From early on, Amy Pardue Boone credits her parents as well as church leaders with her interest in missions.
The new executive director-treasurer of Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina (WMU-NC) discussed the importance of missions at her first Missions Extravaganza April 1-3 at Ridgecrest Conference Center in Black Mountain.
“I come with great respect for the legacy of WMU North Carolina,” said Boone. “I know the very long history that you have, and I am very humbled to now be a part of that legacy, and I have great respect for the staff that you currently have and the ministries they are involved in. My goal is to come alongside them and encourage them.”
BR photo by Dianna L. Cagle
University of North Carolina fans cheer their team during the semifinals of the NCAA basketball tournament. The group was catching the game after one of the Woman’s Missionary Union of N.C. general sessions. See photo gallery here.
The theme for the 125th annual meeting of WMU-NC – Both Feet In: A Journey to Surrender, Sacrifice and Service – was taken from a book title, written by Bud Fray, who served in Africa for 28 years with his wife Jane. He was the missionary speaker for the weekend event.
Fray shared about surrender, sacrifice and service through three sessions over the weekend.
“Nobody took (Jesus’) life from Him,” he said. “He gave it willingly. He willingly laid down His life for our sin. He saved you on purpose, and He saved you for a purpose.”
God didn’t just save people to take them to heaven, Fray stressed.
“He did save you for somebody else to find heaven … through you,” Fray said. “You’re not exempt if you are a disciple.”
Next, believers should offer themselves as a sacrifice to God. He urged ladies to surrender their all to God.
“Hearts are hungry around the world,” Fray said. “Our world is the most winnable in history. There are opportunities that we’ve never had. We have to walk in obedient love.”
Caroline Jones, a N.C. native who now lives in Birmingham, Ala., provided the theme interpretation in the general sessions.
Jones, who formerly served WMU-NC in a variety of capacities including president, discussed faith, family, failure and fear.
“When God calls us, He equips us to respond, but He lets us make the decision about whether or not to respond,” Jones said.
She learned what surrender meant at Ridgecrest Conference Center in 1976. That was when her heart opened to “desire to be part of whatever God is doing wherever He is doing it.”
Jones advised the women not to say “no” to God.
“Read the Old Testament,” she said. “We have to trust Him with all that we are, all that we have, all that we love and jump in with both feet. Our faith has to include trusting God to be true to His Word and has to be real enough to pulse His strength through our veins when we feel faint of heart.”
Most people’s excuse of busy-ness keeping them from getting involved in missions is a poor one, Boone said during Sunday morning’s service. “They make time for whatever they want to do,” she said.
Fifty percent of N.C. Baptist churches have some WMU-NC organization, she said. Calling it a “sad statistic,” she pledged to travel the state hailing WMU-NC as “one of the best-kept secrets.”
She promised to highlight the ministry of Camp Mundo Vista as well.
“I know that numbers have been down lately,” Boone said.
She cited societal trends away from sending children to camp. She also credited not having as many age-level groups like Girls in Action with the lower numbers.
While she considers raising money as one of her jobs, Boone said she doesn’t want to be bound by not having money.
“The money that we do have, we are going to spend it as faithfully as we can spend it, and we are going to ask God to bless it like the loaves and fishes and ask that it will go farther than it could have gone on our own power,” she said.
She stressed the need to make WMU-NC relevant to the next generation while “not in any way compromising our message or what we believe.”
The WMU-NC staff is smaller than it has been in the past. That means the ones who are working are carrying the load for two or three positions.
“That is a difficult thing to ask of them,” she said.
In her president’s report April 2, Dee Dee Moody highlighted some key events in 2015 including the centennial commemoration of Fannie E.S. Heck at Historic Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh. This year, WMU-NC worked with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) to provide gift baskets for returning missionaries who had taken the voluntary retirement incentive offered by the International Mission Board. The BSC provide a meal at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem for the missionaries.
She raved over the generosity of the women who gave around $21,000 in a matter of weeks to help put together baskets for the missionaries.
She also highlighted the Tar Heel Talk magazine as now being available online.
With 34 new age-level groups since Missions Extravaganza 2015, Moody shared that there are incentives for new starts, including discounted curriculum.
Officers elected were Dee Dee Moody, president; Deborah Taylor, vice president; Mary Ellen Bowman, vice president of development; Barbara Hill, recording secretary; and Beth McDonald, assistant recording secretary.
Approved members-at-large include: Mary Anne Croom and Claire Presley, Region 1; Becky Johnson Wroten, Mary Ann Hayes and Patricia Hagans, Region 3; Cathy Callahan, Region 4; Tiffany Brown Seaford, Region 5; Gail Reynolds, Region 6; and Ann Weaver, Region 7.
Ladies approved a $953,122 budget. Mary Ellen Bowman, chairman of finance committee and vice president for development, emphasized the need for giving more than ever now that the executive director-treasurer position has been filled.
The largest amount of the budget ($435,234) supports the administrative expenses (meetings, office expenses and payroll).
Last year’s budget was not met, Bowman said, so “We’re going to have to dig deeper.”
Bowman highlighted some of the ministries that occur at Camp Mundo Vista and invited women to bring their church groups for retreats.
“Our camp needs you,” she said. “If you want to see God; if you want to hear God; if you want to taste Him, smell Him, touch Him, be a part of the prison retreat. For those three days they have love, total, unconditional love. … Your feet are exactly where you are on mission every single day.”
Kenny Lamm, BSC worship consultant, led the music with worshipASIA band.
Some recent staff changes include:
Jenn B* has been added to WMU-NC staff as communications coordinator.
Carrieanna Lohr will be the summer camp director for Camp Mundo Vista.
Andi Wilson has been named associate for leadership development.
The ladies also collected items to fill Buckets of Hope for Baptist Global Response. Next year’s meeting is March 24-25, 2017, at First Baptist Church in Greensboro.
More than 600 women participated in the weekend event.