist; Darlene Scott, West Central consultant; and Dawn Rost, East Central consultant.
• An offering was collected for the Madge Truex Fund of $2,505. Donations are still being accepted for this Fund; checks payable to Missouri WMU can be mailed to Paula Hupe, MWMU treasurer, 142 Cuivre Parc, Troy, MO 63379. A new option for giving has also been set up online at www.tithe.ly/pledge/#/campaign/3819382. This fund offers a monetary gift to newly appointed Missouri missionaries serving with NAMB or IMB. The fund also provides for student loans for Missouri seminary or graduate students training for a career in missions.
• The silent basket auction raised $3,144 for the Alberta Gilpin Fund. Donations are still welcome for this Fund, and can be mailed to Hupe. The link for giving to this fund online is www.tithe.ly/pledge/#/campaign/3819382. This fund helps with leadership development and new WMU organizations.
• The MWMU board of directors helped promote MBC’s three major mission offerings in 2021, which included the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, Annie Armstrong Easter Offering and Missouri Missions Offering. Turner said that all three offerings exceeded goals in Missouri last year.
• Carol Bowers shared her WMU story and how being involved at an early age through Sunbeams and GA’s led her to be an IMB missionary.
• The Let’s Grow Committee Consultant Sharon Paris recognized 27 new start WMU organizations for 2021-2022, from all eight regions of Missouri.
• Mission projects during Missions Celebration included providing 30 beauty bags for Captive Grace Ministry to help exploited women; 250 witnessing bead bracelets were made for the Missouri State Fair; 104 personal cards were written to senior residents of Missouri Baptist Homes; 14 boxes of supplies were assembled for Faith Maternity, a ministry that assists pregnant women; and 230 hygiene packets were made for Missouri Disaster Relief.
In addition to collaborating on the business of Missouri WMU, Missions Celebration was infused with timely breakout sessions, encouraging testimonies and uplifting worship led by David Bronson of Concord Baptist Church.
“The experiences offered this April did not disappoint,” Missouri WMU Executive Director/Consultant Cheryl Stahlman said. “The atmosphere created many opportunities for sharing, interacting and learning. Without question, Missions Celebration offered something for everyone.”
Always heart-warming were stories from missionaries. IMB and NAMB missionaries shared experiences, including Missouri-based NAMB missionaries Pastor Michael and Traci Byrd serving in North St. Louis.
Phil and Oretha Brewster were celebrated as the 2021-2022 Emeritus Missionaries. The couple began as church planters in the Philippines in 1976, serving in Northern Luzon. After 14 years, they began serving Central Luzon and the city of Manila. The Brewsters retired from the IMB in 2006 after 30 years of service in the Philippines.
The two-day Missions Celebration closed by recognizing the local committee largely responsible for coordinating the event, chaired by Janet York.
WMU offers relevant mission-related education for preschool age children through adults. WMU also wants to encourage all believers to learn about missional living, how to apply the power of prayer, to give to missions and to serve.