Candace McIntosh says that so far, 2023 has been a “sweet season of watching God work” through Alabama Woman’s Missionary Union.
“I want to brag on what God has been doing over these past six months,” said McIntosh, executive director of Alabama WMU, during an online meeting in late April. McIntosh and other leaders provided a recap of spring activities and a preview of upcoming opportunities to missions leaders and group members joining in by Zoom.
Two of Alabama WMU’s largest annual events were held in March and April.
More than 215 teen girls, leaders and staff members attended Complete at NorthPark Baptist Church in Trussville on March 3 and 4.
Trish Jackson, Alabama WMU missions lifestyle strategist for preschool, children and students, said it was powerful to see the teens worshipping together. The event featured Bible study and worship, a missions focus and breakout sessions on a variety of topics.
The other large event was Renew, held April 15. It brought more than 400 women of all ages to Heritage Baptist Church in Montgomery for a “day away with friends,” as the event is informally known. Pat Ingram, Alabama WMU missions and ministry consultant, said in addition to Bible study and worship, this year’s event focused on caring. A mental health panel provided strategies for “taking care of our souls, taking care of ourselves physically and taking care of each other,” Ingram said.
Renew participants brought items for Love Loud Montgomery, a ministry of Montgomery Baptist Association. A prayer room dedicated to one of Alabama WMU’s missions emphases, Mission: West Africa, was also available.
“It was so nice to have a room that we could go in and literally see faces and learn about some of the children and young adults we’ve been praying for,” McIntosh said.
McIntosh noted that a number of WMU members participated in Serve Tour Montgomery in early March. Similar efforts are underway for local missions projects in Andalusia and Mobile next year, noted Shirley Smith, Alabama WMU president.
Those efforts will build on ongoing Alabama WMU ministries, including Strengthening Alabama Schools, which seeks to reach out to local schools and help where needed.
Students are not only a missions focus of WMU though; they are also active participants, McIntosh said.
The annual Student Missions Weekend at WorldSong Missions Place in Cook Springs helps introduce high school students to local and global missions, Jackson said.
“The students learned about the nations and lostness. It was a powerful weekend,” Jackson said. “This is a fabulous, gospel-centered event in January that is ideal for small churches.”
Missions Adventure Camp, held throughout the summer at WorldSong, also focuses heavily on missions, McIntosh said. With tracks for elementary through high school students, girls and boys, there is a need for more summer staff members, especially male cabin leaders, Smith noted. She encouraged prayer for the summer staff and all those who will attend this summer.
Teen girls also can learn about leadership as part of this year’s Emerging Leaders class. Held in conjunction with Connect, the annual training and fellowship weekend of Alabama WMU, Emerging Leaders participants are girls who have completed grades nine through 12 and display leadership potential and a strong Christian witness.
The Emerging Leaders track at Connect includes Bible study, leadership training and fun. Nominations for the class of 2023 are now being taken.
Adults who attend Connect, set for July 21–22 at Shocco Springs in Talladega, will hear from missionaries who serve among unreached people groups, North American Mission Board missionaries and churches impacted by Christmas Backpacks, a ministry partnership between Alabama WMU and the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions that collected 14,336 backpacks in 2022.
Ingram said 330 professions of faith have been recorded so far from the 2022 distributions.
“The gospel gets shared with children who receive backpacks and their parents,” Ingram said. “That’s a lot of backpacks, but they represent a lot of children and families who get to hear about the love of God and experience that through a tangible gift in their hands at Christmas.”
Learn more about WMU ministries and missions efforts at alabamawmu.org.
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