By Tim Kenney

Baptists from across Arizona gathered Feb. 17-18 at CrossPoinTempe Church for the annual meeting of Arizona Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU). Pastor Bob Dodridge greeted the attendees with thanksgiving for the important work of WMU in keeping churches focused on missions.

The mission celebration was attended by 80 people representing 15 churches.

“We have no other forum statewide to present the challenge of every person having a personal connection to mission involvement,” said Arizona WMU President Nadine Peterson. “Our desire is to especially challenge women to be radically involved in the gospel of Christ and the work of drawing each church closer to this task.” Peterson was recognized with a bouquet of flowers for five years of service as president by Arizona WMU Executive Director Terrie Sullivan.

Rosalie Hall Hunt shared in the main sessions from her experience as a former International Mission Board (IMB) missionary to China as well as from her time researching books she authored about WMU history and biographies about Adoniram and Ann Judson and Hephzibah Jenkins Townsend. Hunt encouraged Arizona Southern Baptists to remember their rich missionary heritage.

“We all are links in a missions chain together with people like Hephzibah, who started the first missionary giving society that later became WMU,” she said. “We are connected to heroes of the faith like Ann Judson, Lottie Moon, Terrie Sullivan and Nadine Peterson, and we have a responsibility to connect with the next generation to keep the chain growing.”

Breakout sessions highlighted existing statewide mission involvement. Tommy Thomas, North American Mission Board church planting catalyst, shared how to be involved in church planting. Sandy De Jesus, Arizona Southern Baptist Convention information services, gave pointers about ministering to sufferers of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Arizona-sent Last Frontier IMB missionaries shared about urban ministry with Muslims in Southeast Asia.

Music was led by Autumn and Israel Barraza.

New leaders appointed and confirmed at the meeting include President, Linda Hopson, East Verde Baptist Church, Payson; Leadership Development, Gail Hallman, First Baptist Church, Buckeye; Recording Secretary, Jennifer Orkin, Love Baptist Church, Phoenix; Treasurer, Nadine Peterson, CrossPoinTempe Church, Tempe; Adult Consultant Northern Arizona, Earlene Kingman, First Southern Baptist Church, Chino Valley; Adult Consultant Southern Arizona, Edna Gilliland, God’s Country Church, Tucson; Children’s Consultant, Lorraine Allender, Love Baptist Church, Phoenix; and Preschool Consultant, Nadine Peterson. There are still openings for Student/Youth and Young Women consultants.