31 Days of Prayer for Liz Encinia

As Kentucky WMU welcomes our new Executive Director-Treasurer, we invite you to join us in 31 days of Prayer for Liz and the leadership transition.

  1. Genesis 12:1-3 – God has called Liz to leave her state of Texas and come to Kentucky. Pray for her as she wraps up responsibilities this week with Texas WMU.
  2. I Corinthians 15:58 – Give thanks for the good work Liz has done with Texas WMU and the experience she brings to her new role with Kentucky WMU
  3. Acts 20:24 – Pray that Liz will finish well with Texas WMU.
  4. Matthew 24:45-27 – Give thanks for the faithfulness that Liz has shown and God’s blessing in giving her new responsibilities.
  5. Acts 20:36 – Pray for Liz as she leaves friends and family.
  6. Isaiah 40:28-31 – Moving requires a lot of work. Pray for Liz to have the energy she needs to finish packing and preparing for the move.
  7. James 1:5 – Pray for Liz to have God’s wisdom as she is preparing for her work with Kentucky WMU.
  8. Philippians 4:4-7 – Pray for Liz to experience God’s peace in whatever anxious thoughts she may have this day.
  9. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – Pray that God will use Liz in a great way to bless others in the same ways that she has experienced God’s grace and comfort.
  10. Psalm 121:8 – Pray for a safe journey for Liz as she travels to Kentucky.
  11. Joshua 1:9 – Pray for Liz to feel the assurance of God’s presence as she begins to experience a new place.
  12. Proverbs 2:1-8 – Pray for Liz to daily cry out to God for understanding because the Lord gives wisdom and protects the way of those who are faithful to Him.
  13. Joshua 1:6-9 – Pray for Liz to be a faithful student of God’s Word, meditating on it daily, and careful to follow what the Bible teaches.
  14. Isaiah 43:1-3 – Pray for Liz to be reassured that God has summoned her by name to Kentucky and will be with her no matter what comes.
  15. Proverbs 3:5-6 – As Liz begins her first day with Kentucky WMU, may the wisdom and promise of this verse resonate in her heart. (This verse was written on the concrete in the Executive Director’s office before the carpet was laid in 2006!)
  16. Colossians 1:9-12 – Pray that as Liz is introduced to many details regarding the work of Kentucky WMU, that God will fill her with the knowledge of His will.
  17. Philippians 1:3-6 – Pray that as Liz meets with staff members at the Kentucky Baptist Convention, she will rejoice in the partnership of KBC and Kentucky WMU for the gospel.
  18. Philippians 1:9-11 – Pray that as meetings continue, that new relationships will be established, and that Liz will grow in knowledge and insight.
  19. Jeremiah 29:11 – Liz is wrapping up her first week and may be feeling a little overwhelmed. Pray for confidence that God knows the plans!
  20. 1 John 5:14-15 – Pray for Liz to be strong in her prayer life and confident in approaching God.
  21. 1 Corinthians 3:9 – The permanent watchword of WMU, “Laborers Together with God,” is taken from this verse. Pray for Liz as she fulfills this calling.
  22. Ephesians 2:10 – Pray for Liz and the good works that God has prepared for her to accomplish.
  23. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 – Pray for Liz as she works with a team of gifted staff members, seeking to utilize their gifts for the greatest effectiveness.
  24. Matthew 5:25-34 – Pray that Liz will not worry about all she has to learn in her new role.
  25. 1 Timothy 4:12 -16 – As Liz participates in her first Kentucky WMU Executive Board Meeting, pray that she will be an example to everyone throughout this meeting and in the days ahead.
  26. Isaiah 6:8 – Pray for Liz as the mantle of leadership is passed tonight.
  27. Philippians 3:12-14 – Pray for Liz as she wraps up Board meeting and presses on to what is ahead.
  28. Psalm 46:10; 62:1-2 – Pray for Liz to be still and rest today.
  29. Philippians 4:19 – Pray that as Liz settles into her new place and new role that she will experience God’s provision over and over.
  30. Ephesians 4:1-3 – Pray for Liz to walk worthy of the calling she has received.
  31. Ephesians 3:14-21 – Pray verses 14-19 for Liz and then give thanks that God is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine!
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Let’s Make it a Week of PRAYER

Years ago when I began Bible study in earnest, I found things that caused reflection (and still do!). One was found in Matthew 6:19-21 where Jesus says,  “Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

I wondered, if you “can’t take it with you,” then how do you store up treasures in heaven?

Well, study the Bible enough and along the way you discover the interconnectedness of Scripture.  One day I read from Revelation 4-5 the vision of heaven given to John. He describes the throne room of heaven in chapter 4 and the scroll and the Lamb in chapter 5.  Notice Rev. 5:7-8.  “He went and took the scroll out of the right hand of the one seated on the throne. When he took the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and golden bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”

The prayers of the saints. When we pray, we lay up treasures in heaven. My friend Larry Martin likes to refer to these as “prayers on deposit.”

In Revelation 14 we read again about the Lamb and those who will be in heaven and those who will not be.  Rev. 14:6, 13 says: “Then I saw another angel flying high overhead, with the eternal gospel to announce to the inhabitants of the earth—to every nation, tribe, language, and people…..Then I head a voice from heaven saying, ‘Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘so they will rest from their labors, since their works follow them.’”

The deeds of the saints. These are the ministries we do in Jesus’ name which includes giving as well as all the types of things listed in Matthew 25 where Jesus said,  “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me”  (Matt. 25:40 CSB).

This is the Week of Prayer for International Missions. At one time WMU groups would gather daily and pray.  Unfortunately, we don’t do that much any more.  Today I asked myself: Why?

First, we believed the lie that we could just pray on our own and that would be enough, missing the point that there is intensity when we gather with others to pray.  (This thinking is prevalent in most of our churches. Just look at the number who gather to pray each week.)

Second we jump too quickly to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and focus on the amount raised. The offering is vital, but this is first a week of prayer.

If you look at the 2017 Week of Prayer brochure, you notice that the way it is folded shows just half of the man’s face on the front. But if you open it and lay it flat, you see his entire face. I noticed on the brochure that one side says Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and the other says Week of Prayer, providing an illustration that our international missions emphasis is not complete without both prayer and the offering. We need both the prayers of the saints and the deeds of the saints!

The Day 8 reading in the prayer guide is a message from David Platt which reminds us that prayer matters.  He says, “It isn’t just a rushed or mechanical exercise. God has ordained our prayer as a means to accomplish His purpose in the world. We’ve got to be aware that our praying for boldness for missionaries is actually going to affect whether or not they have boldness. When we pray, God works.”

So this week, let us pray. And it is my prayer that praying will then inspire giving sacrificially that the gospel will go forth to transform lives around the world.

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Reaching International Students


An important ministry which receives funding from the Eliza Broadus Offering is our work with international students on Kentucky college and university campuses. The next International Student Conference will be Nov. 4-6 in Cave City and we have been asked to start praying for this outreach event now.

This conference is sponsored by the Kentucky Baptist Convention for the purpose of helping international students make new friends, celebrate culture, and learn about the Christian faith. Many nations will be represented in the demographics of those who attend. Many of these young people have never heard the gospel before, have never been invited into an American home, and have never been sought out by an American for friendship.

Here are the things that you can pray for:
1) pray that Jesus may be lifted up so that all may be drawn to Him.

2) pray that members from local churches across the state, who will be leading during the conference, may be filled in the Holy Spirit.

3) pray that specifically 10 international students may come to know Christ and may begin being discipled by a local church in their area.

4) pray that this may be a conference that is exciting and fun, gospel centered, and God glorifying.

Thank you for your gifts to the Eliza Broadus Offering which helps to make this and other ministries with international students possible. Give to EBO through your church or online.

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Finding Sandy – Reflections on a spiritual journey

In 2003, the movie “Finding Nemo” was a big hit with children and adults, too. It was the fanciful story of a timid clownfish who set out to find his son who had been captured in a fishing net and taken to Sydney, Australia. I thought of the title in reflecting on the journey of the past six months as a search committee, with myself as chair, sought a new executive director for National Woman’s Missionary Union.

Sandra_Wisdom-Martin croppedWhile the work of the committee will forever be confidential, I can now reflect on the spiritual journey and would share a few thoughts related to “Finding Sandy.” I am thrilled at the calling of Sandra Wisdom-Martin, executive director of WMU of Texas, as our new leader. She brings a wealth of experience, having also served in Arkansas as a state WMU staff member and as WMU director in Illinois. Sandy is beloved in every place she has served and is known as an able administrator, wonderful public speaker, and visionary leader. She has been affirmed by WMU and state convention leaders alike.

The search for Sandy was, above all, a spiritual journey. We began our work with Bible study on the selection of leaders in both the Old and New Testaments. (In a future blog, I will share a synopsis of our Bible study on selecting leaders.) We prayed often during our meetings. One of our team members regularly sent the rest of us prayer prompts–scriptures and other material to guide us in praying. We fasted periodically as we came to points of decision, seeking to know the Lord’s will above all.

Scripture affirms that “the Lord is with you when you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you” (2 Chronicles 15:2 HCSB). In the process of seeking Sandy, we first and foremost sought the Lord. Long before we asked for names of candidates, we sought the Lord.

There was a process which included a candidate profile, prayer, receiving and reviewing resumes, prayer, interviewing, prayer, and other steps. Above all, we prayed and God answered. Indeed, we can testify that when we seek the Lord, we always find Him.

We asked the WMU family to join us in prayer each day at 3:20 p.m. as we prayed and believed Ephesians 3:20-21 for our search: “Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us–to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

God is faithful. He indeed has done more than we could ask or imagine in every detail of “finding Sandy.” He has worked out details small and large. There are so many details that came together that I can hardly recount them. Meeting dates were one detail. For our first meeting, I gave the committee only one date–and they all were able to come. When it came time for the full board to meeting, we gave them only one date and they were able to come! If you’ve ever tried to work out calendars with a group of people on short notice, you know what a challenge it can be. These were miracles!

For each member of the search committee, the process was deeply spiritual. While we employed good business practices in screening, interviewing, etc., we were, above all, seeking the one that the Lord had chosen for us. God was faithful. We sought Him first, and in finding Him we also found Sandy.

The life lesson for me is to remember that “the Lord is with you when you are with Him.” No matter what we face, what decision we need to make, what direction we are seeking, what problem needs to be solved, the place to begin is by seeking the Lord.

Please be in prayer for Sandy as she is wrapping things up in Texas and preparing to transition to her new role with National WMU. Pray for our outgoing exec, Wanda Lee, as she concludes her work and prepares to make the transition with Sandy. Pray for Sandy’s family as they move. Pray for the national WMU staff as they prepare to welcome a new leader. And pray for outcomes to be felt around the world because of Sandy’s leadership with WMU. When WMU does our work well, more people are engaged in praying, giving, and doing missions–and those are outcomes that have eternal impact for the Kingdom of God.

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Kentucky WMU Report to 2015 KBC Annual Meeting

In addition to our written report for the KBC Book of Reports, I am invited to bring a brief oral report each year on behalf of Kentucky WMU. The report is often a time to highlight some significant area of our work or to promote a new missions initiative. This year’s report was different and I share it here in hopes that you will share it with others.

WMU Report to KBC Annual Meeting – November 10, 2015

In my report today I would love to dwell on the great things that have happened this year such as having 979 participants in 4 weeks of Kentucky Changers doing 76 projects, with 101 decisions made by students, adults, and homeowners. Or I could tell you about how excited we are about Mission Adventure for Kentucky Kids, a mission trip experience for children in grades 4-6 and their leaders. How we saw children learn to lead and share their faith. Or I could focus on the re-launch of Creative Ministries Festival and how students not only learned skills in creative arts, but how they met missionaries and learned ways they can use creative arts in missions and evangelism.

But my heart has been broken since we received the news that due to revenue shortfalls, that 600-800 missionaries serving with the International Mission Board will be coming home. While this has worked out well for some, it is still not what they had planned on and all are grieving the closing out of their ministries far too soon. Our prayer is that national believers and missionaries still on the field will be able to carry on. We also pray that those returning home will find new places of service here and that the tremendous language and cultural skills that they bring will indeed help us to reach the nations in our midst.

At the Kentucky WMU display we have a handout that says at the top, Revenue shortfall will bring 600-800 missionaries home. On the left side, there is a list of ways you can help returning Southern Baptist missionaries. On the right side, there is a list of ways you can help ensure this never happens again.

In a recent address to the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, Wanda Lee reminded us of the words of Annie Armstrong who said “After study of God’s Word comes study of the fields. Then people pray. Then they give.”  Wanda called us to account for the fact that many of our churches, including churches in Kentucky, have abandoned the part of what Annie said between study of the God’s Word and praying and giving – that is the study of the fields.

Wanda correctly pointed out that mission study is the driving force between how much we pray and how much we give. She said, “We can lament the churches that haven’t given, we can lament many things….But one thing we have failed to do in our churches is to embrace the missions assignment of helping our children and our youth understand God’s field.” As Wanda rightly pointed out, when there’s no understanding of the depth of lostness, there’s no passion to give and when a church tilts toward entertaining their children and youth, or abandons Wednesday missions night activities in deference to other programs or sports, we have let that overshadow the priority of equipping the next generation for missions.

I cannot tell you the number of times I have received calls from people who are upset because their church is cutting the Cooperative Program because whoever was elected treasurer or another key leader did not know what it was or why we support it. Study of the fields not only includes a study of lostness, but it also includes teaching our children, students and adults the ways we send and support missionaries so that they can go and push back the darkness.

I am a blogger and a few weeks ago I shared an email from a missionary who will becoming home from a warm weather climate. In response to that blog, I received this note:

Dear Joy, I appreciate getting your notes from missionaries who are going to have to “come home”. What a TOUGH DECISION TO MAKE.  I have been praying for them ever since I heard about it happening…… I REALLY FEEL FOR THEM AND PRAY FOR THEM IN SO MANY OF THE SITUATIONS THEY FIND THEMSELVES IN, ESPECIALLY THEIR CONCERN FOR THEIR MISSION FIELD AND THE LOST ON IT. I would be willing to share my winter clothes, which are nice, with someone who is returning and has no winter clothes and I am sure other Baptists would do that. I am so old (92) there are not any more missionaries on the field that I knew as they have “all retired, Ha!” or they are deceased. I just want the missionaries to know I pray for them having to leave just like I prayed about them going over there to serve the Lord, and their safety while they were there and their work with the lost. I WILL CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR THEM DAILY.

 As Wanda said to the SBC Executive Committee, “we can’t go through this again.” In WMU we invite you to go with us. Quit entertaining children and young people. Lead them to study God’s Word and then expose them to the lostness of the world. Our children and youth long for deeper meaning and purpose and they will commit their lives to service and the call of God to the fields that are white unto harvest if we teach them. And when we do, money and needed resources will follow.

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Join the Voices of Recovery

SCCUAD Logo.jpgI am a part of a group called Shelby County Christians United Against Drugs. The ministry was started in response to the addiction of one of the founder’s daughter. The group prays, encourages those going through the Drug Court program, sponsors Celebrate Recovery groups, and holds activities to point those struggling with addiction to a better way. September is National Recovery Month and we held a Recovery Month Celebration on September 24 at the Community Development Center of New Mount Zion Baptist Church.  I was asked to share a theme interpretation. Because the issues of addiction affect every community, I share the theme interpretation as an encouragement to us all to keep helping people in our communities who need to experience recovery from “hurts, habits, and hang-ups.” This ministry has received several small EBO grants which have helped with materials for recovery groups and other ministry supplies.

Our theme for this gathering is “Join the Voices of Recovery: Visible, Vocal, Valuable.” The theme helps us understand why we are gathered.

First, we come to join our voices in Shelby County with the voices of others all over the country. We understand that recovery happens in community as we own up to our hurts, habits, and hang-ups. None of us can do life without others – we need each other.

In joining others, we declare that:
– Recovery brings visible change. As we let go of addictions and turn our lives over to God, there will be change that is noticeable. We want recovery to be visible in our community. We are not sweeping the problem of addiction under the rug. We are instead acknowledging that it is a problem that has created chaos in so many lives, but we are joining together for accountability and encouragement.
– We are vocal about the need for recovery and vocal about the journey. There is power in owning a problem out loud to other people. When we hide our hurts, habits, and hang-ups, those things control us. But when we vocalize it, now we are taking charge and seeking the help of God and others for victory.
– And we affirm that every person is valuable, no matter what your issue or addiction, every person is valuable to God, to family, to friends, and to this community.

On being valuable, the Bible teaches us that Jesus came to seek and save the lost. In Luke 15, it says that all the tax collectors and sinners were coming to Jesus to listen to Him. That’s us – the ones with hurts, habits, and hang-ups – the ones who know our lives are a mess and we need help.

In the passage there were some high and mighty folks who grumbled about Jesus spending time with such sinners. Jesus responded by telling three stories – the story of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Lost Son.

In the case of the lost sheep, even though there were 99 safe in the pasture, the lost one was so valuable that the shepherd went looking until he found the sheep. The shepherd brought the sheep home and called his neighbors to rejoice with him. Jesus said “I tell you, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous persons who need no repentance.”

In the case of the lost coin, a woman had 10 but lost one and would not rest until the house was swept and the coin found. Jesus said, “In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of God over one sinner who repents.”

And in the story of the lost son, the son was lost because of the choices he made. The son wasted his inheritance with “loose living” and after nothing was left, he found himself in a pig pen, feeding the pigs just to have something to eat. But in the story, the son came to his senses and realized he needed to go home and beg for his father’s forgiveness. He planned his speech, not to make excuses, but to own up to what he had done. To his amazement, his father had been waiting and watching for him to come home. His father received him with gladness and threw a party to celebrate, saying “This son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.”

Yes, in the story there was an older brother who grumbled, just as there are some people in our lives who grumble over the mess we have made of things. But the father threw a party and welcomed his son home anyway.

Shelby County Christians United Against Drugs has thrown a party and we say to all – whether you are a lost sheep, lost coin, or a lost son or daughter, you are so valuable that God has placed people and programs in your life to help you experience recovery. And know this – that our redemptive God is able to take the messes we make and use them for His glory and our good if we turn our lives over to Him.

We are grateful to all who joined us and helped us have a Recovery Celebration. Everyone of us can be a voice for recovery – visible, vocal, valuable.

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Working Together

John 9:1-41 tells a story about Jesus healing a man born blind. In this passage we meet Jesus and his disciples, a man born blind, his parents, neighbors, and the Pharisees.  The disciples were more concerned about who sinned than they were the man. The neighbors could not really believe that the healed man was the man they knew as a beggar. The Pharisees were concerned about Jesus healing on the Sabbath, something they considered to be work and therefore forbidden and making Jesus to be a sinner in their minds. The parents were questioned by the Pharisees and put on the defensive about the healing.  Only Jesus is focused on the man and his needs. The Pharisees were determined that Jesus not get glory for the healing, not realizing that to give Jesus glory was to give God glory as they demanded. And so the heart of the story is revealed in the man’s answer to them:  “Whether He is a sinner I do not know; but one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”

We, too, can get focused on the details of ministries – how they operate, how they are funded, who leads them, who is their target audience and so forth.  The heart of the story of state missions is people, people who have come to faith in Christ and whose lives have been changed for eternity.

In the September 8 issue of the Western Recorder, the center four pages includes stories about eight different ministries and tells about people who are the heart of the story of these ministries. Yes, each ministry receives Eliza Broadus Offering funds to assist their work, but the offering is only a part of the story. Changed lives are the true heart of the story.

The heart of the story is being told over and over by Kentucky missionaries. Many of our state missionaries are self-funded but often apply for grants from the Eliza Broadus Offering for their work. As commissioned missionaries through the Kentucky Baptist Convention, one of the ways we support and encourage them is through an annual retreat. The missionaries will gather September 16-18 at Cumberland Falls State Park for several days of Bible study, helpful workshops, and just some time of fun and fellowship. You can pray for our state missionaries by name. Their names, pictures, and a description of their work is listed atkybaptist.org/missionaries. You can also print out InterSEED, a monthly prayer calendar of Kentucky missionaries on their birthday. And if God is calling you to missions in Kentucky, the Missions Mobilizationteam would like to talk with you and help you find a place of service.

Join us in praying for Kentucky missions this week and throughout the month. The 2015 Heart of the Story prayer guide goes right along with the stories shared in the Western Recorder and in the Master Articleincluded on the DVD.  You can download all of the state missions videos and print materials atkywmu.org/ebo.

Join us in giving for Kentucky missions through the Eliza Broadus Offering.  The goal is $1,250,000.  Every dollar has been designated for missions needs around our state and for missions education and involvement opportunities.  EBO works in partnership with the Cooperative Program to provide funding for our work together as Kentucky Baptists.  Click here for a detailed list of the 2015-16 EBO allocations.

Thank you, Kentucky Baptists for how you have prayed and given for state missions across the years. We closed out the 2014-15 Eliza Broadus Offering at 1,220,277.57.  This is the second highest amount ever given, exceeded only by the year we received a large estate gift for the offering. Thank you!  May we continue to learn, pray, give, go and send to make the gospel known across our state and around the world.

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EBO at Work This Summer

11026158_10155722938270035_3590013821719565541_nLast year Kentucky WMU decided to go in a new direction with “summer camp” for children and began making plans for Mission Adventure for Kentucky Kids (MAKK). Our first two adventures were awesome. In both Princeton and Inez last month, children arrived on Thursday where there were introductory activities. Every activity was purposeful as the children were being prepared for how they would be on mission.

The first ministry was to prayer walk the community. Children were introduced to the concept and provided with a ring of cards with prayer prompts for the community. They used these as they walked and prayed. The intergenerational praying was wonderful.

11666025_10155722938145035_3698061792306832906_nOn Friday morning the children participated in Bible study, music, games, drama, and crafts. Again, everything had a purpose for a ministry project. Everything the children were learning was so that they could lead in a Backyard Bible Club to be held on Saturday.

On Friday afternoon the children headed out to sing at area nursing homes, then go to another local ministry to help with sorting and shelving donations. The afternoon included fun as well with swimming and fun at the park. A missionary was part of the team at each location.

We are so excited about MAKK and how this experience takes camp and missions learning to the next level for children. Adult leaders were very positive about the experience and both locations wanted to know if were coming back next year. We do plan to move this around the state so that more children can participate in a hands on mission adventure.

11402297_10153375163532834_4969325594735714180_o11406410_10153375161087834_1455619308694133407_oKentucky Changers has also been underway in June with projects in Richmond, Marshall County, and Maysville. The final week is July 13-18 in Henderson. It was exciting for me to be present for the closing celebration in Richmond and watch as students filled the front of the church indicating that they had made some type of decision for Christ during the week. And not only students have made decisions this summer. In Richmond I counseled with one adult who came to help that had been touched by what had taken place. Decisions by homeowners have also been reported. Changers totals thus far:
Richmond had a total of 420 participants who worked on 28 jobs. There were 53 decisions.
Marshall County had 154 participants who worked on 13 jobs. There were 14 decisions.
Maysville had 245 participants who worked on 24 jobs.  There were 19 decisions.
For Henderson we have 171 registered and they will be working on 13-14 jobs.

overnights badgeGA and Mother/Daughter Overnights are a highlight for girls and leaders and moms in July. We will be at Jonathan Creek, July 10-11, and at Cedar Crest, July 17-18.  Camp Courage at Laurel Lake for RAs, Challengers, leaders, and dads will be July 31-August 1. In all of these missions events, the Eliza Broadus Offering is at work. Thank you Kentucky Baptists for providing missions learning and opportunities.

courage2015EBO for 2014-15 is nearing the end of the offering year which closes on August 31. As of July 7, the total received is $1,185,269 towards our goal of $1,250,000.  It’s not too late to give to help reach the 2014 goal. Give online or through your church.


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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.

Linda Cooper w torch
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.

226828_10150196257196275_7877510_n 226887_10150576411830035_7420275_n 306616_10151925587580035_1771401619_n

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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.

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