Ohio WMU retreat encourages women to pursue deeper relationship with God

Ohio WMU retreat encourages women to pursue deeper relationship with God

Meshing the impact of Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) and women’s ministries, more than 110 women from across Ohio gathered for the Ohio Baptist Women’s Fall Retreat and Missions Celebration.

The weekend retreat, held at Seneca Lake Baptist Assembly, explored the WMU theme, “Unshakable Pursuit: Chasing the God Who Chases Us.” Keynote speaker Kristy Carr, senior hub manager at National WMU, challenged participants to “stand firm” in their faith.

In a pair of messages highlighting 1 Corinthians 15:58, Carr urged participants to give themselves fully to the work of the Lord, “knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

“If we truly believe the gospel, we will live it and we will tell it,” she declared. “We are very relational people. For us to know people, we really have to know our Father” through such disciplines as prayer, Bible study, worship and ministry to one’s neighbors.”

On a practical ministry level, the weekend included such activities as an early morning prayer walk and an offering for the Joan White Scholarship Fund to help finance women and girls going on first-time missions trips.

Participants also collected practical and personal gift items for the Appalachian Backpack Ministry and designed notecards to send to missionaries.

The women had the opportunity to choose among several breakout sessions ranging from how to minister to victims of human trafficking and reports of recent missions trips to Kenya and Nicaragua to a ministry wives’ tea and ways to grow in one’s personal faith.

‘Bridge together’

Ohio WMU president Jean DiFilippo said one of her goals is to bridge together women’s ministry and WMU.

“We’re all serving the same God,” she said. “We need to all be working together with missions, of course, being one of our central focuses, but also building each other up in Christ.”

The women also enjoyed lighter moments of fellowship throughout the weekend, including a bonfire, movie night and even spontaneously breaking into the “OH-IO” cheer.

But “the No. 1 thing we hope the women take away is a deeper personal relationship with the Lord,” said Cathy Pound, Ohio WMU executive director. “We also would hope that this would be a time, especially for women who are so busy with many responsibilities, to be able to hear His voice in a new way or in a specific way that speaks to the situation that they’re in right now.”

The annual retreat helps women affirm, “we are sisters together,” Pound said. “What God is doing is not only impacting our churches, our communities; it’s impacting Ohio.”