Arizona WMU highlights on-mission opportunities
By Robin Talley,* Photos by Lainee Pegelow | Nov 20, 2023
First Baptist Church, Chandler, hosted the 2023 Arizona WMU Annual Meeting and Mission Celebration on Nov. 3. About 50 people attended the event that highlighted the ways Arizona Southern Baptists can be on mission.
One of Arizona WMU’s stated goals is to make disciples of Jesus who live on mission. This year’s event underscored that purpose.
Each presentation by a guest speaker provided specific ways Arizona Southern Baptists can be involved in reaching their community and world with the gospel.
Engaging in international missions
The director of the International Mission Board Hands On program for the Sub-Saharan Africa Peoples shared how her interest in missions was influenced early on by a WMU program called Girls in Action (GAs). Now, she connects U.S. college students and young adults who are interested in semester-long mission opportunities with long-term workers.
“Together, Southern Baptists sent IMB missionaries to be steadfastly present among people and places where Jesus is not yet known,” the director said. “By praying, giving and going, Arizona Southern Baptists play their part too.”
Going on short-term trips
Vance and Julie Wood from LifeBridge Church in Tucson gave a master class in how short-term trips benefit both the missionaries on the field and the volunteers who go.
“Short-term teams remind missionaries who have been sent out from the local church that they have not been forgotten,” Vance said.
Vance encouraged churches that it is better to be mission-involved rather than mission-minded.
“If you have more than 30 people in your church, you can be a part of short-term missions,” Vance said.
Joining in church planting
Arizona WMU is not only interested in international work. By hosting a panel of four church planters, Arizona WMU helped the attendees see where they can be on mission right in their communities.
The church planters represented refugee, new community, and church merger work throughout the Phoenix metro area. As they help with the physical needs of lower income residents, newly located immigrants or struggling university students in these church planting areas, this often leads to opportunities to meet spiritual needs, they said. Each of the church planters expressed the need for more workers to help get the gospel to their area of the Valley.
Recognizing service and electing board members
Terrie Sullivan, who retired as executive director of Arizona WMU, was recognized for her 18 years of service. Nadine Peterson was elected as the new executive director and will continue as treasurer. Other board members who were re-elected to their positions were Shirley Arnold as state president, and Linda Hopson as recording secretary.
*Name changed for security
Robin Talley, longtime Arizona Southern Baptist, is a former Last Frontier missionary with the International Mission Board.
Lainee Pegelow, a freelance writer and photographer, is communications specialist, missions coordinator and a campus missionary for Christian Challenge AZ. She is a member of Challenge Church, Flagstaff.