This month my family has been on a journey as we experienced the critical illness of my mother, Dorothy Luebbert, and her home going on June 23. In preparing for her funeral, I put together a PowerPoint of pictures across the years. There were many significant moments captured. What stood out to me in the midst of putting the pictures together was that mom was always there. Whatever the occassion, she and dad made the trip to be with us.
As we outlined the funeral service, I had one song that I wanted to be sure we included: “We’ve a Story to Tell.” This hymn has been the GA song as long as I can remember. My mother was a GA leader for many years when I was young. She was never my group leader, but she taught the Intermediate GAs and they often met at our house. She was also the Associational GA leader and would plan quarterly GA rallies as well as weeks of camp. Missionary speakers for those events often had meals at our house. So, between the GAs gathered around the table or the missionaries who ate with us, I often say that I learned missions at my dining room table.
While my mother had great influence on me in many ways, I think her WMU influence was the most significant. Through the work of the countless missionaries for whom she has prayed, given money, or taught others about their work, her missions legacy lives on. Through the girls she taught and the things they have done in missions, her legacy lives on. Through my own work with WMU, her legacy lives on.
Mother was active in WMU all her life. She served as a church WMU director, missions group leader, and in other roles. She stopped leading GAs, however, when WMU made changes in 1970, starting Girls in Action and Acteens in place of Junior Girls Auxiliary and Intermediate Girls Auxiliary. She said that she did not want to start over in all the stuff she had accumulated through the years to do GAs. So, even though I was just in grade school and middle school during her GA leadership years that touched my life, those were formative years. I point this out as an encouragement to all missions leaders with children and teenagers. Keep investing. You are leaving a missions legacy that will continue beyond your life time.
Among the many things I learned from my mother, I learned how to write well, present a missions program, and make posters and displays (and even though I do graphics on the computer now, the same principles apply). These are all skills that I still use today.
With great gratitude, I say thanks and pay tribute to my mother. Her missions legacy lives on!