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.

Steady Missions Investment

Mary Splawn said that when she was growing up, everything her mom had at her fingertips was a tool for ministry. She served on mission trips. She promoted mission offerings. She wrapped a lot of school supplies for the children’s home.

And over the years, with every small act, Judy Frady wrapped her daughter’s life in missions.

“My mom always taught me that I was to be a missionary every day,” Mary said. “She, along with my dad, modeled the importance of missions giving, missions involvement and devotion to the church.”

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It showed in their home — Judy often hosted the church’s Baptist Young Women at the family’s house. Those nights were special to Mary, even though she wasn’t old enough to be a part yet.

“I used to love when the ladies would come to our home,” she said. “My dad, brother and I would usually make other plans, but we’d come back in time to hear them laughing and praying together in the living room — and maybe we’d get some of the yummy food that Mom had prepared.”

It might seem simple, Mary said, but over time her mom made missions tangible.

“Each year Mom would set up a sign in our sanctuary with notes to a song like ‘Joy to the World’ that had big Christmas bulbs as the notes, and for every so many dollars we raised for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, we’d get to light up one of the notes and sing part of the song,” Mary said.

Lottie Moon and other missions pioneers were regular table talk for the Fradys — and vacation destinations too. Once when the Fradys traveled to Alabama from South Carolina to visit family, they detoured through Birmingham so they could stop and see Moon’s trunk and Annie Armstrong’s bed on display at national WMU headquarters.

“These were names very familiar to me, because we made a big deal about the offerings in our home and in our church,” Mary said.

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And over the years, Mary’s own list of personal missions heroes began to stack up, too. There was her mom, of course. There were several aunts — her mom’s sisters — who got Mary involved in ministries like packing bags for prisoners. And there was Dot Stephens, her committed Acteens leader.

“Sometimes we only had one other person and me in our Acteens class, but Ms. Dot was faithful to teach us about missions,” said Mary, who recently bought a brick in her honor on the Walk of Faith at national WMU headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama. “She helped us expand our knowledge of Christ’s mission around the world.”

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And because of her and the rest of Mary’s list of heroes, Mary has spent her life investing in missions too. As a young woman, she served as a journeyman overseas, and now she serves on staff at Mountain Brook Baptist Church in the Birmingham area.

“I am humbled thinking about their investment in me and others, and I thank God for them,” she said. “Mom, my aunts, Ms. Dot and many other women have ingrained in me that the Great Commission is for each of us.”

Plan & Prepare: a Q&A on Retirement

James Wright, WMU Foundation board chairman, joined us for a Q&A on retirement:

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1. What is the one thing that surprised you the most about retirement?

I anticipated having a lot of “free” time to do things that I wanted to do, and not have to plan my days and weeks. I found very quickly that you can get busy, and there is a need to still plan and carefully maintain your calendar and commitments so you will have time to do the things you want to do. If you don’t take time to plan, you will find your days going by very quickly and you have not accomplished the things you planned to do.

2. What are the top three words of advice you would give to someone who is wondering when they should retire?

My three words are: Plan, Prepare, and Economize.

Plan: Knowing when you are financially prepared to retire requires a lot of planning. This includes knowing the income you will have in retirement such as Social Security, the amount available to withdrawal from retirement accounts, what other financial resources are available to you, and knowing your expenses in detail. Make a budget that includes monthly expense items, and be sure to include annual expenses such a property taxes, house and car insurance, etc. You need to know all of this to have a full view of all of your expenses for a year.

Prepare: There is the need to Prepare. My greatest suggestion for preparation is to begin retirement debt free. When you don’t have a house or car payment you greatly reduce your annual expenses. This takes a LOT of preparation, but gives a much higher level of assurance that you will have enough money in retirement.

Economize: Especially in the early years of retirement, it is wise to live on less than your income. Investment returns can vary greatly from year to year so spending less can take pressure off needing the best of investment results. I very simply call it living below your means.

3. What would you say to someone who is approaching retirement age and worries they do not have enough money saved?

If a person has this question, then they need to seek assistance from a person who can help them do the calculations to know for sure. I recommend a financial planner to review your personal financial situation and accurately assess when you can retire and maintain your lifestyle. If you don’t have as much as you need, consider working a few more years. Or if you are close to having enough, consider working part time.

4. Are there any books, websites, or other resources you would suggest for retirees or those planning to retire?

More Than Money by Calvin Partain is a great book about stewardship and helpful as you think about how you will spend your time, resources, and money. More Than Money is available through New Hope Publishers. Free Bible studies and leader guides based on the book are available on our website.

5. Tell us the most fun thing you’ve done since retiring?

Without a doubt it has been traveling. My favorite was a trip to Scotland visiting tourist sites in Edinburgh and Glasgow and being able to go to the home of golf, The Old Course in St. Andrews. The main part of our trip was hiking the West Highland Way which is a 100-mile trail over an eight-day period. We hiked during the day until we reached a village or a town and spent the night in a Bed and Breakfast. We enjoyed Scottish culture and food. It is a trip I will always remember.

The Resurrection of Easter

Easter. It is resurrection, hope, transformation, life. Easter is what makes the devastation and confusion of Friday make sense.

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For women working their way through Christian Women’s Job Corps (CWJC), Easter is happening each day. For Akevia Wilson, CWJC gave her the skills and support needed to fulfill her dream of becoming a teacher. Though her circumstances once seemed dark, poverty didn’t steal her hope. She now teaches a classroom full of students who know through her example that resurrection is possible.

Everyone involved in CWJC – participants, mentors, volunteers – will tell you resurrection is messy. You can’t erase Friday or take away the pain of the events that led to the resurrection. Sometimes the path to Easter morning is heartbreaking and heavy.

But the hope of rising again is always present because God brings life in hopeless situations and transforms us in the process. Resurrection is always possible. Friday may be full of hopeless problems that can’t be solved and circumstances that leave us broken and grieving. It might feel like an immovable stone blocking the exit from darkness. But Friday isn’t the end.

WMU ministries are about hope and transformation—just like Easter. Your prayers, your financial support, and your involvement can make it possible for women to experience the hope of a new beginning through CWJC.

  • Pray for the hundreds of CWJC participants, volunteers, and mentors who are seeking resurrection today. Ask God to shine light in the darkness of hopeless situations.

  • Financially support CWJC by becoming a monthly partner with your gift to the Dove Endowment. You’ll provide scholarships for participants and grants for sites that are working tirelessly toward transformed lives.

  • Get involved. If you have a local site near you, contact them to find out how you can help. They may have specific prayer needs – commit to be a prayer supporter. They may have requests for supplies or volunteer help or any number of needs you may be able to fulfill.*

Be part of Easter for women across the country. Because Friday doesn’t have to be the end.

*Please contact your local site before collecting any supplies. Each site meets specific needs in their community and has a unique set of needs. Please call before you collect!