A ‘Hero’ Who Held the Missions Banner High

On the day of Betty Malone’s memorial service in early October, everyone stood quietly in the chapel as the flags of the nations rippled down the aisle, carried by the WMU women of First Baptist Church of Jackson, Mississippi.

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The rippling flags portrayed Malone’s love for the nations — and the ripple effect her ministry had for the Kingdom of God. “She loved every nation of the world, she prayed for them and she sent people on mission. She touched generations in her impact for Christ,” said Cindy Townsend, minister of WMU and women’s enrichment activities at First Baptist and former WMU Foundation board member.

Malone served from 1985 to 1991 as the church’s minister of WMU and women’s enrichment activities, the position Townsend serves in now. During that time, Townsend served as the student minister, and they worked closely together to start missions groups for the youth.

Flags of the nations were on display at Betty Malone’s funeral, symbolizing her love for the nations and passion for the Great Commission.

Flags of the nations were on display at Betty Malone’s funeral, symbolizing her love for the nations and passion for the Great Commission.

“She was a missions enthusiast and a radiant Christian woman of God,” Townsend said. “She was so foundational to holding the missions banner high, especially for missions education at our church.”

Malone had been there at a strategic point in time, Townsend said. “She had the ear of the men as well as the women. And whenever the men would want to get something done, she would say with a twinkle in her eye and a big smile, ‘Now if you really want something done in the church, get the WMU to do it. They are the ones who pray and rally people to give and participate.’”

Malone was a trailblazer who impacted many, Townsend said. Not only that — she believed in missions.

Malone loved her family, teaching music and making the name of Jesus Christ known. Her family wrote in her obituary that if there was one organization that was “most dear” to her, it would be WMU.

Cindy Townsend, center, remembers Betty Malone as a woman who prayed for the nations and supported missions throughout her life.

Cindy Townsend, center, remembers Betty Malone as a woman who prayed for the nations and supported missions throughout her life.

At Malone’s memorial service, her son, Drew, shared about how when he and his brothers were growing up, they never knew who was going to be at the dinner table. Frequently they found themselves sitting next to dignitaries and missionaries from all over the world.

Townsend said that was “just Betty” — she had the gift of hospitality and a winsome way that just made you want to get to know her. She was always inviting people into their home.

“If you were around her, she genuinely wanted to know you,” Townsend said.

At the reception after her memorial service, her love for people and the world was evident — it was a “Betty celebration,” Townsend said. Dozens of people stood around having desserts and telling stories about Malone’s life and how she had impacted them. It was “a beautiful tribute to a woman who had a heart for the world,” Townsend said. “She had such a vision for preschool, RAs, GAs, Acteens, Women on Mission — she wanted to impact the Kingdom, and I know she did just that. She definitely impacted me.”

A brick was bought in memory of Betty Malone and her years of holding the missions banner.

A brick was bought in memory of Betty Malone and her years of holding the missions banner.

Learn more about the Walk of Faith at wmufoundation.com/walkoffaith or call (205) 408-5525 for more information. 100% of your gift to the Walk of Faith helps meet the needs of WMU.

Written by Grace Thornton.

The Hayes Endowment: Working Together to Change Lives

The Judith and David Hayes Endowment to Combat Human Trafficking was established in 2006. Since then, over $20,000 has been granted to organizations all over the world. These grants help Christians respond to human trafficking by providing education and awareness, housing and counseling for victims, as well as job skills and business development support for victims coming out of trafficking.

When you give to the Hayes Endowment, you are helping human trafficking victims find hope.

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The Baptist Friendship House in New Orleans recently received a grant and was immediately able to put it to use. “The day we received the grant from the WMU Foundation, we got a call from the National Human Trafficking Hotline,” explained Kay Bennett, executive director of the Baptist Friendship House. She spoke to a young woman who was being trafficked out of a hotel in New Orleans. “Due to receiving the grant, we knew that we would have funds to be able to get her a ticket to get her safely to Florida.”

The young woman has cerebral palsy and walks with the help of a cane. “It broke our hearts to think that someone could be so cruel to sell someone in her condition. It broke my heart more to realize that someone would buy her when they could see that she had a disability,” Bennett continued. Because of the grant they had received hours before, this young woman made it safely to Florida and is doing well. She told Bennett, “I have my Bible and a new beginning.” 

The grant has also helped the Baptist Friendship House purchase supplies for the ladies who work for their new WorldCrafts artisan group. “It is a blessing to be able to teach our ladies a trade and for them to earn fair wages,” Bennett said. “I am amazed how sitting around in a non-threatening environment and doing the pottery helps our ladies to open up and share.” When these women share with each other, that’s when healing starts. 

David George presents Kay Bennett of Baptist Friendship House with the Hayes Endowment award.

David George presents Kay Bennett of Baptist Friendship House with the Hayes Endowment award.

When you give to the Hayes Endowment, you are making a difference.

Dolores Kiser is a long-time donor to the Hayes Endowment. Her eyes were opened to the horrors of human trafficking and the heartbreaking stories when she first saw a story about it in Missions Mosaic. She wanted to help but wasn’t sure how.

The first thing Kiser did was begin to pray for the victims she would read about each month in her magazine. “I made a list of things to do to raise money. One was to ask my grown children to give money to the Hayes Endowment instead of giving me gifts for Mother’s Day, birthdays, and Christmas, which they now do,” Kiser explained. “The Lord is making a way for me to give.”

When you give to the Hayes Endowment, you are partnering with others to share the love of Christ.

There are still victims out there who need our help. Your gifts can change the hopeless to the hopeful as more people come to know Christ. The WMU Foundation grants money from the Hayes Endowment both nationally and internationally each year so that more and more victims all over the world will be free. Please visit wmufoundation.com/stoptrafficking to learn more or to give.

“We are honored to partner with you as we assist trafficking survivors, create awareness, provide trainings, and advocate for stricter laws,” Bennett said. “It takes all of us working together to change lives and change our world.”

Written by Maegan Dockery, Marketing Manager at the WMU Foundation.

Texas Woman Honors ‘WMU husband’ For His Years Serving in the Background

Elaine Mason remembers vividly the moment all the older WMU ladies fell in love with her husband. It was the night they saw him playing a game with the younger WMU ladies’ kids while bouncing a baby on each hip.

He was a hero that night, she said. The women were holding an associational WMU training, and Ronn Mason was the last-minute, emergency childcare.

“They thought that was the most wonderful thing any man had ever done,” Elaine said. “It meant the difference in whether or not those moms could come.”

And she realized she had something special — a WMU husband.

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Over the years, he’s taught Royal Ambassadors (RAs), but he’s also done pretty much anything needed for Girls in Action (GAs) too, like cut shapes out of wood or cardboard for the crafts.

When the Masons’ children were small, he helped with Mission Friends and led the Mission Friends choir. When their daughter grew into GAs, he helped her with her projects too.

“I’m so very grateful God gave me Ronn,” she said. “He has been a wonderful WMU partner. I tease him that he’s become my private secretary.”

In a way, it’s a miracle they ever ended up together, she jokes. Long before Elaine was throwing tasks as him, she was throwing something else — dirt.

“I grew up in New Mexico, and after church on Sundays, all the kids would take turns going to play at someone else’s house,” she said.

At one of those houses, a little blond boy showed up and kept trying to interrupt a game a house that Elaine and her friend Mary were playing.

“Finally, we realized the only way we were going to get rid of him was to be mean to him and throw dirt clods at him,” Elaine said.

Their plan was successful. But years later in college in Texas, a mutual friend realized they were both from New Mexico and decided to introduce them. It wasn’t long before they put the pieces together and remembered the dirt clod incident.

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“He had grown up in a non-Baptist church, but he was so impressed with the way we supported our missionaries,” Elaine said. “He just thought it was wonderful that we all banded together through the Cooperative Program to do that. He wasn’t raised in RAs either, and he wanted to be a part of that kind of missions education.”

The couple married and has served in a variety of ways at First Baptist Church of Texas City, Texas. Ronn was always supportive, and for that reason, Elaine honored her “WMU husband” with a brick in the Walk of Faith brick garden on New Hope Mountain in Birmingham, Alabama.

“He has just been the background person all these years, quietly serving, and I’m so thankful,” Elaine said.

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For more information about the Walk of Faith or to purchase a brick in someone’s memory or honor, visit wmufoundation.com/walkoffaith.

Written by Grace Thornton.

Ann Judson: An Inspiration for Missionary Women

Rosalie Hunt said that ever since she heard about the Walk of Faith being built on New Hope Mountain, she knew she wanted to buy several bricks to honor the “missions heroes” in her life.

And she knew which one she wanted to buy first — a brick dedicated to the memory of Ann Hasseltine Judson, “the one who started it all,” Hunt said.

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“Ann Judson led the way for all women missionaries, for the many thousands who have followed,” said Hunt, missions author, former Alabama Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) president and a former national WMU recording secretary.

Judson — who headed to Burma with her husband, Adoniram, in 1812 — was America’s first female international missionary.

“She knew she would never see her family again,” Hunt said. “She knew she was giving up everything she knew.”

Judson stared death in the face and decided the risk was worth it for the people of Burma to know Jesus, Hunt said. “She made a leap of faith and courage that has been so inspirational to us.”

And her legacy extends far past Burma, Hunt said. Follow the trail of the lives influenced by Judson, and you’ll find people like Lottie Moon, a missionary who gave her all for the people of China and laid the foundation for Southern Baptist missions support. You’ll find Hephzibah Jenkins Townsend, who founded a missionary society that was the precursor to WMU. And you’ll find Fannie E.S. Heck, who was WMU’s first president.

“Each of those women was directly inspired by the dauntless Ann, and they, in turn, have inspired those of us who have followed,” said Hunt, who wrote about Judson’s life in her book “The Extraordinary Story of Ann Hasseltine Judson: A Life Beyond Boundaries.”

And because of that impact, Judson’s name has been engraved on a brick for the new prayer garden at national WMU headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama. Hunt said she also wants to buy other bricks to honor missions heroes in her life whose names may not be as well known.

But she said it’s important to remember our roots, too.

“I realize that Ann Hasseltine Judson is not a little-known or unsung hero, but she is indeed the number one to us.” Hunt said. “The brick is a tangible way for us to hang on to that legacy.”

Judson blazed the trail for the thousands who came behind — both those who answered the call to missionary service and those who “held the ropes” by giving, praying, and teaching children about missions, Hunt said.

“Each person she influenced is a stepping stone, an important step in passing that missions legacy on to the next generation,” she said. “We need to pass it on. It takes work. It takes effort. It takes every person answering the Great Commission in their own way making an investment in lives.”

For more information about the Walk of Faith or to purchase a brick in someone’s memory or honor, visit wmufoundation.com/walkoffaith.

Rosalie Hunt, board member for the WMU Foundation, wrote about Ann Hasseltine Judson in her book, The Extraordinary Story of Ann Hasseltine Judson: A Life Beyond Boundaries.

Rosalie Hunt, board member for the WMU Foundation, wrote about Ann Hasseltine Judson in her book, The Extraordinary Story of Ann Hasseltine Judson: A Life Beyond Boundaries.