GA Autographs

As we celebrate the 100th birthday of GA this year,  I have pulled out my GA memorabilia and reflected on the powerful influence of Girls Auxiliary, now Girls in Action, on my life.  In GA I memorized scripture, created missions displays, learned to present a program, and began praying for missionaries.  I learned my geography as we found the countries where the missionaries served.  For one of my Forward Steps, I wrote a paper for my notebook on “Why I Am a Tither.”  That lesson has certainly stayed with me!

autograph book-page-001Among my special GA items are two GA autograph books. Looking through them reveals signatures obtained at camp and in my GA group. There are the typical signatures and crazy notes from other girls.   The last signature I got said “try not to talk so much (if you can).”  But the pages also contain autographs of people who have been significant in missions and the Southern Baptist Convention.  My parents made it a point to take me to association, state, and national WMU and SBC meetings.  I grew up going to events where I heard and met leaders who had an influence on me, though I did not realize how great an influence until much later.  I also met some political leaders along the way.

Some of the signatures in my two autograph books include:
Alma Oates, Brazil
Katharine Bryan (who later became the executive director of Tennessee WMU)
Cathleen Lewis, Alabama GA Director
Mary Essie Stephens, Alabama WMU Director
Mrs. Albert J. Smith, President, Alabama WMU
Barbara Mefford, missionary to the Choctaw Indians
George C. Wallace, Governor of Alabama
Baker J. Cauthen, President, Foreign Mission Board
H. S. Sauls, Association Missionary, Mobile Baptist Association
Davis Thompson, Argentina
Courts Redford, President, Home Mission Board
M. Wendell Belew, Home Mission Board
Marvel Iglesias, San Blas
Mrs. Willie Johnson, Alaska
B. Frank Belvin, missionary to the Apache, Kiowa, Creek and Seminole Indians, Oklahoma
Edgar M. Arendall, Pastor, Dawson Memorial Baptist Church
Mrs. C. S. Cadewallader, Jr., Guatemala
Anis Shorrosh, Jordan
Dewey Merritt, Nigeria
James L. Sullivan, President, Baptist Sunday School Board
Georgia Mae Ogburn, Chile
V.O. McMillan, Japan
autographs Hunt-Fling-MathisZelma Foster, Philippines
Kathryn E. Carpenter, WMU Director, Louisiana
Charles M. Lowry, Louisiana Baptist Convention
Barbara Elder, WMU
Mrs. C. E. Conrad, President, Louisiana WMU
Mrs. R. L. Mathis, President, WMU, SBC (1956-63, 1969-75)
Mrs. Robert Fling, President, WMU, SBC (1963-69)
Alma Hunt, Executive Director, WMU, SBC (1948-74)

You can tell from the list that my early years were spent in Alabama.  We moved back to New Orleans when I was in high school.  A special memory for me was serving as a page at the national WMU meeting in New Orleans in 1969 where I sat on the platform between Alma Hunt and Claude Rhea.   My parents were friends with the Rhea’s and I can remember Dr. Rhea telling me he could see my dad in the audience.  To prepare for that session, my mother gave me very specific lessons for sitting on the platform.  Who knew how important that lesson would be!

I share these memories to encourage you to take children and youth to missions events. Take them to meetings that are supposed to be for adults and let them take it all in.  You may be preparing the next missionary or convention leader.  Young people absorb far more than we realize!

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About Joy Bolton

Joy Bolton is a life-long WMUer! Through Woman's Missionary Union, Joy has has served as a church, association, and state leader. She has coordinated many international missions teams and is available as a conference leader, speaker, Bible study leader. Joy is now retired and lives in Summerville, SC.

3 thoughts on “GA Autographs

  1. I, too, got autographs at the Queen’s Courts held at Campbellsville and Georgetown while I was in high school. Several years ago I was going thru a scrapbook and saw a notepad given out by the Baptist Bookstore at one of those events. I flipped through and saw two names that I didn’t realize were in there: Karen Wright, a missionary to Chile who grew up at the church I have attended for the last 34 years and Lynda Stivers (now Johnson), whose brother I married 14 years later! I lived in Shively at the time and had never been to Highview, the church they were members of 🙂

  2. My early memories are also autographs. What thrill to find L.O. Griffith, Miss Minnie Berry, the Lewis Martins, and many others in my Clear Creek Girls’ Camp book of 1937. The book is filled with missionary names to pray for and the names of the girls from our Fourth Avenue Church in Louisville. My mother took a group from the church and I got to go in 1936 before I was GA age because mother was a leader. GA has always been my favorite organization. The spirit of that age group is essential as we strive to keep missions education foremost in our churches. Walking the railroad track to get to the swimming hole (literally) at Pineville is a memory of all time. Many friendships were formed there and while washing dishes in front of Kelly Hall! Clear Creek was the forerunner of Cedarmore.

  3. Georgia Mae Ogburn was my aunt, my mothers sister, who served 36 years in Chile. when she came to visit us on furlow, i was so young that i thought Jesus was coming, i was so afraid but as i grew older, i realized what a sweet down to earth woman my aunt truly was..She loved the Lord and served him daily and i miss her so much….

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