Jenn B says one day she will get to put her passion on a plane and go on a “real live mission trip.”
Until then, her love of missions is in her vehicle. And, she said, it’s in her heart, her life, and her family.
Jenn, who serves as communications coordinator for North Carolina Woman’s Missionary Union, spends her days raising and homeschooling her three children ages 9, 6, and 3. She does a lot of her work after their bedtime. And when she has events and ministry during the day, the kids go too.
“I’ve had to learn and God has affirmed that they are my mission field right now,” Jenn said. “I want to expose them to the missions opportunities that are available in our community. I believe missions is not just a project but a way of life.”
And that intentionality is something she wants to pass on to them—and to others—as best as and as often as she can, she said.
“Teaching Mission Friends when I was in high school—that’s when I was first exposed to WMU, and it nurtured my love of teaching,” said Jenn, who went on to get a degree in elementary education.
That initial contact with WMU “really spearheaded a love for missions for me too and gave me a desire to teach it in a way that’s tangible and engaging,” she said.
And it was a woman with WMU who “saw a passion and a desire in me to encourage other women, and she took me under her wing and nurtured that,” Jenn said. “It’s amazing how it’s grown since then thanks to her mentorship.”
WMU is a fantastic way to encourage more seasoned women to invest in the lives of younger women and grow in them a passion for reaching the world, she said. It’s also got fantastic curriculum to engage even young children in God’s heart for the world, she said.
“The heart of WMU is missions, and it encourages people to live intentionally, regardless of age,” Jenn said. “As my children see the things I do and are a part of WMU it becomes the thing you’re doing, the way you live, not just an organization.”
She’s not only teaching that perspective—she’s living it.
When she, her husband and children moved into a new community recently, she began noticing a group of homeless people hanging out in the lot across from the bank.
“I felt a nudging to ask the teller about them, and I told her I wanted to be able to do something for them through the appropriate outlet,” Jenn said.
As I turns out, the teller’s church ran a ministry to the homeless that Jenn and her kids could get involved in.
“So many times we just turn our head, but we were able to have that conversation and follow it up with ministry as the Spirit was leading,” she said. “I don’t want them to think that missions is just having to go somewhere—it’s every day of our lives.”
Jenn said she saw the Holy Spirit leading again in her oldest son this past Christmas, when he began to sort through his toys on his own and find some to give away to children in need.
“We have encouraged them to do this for a few years, and this year he initiated it on his own,” Jenn said. “He said, ‘These are things I want other boys and girls to have,’ and I thought, ‘OK, you’re beginning to get it. It’s not a begrudgingly done act but an intentional effort of trying to meet that need. We want to help others catch that vision.”
During the Week of Prayer in December, Jenn sat down with her children each day, read through the missionary story of the day and watched the corresponding video online.
“The family in Norway talked about their children and how they nurture relationships in their community,” she said. “It was really exciting for my kids to see how those children were involved in missions.”
WMU curriculum has so many tangible things that children can grab hold of, Jenn said. For instance, as a result of some creative learning, her 6 year old “fell in love” with missionary Amy Carmichael, she said.
“It makes a lasting impact and they remember,” Jenn said. “We want to share that and get others excited about it. It’s making a difference.”