Hannah* was “an ordinary girl who grew up hearing all the missionary stories and started asking, ‘Why not me? If God could call them, He could be calling me too,’ ” said Connie Dixon, president of national Woman’s Missionary Union.
Then one night at WMU missions camp, Hannah felt that call.
“Hannah went home after that camp and immediately shared with her family and church that God was calling her to Africa as a missionary,” Dixon said during WMU’s report at the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting June 14. “She recalls that many had a ‘bless her heart’ response and thought she would grow out of it. Instead, she grew into her calling with the help of WMU.”
Now Hannah and her husband have been serving in Africa for 17 years and have witnessed God do amazing work there, Dixon said. “God has brought Hannah full circle.”
Full circle was the theme of the WMU report, which was allotted 360 seconds, according to Sandy Wisdom-Martin, national WMU executive director.
“360 degrees is a full circle,” she said. “And in our 360 seconds we each want to tell you a full-circle story demonstrating the power of God at work in His people.”
Dixon told Hannah’s story, and Wisdom-Martin told the story of Ashley, a woman who found herself in prison fighting addiction.
“From the depths of despair, she reached out to committed Christ-followers at the Christian Women’s Job Corps Prisoner Transformation in Oklahoma, and they helped her understand that her soul mattered to God,” Wisdom-Martin said. “The purpose of this particular WMU ministry is to prepare women for a sober future in the context of a faith-based, women-to-women mentoring program.”
Ashley completed the program while she was incarcerated, and after she was released, she continued her recovery with her church.
She also found employment, earned associate’s and bachelor’s degrees and is now working on her master’s in addiction recovery.
“Ashley is a 360-degree, full-circle story because her passion now is to help others beat addiction all while sharing hope in Christ,” Wisdom-Martin said.
Wisdom-Martin said her own life is a 360-degree story, as is Dixon’s.
“WMU leaders poured into us, and we want to do the same,” Wisdom-Martin said. “WMU seeks to come alongside the church to accomplish the mission of God. Our desire is to see all ages energized and motivated and equipped for missions.”
She said WMU can help local churches hear about the work of Southern Baptist missionaries around the world and encourage them to pray more and give more generously.
The WMU report in the Book of Reports celebrated the organization helping to raise $203.7 million for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering in 2022 — the highest in the offering’s history. They also celebrated helping raise $68.9 million for missions work in North America last year through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering.
Wisdom-Martin said WMU also encourages local church members to do missions and tell others about Jesus.
“We make disciples of Jesus who live on mission,” Wisdom-Martin said. “That’s what we do. That’s all we do. And it is our joy to do it in concert, in partnership, with you.”
*Name changed for security reasons.