By Irene A Harkleroad
Nearly 60 participants converged on the campus of CrossPoinTempe Church April 24-25 to experience the excitement of the annual WMU Missions Celebration.
Keynote speaker and National WMU President Debbie Akerman focused on “Surrender, Sacrifice, and Serve.”
“In addition to three main sessions, she also led some of the breakout sessions,” said Terrie Sullivan, Arizona WMU executive director. “She was very motivational and inspired us all.”
Lorna Bius, North American Mission Board LoveLoud catalyst in the West, told how a movement of churches is demonstrating God’s love by meeting significant human needs of the neglected while sharing Christ.
Missionaries Joe and Janet came as representatives of the closed country in which they serve. Dressed in the national garb of that country, they piqued everyone’s interest and were able to share stories about what God is doing in a dangerous part of the world.
Jan Lows Clay, with Life Among the Nations at ASU (which hosts 140 nations) and International Students Ministries at Church on Mill, Tempe, spoke as well. Clay’s responsibilities include coordinating volunteers and a network of local churches to provide resources to internationals.
Volunteers with the Arizona Southern Baptist Disaster Relief feeding unit prepared and served dinner. “Not only was it delicious, but it was also educational,” said Sullivan. “It gave attendees the opportunity to see part of what Disaster Relief does.”
Every four years, the national WMU focuses on a relevant societal topic for Project Help. Past topics have include AIDS and exploitation. This year, WMU is focusing on PTSD.
Roger Daniels, statewide director of New Life Counseling and Leader Care for Arizona Baptist Children’s Services, addressed this issue. He defined PTSD, the far-reaching effects of it within families and society and what the efforts of WMU can do about it.
Since PTSD is particularly hard on children, WMU is in an ideal position to minister to them. WMU has developed kits to introduce preschoolers through adults to PTSD and how they can minister to those involved through understanding and compassion. Each year there will be a new kit, and training will focus on a different aspect of this prevalent issue.
A missions fair and book store were open during the event.
“We have Leaders Guides, PTSD kits, New Year books (guides for churches), and Debbie Akerman’s book available,” said Sullivan. She can be contacted at 480-244-8535 for information.