WMU Testimonies

 

Ann House Remembers…

I’ve been involved with WMU for as long as I can remember, because I went with my mother to her “circle meetings” until I started to elementary school at age 6.  I was also in Sunbeams, and sang “Jesus wants me for a sunbeam to shine for Him each day.  In every way try to please Him at home, at school, at play.  A sunbeam, a sunbeam, Jesus wants me for a sunbeam.  A sunbeam, a sunbeam, I’ll be a sunbeam for Him.”

In elementary school I was in Junior GA’s.  This was when we had “Forward Steps.”  A lot of the scripture verses that I know came from memorizing them for the steps.  My first “sleep-away camp” was GA camp at our associational campground in Dublin, GA.  I also went to GA camp at Camp Pinnacle one or two times.

Then as a teenager I was in Intermediate GA’s.  In the upper grades of high school came YWA.  Our leader was an elderly old maid who had nothing in common with teenage girls, and we didn’t like going to the meetings, but she was one of the most faithful church leaders I’ve ever had, and she kept working with us even when we gave all kinds of excuses for not attending the meetings.

In college I was in Baptist Student Union, and it had an element of missions emphasis.  I went to a World Missions Conference at Southern Seminary during my college years.

When I went as a student to Southern Seminary, the Carver School of Missions and Social Work had just merged with the seminary, and the building of the Carver School had become the women’s dorm for the seminary.  There was a small museum there about the life and work of Miss Lottie Moon.  Many years later I was able to visit the headquarters of the SBC Foreign Mission Board in Richmond, VA, and there was a museum there about our mission work around the world.

 In my first church staff job at First Baptist Church of McCaysville, GA, and my second church staff job at Woodland Hills Baptist Church in Atlanta, I was in a circle.  I was usually the only young woman, in a group with middle-age or older women.

During the 32 years that we lived in Rome, GA, I was active in a WMU group and served as leader of the group one or more years.  Since coming to RFBC I have been in the WOM day group, and have assisted with some of our local mission ministries.  I have taught the Foreign Mission study 3-4 times over these 39 years.

Two years ago at a CBF Senior Celebration I heard Carolyn Weatherford Crumpler, former head of SBC WMU, speak.  The lady who introduced her invited us to say the GA pledge with her.  I had not thought of it in many, many years, but the words just came back to me, “Knowing that countless people grope in darkness and giving attention to His commands, I assert my allegiance to Jesus Christ, to His church, and its activities…”

I have had the privilege of knowing some SBC foreign missionaries personally.  Dot Lott, from Savannah, was a classmate of mine at Tift College, and we went to Southern Seminary together.  She served for over 30 years in Brazil.  I knew Bob and Olivia Williams before they went to Honduras as music missionaries, and continued my friendship with them after they retired to Rome, GA.  I also knew Joe and Ann Baskin, who, late in life, left their teaching jobs in Rome (he at Shorter College and she in public school) and went to the Far East, where they served for 10 years until retirement.  I knew Dub and Helen Ruchti, who served in Rome, Italy, and retired to Rome, GA.  Fairly often I see on the list of retired missionaries in Prayer Patterns the names of missionaries that I went to seminary with, and that really makes it personal for me.


 
 

Karen Whaley Remembers…

My first link with WMU was as a young bride.  I attended a monthly WMU meeting at my mother-in-law’s home.  The involvement at that time was the catalyst that sparked my interest of the many activities and levels of WMU.

I had the opportunity, also, to meet and fellowship with a number of missionaries and their families who were home on furlough and stayed in a “mission house” provided by our church.  During this time, I was able to learn first- hand what their life and job was as they served on the foreign mission field.

I developed a personal interest for the education of children and young adults about missions.  Over 4+ decades I have had the privilege to serve as GA leader, GA Director, WMU President and WMU Director in my church.  In addition to that, my husband’s job took us to Hong Kong for 11+ years where we experienced multiple cultures and missionaries in our local International Baptist Church.  We became friends with many missionaries who served on the field in Asia.

Each step along the way makes me more aware of the need for educating the church about the importance of missions and supporting their efforts.


 
 

Sheila Edenfield Remembers…

I must credit my mom, a former WMU Director, for exposing me to missions at an early age – resulting in my achieving the level of Queen in GA’s.   Later, as an adult, a friend n my Sunday school class invited me to a “circle” meeting and that is how my days in Women on Missions (WOM) began.  Over the years I have been inspired, encouraged, and supported by many strong mission-minded ladies in our church, whether I was a worker, organizer, promoter or leader for a mission activity or event.  

During my years at First Baptist I have had the opportunity to participate in several women’s groups, facilitate a group, serve on the Missions Committee and the WMU Leadership Team.  Doors were opened for me to be involved with a multitude of mission projects which reached out to a variety of organizations and individuals.  Topping my list of favorite activities would be the pillowcase dresses for Kenya and the stuffed dolls for Kenya.

One of my personal goals is to involve as many people as possible in a mission project or program we elect to undertake.  It is a thrill to see women (as well as men, teens, and children) “doing missions” – and working alongside others is fun!   I believe that once they get involved in missions, they will be hooked!

I like to encourage the four point plan of  (1) learn about missions, (2) do missions, (3) give to missions, and (4) pray for missions,   Whether you donate shoes or bibles, donate children’s clothing or toys, purchase food pantry items or gift cards, or collect soup labels, pop tabs, and cell phones - you are “on mission” when you help others. 

It is an honor to be a part of Women on Mission and WMU.


 
 

Mary Ann Hope Remembers…

My first memories of WMU were that my grandmother was a member of First Baptist Church, Dublin, Georgia.  I was a member of the Sunbeam Band and I can still sing the song.

As an adult I was a member of Wieuca Road Baptist church where I met and became good friends with Dorothy Pryor who was Secretary and Treasurer of Baptist Women for many years.

In 1985 we moved to Roswell where I was welcomed into WMU by Elnora Seymour.  Kathryn Warren became a good friend and she encouraged me to accept as program chairman and later president.   It was also my joy to serve as leader of our BSU program at Georgia State.  Thank you, God, for the opportunities you gave me. 

I also have first cousins, Bill and Barbara Joiner, who served as missionaries in India for many years.


 
 

Janie Roland Remembers…

My journey in WMU started in Sunbeams in a small church in Miami, followed by GAs and YWAs there. Then as an adult at First Baptist Church of Tallahassee I was honored to lead Baptist Young Women and Women on Mission.  I became interested in ESL in Tallahassee when the mission groups visited and assisted the International Ministry of the church.  My mission trip to Romania in 1999 greatly influenced my interest in missions.  It opened my eyes to the needs around the world for the gospel message.  The Romanian people on the streets appeared poor and downcast.  The members of the Baptist Church, though, had Christ's joy and showed hospitality with the little they had. We visited an orphanage and even participated in a worship service in the tiny chapel of the leper colony. The trip was a life-changing experience and influenced my desire to teach ESL and become involved with the mission work of WMU here.


 
 

Barbara Hughes Remembers…

Missions has always been an important part of my life.  Mostly I enjoy “hands on” missions.

One of my most memorable times is when we fed the needy at Tech Homes on Friday nights.  (This was a mission project as a church – not just the women’s missions organization.

The nursing homes birthday parties on the 2nd Monday of the month has been a part of my life for the last 30 years.  This project was started long before I became involved.  Most of the ladies who were instrumental in this project are gone – Elnora Seymour, Sarah Frances Darnell, Margaret Rucker, Hilda Swain, Mary Dorris, etc.

Years ago we had our monthly WMU meetings in homes. 

Kathryn Warren was the leader of WMU at Roswell First Baptist.  I remember her introducing us to the Crismon ornaments and their meaning. 

Teaching GA’s with Judy Wilhoyte and seeing the girls grow into mission minded young ladies was a blessing.

Sending cards to shut–ins is a very important part of missions.  While visiting Eloise Bowman this year she mentioned how much joy she received from cards from the ladies missions groups.  She genuinely enjoyed the cards.


 
 

Bianca Cofer Remembers…

I cannot remember the first time I heard about WMU.  My earliest memories of my grandmothers include their involvement in numerous missions projects through their church’s WMU.  They showed by example the joy and fulfillment that helping others provides and the importance such activities held in their lives.  Over the years I have had the opportunity to participate in Mission Friends, GA’s, student missions, Women on Mission, and to help teach Mission Friends. Each experience has helped me understand the example set for me as a child.  As a Mission Friends teacher it has been a privilege and joy to share the stories of the missionaries and the importance of showing God’s love to others with another generation, passing on the love of missions that my grandmothers gave me.


 
 

Jane Bishop Remembers…

Missions has been a part of my life since I was a GA – I remember working on the Forward Steps always with the goal of being a Queen Regent in Service.  The Lottie Moon offering was always an important part of my church. Each year there was a cardboard bank on our kitchen table to collect money for Lottie Moon.

As my children came along, I found myself being a Mission Friends and GA teacher and have fond memories of taking my children to church each Wednesday night to learn about missionaries and mission opportunities in our community. We once went to North Fulton Hospital and sang Christmas Carols up and down the halls.  The GA girls loved the warm response we received.

Becoming a part of Women on Missions has been a wonderful blessing to me.  Bo Buice first invited me to WOM when we came to Roswell First Baptist.  The missionaries we hear as part of our programs give us the opportunity to learn about their experiences, see their love for their work, and lift them up in prayer.   Learning about the local needs in our community is so meaningful – what a wonderful opportunity it is to be able to support  Foster Care, North Fulton Charities, Ronald McDonald House, Drake House and our own church medical mission team going to Kenya.  The many hands on projects are special to me. Pillowcase dresses and stuffed dolls that were sent to Kenya were fun projects, and  I love the fellowship of working together with the other ladies.

I am very thankful for all my WOM experiences. What a blessing it has been to me over the years – my love for missions started when I was a GA and continues today with our wonderful WOM organization we have at Roswell First Baptist.  


 
 

Pat Seabolt Remembers…

In the early seventies we were active members of First Baptist Church of Chamblee.  Their WMU had several mission action groups working on a regular basis sharing Jesus’ love with the community.  I volunteered with several of these groups.  My favorite was a kindergarten class for underprivileged children who lived in apartments near our church.  This class was a part of the regular church kindergarten but the “assistant” teacher was a volunteer from WMU.  This was truly a chance to participate in “hands on” mission activities and to make a difference in the lives of those children.  When I retired from teaching professionally in 2001, I became involved with the WOMEN ON MISSION Day Group here at Roswell First.  My favorite part of missions is still mission action – “doing” missions.


 
 

Guen Joe Remembers…

When my daughters were young, I remember taking them to Mission Friends and to GA’s as they got older.  Kathryn Warren introduced me to WMU in the 1970’s and ever since I have grown to love serving in WMU. We learn what other missionaries are doing in so many different parts of the world.  Lottie Moon has always been my hero and always will be.  She is such an inspiration.


 
 

Saundra Brumbeloe Remembers…

My earliest memory of WMU is from my childhood.  When I was six years old, the women of my church were filling large containers to send to missionaries.  Children were asked to put one of their favorite things in a container and were told we would be sacrificing this for someone else.  I put in my favorite book.  This made a lasting impression on me of the needs of missionaries and the women who worked to meet their needs.  Happily, I have been in GA’s, YMA and WMU.


 
 

Vicki Neal Remembers…

Growing up with a Grandmother who was “Ms WMU” ensured that I was raised in Sunbeams, GAs, and Acteens.  Our church closed before I could become a Queen, but I remember beautiful coronations for many Queens crowned in our church.  My experiences at Camp Pinnacle and Camp Glynn encouraged me to become a missionary.  But instead God has led me to be a Mission Friend Leader for 30 years!


 
 

Allyson West Remembers …

Growing up, my mom and daddy always made sure that church and church activities filled the lives of my brothers and me. There was Sunday School, Choir, RAs for John & Jayson and for me...Girls In Action.

As a GA, I enjoyed the time with friends, our nursing home visits and projects set out to help those in need. The scriptures we learned, with the message of spreading God's love and the GA Song are all a part of my growth as a Christian.

Five years ago God spoke to me through prayer and showed me I was to chaperone a group of 1st-5th graders at Centri-Kids Camp. With my children being young adults, I was unsure this was the place for me, but trusted in God's plan. I was so wrong to have doubt! In that week, God showed me the path I was to take and that my journey was to start with GAs.  Being a part of GAs has filled my heart with joy! It's the sweet prayers of the girls, the excitement in their voices while reciting scripture, their diligence in mission projects and that God is so visible in their lives. It's so amazing that God chose me for this role!

With all my heart, I LOVE YOU MY PRECIOUS BUTTERFLIES!!! I'm so thankful for the blessing that God has given to me in you. May we continue to work together to spread God's message around the world.


 
 

Sandra Killebrew Remembers ...

“Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam to shine for Him each day; in every way try to please Him, at home, at school and play.”  We sang that in Sunbeams in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s at Social Circle First Baptist, where my great grandmother had served as Woman’s Missionary Society president in the 1920s. 

At age 9, it was on to GAs, where we heard Miss Mary Carr tell stories about missionaries in far away lands during our mission studies. Our leader, Mrs. Beulah McClain, was never bothered by our silly giggles. She laughed along with us as we worked on Forward Steps and learned about Annie Armstrong and Lottie Moon. 

We were promoted to YWAs as teenagers.  At our meetings, Mrs. Gertrude Knox would serve a delicious meal to us at her large dining room table, using her finest china.  She made us feel extra special and set a beautiful example of giving of our best to others. 

As a newly-wed, I taught GAs at Chicopee Baptist. Daisy Westbrook, our WMU director, helped the young married women start a new missions group. When we moved to Albany First Baptist, I joined a missions circle right away. Our favorite mission action project each fall was leading a Backyard Bible School for children of the fair workers. 

When we moved to First Baptist Roswell, I joined the night missions group (now Women on Mission).  Some of the ladies who were members then are now in heaven—Judy Brazier, Opal Wright, Essie McKenzie, Ti Woodruff, Mary Lou Stigall, Sarah McCommon, Dorcas McDonald, Effie Bird, Bo Buice, Gilberta Bowen, and Kathleen Hancock among others. Those dear ladies had hearts for missions! 

As a retiree, I continue to find great joy in serving through Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) of FBR.