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Connect the Dots

The recent International Mission Board Missionary Appointment Service held in Louisville was a reminder of the importance of missions education and various missions experiences in preparing missionaries to say “yes!” to God’s call on their lives. Even in the short statements each missionary was able to give about his or her calling, the importance of formative experiences was evident.

For some, the calling to missions began as children in missions groups like Girls in Action and Royal Ambassadors. Hands on missions contributed to an understanding of what it means to serve others. Mission trips and short-term service helped a number of the new appointees to grasp what it means “to be radically involved in the mission of God.”

To connect these experiences in the lives of each appointee is like a “connect the dots” activity where a picture emerges as one draws a line from dot to dot. The importance of each dot cannot be underestimated in creating the finished picture.

So it is with missions education. Missions education that is done well includes many missions experiences of learning, doing, praying, giving, and going. Each learning experience lays a foundation of understanding. Each hands on service opportunity is a window to the work of God. Each mission trip expands the horizons. Praying for the lost and for missionaries creates a heart of compassion. Sacrificial missions giving puts the priorities of God on material possessions.

What if we miss adding dots to the picture? What if we are too busy to teach children about God’s mission around the world? What if we cannot be bothered to chaperone teenagers on a mission trip or Kentucky Changers? What if we fail to teach our students to pray? What if we skip teaching Biblical stewardship of time, money, and personality?  What if we fail to equip our children and youth to witness?

Without the dots, there is no picture.

At SALT (State Association Leadership Training) last Saturday, I distributed a dot-to-dot picture and talked about missions dots that WMU provides such as:

Dot to Dot-page-001

  • Teaching preschoolers about God
  • Teaching preschoolers and children to pray
  • Teaching about sin and the importance of Jesus death on the cross for our sins
  • Teaching about the resurrection
  • Teaching the plan of salvation
  • Teaching kids (and adults) to share their faith
  • Introducing children to other cultures and people
  • Understanding lostness
  • Understanding why and how we send missionaries
  • Hands on missions experiences locally
  • Missions projects
  • Mission trips
  • Meeting missionaries
  • Praying for missionaries
  • Giving to missions
  • Skype with a missionary

Great-CommissionAnd the list goes on.  Connecting these missions dots helps us raise up church members who embrace the Great Commission.

We must also remember that these dots do not just happen. We must be intentional.  In the same way, WMU growth does not just happen. We must be intentional as we:
Discover potential new members
Organize groups
Teach churches
Spotlight entry points to missions

The Eliza Broadus Offering makes dots, too.  EBO will provide dots of missions experiences all summer through Kentucky Changers, Mission Adventure for Kentucky Kids, GA and Mother/Daughter Overnights, Camp Courage, and Creative Ministries Festival 2.0. Perhaps one day we will hear a new missionary appointee cite one of these dots that you have provided through praying and giving for state missions.

Connect the DotsHelp us connect the dots. Learn, pray, give, go, send!

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You can still enjoy the Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting!

10464239_10152875803111275_8851690690471843571_nThanks to the great work of Larry Brannin, Media Department Director for the Kentucky Baptist Convention, the general sessions of the 2015 Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting were shown live on the internet through Livestream.  Larry also video taped the sessions and they are now posted on Vimeo. You may watch them on line or download them to your computer.  Please share the sessions with others!  We are also grateful to Drew Nichter from the KBC Communications Department, who assisted.

A link to each session is on the Kentucky WMU web site: kywmu.org/annualmeeting/2015.   And if you missed our meeting in 2014, those sessions are online, too!   kywmu.org/annualmeeting/2014

11117831_10155410487165035_2035384715207766277_nWe are grateful for the wonderful attendance and for your generous giving during Annual Meeting. There were 700 registered (though we know of a few more that did not register!).  You gave $7,500 to the offering for Kentucky WMU Ministries to Missionaries and $4,800 to the Kentucky WMU Heritage Fund.  Your generous giving allows us to continue our work in missions education and involvement.  If you were not able to attend or would still like to give, online giving is available for all areas of Kentucky WMU work.

We are are also grateful for your gift to the Eliza Broadus Offering. A number of EBO grant recipients had displays at our meeting and were given an EBO Grant Recipient ribbon to place on their display. Please note that we are in the final months of the 2014-15 offering year and we are running a little behind this time last year and have not yet reached our goal of $1,250,000.  When we do not reach the goal, funds for church planting, language missions, evangelism, collegiate ministry, church and community ministries, missions education, and much more are reduced for the year.  The offering is received all year long and you can check our progress on our website.

Plans are underway for our next gathering in Madisonville, April 8-9, 2016.  Mark your calendar and plan NOW to be be with us.  The Annual Meeting is the gathering place of everyone who cares about missions. The inspiration, challenge, and fellowship are worth the trip.  Be there!

PS: More photos are posted on the Kentucky WMU Facebook page.

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Prayerwalking in the State Capitol

Because the 2015 Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting was just 15 miles from Frankfort, one of our Friday afternoon activities was to take a group to the State Capitol to prayerwalk.  About 200 of us rode buses to Frankfort to participate. We gathered first in the Rotunda for a time of singing and prayer, then spread out around the building to pray.  Susan Bryant, our state WMU president who worked in state government for many years, provided a prayer guide.

In preparation for our time of prayer, I shared brief remarks about why we had come and several scripture passages that teach us to pray for our leaders. 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (HCSB) says, “First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Then in verse 8, Paul writes “Therefore, I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument.”  1 Peter 2:13-15 reminds us, “Submit to every human authority because of the Lord, whether to the Emperor as the supreme authority or to governors as those sent out by him to punish those who do what is evil and to praise those who do what is good. For it is God’s will that you silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good.”  We went to do good by praying.  

Perhaps you would like to take others and go pray at the Capitol. The following prayer guide will help you. Remember that as elected leaders change, this guide will need to be updated but the basics of the building and what takes place remains the same.

KY State CapitolCAPITOL PRAYER GUIDE

OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR – SUITE 100 – STEPHEN BESHEAR, GOVERNOR
The Governor is the head of the executive branch of Kentucky state government.  He also serves as commander in chief of the Kentucky National Guard.  The governor enforces state laws, and has the power to veto bills passed by the Kentucky General Assembly.  He may convene special sessions of the General Assembly and grant pardons.  The Governor also has the power to reorganize state government.
     Prayer suggestions:  The election of the new Governor this year, pardons to be considered by Governor Beshear before leaving office, decisions based on Christian principles.

OFFICE OF THE LT. GOVERNOR – SUITE 142 – CRIT LUALLEN,  LT. GOVERNOR
The Lt. Governor is a constitutionally elected official who is the second ranking officer of the Executive Branch.  Lt. Governor Crit Luallen was named to this office in November 2014 after former Lt. Governor Jerry Abramson resigned.  The Lt. Governor serves under circumstances similar to that of the Vice President of the United States and has responsibilities and duties as the Governor shall assign or delegate.
     Prayer suggestions:  Lt. Gov. Luallen as she works to promote Kentucky.  Pray for wisdom in the election of the Lt. Governor during this election year.

OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL – SUITE 118 – ATTORNEY GENERAL JACK CONWAY
The Office of the KY Attorney General offers various consumer protection and victims advocacy programs for residents of Kentucky.  Additionally, it serves in an advisory capacity on child support enforcement.  It has various divisions which include an administrative hearings division, communications office, KY Bureau of Investigation and Medicaid fraud division.  The Attorney General also provides legal opinions to public officials to assist them in the performance of their duties.
     Prayer suggestions:  Pray for wisdom of the Attorney General in the various duties perform by this Office.  Pray for wisdom in the election of a new Attorney General during this election year.

SUPREME  COURT – ROOM 235
The Supreme Court is composed of 7 judges who are elected for 8 year terms in non-partisan elections.  The Supreme Court is the court of last resort and the final interpreter of state law.  The court does not retry cases; it receives oral and written briefs from which it makes its decisions.  Cases involving the death penalty, life imprisonment, imprisonment for 20 years or more are reviewed by the Supreme Court as a matter of right.  The Supreme Court is also responsible for establishing rules of practice and procedures for the Court of Justice which includes conduct of judges and attorneys.
Supreme Court Justices include: Bill Cunningham (1st District), John D. Minton, Jr. (2nd District), Daniel Venters (3rd District), Lisabeth Hughes Abramson (4th District), Mary Noble (5th District), Michelle Keller (6th District), and David Barber (7th District).
     Prayer suggestions:  Pray that the Justices will make wise decisions of the cases coming before the Court.  Pray for Christian principles to be upheld in all decisions.

KENTUCKY GENERAL ASSEMBLY
The Kentucky General Assembly convenes on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January.  It meets for 60 days in even numbered years and for 30 days in odd numbered years.  The House of Representatives and Senate create new laws, amend existing laws and enact the State budget.  Interim joint committees meet when the legislature is not in session.

House of Representatives
The House of Representatives consists of 100 seats.  Representatives are elected for 2 year terms with the entire House elected every two years.
     Prayer suggestion:  Pray for the election of a Christian to each House seat during this election cycle. 

Senate
The Senate consists of 38 seats.  Senators are elected for 4 year terms with half of the Senate elected every two years.
     Prayer suggestion:  Pray for the election of a Christian to each Senate seat during this election cycle. 

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Susan Bryant’s Closing Remarks from Annual Meeting

Wow.  What a meeting this has been.  We’ve had some tried and true things and some new things.  And just think, it isn’t over yet.  In a few minutes we are going  to enjoy a missions block party and later we have the opportunity to preview a movie that relates to the current WMU social issue, post traumatic stress disorder.  I have seen the movie; you will want to stay and see it.

I don’t know about you but I have learned so much over the last day and a half listening to our speakers.  When I was young my mother would sometimes say “Don’t get the big head”.  Well  I think today that I do have the big head and a bigger heart but only because of all the things I have learned this weekend.  And I think that most of you probably have the big head and big heart right along with me for the very same reason.

For years I have heard our esteemed Executive Director, Joy Bolton, say about annual meeting “It is all about the outcomes.” And it is. What are we going to do with what we have learned once we get home.    It is great if we have come here to see friends and have a mini reunion because this is the only time we see one another each year.  I have loved seeing Irma, Tina and so many others this weekend.  I look forward to making new friends, renewing friendships and catching up on one another’s lives. The programs are always wonderful, missionary speakers inspiring and we feel good about participating in the ministry projects we do at each meeting.

But then we go home.  We’ll leave Sand Spring in a few hours . . . we’ll set our GPS to get us home.   Maybe we’ll sing some of the songs we sang this weekend as we roll along – My personal favorite it “We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations” and thankfully I won’t have a passenger going home so I can sing it to my heart’s content.

But what about when we get home?  What’s going to be YOUR outcome of this meeting? Are you going to leave behind everything you’ve learned this weekend?  Knowing many of you as I do,  I don’t think so.  Let’s review a little.

Perhaps you know better now how to pray for our missionaries on the missionary prayer calendar in Missions Mosaic and like Debby, I hope you have a subscription and if you don’t, get one tonight.  You now  know the urgency of these prayers and how our missionaries depend on those prayers.  Thanks to Joe Joe, Jeff and Melva, and Ryan and Christy who have shared with us this weekend. We have loved their stories and their honesty in sharing just what it means to serve in a different culture far from home.  They have reminded us that we need to go home and pray for our missionaries to  have access to an apartment or house that costs more than $35 a month.  I can’t even imagine.  We need to pray for their families and the close relationships they have sacrificed to answer God’s call on their lives.  They tell us that extraordinary sacrifices result in extraordinary blessings.  Their challenge to us is to get a passport, take short plane trips to get us ready to cross the water, eat new foods – maybe even food on a stick, learn to share our faith and just say “yes” when God asks us to go.  Will you do that?   Ryan so eloquently said “thank you” for the investment WMU ladies gave to Christy.  Will you invest in the life of a young girl or woman in your church?

And Debby Akerman.  We have read her books, heard her speak, many of us are friends with her on face book and we’ve otherwise benefited from her 5 years as President of National WMU.  Debby, we love you and are so happy you could be with us this weekend.  But, you know, Debby has given us a challenge too.

She has asked if a Mission Friend is not too young to learn that God loves them; God loves the whole world and someone needs to go and tell them.  I am sure we all said “no in our hearts.   At a recent missionary appointment service, a missionary appointee shared how it was in Mission Friends that God first placed that calling on her life.  God is still speaking to Mission Friends, GAs and RAs and calling them into mission service.  Perhaps a future Kathy Shafto is growing up in your church and needs the benefit of missions education to understand God’s calling on her life.   Will you step up to be her leader?

She challenged us to partner with a missionary with Kentucky roots serving with NAMB or IMB to help them catch a vision for WMU in their church plants.  And she has reminded us that WMU is still relevant in today’s culture and is helping our churches to learn new mission methods.   Kentucky WMU will be offering training for WMU leaders in our associations this spring and staff are always ready, willing – and even anxious – to help you begin  – or improve – the missions organization in your church.   What will you do?

Did you like going to the Capital yesterday afternoon?  How of you was this your first visit to the Capitol?  It was my old stomping ground for several years ago when I worked in the Governor’s Office.  As a retired state employee, I know how important prayer is for our elected officials.   Not just prayer when we are in the Capitol but consistent prayer for Godly leaders who aren’t afraid to take a stand for their Christian beliefs.   This year marks the election for many of our government offices – not just statewide offices but in local elections as well.  Will you commit to pray that God will call out Godly men and women to run for office, for elections that will result in  the Christian values that our country was founded on being upheld?  Will you pray?

I have a salvation doll like those that some of you made yesterday afternoon.  Wasn’t that fun?   I wasn’t there but I know it had to have been.  Any time we get together to craft is a lot of fun. Robin said she brought 114 kits and only one was left after the workshop.  If we multiplied that a few times, just think how many boys and girls could know about Jesus.   What are you going to do with your doll?  Are you going to show it off to your family saying “And you thought I couldn’t sew” and then stick it in a closet or did it give you an idea for how these dolls can be used to tell a child about Jesus?  On a WMU mission trip to South Africa a little over a year ago, we had dolls for each of the children in the orphanage where we served.  Pat Callan even found out the number of boys and girls we would be working with and made the appropriate number of boy and girl dolls! I was impressed!   The children loved them!  Wouldn’t GAs love to stuff them and help give them features?  Mine would!  And there are so many ways you can use these dolls to share Jesus – yourselves or to help supply a missionary or mission team with dolls to share.

Dawna Clark shared that you have donated 482 Hot Wheels for the KY Raceway Ministry.  She’s excited!  Could you, would you work at the Speedway one weekend?  Would that be an outcome for you?

Oh yes, I found some of the activity bags that you made for children visiting the Veterans Medical Center with their parents.  I loved seeing a picture on face book recently of Sandy Clark helping one of her Children in Action make those bags for this meeting.  Sandy is always ahead of the curve.  Could you make bags, fill them and find a place where they can be used to share about Jesus?.

What about the exhibits?  As they say, you couldn’t stir them with a stick in the exhibit corridor yesterday.  When we can to look at the space we decided that would be the perfect place for the exhibits and it was since it was so close to the sanctuary.  And it was.  I had many ladies sharing with me “Look what I found at this ministry.  I think I can do this.”   “I can take this back to my church and we can do this.”  Can you do this?  Don’t forget.

The ministry projects we do at each annual meeting are important, not just because they fill a need, but we hope they will give you ideas about what you can go back home and do in your own community.

The commissioning service last night was inspiring.  Each of these missionaries we commissioned are just trying to  live their lives in obedience to God’s calling.  Do any of them live near you?  Did one of their ministries resonate with you.  Remember, we said we could support them.  I am quite confident they would love for you to contact them to ask how you can assist in their ministry.

And the Kentucky Changers celebration – Did you notice that a lot of the people on the adult changer team were women?  Peggy has a place for you this summer – you and the youth and other adults in your church.   She would love to hear from you.  Will she?

And how can you and your church connect with Brian Hinton at Kentucky State or other campus ministries in your area of the state? We have the way to minister to international right here on our campuses.  We don’t have to go across the pond to minister to internationals.   Will you?

As Joy has said, our missions block party today is designed to help you visualize what a block party is and how you could use this as an evangelism tool in your community.  We were going to have the block party under tents out back.  But we even went so far as to arrange some pretty significant rain so we could show you how to go to plan B if necessary.  Could you do this?

We are so glad you chose spend this weekend with us.  This meeting could be just a pleasant outing for you and nothing more or it can be the beginning of living all for you.  I would love to hear from you and find out about your “outcomes” from this meeting so I can celebrate them with you.  Joy said last night that the results of our meeting should be felt around the world.  I believe it will be.

I close with a quote from that famous theologian, Dr. Seuss, in his book “Oh the Places You will Go.”

You have brains in your head
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
In any direction you choose.

I hope you will choose to steer yourself in the direction that says:  All for You, Surrender, Sacrifice, Serve.

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Tribute to Mary Lou Crutcher

Mary Lou CrutcherMary Lou Crutcher, a dear servant of the Lord passed away last weekend and her funeral was on Thursday, April 2. Mary Lou served on the Kentucky WMU Executive Board from 1995-98 and was a regular volunteer in our office.  I was honored to speak at her funeral and several people have asked for a copy of what I shared. With the blessings of her family, I share those reflections here.

The Missions Involvement of Mary Lou Crutcher
    It is an honor to have been asked to participate in this celebration of the life of Mary Louise Larson Crutcher, known to us as Mary Lou.  I have been asked to speak of her missions involvement.  It goes back a long way.

I was blessed to be provided a copy of Mary Lou’s application to participate in a Kentucky WMU mission team to Korea in 2008. That team, led by Stacy Nall, went to hold English camps for children as an outreach ministry in cooperation with Korean Baptists. Mary Lou was 75 when she went on that trip, and from what I have heard, it was not an easy mission trip.

In the application for that team, Mary Lou shared that at age nine she came to understand that it was not enough to know about God, but she needed to know God personally and believe in Jesus as her Lord and Savior. During revival services at her church, she felt Holy Spirit encouraging her to make this important decision and let the church know.  At age 13, Mary Lou attended a conference at Ridgecrest and responded to the call “Wherever He Leads I’ll Go.”

On that application form, Mary Lou was asked to provide information about previous overseas travel experiences.  She listed:
Brazil – Recife and Rio – Mission Trip
Russia, Ukraine, Latvia – Mission Trips (3)
China (2); Holy Land (6),
Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Korea,
Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong (6)
Scandanvia (3), central Europe (5+)
Greece (3), British Isles, Ireland, Turkey
Canada, Mexico, and unfortunately, the copier cut off a line and I could not read the rest.

Mary Lou’s travel experiences with Bob, her beloved husband, uniquely prepared her for serving as a Travel Coordinator with Dehoney Travel. In particular, Mary Lou coordinated and promoted what was called the Lottie Moon Tours of China. These began in the late 1980’s as China began to open up to tourists. I learned yesterday that Mary Lou traveled to China all by herself and scouted out the places they wanted to go and accommodations and such. I particularly remember these tours because my mother went on one in August of 1988.  It was the trip of a lifetime for my mom, to visit those places where Lottie Moon, beloved Southern Baptist missionary to China, had lived and worked.

I talked with Catherine Allen, retired associate executive director for national WMU, about those trips and her perspective on them from a WMU viewpoint. Catherine told me that every person who wanted to go on one of the tours had to be contacted. Mary Lou did this. Mary Lou had a solid grasp of why this trip was important and what a mission opportunity it was.

Catherine noted that while it was important for the Southern Baptists to go and to see the places where Lottie Moon had worked, the tours had a much greater importance in the encouragement they provided to the believers there. Catherine estimated that over 1000 people went on the tours and the tours were a way that Americans could have contact with the Christians in China. Russell Cherry, of Dehoney Travel, told me that no Americans ever went to Pingdu, and the other towns where Lottie worked. The only hotels were local. But the coming of the American Christians was a huge encouragement to the Christian community there.

My mother told me that on the last day her group was in China, one of their guides who had not told them much about himself asked the group if he could sing his favorite song for them. He sang “Jesus Loves Me.”  My mother would cry every time she told that story. Thank you, Mary Lou, for all you did to promote and coordinate those tours.

I came to know Mary Lou in 1998 when I first interviewed to serve as Kentucky WMU executive director. I did not get here until 1999 and Mary Lou had a big part in that, but that is another story for another day. But when I got here, I quickly learned that Mary Lou was involved in everything missions.

One her passions was Friendship International. She understood that God had sent the mission field here and she was to be a witness.  Mary Lou faithfully picked up international women and took them to Friendship every Wednesday.  She taught classes in English as a Second Language at all levels.  And when the extended family members of her Friendship students would come to visit, Mary Lou would invite the whole family to her home for a meal.

Carole Kemper, her co-teacher on the mission trip to Korea in 2008 said of Mary Lou: “She had a real talent for meeting strangers and making them feel at home.”

Mary Lou Crutcher w flagMary Lou served in missions through WMU. She had stints as church WMU director, associational WMU director, and as a member of the Kentucky WMU executive board. She valued Woman’s Missionary Union and our role in challenging Christian believers to understand and be radically involved in the mission of God. She understood the importance of keeping missions and God’s work around the world before the church so that people would pray, give, and get involved in missions.

Mary Lou was a regular volunteer in the Kentucky WMU office and spent countless hours filling orders for posters, prayer guides, and offering envelopes. Only the Lord knows the total given to missions because Mary Lou faithfully helped us send those materials to Kentucky Baptist churches.

Mary Lou left behind a collection of mementos and beautiful things from around the world. They are evidence not of a woman who traveled the world, though she did. Rather, they are a reminder to us of the love she had for all people of all nations and her desire to share the gospel of Jesus with everyone she met.

Mary Lou honored the commitment, “Wherever He Leads, I’ll Go,” and her challenge to us is that we would do the same.

Thanks be to God for his faithful servant, Mary Lou Crutcher.

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2015 Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting

We are in the countdown to Annual Meeting!  My thanks to Melissa Logsdon-Young who has again this year posted 40 days of prayer requests for Kentucky WMU.  Thanks to all on Facebook who have seen these and have prayed for us.

Debby Akerman 10 14 10 Sisterhood rooted in the faith logo Many people tell me that our Annual Meeting is a must attend event for them. There is excitement about missions, the fun of seeing friends from across the state, and the varied activities we have each year. This year we have the Sisterhood Christian Drama Team back with us.  I can’t tell you how many times someone has written on an evaluation form, “please bring back Sisterhood.”  You spoke and we listened.  We are also thrilled to have our national WMU president, Debby Akerman, with us once again. She is wrapping up her term as president in June, so you will want to be there to hear her reflections and to thank her for serving.

Our international missionaries represent three continents – Asia, Europe and Africa.  Join us as they share about their ministries and how your praying and giving through the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering makes their work possible. And we will welcome new Kentucky missionaries in the Friday evening session as they are commissioned to serve among us.

The Friday afternoon activities offer something for everyone. There are missionary conferences, ministry projects, and a Prayer Rally at the State Capitol.  Displays and the Book Store will also be open. Saturday will be lots of fun with the Missions Block Party following our morning session. The Block Party will take place rain or shine, so come dressed casually and enjoy the morning.

25 years of HFThe Kentucky WMU Heritage Fund is 25 years old this year.  We will have a special celebration in the Friday afternoon session.  And you don’t want to miss the WMU staff report which covers Kentucky WMU from A to Z!

No preregistration is required to attend Annual Meeting. Meal reservations have closed, but if you have not ordered one, just bring a sack lunch for Friday at noon. The schedule and additional information about Annual Meeting are posted online: www.kywmu.org/annualmeeting.

hopebridge_fb

In addition to all of our Annual Meeting activities, there is one more special opportunity. Please plan on staying after the conference on Sunday afternoon for an exclusive sneak preview of a film to be released nationally in May 2015. Christi and David Eaton, the creators, writers and producers of the film Hope Bridge will be here to share their experience and their film. After being impacted by suicide in their family, they felt a strong calling to do something about it. What began as a local movie or video exploded into a true movement in the area of suicide prevention. This feature film will be released in selected theaters on May 7 and nationally on DVD on May 26. Hope Bridge stars Kevin Sorbo (Hercules, God’s Not Dead) and Booboo Stewart (Twilight, XMEN: Days of Future Past) and is the story of a young man who tries to reconcile the suicide of his father. It is a powerful film and story, filmed right here in Kentucky. Christi and David will share their personal story and we will watch the film. We will begin at 1:15 and you should be on your way home by 3PM. Join us for this special event and join the movement to break down the stigma of suicide and get people talking. You can see the trailer and a preview of Christi and David’s story at www.hopebridgemovie.com.

If you absolutely cannot make the meeting, sessions will be shown via Livestream on your computer.  Links to each session: kywmu.org/annualmeeting/livestream.

It’s going to be a great Kentucky WMU gathering!  Join us in person or online.

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Mission trip to Malawi and Women’s Leadership Conference, Johannesburg

DSCN0746DSCN0791Kentucky WMU has been invited to send a WMU Team to Malawi to provide training for pastors’ wives. We will combine this with participating in the Baptist Women’s Leadership Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. It is a wonderful opportunity for Kentucky women to bless women in Malawi and to fellowship with women from around the world. The trip dates for both portions is July 9-22, 2015. (It is also possible to participate in the Malawi portion only.)

This will be the second trip to Malawi for Kentucky WMU.  In 2012 a team of seven provided a week of classes for the wives of seminary students. This time, all pastors’ wives from Malawi are invited to participate.  (Read about our 2012 trip.)

DSCN0750DSCN0828Projected Trip Information  (Schedule, cost, etc. are subject to change)
Cost:  $5,000 (includes airfare, mission team insurance, in-country expenses for meals & lodging, Women’s Conference fee). It is possible that this trip will cost less, depending on final cost for airline tickets. Participant will be responsible for meals en route, souvenirs, and other personal expenses.
Option: Participate in only the Malawi portion of the trip. ($4,000 – or less depending on airfare)
Team size:  6-8

Schedule:
July 9 – Depart Louisville   (two-days of travel via Atlanta)
July 10 – Arrive Johannesburg; Overnight at Baptist Guest House
July 11 – Depart Johannesburg; Arrive Lilongwe, Malawi; Lodging at Baptist Guest House
July 12 – Attend church service; Orientation and preparation for teaching
July 13-17 – Teach classes at Malawi Baptist Seminary for pastor’s wives
July 18 – Depart Lilongwe; Arrive Johannesburg.  Baptist Women’s Leadership Conference begins PM.
July 19-20 – Baptist Women’s Leadership Conference*
July 21 – Conference concludes by noon.  Depart Johannesburg PM
July 22 – Arrive Louisville

DSCN0937Team members needed to classes such as:
Bible (OT/ NT – topics such as the Beatitudes, Proverbs 31, etc.)
Prayer & Worship / Spiritual life development
How to Be a Good Pastor’s Wife
Health issues including high blood pressure, dental hygiene, diabetes, ulcers, and cancer (especially cervical cancer which is the most prevalent cancer among women in Malawi).
Good health practices / first aid (especially for cuts and bites)
Maternal health issues
Care of children – how to keep them healthy (hygiene, nutrition, diarrhea, pneumonia, etc.)
Crafts – sewing a simple bag

AriseShineWORDS2
*2015 Baptist Women’s Leadership Conference
July 18-21, 2015 – Indaba Hotel & Conference Center, Fourways, Johannesburg, South Africa
Theme: “Arise, Shine” – “Arise, shine; for your light has come!” Isaiah 60:1
Information about the conference on line: http://www.bwawd.org/2015-leadership-conference
(Full trip fee includes this conference and registration.  Kentucky WMU will register our team.)

SAmapApplication and deposit of $1,000 due by March 15, 2015. Payment of $2,000 due by May 1, 2015. Balance of $2,000 due by June 15, 2015.  For an application form, contact Joy Bolton, Kentucky WMU, 502-489-3423 or 866-489-3423  or email:  Joy.Bolton@kybaptist.org

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Why the Heritage Fund Matters

hf banner 12015 marks the 25th Anniversary of the Kentucky WMU Heritage Fund.  I am grateful for the foresight of WMU leaders to begin this endowment which was established for the purpose of developing, promoting, strengthening and sustaining the work of Kentucky WMU.  There is not an area of our work that the Heritage Fund does not touch.

The Heritage Fund matters to our work in missions education and involvement. It is one of several sources of funding that are vital to our on-going work. These include the Cooperative Program, Eliza Broadus Offering, and other endowment funds with distributions designated for Kentucky WMU. We are also blessed by the Second Century Fund of the National WMU Foundation which provides a distribution to each state WMU and by the Kentucky Touch Tomorrow Today endowment.

These various funding sources, plus event fees, make it possible for Kentucky WMU to offer first rate events and missions opportunities led by a wonderful staff and many volunteers. At a time when Cooperative Program (CP) funds coming to Kentucky WMU have declined, we have been able to maintain our staff and services in part because of the growth of endowment funds.

The decline in CP funds is a good thing in that in 2010 the Kentucky Baptist Convention made the significant decision to raise the portion of CP funds going beyond our state for Southern Baptist work, including international and North American missions. I was a member of the task force that made that recommendation and we gladly adjusted our budget to make more funds available for missions beyond Kentucky. The original plan was to reach the 50-50 split by 2018, but under the leadership of Dr. Paul Chitwood, Executive Director of the KBC, we reached this milestone effective with the 2013-14 budget year. A decline in CP giving since 2010, however, has made the budget adjustments even more challenging.  In 2009-10 Kentucky WMU received $496,395 in CP funds. For the 2015-16 budget year, we expect to receive $415,000.

Our work is also funded in part by the Eliza Broadus Offering. Kentucky WMU is the sponsor of the Eliza Broadus Offering and has the responsibility and privilege of setting the offering allocations. We do this cooperatively with Dr. Chitwood based on requests from KBC staff for missions mobilization, evangelism, church planting, collegiate ministry, language missions and much more. A portion is also used for our work in missions education for all ages which includes resources, training, events, camps, and much more. Even with the adjustments in CP funding, we have raised the level of Eliza Broadus Offering funding going for missions through the Kentucky Baptist Convention and the amount for associational and special ministry grants. In 2009-10, EBO funding for KBC missions ministries and grants was $840,000.  In 2015-16, it will be $990,000. Thank you for increased giving to the Eliza Broadus Offering making this report possible!

Kentucky WMU has been able to absorb the decline in the Cooperative Program and increase EBO distributions in part because of the Heritage Fund and other endowments and investments. Kentucky WMU is blessed to have these resources and we seek to be faithful stewards in using them for Kingdom work.  We have also been able to help several smaller state WMU’s as well as assist with some international projects. While we are careful in the use of our resources, we do not hoard them when they are needed. This year we plan to purchase needed equipment for Kentucky Changers and build our own storage facility for this ministry. Kentucky Changers takes a significant amount of equipment and good stewardship requires that we take care of it between summer seasons.

As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Heritage Fund, you are invited to give $25 in honor of someone who has impacted your life for missions.  We invite you to give 25 in honor of the past 25 to fund the next 25! There will be a special Give 25 emphasis at Annual Meeting. But you don’t have to wait.  Online giving is available for giving anytime to support the ministries of Kentucky WMU.

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RAMCON = Boys, Missions Learning, Mission Action and Fun

ramcon panelRoyal Ambassadors love to challenge each other in various competitions, listen to missionaries tell about their work, and lend a helping hand to people in need.  RAMCON 2015 will give boys the opportunity to do all three of these fun and exciting things on the same day.

The Kentucky state Royal Ambassador Missions Congress (RAMCON) will be held Saturday, March 21, at Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Central City.  The event will feature Royal Racers, a Rain Gutter Regatta, two great missionary speakers, and a mission project.

RAs know all about building a Royal Racers car and competing for the honor of taking home a medal.  Many of them, however, have never participated in a Rain Gutter Regatta.  RAMCON will give them that opportunity this year.  With the cost of the sailboat kit included in the registration fee, every boy in attendance will receive a wooden boat kit that he will decorate and assemble before racing it down the water-filled rain gutter.  Medals will be awarded to the top finishers in both the Lad and Crusader divisions.

When they are not racing their cars and boats, Royal Ambassadors will gather in the church sanctuary to learn about the work and experiences of Aaron Harvie, a church planting strategist with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and the North American Mission Board, and Robbie Gray, a Southern Seminary student and member of the Acts 1:8 Experience team that worked at Mission Adventure Camp and in South Africa last summer.

For the mission project, Royal Ambassadors will be asked to bring new socks and underwear for adolescent boys.  These items will be collected and delivered to the Muhlenberg County Baptist Association to be distributed to needy boys through the Crisis Closet ministry.

RAMCON 2015 is for Royal Ambassadors, other mission-minded boys, and their leaders.  The registration fee is $15 and includes the program fee, lunch and a sailboat kit.  Registration for leaders is $10 and includes the program fee and lunch.  The entry fee for Royal Racers is $5, which will be collected on the day of RAMCON when the car is weighed and checked in.

To learn more about RAMCON 2015, go to kywmu.org/ramcon.  Online registration is available at the website.  A form can also be printed out for mail-in registration.  Early bird registration ends March 13.

For additional information, contact:
Jon Auten, RA/Challenger Consultant, Kentucky WMU, PO Box 436569, Louisville, KY  40253-6567
Email: jon.auten@kybaptist.org
Web: www.kywmu.org/ramcon

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Take It to the Streets with Creative Arts

CMF frontUsing creative arts to share the gospel will be the focus of Creative Ministries Festival 2.0 – Taking It to the Streets, March 6-7, 2015 at Living Hope Baptist Church, Bowling Green, Kentucky.  The event will include classes in creative arts, a missions fair, and block parties where participants will use their skills to present the gospel. General sessions will feature guest artist Jeff Smith, director of Salt and Light Ministries, Richmond, VA.

Creative Ministries Festival 2.0 is a two-day experience that will equip students and adults to share the gospel in creative ways. The 2.0 version refers to new features and a missions emphasis that has been added to the traditional elements of this popular event which recently came under the sponsorship of Kentucky WMU.  Five workshop times will be offered to teach techniques and routines in areas such as puppets, balloons, interpretive movement, sign, “God Rods,” skits, juggling, face painting, magic, lip synch, clowning, and human video.

The event theme “Taking It to the Streets” emphasizes the importance of using creative arts to tell others about Jesus. During a missions fair on Friday evening, students will meet missionaries and ministry leaders who want to have creative ministry teams come serve in their location. Every participant will attend a workshop on sharing the gospel and will be encouraged to use creative arts in missions.

“Taking It to the Streets” will become a reality on Saturday when students use their creative arts skills in four simultaneous block parties in the Bowling Green area.  Sites have been selected to help a new church plant as well as outreach in needy communities. Every group will be assigned to participate in a block party and groups may sign up in advance to perform routines that they have prepared in advance.

Guest artist Jeff Smith uses drama, music and storytelling in his unique brand of ministry. He offers basic instruction on a variety of creative arts, but his niche is creative movement and human video where he is known as “The Rodfather.”

Creative arts workshop leaders include: Dawn Baker, Tim Bertram, Felicia Bland, David Buckner, Lori Durbin, Katherine Gilbert, George Halitzka, Ashley Hicks, Karen Holbrook, David and Susan Huffman, Terry and Sharon Kelly, Peggy Leach, Beth Swadley, and Matt Tullos. Conferences for adult leaders on planning mission trips, block parties, on-going missions involvement for students, and other topics will also be offered.

The registration fee per person is $20. Registration information and other event details are found at www.kywmu.org/cmf. For more information contact Peggy Murphy at 502-489-3457.

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