Angel Tree Ministry of Prison Fellowship

Throughout our communities you will find Christmas trees with “angel” tags, listing the name of a needy child.  This is a wonderful ministry and many families include blessing another family as a part of their Christmas celebration.

Another important Angel Tree ministry is that of Prison Fellowship.  This ministry provides gifts for children in the name of his or her incarcerated parent. 

We have been alerted by Claudia Riner of Christ Is King Baptist Church that while nearly 4,000 Angel Tree children in Kentucky have been adopted through the Prison Fellowship ministry, there are yet 1600 who need a sponsor.  Claudia involves her church in this ministry and asked us to pass the word about this need.

To learn more about the ministries of Prison Fellowship, go to   The web address for the Angel Tree ministry of Prison Fellowship is   Mary Hamelin is the contact person for this area.  You can reach her at:  571-252-6833 or (800) 55-ANGEL, extension 6833.


As Claudia said in her email: “Even if a $15 Walmart card could be mailed with a Gospel tract (Angel Tree provides the tracts without charge) to a child from his or her incarcerated parent, that would be wonderful.”


The Week of Prayer for International Missions is December 2-9. The prayer guide, videos, and other materials call upon up to “Be His Heart, His Hands, His Voice.” 

We begin in prayer.  The prayer guide includes information for praying daily for international missions.  Since the days of Paul, missionaries have asked for prayer in support of their endeavors. Paul asked the believers in Ephesus to pray for his efforts in sharing the gospel: “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.  Pray that I may declare it fearlessly” (Eph. 6:19, 20b NIV).  Missionaries today would like for you to pray this for them, too.

We demonstrate where our heart is through giving. Jesus crystalized this truth when He said, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:21 NIV).   The early church recognized the importance of giving to support missions and Paul commended the Corinthians for contributing to the work of believers in other places.  Note the outcome of such giving: “Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and everyone else” (2 Cor. 9:13 NIV).  Who will praise God because a missionary was supported to come and share the gospel?  Our giving makes it possible for lost people to hear the good news of a Savior.

We are His voice as we share in witnessing to the lost. International missionaries depend on us to be His voice locally as they go globally.  Our own participation in sharing the gospel is vital.  Not only are we surrounded by lost family, friends, classmates, and neighbors, but our communities are now home to people from the nations. Opportunities to be His voice to internationals are right here in Kentucky, and who knows just how far the message of salvation shared here will travel!  As international students, business leaders, tourists and others come to our state and either return home or continue in contact with people in their home countries, the message we share here can travel there.

Materials for the 2012 Week of Prayer for International Missions and Lottie Moon Christmas Offering have been sent to Kentucky Baptist churches utilizing a standing order for missions materials.  A standing order can be started or updated simply by calling the Kentucky WMU office (866-489-3534 or 502-489-3534).

Let’s be oBEdient this year.  Let’s pray, give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, and use our voices to share the reason for the season!

Thanksgiving & EBO

I’ve noticed that a number of people on Facebook are posting things for which they are thankful.  The hymn “Count Your Many Blessings” reminds us to “name them one by one.” So in this short blog, let me name a few.

I am thankful for the privilege of leading Kentucky WMU and of being a spokesperson for missions education and involvement. I am grateful for opportunities to promote state missions and the Eliza Broadus Offering.  I appreciate Kentucky Baptist leaders who value the offering and our emphasis on state missions. I give thanks for WMU leaders and churches who faithfully give, pray, and get involved in ministries across our state.

Thank you Kentucky Baptists for the largest month ever in EBO history.  We received a total of $541,986.82 in October, bringing the two-month total to $558,403.58. This is well on our way to reaching our goal of $1,250,000.

Does our giving make a difference? It did to over 300 students who attended Engage, the international student retreat, held November 2-4 in Cave City. During this event, international students, many who are still adjusting to life in the United States, find a place to gather with others. They are welcomed, affirmed, and loved during the weekend. They have fun and hear the gospel from other students as well as program presenters.

It made a difference to the 500 girls in grades 1-6 and their leaders who attended our state GA JAM event on November 9.  JAM stands for Jesus and Missions.  It is a day-long interactive missions learning experience and provides many opportunities for girls to hear, see, touch, and taste missions. With the theme “City Jam,” participants learned about missions in cities including many in Kentucky.

EBO is still making a difference to people affected by Hurricane Sandy. EBO funds for disaster relief help to put gas in vehicles, provide supplies and purchase equipment used in disaster responses. Most importantly, people are hearing the gospel from disaster relief volunteers.

The Eliza Broadus Offering year is September 1 to August 31 and contributions are received all year long. It’s never too late to give and for that I give thanks.  I thank the Lord and I thank you!

WMU Report at the KBC Annual Meeting

It is always an honor to represent Kentucky WMU at events such as the Kentucky Baptist Convention Annual Meeting. Our recent meeting at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington was a special time for gathering with Kentucky Baptists and celebrating 175 years of  ministry.  Here is the text of the WMU report given in the afternoon session. 

When I read a good novel, I often find myself wishing for a sequel so that the story could continue on.  In WMU we have good news, The Story Lives On.  It’s a story that began in Luke 8:1-3 with women who were the first to provide financial support for the ministry of Jesus. Women have always found a way to raise money for missions! 

It has continued across the years through the work of women like Annie Armstrong, Lottie Moon, and Eliza Broadus.  It continues today in the work of missionaries, missions education leaders, and missions volunteers.

In 2013 we will be celebrating two WMU milestones – the 125th birthday of WMU and the 100th anniversary of the Eliza Broadus Offering.  When WMU was formed in 1888, Eliza was elected as the first vice-president from Kentucky, a position she held until 1920.  She was a leader in Kentucky WMU for a period of 50 years and led Kentucky WMU to start a state missions offering in 1913. Kentucky WMU named the offering in her honor starting in 1976.

Our 2012 state missions emphasis theme is Bold Hope.  The messenger bags include a copy of this year’s prayer guide which features eight ministries which give hope to people who need to know Jesus. The prayer guide also includes information about the Eliza Broadus Offering and how it will be used for Kentucky missions this year. Thank you for your gifts and support of Kentucky missions.

In WMU we have a new tag line – missions for life.  It is a great descriptor of what we want to happen in the life of every believer. It also points to the staying power of WMU – for life.  While many other ministries have come and gone, WMU is still at work to carry out our vision to challenge Christian believers to understand and be radically involved in the mission of God.

I believe that the resilience of WMU is found in objectives which guide everything we do and which are practical expressions of being involved in the mission of God. The objectives are to:
– Pray for missions
– Engage in mission action and witnessing
– Learn about missions
– Support missions
– Develop spiritually towards a missions lifestyle
– Participate in the work of the church and the denomination

These objectives are things we want every missions organization, women’s or men’s group, Bible study class, and congregation to be about.  In listing them, there is no order according to importance.  Each objective informs and impacts the other.  They are so interrelated that it is difficult to think of them independently.  Taken together, these objectives provide a comprehensive and holistic approach to missions for life.

We invite you to join us in our celebration as we celebrate the radical stories of WMU – past and present, connect our stories as we forge our future, and commit to tell the gospel story and ignite a passion for the Great Commission in all generations because “The Story Lives On.”

WMU testimony from a WKU student

Jessie Morgan, a student at Western Kentucky University, sent an email to Linda Cooper after meeting her at an event.  Linda then shared the email at our Kentucky WMU October Board meeting. I was so glad to meet Jessie last weekend at Engage, our KBC international student retreat.  Jessie was there as a family group leader and an encourager to international students who had come for the weekend.  She is passionate about sharing Christ with internationals and told us about spending this past summer doing just that at WKU.  Her email to Linda reveals where the passion began.

When I was six years old, I started getting involved in Girls in Action at my small Southern Baptist church.  Each year I would go to GA camp. At first is was just overnight camp with my mom or aunt, and as I got older, I went to week-long camp.  The camp was always held at Camp Cedarmore [Cedar Crest, WMU camp at Cedarmore] in Bagdad, Kentucky. Each summer I would leave with a more refreshed and clear vision of missions in my state and my world. I went to camp until the age of 12 and it was in my last year at camp that God truly opened my eyes to my role in world missions.  I can still remember listening to the stories of an older woman who had committed her entire life to missions in Russia and I wanted her story to be my story.  Did that mean I was supposed to pack up and move to Russia?  Of course not! It did, however, mean God want me to completely surrender any plans I had of living the “good life” and instead trade it for a life of “labor pains” (Galatians 4:19).

I am now a 20 year old woman living out my faith as a junior in Elementary Education at Western Kentucky University. I do not want to be a teacher in a public school system. I am simply getting this degree in order to hel me on the mission field. Since coming to WKU, God has strengthened me and grown me to be a better servant for Him by serving in the Baptist Campus Ministry. Through this campus ministry, I have been given the great opportunity of evangelizing to the nations present on our campus. It is a great privilege to plant the seeds of faith in the ears of students from all over the world. To be completely honest, reaching out and serving the international students on my campus is a mission field all in itself.

All of this to say THANK YOU to all the women in the Kentucky WMU who have made young girl’s hearts, minds, and souls their mission field.

Wow!  What a story.  And after observing Jessie leading a family group during the international student retreat and seeing her passion for the students, I know what began in Girls in Action and in summer camps, is bearing fruit that is touching the nations.  And only the Lord knows how many more will hear about Jesus from Jessie in the years to come.  This is why missions discipleship matters!  This is why WMU keeps teaching missions and helping preschoolers, children, youth and adults get the big picture of what it means to be radically involved in the mission of God.

Thanks, Jessie, for sharing your story.  Thanks to the folks at Ekron Baptist Church who taught and nutured you through the years.  Thanks to every GA leader and camp staffer who invested in your life.  And thanks to everyone who has given to the Eliza Broadus Offering which helps us provide missions camps and Engage.  The Story Lives On!

An AWEsome Tina story

Tina Nicely, a recent member of the Kentucky WMU Executive Board, sent me this story via Facebook while our Board was meeting in October.  Tina really missed being with us (she rotated off this year), but was thinking of us during the meeting.  Tina went with our WMU team to Malawi in July and that’s part of her story which I am sharing here.  (Note: I edited some of Tina’s sentences so that you would have the complete context. She knew that I would know what she meant but I’ve filled in a bit to help other readers.)

Joy, just wanted to share an AWEsome story with you and feel free to share with the Board or whomever.  I met a lady today during chemo and we hit it off as soon as she came in.  I was crocheting and she said she’d love to learn how.  I told her that as soon as she got settled with her mother-in-law, I’d show her how. 
Well, we started and of course, I shared how wonderful God is for allowing me to go to Africa.  I shared a lot about it and teaching the ladies how to crochet.  She asked what kind of church do you go to that does that kind of stuff.  I shared all about KY WMU and how any church could get involved, and that we are all about DOING the Great Commission.
Well, come to find out she was raised Catholic and never felt like she connected. She is now a new believer as of 2 months ago.  She goes to one of the biggest SBC churches in [her county] and is not really impressed with their ladies meetings.  (Hey, hey, hey – now you have my full attention!)  She is a take charge kind of person who started her own …. company. She was the only girl and had 5 younger brothers. She lost one about like I did.
This lady said I’m too busy to sit and listen to stories that even lost women will do if they have the time.  So OUT comes my little handy dandy Missions Mosaic.  She was blown away.
I’ve never realized how much even I take for granted God’s SOVEREIGN plan for WMU.  She loves Prayer Patterns and ALL the AMAZING stories……..So, while we were praying for the Kentucky WMU Executive Board meeting today, God was working on her heart and was showing her that she can start her own WMU group –  praying for missionaries, planning missions activities, giving to missions and being a missionary.  And so, as soon as she talks with some of her other newer believers, we are going to start meeting at [her church] once a month.   She was so funny.  She said we could all sit around and talk about OUR trials ever since Adam didn’t own up to being the husband he was supposed to be and allowed Eve to sin, but we need to be sharing the gospel not seeing who has the biggest and worst trial.  Loved it. 
Praying for you guys. Give everybody a big kiss from me.

We hear stories like this all the time when people who have never seen WMU resources are introduced to what we do and the great materials available.  Tina is an ambassador for the Lord and also for WMU.  In this midst of her trials, she has been an effervescent witness for the Lord.  May her tribe increase!

Leadership is Narrative – The Importance of the Story

I’ve just finished reading The Conviction to Lead: 25 Principles for Leadership that Matters by Dr. Albert Mohler.  As a student of leadership, I have a collection of books on the subject written from many different perspectives.  My collection is but a small representation of the books written, showing that leadership is a topic of interest to people in every field.  Dr. Mohler’s book is excellent and I highly recommend it, especially for the way he has woven the core value of conviction throughout important aspects of leadership.

With our current WMU emphasis of The Story Lives On, I was particularly drawn to the chapter entitled Leadership Is Narrative.  The one-line statement about the chapter says: “The leader draws followers into a story that frames all of life” (37).  For me, the story of redemption as revealed in scripture is THE story that is foundational to my life and the WMU story is a significant avenue of living and proclaiming the redemption story.

As we celebrate the 125th birthday of WMU, we have declared that during this emphasis we will:
– Celebrate the radical stories of WMU – past and present
– Connect our stories as we forge our future
– Commit to tell the gospel story and ignite a passion for the Great Commission in all generations

In The Conviction to Lead, Dr. Mohler reminds us that “the most important truths come alive through stories” (37).  He points out that while leaders often stress the mission and vision of an organization, these “mean little apart from the story that explains why what we are doing is important in the first place” (38).   Of leaders and the story, Dr. Mohler says that “leadership comes down to protecting the story, bringing others into the story, and keeping the organization accountable to the story. The leader tells the story over and over again, refining it, updating it, and driving it home” (38).

I enjoy reading WMU history and relish telling how WMU began. I am enjoying this emphasis because it is a perfect opportunity to tell the story of our work and why it matters that the WMU story lives on.  I am the product of life-long WMU influence.  I memorized Bible verses, studied missions, learned the locations of countries around the world, had missionaries as my heroes, learned Baptist beliefs and history through Forward Steps in GAs, and affirmed my belief in things like tithing under the teaching of WMU leaders and materials.

Dr. Mohler says that “leadership that matters grows out of the leader’s own belief that the story is true, that it matters, and that is must both expand and continue. The story must be believed with conviction, told with conviction, and stewarded with conviction” (39).

While I could identify with something in every chapter, one other chapter especially gripped me in light of our emphasis – The Passion to Lead. It is my prayer that every WMU leader has a passion about our work that energizes us over and over again for the task of the Great Commission and challenging others to join us.  As we present our plans, we cannot be ho-hum, but as Mohler says, our plans “must be presented with the language of passion and purpose” (55). 

The following excerpt describes what we as WMU leaders must remember: “People who are drawn to a great need will be passionate about meeting it. Those who see a great and worthy opportunity will be energized to seize and sacrifice for it. Organizations driven by passion thrive on the experience of seeing change happen in the service of common convictions….As new people come into the movement, they must be trained in the convictions if they are to share the passion. When trouble is confronted, the leader responds consistently with the convictions in order to protect the passion” (56).

In my blog The Staying Power of WMU, I stated my conviction that the reason why WMU continues to generate excitement about missions is found in the vision and objectives which guide everything we do.  In that blog I said, “The WMU vision statement points to the Great Commission purpose of WMU and to our commitment to missions discipleship. This is the passion of WMU because the gospel story and the Great Commission matter.”

For our recent Kentucky WMU Executive Board meeting, I displayed my personal collection of WMU memorabilia.  I have purchased some interesting things on Ebay, but the most precious are the things from my growing up years.  I still have my GA crown, scepter, cape, and charm bracklet. I have two GA autograph books and notebooks of things that I did to complete the requirements of steps such as Queen, Queen in Service, Queen with a Scepter, and Queen Regent.  As an advocate of the Cooperative Program today, it was fascinating to look at a picture included in one of the notebooks of a poster that I made in 1968 about the Cooperative Program.

The WMU story matters because we are still casting the vision of missions around the world.  We are still teaching preschoolers, children, youth and adults the importance of the gospel story and our responsibility to share it.  We are still praying and giving so that those who have never heard will have that opportunity.  And people today are still saying that this story has impacted my life and I am part of making sure it lives on.

During The Story Lives On emphasis, Missions Mosaic is sharing the stories of WMU leaders whose passion and courage influenced WMU.  In September we read about Ann Baker Graves who died before WMU was born, but who planted the seeds of the WMU organization, including the use of the mite box to raise money for missions.  In October we read of Martha McIntosh who was not only the first president of WMU, but who was also a remarkable fund-raiser and led her state of South Carolina to give one-third of the first Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. This month we read of Fannie E.S. Heck from North Carolina who served as the WMU president for 15 years and led WMU to begin its first periodical, Our Mission Fields.

At the 2013 Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting we will have a time line where you are invited to attach your WMU story.  You can start writing now, or use a form we will have available at the meeting.  In the meantime, tell your WMU story with conviction and draw others into our story to share THE story.