FBC Guntersville missions leaders seek to nurture ‘world hearts’ in GAs, RAs

FBC Guntersville missions leaders seek to nurture ‘world hearts’ in GAs, RAs

For Girls in Action (GAs) at First Baptist Church, Guntersville, learning about global missions from GA leader Rosalie Hunt is a definite perk. In fact Rosalie literally wrote the book on the history of Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU).

Hunt and her husband, Bob, are retired Southern Baptist missionaries who served 30 years in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Myanmar, South Asia, Australia and the Philippines. She is the author of WMU’s 125th anniversary history, “We’ve a Story to Tell: 125 Years of WMU,” as well as historical narratives about such legendary missions leaders as Fannie E.S. Heck, Ann Hasseltine Judson and Hephzibah Jenkins Townsend.

Hunt brings that same missions passion and commitment to her grade school GAs who gather each Wednesday evening for missions education and activities at First, Guntersville.

‘God’s plan’

“I so much want these girls to have a world heart, a world view and know that America is not the center of the universe and that they can be part of God’s plan,” she said. “You don’t have to be 29 years old. You can be part of God’s plan when you’re 9 years old and He can speak to you then and keep speaking to you.”

The Royal Ambassadors (RAs) at First, Guntersville, are in good hands too. Jackie Hester, an assistant principal at Central School in Madison County, is a former Alabama Acteens Panelist. Her love of missions was nurtured during her years as a GA and Acteen and she wanted to pass along that missions legacy to her son and other boys.

“What we like to do is to make sure the boys understand what it is to be the hands and feet of Jesus,” she explained. “We want to incorporate the values and the virtues of the RAs and make sure they understand what it is to be a missionary themselves.”

Hunt and Hester work closely with a team of other GA and RA leaders in the church to help their students both learn about and get personally involved in missions.

Among the hands-on projects the GAs have gotten involved in is connecting with girls their own age at Light of Hope Learning Center in Bangladesh. The center is a day shelter providing impoverished girls education, life skills, health care and moral training. The girls at Light of Hope also create products marketed through National WMU’s WorldCrafts fair-trade ministry.

After studying about the girls in Bangladesh the GAs in Guntersville wanted to find practical ways to help them. They decided to organize a bake sale to raise money for a sewing machine for the center. 

“By the time we finished we ended up with $4,700 so we got a bunch of sewing machines for them,” Hunt said.

On the RA front Hester and other leaders seek to encourage a similar level of missions awareness and involvement. Their RA chapter has taken the lead in organizing an annual chili cookoff to raise funds for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and has added a soup cookoff to benefit the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering.

They also have collected shoes for children in need, served alongside the ushers as church greeters and shadowed several of the church’s ministers and leaders.

“Part of being an RA is learning how to be a leader and follow that leadership role and that’s what we promote for our boys,” Hester explained. She said the RA leaders strive to help the boys “feel a purpose and be connected to our church. We want them to be leaders.”

Equipping the next generation of missions leaders also is a top priority for Hunt. Noting that she would love for some of her GA girls to eventually answer God’s call to career missions, she recounted her own commitment to a life of missions service more than seven decades ago.

Next generation

“I felt God’s call to missions when I was 9 years old — perfect GA age,” she said. “So I wanted that for the children in this church. … That’s when the Lord speaks to children, when they’re young, when their hearts are tender.” 

Affirming her personal motivation for nurturing a love of missions in her young GAs, Hunt added, “I really hope to instill a vision in another generation so they will pass it on.”