Woman’s Missionary Union chose two North Carolina teenagers to be part of its National Acteens Panel.
Layne Harrison and Sierra Lee, both with ties to University Hills Baptist Church in Charlotte, will represent the state on the panel along with two Alabama teenagers: Bree Rooks from First Baptist Church in Ashville, Ala., and Caroline Swann from Whitesburg Baptist Church in Huntsville, Ala.
Harrison, a senior who is homeschooled, is a member of University Hills Baptist Church and has served with Lee the last two years as a state Acteens panelist.
Being involved in Acteens “gives me a lot of missions opportunities, and it means I can show younger girls how to connect to people and how to reach out and minister,” Harrison said.
Harrison, who will be starting the University of North Carolina – Charlotte this summer, said she was saved when she was really young.
“Because growing up as a Christian I still struggled the same as everyone else, but I never had that big change,” she said, admitting to struggling as a teenager. “I was like, ‘I’ve gotta get on the right path, I’ve gotta make the choice to do the right things and read my Bible all the time.’”
While Harrison still struggles, she realizes no one is perfect.
Her new favorite verse is Matthew 7:24-25. “It’s making me think about the importance of having a good foundation and knowing scripture,” she said.
Both Harrison and Lee found out they made the national panel in January. As part of their service, they will write 15 articles on a variety of topics – testimony, favorite Bible verse, what Acteens means to them.
They spoke at a church in Shelby in February as well as at the recent Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina Missions Extravaganza March 24-25 at First Baptist Church in Greensboro. They are also planning to attend the national WMU meeting in Phoenix in June prior to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting.
While Lee grew up at University Hills, her father is currently student pastor and choir director for Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Fayetteville.
“I haven’t ever not really been in church,” she said.
When her family moved to Fayetteville, Lee started Acteens at their new church. Her mom serves as the leader.
She is a junior at Gray’s Creek High School in Hope Mills. She thought she was saved at a young age but realized when she was 12 at a camp that there had been no heart change.
“I realized my heart wasn’t right with where it needed to be,” Lee said. “That’s when I got saved that night. I’ve seen a really big life change since then. I’ve become more patient. I had a really big anger issue. That’s changed a lot. I still struggle with it, but it’s like I have God to help me now.”
Struggling with depression, Lee said she finds hope in Romans 5:3 where Paul refers to how believers should glory in their sufferings.
Being involved in Acteens has opened doors for both teens.
“This group has allowed me to grow so much as a Christian, a young woman and a leader,” Harrison said. “I am so grateful that I was able to join Acteens at a young age and meet young women who’ve inspired me to trust in God. The opportunities I have been given to lead various mission projects in my church give me hope that I’ve been able to inspire the younger girls in my group just as the older girls inspired me when I was growing up.”
Lee was also inspired by the examples set by girls before her. “When you’re lost and alone, you have people you can count on through whatever struggles you are facing,” she said. “You have people there for you and people who hold you accountable in your walk.”
Lee and Harrison led the participants in WMU-NC’s Missions Extravaganza in praying for missionaries who were celebrating birthdays that day.