Our Story is Your Story

A few days ago, I got a notice from Facebook that they had added a section to our Kentucky WMU page called Our Story. The notice told me that Facebook had created the section from material we provided when the page was originally set up, but that I could choose a picture for it and update what it said.  When I took a look, there was nothing wrong with what it said, but I realized that it was incomplete. I changed the title from Our Story to “Our Story Is Your Story,” added a picture of Cheryl Hatfield surrounded by children in Swaziland, and then changed the text to read:

WMU challenges Christian believers to understand and be radically involved in the mission of God. Kentucky WMU equips women, men, girls and boys to change a life and change the world. We provide a range of missions events and resources to help you get more involved in missions and bring others with you.

For you see that is exactly what Kentucky WMU does. We provide missions opportunities that people like Cheryl can get involved with, and now she has a story to tell about sharing Jesus with children in Swaziland.

Missions Education and Resources
Our story in WMU is your story when you use WMU resources to teach missions to preschoolers, children, students, and adults. Just last week, one of my co-workers was thrilled when one of her preschoolers in Mission Friends came in and said, “So what missionary are we learning about tonight?”  A preschooler who gets it, who understands that God loves her, that God loves all the boys and girls, moms and dads in the world, but that not everyone knows about God and His love, so that’s why we send missionaries.

You make stories like that happen when you support WMU and use WMU resources. Our story becomes your story.

Kentucky Changers
You make the stories happen every summer through Kentucky Changers as students put on roofs, paint, build decks, and other exterior repairs for senior adults, disabled, and low income families.  Last summer Kentucky Changers were known for  the purple house in Greensburg. Home to a single mom with two austistic children, the purple house was painted to be memorable. It is one of the colors in the austism logo, but more importantly, if there was a medical emergency, the house was easily identifiable to EMS as the purple house.  And for those who worked on that house, our story is now their story. Each one of them could go home and tell about this family and the ministry they were part of.

You make testimonies like the one shared by Tyler Puckett possible. We got him on camera explaining that he had been to Changers 8 times and had been saved at Changers. He admitted that at first he did not want to come, that his parents made him. But the change in his life was evident in his video testimony. You are part of stories like that every summer through Kentucky Changers.

Creative Ministries Festival
In just a few weeks we will have Creative Ministries Festival. At the festival, we teach creative arts, puppetry, mime, drama, ballooning, juggling, and more, our goal is to show students how their skills can be used to share the gospel. Then we invite Kentucky missionaries to come join us for the festival each year and encourage the students and leaders to meet them, learn about their ministry, and make plans for the students to go in the summer and help. We want students to go on mission trips whether that is across town or across the state and use creative arts to tell people about Jesus.

Last year lady named Renee Parsons came and brought a display about a ministry she leads called Hope Central. Renee was not really familiar with creative ministries but attended several of the classes and got so excited that she went home and started a student drama team called ACTS. Here’s what Renee said in a note after the event:

I had such an amazing time at Creative Ministries Festival and learned a lot about the power of the arts. So much so, that as the promotional arm of Hope Central, we have created ACTS…Ashland Christian Traveling Stage. It is a theatrical guild that does everything from plays and sketches to music and juggling, and anything in between…We travel to churches, community events, youth or WMU groups, and anywhere we get invited! We work with our local community theater who provides us access to sets and costumes, and we had sound equipment donated with 16 head mics! Thank you for the inspiration, and for all you do! God Bless! – Renee Parsons, Hope Central Baptist, Ashland, KY

Annual Meeting
The first weekend of April (4/6-7), I want to invite you to join us for the Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting at Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort. We like to call our state meeting the gathering place of everyone who cares about missions. So, if you are interested at all in missions, you are invited. Men, too!

One of the reasons you need to be there is because Kentucky Baptists care about children. The focus of the Friday morning session will be on foster care and adoption ministries. Sandy Wisdom-Martin, our national WMU executive director, is an adoptive parent and will share her story. Dr. Paul Chitwood, and his wife, Michelle, are both adoptive and foster care parents. They will tell their story. Dale Suttles, president of Sunrise Children’s Services, will share the challenge for all of us to do more on behalf of children.

You will want to be there to see your Annie Armstrong Easter Offering at work. The new NAMB Send Relief Mobile Dental Unit will be parked at the church on Friday for you to visit. Then on Saturday it will be at another location for a dental clinic, meeting needs and sharing Christ.

You will want to be there because on Friday evening we will focus on North American and International Missions. Travis Smalley, NAMB missionary with Send Cincinnati will be with us. Susan Hatfield, missionary to Kenya, will be with us. And the Swaziland team that delivered Kentucky hospice care buckets that many of you helped to pack, will be on the program.  For you see, our story is your story. You were part of the effort in Swaziland by packing a bucket and praying for Miss Linda and our team.

You will want to be there because on Saturday morning we will present the missionary of the year award and have a commissioning service for new Kentucky missionaries.  Coy Webb will share an update about Kentucky Disaster Relief. Your gifts to CP and EBO help make these ministries possible.

Throughout the meeting you will hear about ministries that you have provided items for, prayed for, and given to. As we tell our story, you will know that these are your stories, too.

WMU is a Catalyst
As we Focus on WMU at this time of year, the focus is not really on WMU at all. Our focus is on missions. We know that our story is your story. We are simply a catalyst by planning and supporting projects like the recent Backpack Project. Because you and many others said yes, over 8,000 backpacks were provided and a gospel witness shared with children and families this past Christmas. I was there in Rockcastle County and heard Randy McPheron share the gospel with every group that came through that day.

WMU is a catalyst for your missions story by providing resources to help churches learn, pray, give, serve, and support missions. It’s not about WMU, it’s about YOU, and yes, YOU can do missions.  “I’m not called to missions,” you might be thinking. I would say to you, that we are ALL called. The Great Commission includes my name as it does yours. When Jesus said “Go ye therefore,” His command has each of our names implied. So what are you going to do?

Paul wrote passionately about his calling to share the gospel: I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings (1 Cor. 9:22b-23 NIV).

Don’t miss the last phrase – that I may share in its blessings. Did you know that when you are involved in missions you receive a far greater blessing than anything you might do or might spend to go. Every person who gets involved in missions, locally, or on a trip, will tell you, they were far more blessed than anything they ever did.

We don’t go so that God will bless us. We go and do missions because Jesus commanded it. We go because people are lost and going into eternity without a Savior. But if we are obedient, the Lord does bless and does more than we can ask or imagine.

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