I always enjoy reading columns by my birthday buddy, June Rice. I especially look forward to her recap of Annual Meeting. It’s always interesting to see what June observed about the meeting and is somewhat like a report card for me as I admire June and appreciate her comments. She has seen far more meetings than I and speaks from years of experience. A “thumbs up” from June is a high compliment! Thank you, June, for allowing me to share your column. (June’s columns appear in the Paintsville Herald and the Butler County Banner.)
The Story Lives On by June Rice
Last Thursday afternoon Cathy and I departed for Hopkinsville, where the Kentucky Woman’s Missionary Union of Kentucky would be having their Annual Meeting all day Friday and Saturday morning.
Fortunately, the day was overcast, as both of us had been to the opthamologist and had our pupils dilated. We were both wearing those plastic sunglasses they give you, but it was still a little hard to see. I can’t read signs anyway because of the macular degeneration, but Cathy was in somewhat of a strain for the first couple of hours that she was driving.
The Annual Meeting was fabulous as usual. The state Staff, headed by Joy Bolton, always manages to teach us masses of information in the four sessions we attend, but we are having such a good time being entertained that we don’t realize how mush we are learning about missions until the meeting is over.
The man who led the singing (and all those ladies’ singing sounded like a heavenly choir) led us in all the old missionary songs, such as “We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations” and “Send the Light.”
Rosalie Hunt, who is an officer in the National WMU, brought some interesting monologues. She appeared in costume as Ann Hasseltine Judson, Adonirum’s wife. She told her life story about going with her husband to Burma as a missionary, and while they were on the sailing ship going across the Pacific Ocean, they read the New Testament in Greek and discovered they had not been scripyurally baptized. They found they were Baptists! and needed to be immersed. There they were, going to Burma as missionaries and the Baptists(who knew nothing about them) were not supporting them! Luther Rice visited all the Baptist churches and provided support. (He got the Baptists to organize.) Judson was our first Baptist missionary. I bought a book Ms. Hunt has written about Ann and Adonirum Judson so I will report more about them when I have had time to read the book.
Another time she appeared as Eliza Broadus, the Kentucky woman for whom we have named the Kentucky State Mission Offering . She was one of the ladies who were present when the Woman’s Misssionary Union was founded in 1888.
In her last monologue Ms. Hunt appeared as Lottie Moon, the missionary to China that is as near to a Baptist patron saint as Baptists have. Lottie Moon spent her life in China, and when the Chinese were starving she could not bear to eat. She died on a ship on her way home; her earthly possessions stored in a very small trunk. Ms. Hunt told Lottie’s story in first person, and we loved hearing the story again. Our December offering and Week of Prayer for International Missions is named for Lottie Moon.
We also were privileged to hear two present day missionary couples speak. One couple was “Nik” and “Ruth” who wrote “The Insanity of God” that I wrote about a week or two ago. Both couples were bemoaning the fact that we have more missions volunteers ready to go and not enough money to send them. One missionary said that 16% of the money given in many churches went to pay interest on church buildings’ debt.
We had children visiting on Saturday, and were reminded of the Girl’s Auxiliary pledge. That organization is now Girls in Action.
As I had been involved on the state level for about 25 years, I knew lots of the ladies who attended. I kept thinking,” This must be what Heaven will be like.”
I was impressed to see Pat Reaves, a former State President, who introduced her daughter and granddaughters who are all active in missions activities–and also he husband and son-in-law.
We ate a lunch cooked by the Disaster Relief Team. They showed us what they do with the children when their parents have to try to get their lives together after a disaster. I sat in one of the comfortable rocking chairs and imagined how comforing a kind soul’s rocking a tramatized child would be. I was glad the WMU had bought that big disaster relief kitchen and admired the volunteers who are ready to go out and help when disaster strikes.
It was good to see where our missions money is going, and that it is not making anybody rich. It is going to help the genuinely needy and to take the story of Jesus and His love to all peoples of the world.
It was good to know that the story lives on.