Empty Space

I’m a notorious over-packer. As an experienced traveler, one might presume I’m an efficient packer. On the contrary, I fill every last crevice of every bag with things I might need.

When Lottie Moon sailed for China, she packed her recipe for tea cakes in her trunk. Those treats provided countless opportunities for Lottie to share the love of Christ with those in her new country.

SHE leads (2).png

If I were packing a trunk as Lottie did, filling it with ways God might use me to share the love of Christ with others, I wouldn’t fill every crevice of that trunk until it was bursting at the seams. I would leave empty space because that’s where I see God at work through me—in the moments of space I can offer to those around me simply through presence.

My daughter and I were at the mall recently, hurrying to shop then rush home for dinner. A woman working in the store began a conversation, and a voice in my head was telling me to rush through this encounter. But another voice was telling me to pause.

We soon learned that her husband of many years passed away recently. She talked about how hard it had been, how his inability to work in recent months is what led her to work in this department store.

We stood in the sacred space we allowed to open in that moment on a Thursday night in a store with a woman we’re likely to never see again. We allowed space for her to enter our evening. We were present in that pause.

People need to know that God is present and loves them. One way God communicates to those around us is through our willingness to slow down and pay attention, to offer space, a quiet, safe place to share burdens.

A recipe for tea cakes likely would not be in my trunk. But there would be plenty of carefully protected space in my trunk for God to use as He desires.

The WMU Foundation invests in women who have a passion to be missions leaders. Support women’s leadership development with your gift to the WMU Foundation Second Century Fund.

Give online or by mail to the WMU Foundation SCF, 100 Missionary Ridge, Birmingham, AL 35242.

Written by Kym Mitchell, national WMU's editor for the Student Resource Team.

Ordinary Woman, Extraordinary Investment

It’s been about 40 years since Sandy Wisdom-Martin got to know Ruth King in the small town of Marissa, Illinois.

But she’ll never lose the mental image of the small lady protecting her from snarling dogs.

“I was afraid of dogs,” said Wisdom-Martin, who was a teenager back when she used to walk through town with King on Wednesday nights. “Before Bible study, she and I would go out into the community together and invite people to church, and the dogs would chase us. She had to protect me.”

But even though that memory stuck, something else stuck with Wisdom-Martin even more, she said.

SHE leads (1).png

“As we walked around town, she taught me how to witness,” Wisdom-Martin said. “She became a role model for me. She taught me about missions, and as a teenager, my worldview changed completely because of her. She showed me that there was a world beyond my tiny rural community.”

In Wisdom-Martin’s eyes, King brought the world to the small Illinois town when her husband became the bivocational pastor there.

But King said she wasn’t doing anything extraordinary — she was just doing what God had called her to do.

“I had been an Acteens leader in the church we had come from, and they had no Acteens in Sandy’s church,” she said.

So King started an Acteens group with just her daughter and Wisdom-Martin. About a year later, another girl joined them.

And King poured her life into the tiny group of girls.

“I felt like God sent us there, but I never did anything special in particular,” she said. “God just gave us the blessing of having worked with Sandy. She was already ready to respond to the call; I was just grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of her life.”

It’s been decades since the two saw each other, but when Wisdom-Martin was named executive director of Woman’s Missionary Union in 2016, King saw the news and sent her a letter congratulating her.

“I’m thrilled for her,” King said. “I know God has used her greatly, and I can’t imagine what He has before her still to do.”

But Wisdom-Martin says King is the one God has used greatly.

“I do believe that her starting Acteens changed the course of my life,” she said. “She faithfully met with the few girls who gathered. She helped me see the vast world beyond my rural county through God's eyes. Her efforts enabled me to understand I have a part in God's plan.”

Not only that — King taught her how to study the Bible. She taught everyone, Wisdom-Martin said.

“There was a time when she was the Wednesday night Bible study leader, and she taught us how to methodically and systematically read the Bible,” Wisdom-Martin said.

It made an impression — King was “one of the most powerful discipling influences in my life,” Wisdom-Martin said. “She’s a person who made disciples who made disciples. She was passionate about spending time with God, and she passed that passion on to others.”

This article was featured in the April 2018 issue of Missions Mosaic

Generational Discipleship Brings Global Investment

Are you involved in making disciples and sharing Christ with others through missions education? People like Cindy Walker cannot imagine their lives without it. She grew up with WMU as part of her life—she started out as a Sunbeam, then became a GA, taught GAs, and now teaches Acteens, WMU’s missions education curriculum for youth girls.

Learning and teaching about missions for years gave Cindy a passion to reach the lost all over the world. Her eyes were opened to the fact that the world was far more than her community, and she wanted the world to know about Jesus.

CWalker_N-3.png

In the last ten years, Cindy has gone on eighteen mission trips to Nicaragua, often taking Acteens with her. She has been able to teach God’s love to these girls and help them put that love into action in their hometowns and across the world.

Cindy’s teams have been able to work with the Emmanuel Home of Protection in Nicaragua, which serves victims of sexual abuse and trafficking. Unfortunately, in October 2017, Tropical Storm Nate caused almost insurmountable damage to the safe house.

“Poverty is rampant. Hopelessness is evident everywhere you look,” Cindy explained. But she also noted she had heard story after story of people in the area who had come to know Christ because someone from the safe house reached out to them and met their physical needs then shared the gospel with them. The home “is a beacon of hope and light in a dark area of our hemisphere,” she said.

At Emmanuel Home of Protection, missionaries provide girls from birth to age 18 with a formal education and training in life and job skills. The staff offers psychological, emotional, and spiritual care to the girls introducing them to the unconditional love of Jesus. “That’s why it’s vital to keep the ministry up and running at full speed,” Cindy said. “Anything we can do to help these missionaries minister in this community is wonderful.”

The WMU Foundation sent a $2,500 HEART Fund grant to help them rebuild and recover as quickly as possible. The grant will help replace roofs, windows, walls, and doors at the safe house. Cindy’s involvement with WMU through the years helped her be a voice for a small organization in Nicaragua that might have otherwise been overlooked. Because someone chose to teach her the importance of making disciples and helping others through missions education and her own dedication to reaching the lost in Nicaragua, the lives of girls have been changed both physically and spiritually.

Several of Cindy’s former GAs are now missionaries and others have girls who Cindy teaches now. “I’ve had the opportunity to serve another generation. The mothers who grew up in these missions programs see how missions education influenced them, and they want to emphasize that to their children. It’s been such a blessing.”

SHE leads.png

Cindy was discipled through missions education as a young child and discipled countless others as well.  Because she was invested in and invested in others, lives have been changed around the world. How has Christ changed your life through missions education? How are you making disciples because of the investment someone else poured into your life?

Packing is Hard: A Simplified Guide to Sharing the Gospel

When it comes to sharing the Gospel, I want to be prepared. I want to carefully choose my words as I share with others. I want to prayerfully consider how the conversations could go and let God guide me. I can’t do that if I’m scrambling at the last minute.

Unknown.jpeg

Although sharing Christ isn’t easy, it’s of vital importance. In Lottie’s own words, “How can I not speak, when I know the words of life?” Luckily, you don’t need much to share Him with your neighbors. Here’s what I pack:

Prayer: I believe all things begin with prayer. I’m not always great at finding the right words to say, but I know God honors my efforts. I have made it a habit to pray each morning on my way to work, and it has helped me tremendously throughout the day. It helps me focus on glorifying God instead of worrying about selfish things. Sometimes, random people pop into my head during those prayer times, and I know that’s God telling me to pray for them and maybe even share Him with them.

Bible study: Everyone has heard this, but you don’t go to take a math test without working on a few practice problems first. It’s the same with the Bible. It’s hard to share about Christ and all He can offer to others when you don’t even know the full story yourself. I have recently become a Bible journaler, and it has helped me understand and appreciate God’s Word in a new and fresh way that I am so thankful for. It has also opened up new doors for me because I can talk to nonbelievers and believers alike who are interested in learning more about the creative side of this type of study.

Encouragement: My top two spiritual gifts are administration and encouragement. So basically, I’m going to help people through tough times in a very organized way! I fully believe that relationship-building is the first step to sharing Christ with another person, and I think encouragement is a great way to begin that. It’s not difficult to lend a listening ear or to give a positive comment to someone struggling, but it can make all the difference in their life.

There are so many other things that would be helpful on this Christ-sharing journey, but you can’t go wrong if these three things lay the foundation for you.

maegan gift of missions March 2018.jpg

Maegan Dockery is donor administrator at the WMU Foundation. She loves creative Bible journaling.

Download a free journaling page designed by Maegan.