By Irene A. Harkleroad

Arizona WMU has been actively involved in encouraging, training, and involving missionaries for 90 years as part of SBC Woman’s Missionary Union, the largest Protestant organization for women in the world.

Arizona Woman’s Missionary Union leaders gathered at CrossPoinTempe Church, Feb. 15-16, for inspiration, education and celebration.

Friday evening’s events included dinner and fellowship, worship, a missions fair, reviews of past and present missions efforts, as well as a robust focus on the future.

Keynote speaker Sandy Wisdom-Martin, national WMU executive director-treasurer, encouraged attendees to be courageous, passionate and humble in their mission. She stressed that the world has changed dramatically over the last 50 years, and there are more opportunities than ever before to reach the lost with the gospel.

Refugees are the focus of WMU for the next two years. Breakout sessions included “Forced to Flee — What the Bible says about Refugees,” by Wisdom-Martin; “The Church’s Opportunity to Minister” by Phoenix Refugee Connection and Tucson Refugee Ministry; and a Refugee Simulation by AZ Christian Challenge. They all emphasized the need to understand the trauma and loss that refugees have experienced and the challenges they face here.

Of the 68 million people displaced annually, less than 8,600 resettled in Arizona between 2016 and 2018.

A missions fair included displays and representatives from the International Mission Board, North American Mission Board, AZ WMU children’s missions camp, Tucson Refugee Ministry, Phoenix Refugee Connection, Arizona Southern Baptist Convention, a display of artifacts and photos of the early years of WMU by the Arizona Southern Baptist Historical Commission Archives and a drop-off area for items for a local mission project.

“I believe we have genuine reasons for optimism,” Wisdom-Martin said. “But we may have to do things differently to get to the future that God has for us. We need to get up and finish the race. We need to renew our commitment and chase God with everything we’ve got!”

To learn more about AZ WMU, visit “Arizona WMU” on Facebook.