April 24th, 2012 at 11:53 am
CORPUS CHRISTI – Dreaming of wearing a white doctor’s coat with a stethoscope draped around her neck, Cecile Dagohoy was a young Filipino woman who desperately wanted to have a career in the medical field. She worked tirelessly and eventually received her doctorate in medicine, also meeting her husband during this process.
She loved serving the sick and those in need in her home country of the Philippines. But in the midst of caring for those where she was, the Lord called her husband, Ernest, to pastor a church halfway around the world in Houston, Texas.
Dagohoy found herself asking if she was willing to give up her dream to pursue the life the Lord has for her and her family.
“In my pursuits of a career, I had pushed God back,” Dagohoy said.
Through prayer, Cecile came to a point of surrender and willingness to be a living letter of good news sent to minister to Filipinos in Texas.
“I became the wife of a pastor,” she said. “Of course I didn’t know what it meant, what it entailed. I wasn’t trained for it. I didn’t know what it would ask of me. But you know what? My God is faithful. He walked with me and held me through it, and I never felt the need to look back, never regretting the decision.”
As Dagohoy shared her story with the more than 540 women attending the Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas Annual Meeting, she broke out into a song of surrender, singing “I gladly obey… Teach me the mission appointed for me. What is my labor and where it shall be? Master thou callest and this I reply, ready and willing, Lord here am I.”
Throughout the annual meeting April 13-14 at First Baptist Church, women were challenged to “Live Sent,” intentionally living their lives where they are, taking the hope of Christ out into their communities and into the world each day.
Gloria Mills, president of the WMU of Texas, shared a quote from Live Sent by Jason C. Dukes, a book that each woman attending the conference received.
“You are a letter. An email. A message. Your everyday life is more than just a story being written. Your very life is a letter. You were created to receive and send a message intentionally into the lives of the people you do life with daily,” shared Wisdom-Martin as she read from the book.
To live sent, a person must be based in prayer, said Raquel Contreras, the president of the Women’s Department of the Baptist World Alliance.
“We have one thing in common [with Christian women around the world]. We worship God and want God to be known everywhere in the world. One of the ways we do that is through prayer,” Contreras said.
Living sent also begins through recognizing that the presence of God is with the women everywhere they are, in everything they do.
“When we are walking in the streets of Texas, we are always in the presence of God. We are tempted to think that God’s presence is just when we are at church. But actually we need to really realize that God is just there always,” she said.
Megan Chadwick, who served as a journeyman in South Asia, shared that Christ followers must live sent by wearing the aroma of the Lord, a good fragrance that shares His goodness everywhere they go.
“As we are living testimonies, our letter should not only read well but smell good too. We can be manifested with the aroma and knowledge of God in any place,” Chadwick said.
Contreras expanded on this, saying that the WMU women must walk in joy as they serve the Lord and share His story, not becoming stressed about how to make a difference in the world, but leaving the guidance and direction to the Lord.
“We are supposed to enjoy life,” she said. “We are supposed to go wherever we are supposed to go and we are supposed to leave the evangelism to the Lord. Live with joy and let the Lord use you.”
In a theme interpretation, Bertha Vaughns, Baptist Student Ministry director at Prairie View A&M University, stated that God has given each woman experiences and opportunities to live sent, to make a difference in the world around her.
“I live sent. I believe I have a voice. I believe I have something to say. I don’t believe that the Lord has allowed me to go through what I have gone through in my 67 years to keep it to myself,” she said.
“Live sent, live according to God’s intended purpose and part of the peace he has for you to share.”
And in order to live sent, Christ followers must renew their minds, said Pam Lilly, a representative from Faith Comes by Hearing. They must have a God-can-use-me mindset and all-humanity mindset.
“We enjoy pretty wonderful lives here in America. If you are ever in doubt, consider this. With all the modern conveniences we have here in the U.S., it is the equivalent to having 17 maids in other countries. When the father of all lies convinces you that you don’t have time, remember the women around he world spending their days gathering firewood and water,” Lilly said.
“My prayer is that we no longer look at our time and resources and think we cannot make a difference in the world. My prayer is that we become concerned about the things that concern God.”
Throughout the conference, the WMU women had opportunities to attend breakout conferences, helping them become equipped to live sent in their communities or wherever God leads. The sessions presented opportunities to be involved with Books for the Border, gospel art through henna, practical ways to stop human trafficking, working with refugees in your community, Christian Women’s and Men’s Job Corps, mentoring, making disciples, mission trip planning, social media with a missions focus and more.
Many of the women also helped assemble and paint 20 bookshelves for Literacy ConneXus. These bookshelves will be given to families in need in the border area through reading fairs this summer.
In business, WMU of Texas elected a new slate of officers. The officers are: President Gloria Mills from First Baptist Church in Henderson; Vice President Merle Cross from First Baptist Church in Gilmer; Second Vice President Irma Alvarado from First Baptist Church in Donna; Third Vice President Lynette McBride from Central Baptist Church in Hillsboro; and Recording Secretary Barbara Helms from First Baptist Church in Clarendon.
Sandra Wisdom-Martin, WMU of Texas executive director-treasurer, and Mills also shared an annual report on how WMU was able to minister to those in need in Texas and around the world during the last year.
At the end of the report, Wisdom-Martin challenged the ladies present to dream big about how God could use them to influence their communities and the world during this next year or ministry.
“What if in 2012 we all opened our hearts and hands and asked God to do something utterly amazing?” Widsom-Martin asked. “What would happen in your life if you pleaded for God to do something amazing, in your church, in your family? In 2012, do we really want what we can accomplish or what God can accomplish?”
Wisdom-Martin closed the meeting in a prayer and asked each woman to hold up her palms to the sky in surrender to the Lord working in their lives this year.
“Lord, we offer our hearts and our hands. Please do something utterly amazing so that people will be drawn to you,” Wisdom-Martin prayed.
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