Arlene Miller recognized for outstanding leadership

A. MillerArlene Miller, director of Impact Ministry in Hopkinsville, received the Dellanna West O’Brien Award for Women’s Leadership Development during the recent national WMU Missions Celebration in Columbus, Ohio. The award was presented to Arlene in the Sunday evening session on June 14.

The O’Brien Award is given annually through a nomination process. I have been acquainted with Arlene for most of my 15 plus years in Kentucky and counted it a privilege to nominate her for the award. Arlene exemplifies absolute dedication to ministry and helping women spiritually and with practical life issues. I was joined in making the nomination by others who provided endorsement letters. We recommended Arlene because she is a leader in ministries that touch women and families. She is active in WMU leadership in her association, directs Impact Ministry in Christian County Baptist Association, and is the Co-coordinator of Christian Women’s Job Corps (CWJC) in Hopkinsville, KY. She is involved with Mississippi River Ministry and is a member of the Kentucky WMU Leadership Network. I have observed Arlene in her ministry site as well as a participant in state WMU events. She is totally committed to missions and goes above and beyond to make things happen. Her ministries have received grants from the Eliza Broadus Offering almost every year and it is always exciting to read of what is happening through Impact Ministry and CWJC. Arlene has participated in missions in Haiti, Poland, and Greece. She has been involved in Eastern Kentucky through a quilt ministry and led others to join her on mission trips.

IMG_20140514_124811_928Arlene is a native of Kentucky, mother of three, and grandmother of five. She is a retired nurse (LPN) and a widow since 1995. Arlene was saved at age 12 in a small country church. She has been in church most of her life but did not get involved in WMU until 1974 because previous churches did not have WMU. Arlene began teaching Acteens and thought that teaching teenage girls to love missions was her life’s calling. She taught Acteens for 27 years and at the same time was the teacher for the youth Training Union class on Sunday nights. She says that even though the church did not have a group for teenage boys, the boys still received missions education because she would use missions stories along with the Training Union materials. The boys helped with many of the Acteens missions projects.

In 1994, Arlene was part of the start-up of Impact Ministry by Christian County Baptist Association. She became director of the program in 1996.  In 2004 she attended CWJC training and began that ministry in connection with Impact in 2005.  Both ministries are housed in the same building in downtown Hopkinsville.  As director of Impact Ministry, Arlene leads a teach of volunteers who are mostly women. She inspires commitment to the ministry and helps them develop in their roles. As co-coordinator of Christian Women’s Job Corps, Arlene helps women develop life skills and helps them develop spiritually. She helps women get their GED so that they can get a job. She has Bible study and teaches other skills like cooking and sewing. Arlene is also very good with children and is a wonderful role model to mothers who come into Impact Ministry or CWJC.

IMG_20140514_121300_284Jo Pelham, WMU Director for Christian County Baptist Association, provided an overview of Impact in her endorsement: “The ministry is open for two hours on three days of the week. Impact Ministry depends strictly on the churches giving donations and many volunteers helping each week. No customer receives help without FIRST going through spiritual counseling – the counselors are also volunteers. Arlene coordinates all this work. Impact serves about two hundred people each month; this is about four to five hundred family members. Since the beginning of this ministry, an estimate of fifteen people a year receive Christ into their lives. Also Tiny Tots Diaper Ministry was started a few years ago and a new baby gift package is given to each pregnant woman who comes to Impact for help.”

Arlene is a member of New Palestine Baptist Church in Crofton, Kentucky. In 2001 she was approved as a MSC Missionary of the North American Mission Board. She continues to be recognized as a Kentucky missionary and now also serves as the West Kentucky Missions Mobilization Consultant to recruit and encourage other Kentucky MSC missionaries.

Please pray for Arlene and these ministries.  Go visit the ministry and take supplies to help.  And give to the Eliza Broadus Offering to enable us to make many more grants to ministries across Kentucky.

Congratulations, Arlene, for receiving the 2015 Dellanna West O’Brien Women’s Leadership Development Award.  We are Kentucky proud of you and all who serve with you.

Linda Cooper Elected as National WMU President!

LiLinda Baltimore 2014nda Cooper of Bowling Green was elected as president of Woman’s Missionary Union today, June 15, at the WMU Missions Celebration in Columbus, Ohio. Linda is the first WMU president from Kentucky.

Linda served as the 38th president of Kentucky WMU from 2010-2014. In June 2014 Linda was elected as Recording Secretary of National WMU, only the second time someone from Kentucky has served in this role. After serving just one year in this position, Linda was tapped for WMU president.

Linda is employed as a Registered Dental Hygienist and has worked for Benson Family Dentistry for over 35 years. Linda and her husband, Jim, are active members of Forest Park Baptist Church where Linda serves as WMU director. She is also the WMU Director for Warren Association of Baptists. Linda and Jim have two adult children and two grandchildren.

T 107Linda brings a wealth of WMU knowledge and experience to this new role. In addition to her WMU experience at the church, association, state and national levels, she is a capable writer having written articles for national WMU publications as well as columns for Kentucky Notes. Linda is a popular speaker and communicates well with WMU and other audiences.

Linda served on the Kentucky WMU Executive Board from 2006-09 and was elected president of Kentucky WMU at the 2010 Annual Meeting in Louisville. As president of Kentucky WMU, Linda served as a vice-president of National WMU.

Li523659_10151905988400035_2140927989_nnda has served on international mission trips to Jamaica, Tanzania, South Korea, South Africa, and Indonesia. She was part of a WMU team in Puerto Rico as well as Familyfest and Missionsfest in Kentucky.

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Linda was saved as a 12-year old and says that going to church has always been part of her life. Linda says that she strives to walk with the Lord daily “by staying in His Word, praying, sharing Christ verbally, and by the way I try to live.” In describing her WMU experience when she was elected as Kentucky WMU president, she said, “Although I know and believe that mission trips are life changing, I believe our real mission is to live a missions lifestyle each on the mission field where God has planted us. I am fortunate in the fact that in our dental office, we have prayer before work and I am free to share Christ.”

We are Kentucky proud of Linda’s election to this leadership role. She has been in many of our churches and associations. We know her as a wonderful speaker, effective leader, and one who leads by example.

Congratulations, Linda! We are praying for you.

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Thank you, Debby Akerman

Debby Akerman 10 14 10On June 14-15, the national WMU Missions  Celebration and Annual Meeting will take place at First Baptist Church, Grove City, Ohio.  A part of this celebration will include a time to say thank you to our outgoing national president, Debby Akerman.  We have been blessed by Debby’s five years of service, including her participation in two Kentucky WMU Annual Meetings in 2012 and 2015.

Debby has traveled extensively as our president. She offers wise counsel and encouragement.  She leads by example, including serving as a Girls in Action leader in her church in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Her writings have challenged us to live surrendered to the Lord, to wait on His perfect timing, and to trust in His love for us.

11040883_10152882491601275_8569682873423879584_nIn our recent Annual Meeting, I asked Debby to share reflections on her experiences as president and to help us look to the future.  In reflecting on her five years as president, Debby shared that she has experienced three WMU emphases in these 5 years. “I began with Unhindered. How appropriate for a new national president. God did some pretty amazing unhindering in me … emptying me of everyday things and loosening my grip on local responsibilities so I could fully embrace this call of God. As I began to travel with my new responsibilities, I heard statements like these “My mother was in WMU. ” “I once was an RA.” “I grew up in GA but somehow I disconnected.”
      Now I hear more of these statements…. “My wife is a WMU leader” “My children are in GA and RA.” “My church is starting WMU”. And…. I love this from a pastor…. He said to a search committee. “My daughter is an Acteen and if you don’t have Acteens I cannot accept your call to be your pastor.” Men and Women and pastors across our country have been increasingly unhindered to embrace WMU and our mission purposes.
      “The Story Lives On” emphasis…. didn’t you all love that?.…..What great times of celebration…two full years of celebrating.  I remember in Houston ….Joy dressed in full GA regalia leading us in the star ideals at the National WMU Missions celebration and Jon Auten leading the RA Pledge.  And all of you who attended, remembering your heritage and renewing your commitment to WMU as your then state president, Linda carried the torch light in promise to God to be fervent in the work of Kentucky WMU.
     10359139_10152882491536275_6057013408410664369_nOur grand finale celebration in Baltimore was indeed grand…. Only God could have worked out the plan for the Southern Baptist Convention and WMU to be in Miss Annie Armstrong territory to celebrate and to tour the city and see the early days of WMU history through her eyes.|
     In the midst of celebrating our 125th anniversary God began to say…. This is good…. But you cannot linger in the celebration nor rest on your laurels. Where will you lead WMU next? Are you seeking My next for WMU?  As I pondered those questions …. More thoughts surfaced. If all in WMU were fully surrendered, WMU would be growing in every church. If all in our churches were more willing to sacrifice, CP, LMCO, and AAEO would surpass every goal. If all Christians were more willing to serve, we would see all our churches overflowing with new believers and there would be no unreached unengaged peoples left in the world.
    From many questions and much praying by the group gathered to discern God’s direction……”All For You… Surrender, Sacrifice, Serve” emerged. I have been in 12 states since this emphasis began. This emphasis is strengthening the resolve of many who recommitted to WMU during our 125th celebration. This emphasis is causing women who have spent their entire adult life in WMU, now weeping with new resolve to live a missions lifestyle, saying this topic… this surrender to God’s call on their life for missions through WMU had dwindled and that this emphasis was a wakeup call from God. It is causing women to step back into WMU, to step out and do missions, and to say to God “All For You” |
     Other areas of reflection have come to my mind. First… Renewal…. WMU is being identified again by our Southern Baptist entities and by our churches as fully relevant for today. Many of our leaders are rekindling what they learned in their formative years as MFs, GAs, RAs and Acteens and now supporting the work of WMU. Second … Resurgence…. There is a revival of interest in WMU by our young missionaries. As they seek connections with multiple churches, it is WMU they are finding to be their best support. They ask us more questions and want to be part of WMU in their states and in other countries. Third …. Resources… Our writers and curriculum specialists at WMU are excellent, the best anywhere…. I hear only strong words of appreciation for the resources WMU presents for missions learning.
    At our National WMU board meeting this past January I spoke of decreasing subscriptions for our resources…. Even for our wonderful Missions Mosaic. Every member of the National WMU board and all the state Executive directors agreed we could not let this continue. We ask you all to be Missions Mosiac advocates; a Mission Mosiac for every woman in WMU and ………..the WMU resource in the hand of every GA and RA and MF and Acteen. Will you be that advocate for WMU resources?  Thank you!

Debby’s sister, Melissa Fitzwater, serves with her husband John (Fitz) as Kentucky Mission Service Corps missionaries with Loaves and Fishes Ministry in Lynch. So we expect that we will continue to see Debby in Kentucky from time to time.

The national meeting is fairly close for us this year and I am looking for a strong Kentucky contingent to be present. There will be a reception for Debby on Sunday afternoon.  Pray for Debby as she presides at this meeting and concludes her term as president. Give thanks for her ministry among us.  I hope to see you in Columbus.

Mission Adventure for Kentucky Kids

Mission Adventure for Kentucky Kids is a new missions opportunity for children in grades 4-6 and their leaders sponsored by Kentucky WMU. Offered in two locations, east and west Kentucky, each adventure includes three days of hands-on missions as well as Bible study, missionaries, track time, recreation and more.  Each adventure takes place in a Thursday through Saturday time frame. The first adventure is June 11-13 in Princeton, Kentucky.  The second opportunity is June 25-27 in Inez..

Here are some of the highlights;
Thursday: Registration, Worship, Prayer Walks, Project Orientation, Kentucky Kid Fun
Friday: Quiet Time, Worship, Bible Study, Mission Projects, Kentucky Kid Fun
Saturday: Quiet Time, Worship, Bible Study, Backyard Bible Clubs, Closing Celebration

Prayer walking will lay the foundation for the ministry projects and help children see needs in each community. The Friday ministries include helping at local thrift stores with sorting items and singing at area nursing homes. On Saturday the children will help with Backyard Bible Clubs.

Supplies 2Supplies 1We are excited about the upcoming adventures. Supplies are stacking up as Stacy Nall, Kentucky WMU Missions Consultant for Children, gets everything ready. Jon Auten, Missions Consultant for Royal Ambassadors, will also be on the team along with a number of other WMU volunteers.

Pray for Stacy, Jon,  and the volunteers who are leading these mission adventures.  Pray for the children and the adult chaperones. Pray for the communities where the children will minister. Pray that this Mission Adventure for each child will lead to many more.

StacyThe giving of your church through the Cooperative Program and your gifts to the Eliza Broadus Offering help us make Mission Adventure for Kentucky Kids possible. Thank you for giving generously to Kentucky missions.

Kentucky WMU helps churches learn, pray, give, go and send!