PHOENIX – Two
Woman’s Missionary Union leaders were recognized for outstanding service June
13 during the WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting in Phoenix.
Judith Edwards of Rio Rancho, N.M., received the Dellanna West O’Brien Award
for Women’s Leadership Development, which was presented by Woman’s Missionary
Union in partnership with the WMU Foundation. Laura Morris of Louisville, Ky.,
received the Dr. Martha Myers GA Alumna of Distinction Award, which is given
annually to recognize a GA (Girls’ Auxiliary) alumna who influences the lives
of others for Christ and serves as a positive role model for girls.
Edwards was praised for her ability to help women discover their latent leadership
“Judy has an amazing ability to foster leadership in the women of New
Mexico,” said Connie Dixon, executive director of New
Mexico WMU, who nominated Edwards for the award. “She sees the best in women
and knows how to help them realize their potential.”
Edwards and her late husband, Dalton,
served for more than 25 years as North American missionaries to Native American
people. In addition, she served as both president and executive director of New
Mexico Woman’s Missionary Union, staff editor at national WMU, and most
recently as missions mobilization team leader for the Baptist Convention of New
Mexico, until her retirement in 2007.
Edwards said she first heard God’s call to missions as a preschooler in
Sunbeams (a missions organization for young children), and throughout her years
in school, she grew in awareness that “this was what God wanted me to do.”
Edwards, a member of First
in Rio Rancho, N.M., continues to follow God’s call to missions and encourage
women with the recent release of her 10th book, writing Sunday school lessons
for LifeWay, and participating in mission trips.
Established in 1999, the O’Brien Award is presented annually to a Baptist woman
who demonstrates the ability to foster leadership in women. It is named in
honor of Dellanna West O’Brien, who served as executive director/treasurer of
national Woman’s Missionary Union from 1989 to 1999. The award is accompanied
with a grant to help the recipient continue her development and ministry to
Morris was lauded for her loving ministry to girls and investment in their
A member of Bethlehem Baptist
Church in Louisville,
Morris developed a passion for missions early through her own GA training,
according A. Jeanne Bryant, a fellow church member who has known Morris for
nearly 40 years.
“Laura was about 8 years old when her family came to Bethlehem
and she immediately became active in GAs,” Bryant said. “She was interested in
learning about and participating in mission work for our Lord, and she took
part in our mission studies, day camps, and missions projects. I think Laura’s
life and personal interest in helping people to know God’s love reflects this
early missions involvement through GAs.”
Joy Bolton, executive director of Kentucky Woman’s Missionary Union, who
nominated Morris for this award, said: “Laura is a great role model for the
girls in her church, many of which come from homes that aren’t too stable. In
her, these girls see a confident, loving, committed leader who loves them and
invests in their lives.”
In addition to serving as GA leader and WMU director in her church, Morris is
also an associational WMU leader, Kentucky Woman’s Missionary Union Executive
Board member, and member of a Women on Mission group.
Morris holds a master’s degree in education and teaches special needs children
in grades 1–5. She and her husband, Barry, along with their two teenage
daughters, are committed to missions as a family, often taking family vacation
time for mission trips.
Established in 2004, the Myers Award is named in honor of Martha Myers, a
medical missionary who was killed in 2002 in Yemen
after serving there for 24 years.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Anna Cox is a senior at Samford
University in Birmingham,
Ala., where she is studying journalism and
mass communications. She is working at WMU as an intern this summer.)