Alabama WMU celebrated ongoing missions efforts and elected new officers at its annual conference held July 23-24.
Candace McIntosh, executive-director of Alabama WMU, commended those gathered at Connect (formerly known as Equip) for learning how to adapt missions and ministry during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While 2020 brought us great challenges, we learned to live outside our comfort zones,” McIntosh told the 200 or so Alabama WMU friends gathered at Shocco Springs Conference Center in Talladega for the annual meeting.
“Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever,” she said. “During a year of constant challenge, these words resonated in my heart. I told our staff we would watch to see where Jesus was working, … and he was working.”
Encouragement and help
McIntosh noted that she and other members of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions staff made thousands of phone calls to reach out to Alabama church leaders in the early months of the pandemic.
Alabama WMU helped missionaries find temporary housing as they were forced to return to the U.S. or extend stays due to global travel restrictions.
Great Commission Conversations and Ministers’ Wives Connection webinars were born out of some of those efforts, McIntosh said.
And despite the pandemic, gifts to the Myers Mallory State Missions Offering, which supports Alabama WMU, Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief, church planting, partnership missions and church revitalization in the state, remained strong. Alabama WMU also met its goal for Christmas backpacks, which are distributed to ministry sites for use in their community outreach efforts.
McIntosh provided updates on several ongoing missions partnerships, including support for the Rural Women’s Hospital in Pakistan, which provides quality health care in rural regions for pregnant Muslim women and their children.
She also noted that despite challenges during summer 2020 for WorldSong Missions Place, camp leaders held a virtual camp experience and then pivoted this summer to provide camp experiences for over 600 children at more than a dozen churches across the state through WorldSong travel teams.
“Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever,” McIntosh repeated as she concluded her report. “And so is our call to serve Him in faithful obedience.”
Christian speaker and humorist Debbie Childers led Bible study for Connect and shared her stories on Friday night. Elizabeth Wilkinson and Susan Sessions led worship for the weekend.
Author and retired missionary Rosalie Hall Hunt also spoke about her new memoir, “Six Yellow Balloons,” which chronicles her family’s missions call and experiences in China.
New officers elected
During the biennial business meeting held July 24, new officers were elected. Those who will serve during Alabama WMU’s new biennium are: president, Shirley Smith, Covington Baptist Association; vice president, Lanell Smith, Montgomery Baptist Association; and recording secretary, Melanie Veazey, Tallapoosa Baptist Association.
Those elected to serve as WMU representatives are Whitney Exline, Debra Pierce, Jennifer Scott, and Ines Velez. Judy Gay was elected trustee-at-large.
Melissa Bowen was recognized for her four years of service as Alabama WMU president.
Connect included a number of breakout sessions on a variety of topics ranging from missionary testimonies to grief ministry, as well as a number of sessions for missions leaders and educators in the local church.
Connect also hosted Emerging Leaders, a forum for girls who have completed grades 9-12 held annually in conjunction with Connect. Emerging Leaders is designed to enhance and develop the leadership skills and abilities of girls. Kendyl Hensley, a licensed professional counselor in Prattville, led Emerging Leaders participants in Bible studies and activities.
For more information about Alabama WMU ministries and events, visit alabamawmu.org.