Lee was the featured speaker for M-Counter, a combined Missouri Woman’s Missionary Union and women’s ministry event April 17-18 at First Baptist Church, Lebanon.
The national director shared the impact of prayer while she served with the Southern Baptist Convention’s Foreign (now International) Mission Board in St. Vincent, Windward Islands. She shared the history of the development of WMU’s emphasis on prayer for missionaries.
“God has called us to be praying women,” she said. Prayer, she added, starts in the soul. Prayer isn’t a magic wand or a form of begging. “It’s not about changing God’s mind…. We pray so that God can change us,” she said.
Lee asked listeners their understanding of stewardship. If their concept includes simply giving to the church or to a charity at year’s end, they have missed the point.
God owns everything, entrusts some of his possessions to believers and holds his followers accountable for the way in which they care for God’s things.
Studies, including one by the North American Mission Board two years ago and one last year by LifeWay, showed that giving to the Cooperative Program, the Lottie Moon offering for international missions and the Annie Armstrong offering for North American missions is higher in churches with mission organizations.
While they pray and give, Christ-followers must live the gospel. She reminded the women that God’s greatest commandment is to love him, and the second is to love others. Missional living means “go live like a missionary wherever you are,” she said.
Love is not seen in a one-time overseas trip or in a local mission project. “We are called to live missionally every day, wherever we are,” she said.
Women’s ministry speaker Sandee Hedger focused on prayer in each general session. Using Isaiah 56:7, she emphasized that God’s house includes believers as individuals, as their family unit and as a corporate body.
Prayer must include more than asking God to take care of personal needs. Believers must be more concerned about the problems of the nations than of their own struggles. They must be more concerned for those who live in “the crisis of hell” than about the rising cost of living, and that their corporate prayer time must be more concerned with “the heart that doesn’t know Christ” than with clogged arteries, she said.
Prayer is worship, she noted, “the most beautiful, precious act of worship.” She reminded listeners that believers’ prayers are lifted as incense before God.
During the two-day event, International Mission Board missionaries David and Janene Ford shared some of their field experiences in Argentina and stories of growing up in mid-Missouri. Former IMB missionary Linda Baker, a native of Ellington, told how God had called her and about her ministry in Bolivia. She resigned after her father died in flooding in southeast Missouri last year.
Elaine Ham, a spokesperson for the North American Mission Board, emphasized NAMB’s ministry across the country and showed a clip of new work and its impact on a family in Arizona.
Missouri WMU honored longtime IMB missionary Lucy Wagner as its emeritus missionary of the year. “There’s something I’ve wanted to say to Missouri WMU and that is that I love you,” she said.
The annual event included a women’s ministry forum and provided a host of breakout sessions on missional living, prayer and spiritual awakening and other topics.
Missouri WMU also said good-bye to Lorraine Powers as its president for five years. Delegates to the meting elected Joan Dotson of Lake St. Louis as president, Cherri Crump of Rolla as vice president, Jan Turner of St. Clair as secretary and Belinda Hogan of Trenton as treasurer.
They also chose Tonya Jones of Florissant as African-American consultant, Tammy Joplin of Kirksville as northeast region consultant and Rhonda Myers of Jefferson City as central region consultant.
Debbie Miller of Jefferson City was chosen as nominating committee chair, with Lori Bohannon of Conway and Pam Ranney of St. Joseph named as members at large.
Next year’s M-Counter is set for April 9-10 at Frederick Boulevard Baptist Church, St. Joseph.
Vicki Brown is a correspondent for Word&Way.