National Woman’s Missionary Union elected Connie Dixon of New Mexico as its new president during the WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting held June 13 at First Baptist Church, Nashville.
It’s the first time the organization has elected a new president since 2015. WMU’s previous president, Linda Cooper, served six years — the normal five-year term plus a “bonus year” after the 2020 celebration was canceled in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I know God has great plans for Woman’s Missionary Union, and I’m just so excited that I’m going to get to be part of that,” Dixon said.
Dixon has served as New Mexico’s WMU director for the past 13 years. She grew up in Girls in Action, and she felt called to missions in 1994 while attending the National Acteens Convention with her oldest daughter. Dixon came home from the conference and started an Acteens chapter at her church, First Baptist, Elida, and within six months she was New Mexico’s Acteens consultant. She has served in a state leadership role in WMU ever since.
“WMU has been richly blessed by an incredible heritage of godly women who have leaned into leadership when called to serve,” said Sandy Wisdom-Martin, WMU executive director. “Every experience in Connie’s life has led to this moment in time, and she will embrace it with great courage guided by the Spirit of God, and we will all learn so much from her.”
Shirley McDonald of Greens Creek Baptist Church, Dublin, Texas, was also elected recording secretary.
Throughout the event, WMU leaders heard messages and stories from missionaries, national Acteens panelists and others following the theme of “Relentless Journey” and highlighting 20 attributes of “relentless” leaders.
Also during the celebration, the Dellanna West O’Brien Award for Women’s Leadership Development was given to Cindy Walker, a member of First Baptist Church, Minden, Louisiana, who has served in missions education for more than 50 years. The first half she led Girls in Action, wrote GA curriculum and led camps for her church and association.
“My heart just kind of bled GAs for a long time,” Walker said.
After that, she taught Acteens for more than 25 years. She said it has “been a wonderful journey” of getting to “pass on that passion” for missions.
David George, president of the WMU Foundation, presented the award and called Walker a “servant who has touched the lives of countless people.”
The Sybil Bentley Dove Award winner was also announced — Kina Bell-Jones, a graduate of Begin Anew, a Christian Women’s Job Corps site in Tennessee. The Dove Award is the highest honor CWJC gives with a scholarship attached.
Jones said her family had been stuck in a cycle of teenage pregnancy and dropping out of high school for generations until she came to CWJC. She had struggled with drug addiction and been in abusive relationships, but then CWJC helped her get her GED at age 50.
All of her children have now graduated high school, and Jones has started her own cleaning business and is taking classes for medical transcribing.
“It was a trend thing, and my kids graduated, so it broke that chain,” Jones said. “The Lord took me through all that to get me to where I am today.”