April 26th, 2013 at 9:45 am
MCKINNEY – The story of Jesus is personal, passionate and powerful, and it changes lives. When people choose to follow His story, it intersects their lives, allowing them to be part of something bigger than themselves.
At the Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas Annual Meeting and Missions Celebration held at First Baptist Church on April 19-20, woman after woman, missionary after missionary shared about how God had taken His story and woven it into their story, allowing them to be part of offering hope and His redemption to those they encounter each day.
“My story intersects with God’s story. And because of that, my story is now part of His story,” said Carolyn Porterfield, Texas WMU multicultural consultant. “As I begin to serve Him by serving others, He uses my storyline to intersect with others’ stories. He uses our stories to draw people to Himself and then his story intersects with others.”
Every story matters, said storyteller Janet Hurst as she introduced those who would be sharing during the general sessions at the meeting. God takes ordinary women and uses their journey for extraordinary ways because His powerful, life-changing story is woven in.
Putti Sok, a girl who grew up in a Buddhist home but then turned atheist, shared about how she surrendered to Christ’s story because of some students involved with the Baptist Student Ministry at the University of Texas at Arlington. They loved her and introduced her to God’s story. Now Putti serves as a BSM campus missionary at the university and spends her days telling others about God’s story.
“Three years ago, I had never heard the gospel. And now I’m at a place where God has totally transformed my life. My deepest desire is for everyone to know that. God has given me something special and transformed my life and I want to share that with everyone I meet,” she said.
Stacey Smith, who made some bad choices that landed her in an Arkansas prison in her early 20s, saw God’s story intersect with her life when she was introduced to God’s love while in prison. It changed her life. Since her release in 2004, Stacey has served as a prison chaplain in the same unit where she once was incarcerated.
“Prison was a mission field to me and it is still a mission field. Only God could get someone to go back to prison after they had been in there,” she said. “… My prayer is that women know Jesus Christ but that they go on mission for Christ in the prison.”
Keron Jackson, who found himself homeless when he was in high school, met some loving Christians who took him in, encouraged him to attend Panola College in Carthage and helped him discover his gift for singing. There, Keron’s story intersected God’s story, and now his life is changed forever. Now, he sings to proclaim what God has done.
“My gift is from God and it’s for his people. No matter where I go, I will always proclaim the name of Jesus Christ. Those people gave me a voice. They also gave me a song, and I will share it wherever I go,” he said.
Donna and Gregg Fort allowed their story to become part of God’s story as they have faithfully served him and proclaimed his name in Zimbabwe for more than three decades.
In a part of Zimbabwe where there are many fractured families, where living each day is a physical struggle, where there is fear of evil spirits and where no church existed, God called the Forts, who are missionaries with the Southern Baptist Convention International Mission Board, to share the story of God as they live out their story.
“We longed to be included in a new chapter in God’s story in Zimbabwe…. Today there are 15 churches where there were none and there is light where there was darkness. It’s all because God is continuing His story. We are being part of that by walking the gospel into the next place where there is darkness,” Gregg said.
Many other WMU members shared about ways God had used them within the last year as they faithfully followed God’s story and shared it with others through building a house in the Rio Grande Valley, leading a missions training for Hispanic Baptist women in Chicago, hosting day camps for pastors’ kids at the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in New Orleans, prayerwalking a Muslim neighborhood in Boston, caring for mothers and children at a malnutrition center in Guatemala, loving on family members of the incarcerated at a hospitality house in Huntsville and more. God’s story was boldly proclaimed and celebrated as the women shared about what God had done through them.
Also, more than 80 current, former and retired missionaries were present at the missions celebration, sharing about how God has used His story through them to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth.
Sandra Wisdom-Martin, executive director/treasurer for Texas WMU, encouraged the more than 700 people in attendance to go deeper in their walk with the Lord this year.
“We will not see a movement in our state until all of us are willing to go deeper. It is not enough to pray a little and give a little,” she said. “It is not enough to say we will follow the great commission when our kids are grown or when we are retired. We need to take the things we are passionate about and marry them to the things that God is passionate about to go forth and redeem the world.”
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