LAFAYETTE – Judy Hathorn of First Baptist Minden likes to be in the background, she said at last week’s Missions Celebration.
By Karen L. Willoughby
LAFAYETTE – Judy Hathorn of First Baptist Minden
likes to be in the background, she said at last week’s Missions
Never before had she attended one of the WMU’s
annual meetings, and she really couldn’t explain why she decided to
participate in this one, she said, but she was glad she did.
“I felt a renewal for missions this weekend, and I
appreciate it,” Hathorn said. “[Speaker] Caroline Jones brought a lot
of joy to me today. She showed me [in her talk] that even the small
things we do can bring glory to God. This is a recommitment for me.”
Hathorn was one of perhaps 800 men, women, Acteens
and GAs to participate in the 106th annual session of the Louisiana
Women’s Missionary Union and its Missions Celebration, which took place
March 31 and April 1 at First Baptist Lafayette.
It was a sensory event designed to instill or rekindle a passion for
missions, said Cindy Townsend, director of the Women’s Missions and
Ministry team for the Louisiana Baptist Convention.
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you:
Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating,
going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an
offering,” [Romans 12:1 Message] was the scriptural watchword. “Taste
of the Lord for He is good in every way; leave God’s fragrance
everywhere; see everything in the world through God’s eyes; hear God’s
call every day, and touch everybody in your world for Christ,” was the
challenge expressed by several guest speakers.
Heart-throbbing music, inspiring messages and
missionary conversations wove a basket of missions zeal carried back to
Shreveport, Monroe, Houma, Baton Rouge, Pineville and New Orleans,
among many other cities and towns in Louisiana.
“It inspired me to do to more for God,” said Sue
Hamilton, WMU director at Old Zion Hill Baptist in Albany. Already her
church has multiple ministries going on in New Orleans, such as
providing items for Global Maritime and children of New Orleans
seminary students, and they took up a special offering when they heard
of the tsunami in Thailand, the WMU director said.
“We were interested in what we heard about Beautiful
Feet – adopting a missionary in an area so sensitive only his or her
feet can be photographed,” Hamilton said, referring to the group she
brought with her. “We kind of liked that idea especially.”
Disaster relief at New Orleans seminary, prison
ministries at Angola State Prison and medical missions as experienced
by the Giles and Wana Ann Fort family – plus a video clip of Southern
Baptist work in the Evangeline and Gulf Coast Baptist Associations –
dominated the Friday evening session.
Saturday morning’s worship program highlighted
international missions and in the expansive hallway corridor were
displays of Southern Baptist work in Japan, Colombia, Indonesia,
Vietnam, Australia, Canada, Native America, Brazil and various places
in Louisiana. In a short business session, officers for the upcoming
year were elected; Nelda Seal was re-elected president.
A dozen breakout sessions, with time for any
individual to attend only two, provided still more insights into local,
statewide, North American and international missions, such as Gabriela
Poenar Henson, who prayed for an end to communism and for the
opportunity to study in America. She spoke primarily to college
students about dreaming impossible dreams.
The Lord’s Prayer signed by NAMB missionary Alpha
Goombi in full Native American garb including otter tail braids and
eagle feather was one of several highlights of the final afternoon
session of the 106th annual meeting of Louisiana WMU’s
Missions Celebration. Kay Bennett spoke with gripping intensity of her
ministry in New Orleans as Katrina, Rita and breached levees battered
First Lafayette’s Senior Pastor Perry Sanders –
recovering from a broken hip – and Pastor Steve Horn also spoke.
“This convention was so spiritual; I kept tearing
up,” said Virginia Smith, a member at Houma First Baptist. “God really
spoke to me. I think he’s reaffirming my call to prison ministries. …
I could feel [Director Cindy Townsend’s] earnestness and genuineness.”