Foretaste of Heaven by June Rice

June gave me permission to share her most recent column for the Paintsville Herald and Butler County Banner.  I always like to read her observations about our events.  Enjoy!

Foretaste of Heaven
June Rice

     I had a foretaste of what heaven will be like when I attended the Annual Meeting of the Kentucky Woman’s Missionary Union in Somerset, Kentucky, last week.

      I have been attending the Annual Meetings since the one in 1969. I remember the theme as being “Shaping the 70’s” where they changed some of the names of organizations and streamlined the W.M.U., which had been organized in 1888.

     That particular year the meeting was at a church somewhere in West Kentucky, and the speaker was an employee of the National WMU, Betty Jo Corum. She was an effective speaker and she was blunt in saying that the WMU raised millions of dollars for missions each year and handed it over “for the men to spend.” According to what I learned last week, these days we are doing a pretty good job of spending the money that comes in on missions of our choice! That year, I remember a very young Anna Mary Hack (now Byrdwell) who only retired from the state WMU office a couple of years ago. She was a ball of fire then, and has been a wonderful encourager all these years.

     Since 1969, I have gone to as many Annual Meetings as I have been able. I have been on the WMU Executive Board for three three-year terms, meeting lovely missions-minded women from all over Kentucky each year. Through WMU, I got to go to England, to Brazil, to St. Lucia, to Arizona to a National meeting, for training in Birmingham, to Richmond, VA, for the WMU’s 100th birthday celebration; all the time meeting more and more lovely people who loved the Lord.

      Last week I was blessed to be able to go with my daughter, Cathy, who has also spent three years as a WMU Board member, and we were joined by granddaughter Jennifer, who is a WMU member at her church in Danville.

      The theme this year was “Live Sent,” and we were reminded that we Christians are a letter sent from God to everybody we come in contact with, and our job is to spread God’s message.

      I was so happy to see so very many of the ladies I had got to know as I worked on projects with them as we were Board members together. We had one dinner for all ex-board members and we got to see each other and smooze for an hour or so. I was happy to see Uneva Graves, who was such a good influence on my daughter, Patti. She played the piano at First Baptist Church in Paintsville, and taught with me at Paintsville High School. Her little boy, Steven, was just a year or so younger than my son, Steve, and they were very good friends.

     It was wonderful to see Laverne Sublette, from far west Kentucky, Sara Billups Murray, with whom I got snowbound in Birmingham one time, and found that she is now President of the West Virginia WMU! I saw ever so many of my WMU buddies that I have known over the last forty years that I will know when I get to heaven, I will really enjoy getting together with all those wonderful friends.

      I was impressed that the WMU ladies had furnished 5,000 small blankets to give to the Disaster Relief Team to give to children  whose homes have been destroyed and their toys gone and their parents distracted trying to get their lives back together. My daughter has been helping get ladies to sew labels in the blankets telling the recipients that God loves them, and the blankets are gifts from the Kentucky Baptist Convention. When the labels are sewed on, the blankets are folded, put in a plastic bag, and the air sucked out and the envelope sealed. This helps keep the blanket clean until needed, and much easier to store. Many of the blankets have already gone out to the recent tornado victims.

      Linda Cooper, the state President, gave us a hilarious recap of all we heard. I will share one of her observations:  “We are a letter of Christ that anyone can read by just looking at us. Christ Himself wrote it, not with ink, but with God’s living Spirit; a message written on our hearts in the red blood of Christ’s great sacrifice. But have you ever said, ‘That’s not what I had in mind, God?’ Why do we explain to the Sender why we aren’t being sent? If we are teaching going, we need to be going ourselves. We also learned that we can lose our job if God wants something done! Thank you Debby [Akerman, who challenged us each session]! You truly challenged us to Live Sent!”

     There was a lot more, but you had to be there to understand what heaven is going to be like!

Linda Cooper’s Annual Meeting Wrap Up

President’s Closing Remarks
Annual Meeting, March 24, 2012

Wow! God has been among us!  We asked Him to Shine on Us and He sure did!  Now, may we be a Shining Light to the Nations.  Thank you, Dr. Jay…yes, we have a Dr. Jay…Padgett that is.  Thank you for leading us to the throne through song.  Welcome home Jeannie!  Your talents on the piano are “sent” from God.  And you birthed a missionary.

We are a letter of Christ that anyone can read by just looking at us.  Christ Himself wrote it, not with ink but with God’s living Spirit; a message written on our hearts in the red blood of Christ’s great sacrifice. But, have you ever said, “That’s not what I had in mind, God?” Why do we explain to the sender, why we aren’t being sent? If we are teaching going, we need to be going ourselves.  We also learned that you can lose your job if God wants something done!  Thank you, Debby!  You truly challenged us to “Live Sent!” And I knew everyone would love you.

First timers! To annual meeting, that is. I’ve got a feeling they’ll be back.  Were you recognized?  Missionaries, missionaries everywhere!  Did you get a ribbon?  We are honored to have you. 

My DOM was here! Thank you, Bro. Jeff for your support.

In Kazakhstan, you can have a 5th child that is the oldest in the family.  Hmmmm.  Planting churches, sharing Jesus and loving students, driving a Toyota Siena…makes you say thank you KY WMU.  Because we are not reaching the world fast enough, God is “sending” the world to us, even if they are building Mosques, we can go inside and still pray in Jesus’ name.  Thank you Harold.

Rebecca, an MSC Missionary led us to pray for missionaries having a birthday today.  Be sure and tape the prayer calendar over the kitchen sink so you can pray.  You’ll be able to recognize a missionary because they look just like you!

Thank you Dr. Toby, Diane and committees, and Beacon Hill Baptist Church.  We can’t thank you enough.  I know you don’t have enough restrooms but you could have provided some depends!

God is everywhere!  Even in our gas tanks! Have you ever questioned God?  Raising troubled teenage girls can make you do just that.  But, prayer works, not fear.  Thank you Sunrise.

Then we had a Celebration…singers that is who taught us that we need Jesus to come to our rescue.  Where else can we go?

To Macedonia, maybe?  Have you heard the Macedonian call today…Joe did and he is plowing through concrete there.  There are so many lost people.  2 million in population.  Can 2 Baptist Churches handle that?  If they had WMU they could! I wonder what would happen if you yelled sic ’em to those large and expensive shepherd dogs.  They could maybe speed up that mule they entered in the KY Derby!  Thank you Joe…we will pray.

Give to ministries to missionaries.  Those missionaries can really stretch a dime. You can pray that your children become a missionary…stay faithful, it might be the youngest child.  You have to come to my home church to announce your call to the mission field.  It’s been happening since 1952.  But where are the days when every lady is signed up with a WMU group before you get to seminary.  Did you know there is a Land Rover named Lottie in Nigeria?  Fruit cocktail – pity party- chicken, rice and tea – priceless.  Thank you WMU for always being there and you NEVER stopped praying but what is this about a trap door???? I need to find out about it!

Joy didn’t know the video from Dr. Eliff was coming…but God did.  He sent a personal thank you to us for keeping the Great Commission in the forefront.  We learned that:  A person left with a Bible, becomes a Christian, but a Baptist left with a Bible becomes a missionary.

Happy retirement, Bro. Cheek.  Now, reach out and take the hand of the person next to you, envision God touching you…now be sent, but turn off those cell phones and wear your name tag.  Register! You might win a prize.  What room can you go in and hear, “My husband is going to kill me?” You do have to pay for the baskets you take.

Missions displays, WMU store, boxed lunch, items for collection projects, silent auction, KY WMU Heritage Fund and for goodness sake, turn to pages 38-39 in your program!

Go eat lunch, but come right back.  By the way, you will love your lunch box.

Here I am Lord because I know that You are Mighty to save.  How many of you have claimed the promise of Jeremiah 29:11?  To truly “Live Sent” we need to be encouragers and nurturers…and we can do that through WMU because the Lord has gone before us and will instruct us in the way we should go to declare His glory among the nations. 

EBO is down…will you give?…please put it in an envelope.

Arlene said you can’t tell a DOM no.  Read the note in your pocket and call the man back!  Miss negative is not good.  You know God will meet your EVERY need…check your pocket.

We’ve got a story to tell to the nations!!!  Now the meeting can officially begin.  But you must first turn off your cell phone and turn to pages 38-39.

Now down to business.  The Boys are back!!!!  Do we need a second?  No, the president will appoint him…she was elected again, she might as well do something.  A new board…meeting at 7 am. In the morning.  You have been called out, a special calling.  Don’t worry, He will enable you.  He’ll have to…there’s 4 Linda’s!!!!  Thank you Peggy Hicks…you have remained faithful.

WMU is financially sound.  EBO allocations makes spending money fun.  But don’t forget to teach tithing!

Thank you staff and Dr. Joy Seuss.  We have the best!

Announcement!!!  WANDA IS NOT FOR HIRE!!!!!!!!  Good luck finding the conferences though,…some have moved rooms.

Welcome to the piano, Eddie.  Are we really in a Baptist Church?  I’m loving that music…thank you Beacon Hill Choir.

He is Lord and He is sending you all to live missionally because God’s timing is always perfect. 

Let’s go to dinner.  Do you want Indian, Thai, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Austrian, Ethiopian, Irish, or Southern?  Well, what language will we have to speak?  Spanish, German, French, Russian, Hungarian or maybe English.  Never mind, I’m not hungry any more.

WMU charter members are found in Luke 8:1-3.  They went on mission trips sharing the things of Jesus to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and then to the ends of the earth.  That’s how we heard.  Because it’s a God sized job to transplant a mature tree to Myrtle Beach.  I told you not to ask if you didn’t want to hear the answer.  Where is your Samaria?  I hope you “Live Sent” there.

Susan PROMISES to have us out of here for that little game later tonight but right now we need to have a talk with some RA’s GA’s and CIA’s.  You remember the time when the North fought against the South,…well, the East is about to fight the West.  Thank you Bill, John, Melissa, George, Cathy and Arlene.  Those questions they fired at you, were challenging.  You dodged the bullets well so the entire state wins.  They’re yelling, SEND ME, O LORD, SEND ME!!!  As did the Missionary of the year, Lee.  You know he goes to the airport every day and hasn’t flown out yet!  We’ll have to pray that he learns that you have to buy a ticket first!  But, he is talking a mean green bean, though.  I’ve got mine…I’m going to carry them around with me until I lead someone to Christ!

I’ll be sure to watch all the messes out there…I’m prepared to clean them up one by one.

LISTEN!!! There is power in that.  WMU, keep praying, loving, and listening….Live Sent, you’ve been doing it a long time.

You even helped the economy in KY!! By purchasing over 5,000 blankets.  Can we cover the state with that many?   Or maybe just the areas of disasters.

Speaking of disasters, did you hear about the 3 golfers who died?  It’s ok, it has a good ending…one of them came back as Joy Bolton!!!!  We don’t care if man lists famous men by name…no….because God lists famous women and they were there when the greatest event of all time happened.

How can 20-25 at preaching and 18 in Sunday School assess damages after a tornado, send a shower unit, a kitchen unit, chain saw crew, and communication set up?  Through CP, EBO and disaster relief and we can do it too!!  Are you a Mrs. Smith or a Mrs. Cox to a little boy at your church who has caused a storm?  More storms are coming and we’ve been sent to tell them there is a shelter in Christ.  Thanks Dr. Chitwood.

Now, turn off those cell phones and turn to pages 38-39 for the last time or you will get a bad evaluation!  Now let’s fall down and cry Holy as we sing to the king!  Because He is all we need.  All 755 of you found that out this weekend.  Did you win a basket?…then pay up!

“…you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”  I think I got it!  Thanks you so much Debby.  But, you know how you said you like to research a word in the Bible?  Well, there’s a lady in our church who did that once, too.  When asked why she never married, she said she found the answer in the Bible after putting several verses together.  It says, “I would not have you, ignorant brethren.”

Glory is the fullness of God.  “When God gives His glory, He gives Himself.  He cannot parcel Himself out in pieces – no man receives a portion, but all.  The one who receives His mercy also gets His love and all else that is the fullness of God.” The most important words in the Bible are come and go.”  And WMU does just that.  From Mission Friends to Women on Mission, WMU equips those who have come to Christ, to go with God on mission!

The disciples were the first RA’s…much like todays RA’s however they raced boats instead of cars!  Did you hear that boys speak a different language.  But, prayer will open doors. Thanks, John.  Those boys are really living sent!

Lottie was an Acteen!  The “Heathen Helper!?!?”  I guess they didn’t have to be politically correct back then.

WE ARE WMU!  AND YOU ARE PRICELESS!  How has God spoken to you @755?  More give aways!!!  What kind of car did those set of keys go with.  The keys probably belong to the person who lost their glasses…without the glasses, they couldn’t see the keys!  What kind of car do they fit anyway?

Thank ye, Thank ye, Thank ye!!!  NO, missionaries, thank you!

We really have a circle of friends – thank you.

I need a break!!!  Forget the restroom………

Oh my, I’ve got to get an outfit…for annual meeting next year in Hopkinsville!  I’ve been invited!  Should it be 125 years old?  I hear there’s a party going on!  I hope it’s not a disaster!

Out of the mouths of babes:  “Can we stay a little longer with the Disaster Relief?”  I think they saw Jesus.

I say Glory to God!  ‘Cause my chains are gone.  The Acts 1:8 team has it all together.   They’re going to work our camps…and help me with my computer!

Now, I am ready to Live Sent.  Let’s shout it to the North, South, East and the West…to the whole world with our voices and our lives!   I’m a Christian!!!!!!!!!!! And you can be one too.  Let me tell you about my Jesus.

Many of you have encouraged me this weekend.  Please continue to pray for me…I know you will.  Let’s pray now.

Thank you for coming!!!!!

Blankets, Annual Meeting & EBO

The response to the appeal for blankets has been overwhelming.  As of March 19, we have received 4,745 blankets and we are still counting! Thank you so much.  Volunteers have been counting the blankets and sewing on labels which identify each blanket as a gift from Kentucky Baptists. Blankets were ready to go when the first teams went out to respond to the recent tornados. 

The first blankets went with Disaster Relief Chaplains who took them to give to children as they ministered to families who have lost so much.  Then our new Childcare Unit was called up to West Liberty.  It has been exciting to see pictures of children holding or laying down on a blanket that was sent by loving Kentucky Baptists.  Thank you!

Join us this weekend, March 23-24, at Beacon Hill Baptist Church in Somerset for the Kentucky WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting.  A missions packed two-day event is planned.  The program includes international, North American, and Kentucky missionaries.  Fourteen missions conferences plus ministry projects will be offered on Friday afternoon.  The Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting is the gathering place for everyone who cares about missions.  Women, men, girls and boys are all invited. 

Tom Westerfield, President of Kentucky Baptist Men on Mission and KBC Disaster Relief Communications Leader, will lead a Disaster Relief conference during the Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting.  He will provide information on the ways you can be involved in Disaster Relief and give us an update on the work of the new Childcare Unit. For a schedule and other information, go to

Because of your gifts to EBO and the Cooperative Program, our Kentucky Disaster Relief units are ready to go when disasters strike.  While additional gifts for disaster relief are always welcome to meet overwhelming needs such as the recent tornados, EBO and CP provide foundational support that is vital.  This year’s Eliza Broadus Offering allocations includes $28,000 for Disaster Relief.  $7,000 of that amount was allocated for the new Child Care Unit.

 We have not yet reached the $1,250,000 goal for the 2011-12 Eliza Broadus Offering.  Your gifts will help support missions across Kentucky.  Start a chain reaction.  Give to the Eliza Broadus Offering and come to our Annual Meeting for a missions celebration!

PS: If you have access to a RA racer, bring it along to race against mine or others made by our WMU staff.  A RA racer track will be set up in the display area as we say “welcome home” to Royal Ambassadors!


How far can EBO go?

A note by email was received in the Long Run Baptist Association office.  A copy eventually found its way to me because everyone who works with Friendship International was so excited to hear from a former participant.  Friendship International is a ministry started by Long Run Baptist Association WMU.  Each year the Eliza Broadus Offering has assisted Friendship International in three locations in Kentucky with outreach to internationals living in Kentucky. This note conveys just how important this ministry can be and how it can spread beyond Kentucky. (For security, the note has been edited.)

This is a mail for friends at Friendship International (FI). I am not sure who might be reading this mail, somebody from the church or from FI…. Well, I am so excited I am able to get on your website. I am one of the ladies who had been attending FI and have been so blessed by the ministry you do for the Lord and for women like me. My husband and I with our little boy moved into Louisville Village Manor apartments in 2005. I was very sad and bored there because I was so far away from home and family. But ever since I started attending Friendship International, my life changed.  I made a lot of friends, who cared so much for me, my interests and also cared for my boy and later on BOYS!

I remember many of the volunteers who helped me, Mary (the one who had served in Japan for a long time), Mary Bolton, Phronsie Quinn, Peggy – pianist, Martha – the Bible study teacher, My cross-stitch teacher, and many others! I looked forward to meeting all my friends on Wednesdays. When we left after my husband’s studies at SBTS, I made up my mind on helping women like me in India with a similar kind of place like FI. But due to certain circumstances and a few changes in life, I was unable to do exactly what I had in mind. I still have this in mind. I am praying about it and want to help the women here in India. We are in North India … living in a village area where more than 90% of the people are Hindus and women don’t have any opportunities of working or even hearing words of encouragement. I just pray that God will give me the courage and open ways for me to do what He wants me to do. Please remember me in your prayers. Just want to say…that I still have lots of fond memories of Friendship International and I miss being there. You have a very important role in molding my life. Thank you very much. Please convey my love and regards to all our friends at FI. God Bless. Please don’t ever stop this ministry!

March Missions Mosaic

The March Missions Mosaic is another special issue!  The Week of Prayer for North American Missions articles were written by our own Shirley Cox of Mount Vernon.  Shirley’s writing touches many lives.  These articles are being read across our country as people pray and give for missions in North America.  Thank you, Shirley, for your passion to tell missions stories and encourage people to respond as God leads.

Among the letters to the editor was one from a WMU group that had provided a baby shower for 30 women in Jasper, Kentucky. They worked with Bessie McPeek, also known as the diaper lady.  Bessie was featured on the front of Missions Mosaic several years ago thanks to a story by Shirley Cox.

And then on the last page, Wanda Lee wrote about a visit to Korea  and of being in the KBWMU office.  During the visit with Sook Jae Lee, executive director, Wanda had noted a picture of Lucy Wagner, an IMB missionary, who influenced the development of WMU in Korea.  Because Kentucky WMU had a partnership with Korea WMU from 2006-10, I was most interested in this article.  During my own visits to the KBWMU office, I had also noted the picture of Lucy Wagner and heard how much that Sook Jae appreciated  her influence. 

Please continue to pray for Sook Jae and Soonshil (who came here to seminary and worked with us).  Soonshil has been named the new executive director and is serving as co-director until Sook Jae retires next year.  We are thankful for our connection with Korea Baptist WMU and will always rejoice in the Lord’s blessings on their work.  Likewise, give thanks for Lucy Wagner whose name still appears on the missionary prayer calendar on Feb. 21.