WMU focuses on Great Commission
    May 7 2013 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor

    Women let their love affair with missions continue at the recent Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina (WMU-NC) Missions Extravaganza.
    Almost 800 women gathered April 19-21 to train, meet, learn, and pray at the 122nd annual meeting of the WMU-NC, which was held at Ridgecrest Conference Center.
    “His story must be proclaimed in how we live our lives,” said Tana Hartsell, president of WMU-NC, emphasizing the event’s theme “The Story Lives On” based on Acts 4:20. “His story must be proclaimed in our mission organizations and churches.”

    BR photos by Dianna L. Cagle
    Roger Childres was one of the missionaries sharing about God’s work through Southern Baptists around the globe during the Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina Missions Extravaganza April 19-21. Childres is a retired International Mission Board missionary to Africa. Visit photo gallery.

    Throughout the weekend leaders and missionaries shared stories about their faith and the influence of WMU.
    “My mom and dad often shared stories of when and where they grew up,” Hartsell said. “The sharing of stories is a precious thing. We know that the most precious story of Jesus … isn’t made up. It is true and living.”

    Africa to Connecticut

    Shaun Pillay’s story began in South Africa. Pillay, who is a North American Mission Board missionary, was one of the featured missionaries during the WMU-NC annual meeting.
    A third generation Christian because of the work of the International Mission Board, Pillay now serves in Norwich, Conn., as a church planter.
    “God was looking for a missionary and He found one,” he said.
    Cornerstone International Church, where Pillay pastors, has a congregation of 120. He estimates that 95 percent of the members were led to the Lord on the streets of Norwich through individual encounters with Pillay or church members.

    Deshni Pillay, right, reads the WMU missionary birthday prayer list while her husband, Shaun, looks on. Shaun is a North American Mission Board church planter in Connecticut. Visit photo gallery.

    Pillay and his wife, Deshni, were the featured missionaries for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering in 2012 and are part of this year’s missions rotation videos through LifeWay’s Vacation Bible School emphasis – Colossal Coastal World.

    Conquering fear

    Mary Swanner, a retired International Mission Board missionary, told the ladies that many missionaries choose to make important decisions around their birthdays because they know WMU ladies are praying for them.
    For Swanner, her missionary call came 30 years ago while she was sitting in the auditorium for the WMU-NC Missions Extravaganza.
    “I can’t go,” Swanner argued. “I’m not spiritual enough … and I don’t want to wash my clothes on a rock.”
    When she returned home from the event she found God had spoken to her husband as well. A year later they were appointed by the International Mission Board to Uruguay.
    It was only God who would call a “scaredy cat” like Swanner to the field, she said. She was afraid to fly and to travel alone. She felt she wasn’t equipped for foreign language because she flunked college French.
    “He equipped me to speak two languages,” she said, referring to Spanish and sign language.
    At the time of the Swanners appointment there were two deaf Christians in Uruguay. Now there are three deaf churches.
    “Uruguayan deaf leaders are presently translating the Book of John in their heart language,” she said. “God has been faithful. I am so glad I didn’t miss it. I’m convinced God uses ordinary people … so He will receive glory and honor.”

    Newest addition

    Hartsell called Cindy Finley, WMU-NC’s new development director, “a breath of fresh air.”
    Cindy and her husband, Bill, have seven children ranging in age from 11 to 20. While Finley does not have a history with WMU, “my belief in the cause of WMU of North Carolina is why I am here,” she said. “The legacy is beautiful. It is rich. Even more beautiful … is the cause for which it exists.
    “I believe the Great Commission is a worthy cause.”
    Finley said Jesus commands it, and “Jesus Himself will see it through to completion.”
    “Are you committed to this cause?” Finley said. “The cause of WMU is a cause worthy of our investment.”

    Leadership in ‘a holding pattern’

    Robin Bass, interim executive director-treasurer, resigned in March and did not attend the meeting. Hartsell gave her president’s report during the group’s business meeting April 20.
    Bass “went above and beyond expectations” during her nine months there, said Hartsell. Bass replaced Ruby Fulbright, who left in 2012.
    “Our Father is at work in WMU,” Hartsell said. “I see that He is doing something mighty … even when our circumstances might lead us to think otherwise.”
    Cara Lynn Vogel will also be leaving WMU-NC at the end of June.
    Vogel serves as WMU consultant in several areas – preschool and children specialist, WMU growth specialist and Christian Woman’s Job Corps (CWJC)/Christian Men’s Job Corp (CMJC) coordinator.

    Vogel will begin working with CWJC/CMJC on a full-time basis for North Carolina.
    Because WMU does not have an executive director-treasurer, Hartsell has been spending three days in the office each week helping the staff facilitate their work.
    “I’ve always appreciated them and known how hard they work,” Hartsell said. “Now that I’m in the office more … I see how hard they work. We are blessed.”
    The search for a new leader is currently in “a holding pattern,” according to Hartsell. The search committee interviewed three candidates but decided in February to begin the process again.
    In March the executive committee suspended the WMU-NC’s policy to require the personnel committee to be the search committee.
    A factor in that decision was that five members of the seven-member personnel committee rotated off the board. Hartsell was authorized by the executive committee to name a search committee.
    The WMU-NC staff will be re-evaluating and assessing positions to possibly shift responsibilities to other areas. They will be meeting in June with a coach to help them work through the possibilities. Hartsell said a search committee will likely be named after the current staff finishes its assessment.
    The next board meeting May 17-18 will be a time of orientation for new board members. They will be using the time to familiarize themselves with WMU-NC.

    Other business

    Officers were re-elected to their current posts: Hartsell, president; Robin Penninger, vice president; Beth McDonald, recording secretary; and Denise “Dee Dee” Moody, assistant recording secretary. All officers were unopposed in the election.
    Bylaws direct the WMU-NC to vote on annual meeting dates at least three years in advance. The 2016 meeting will be April 8-10.
    Women approved a 2013 budget of $1,046,932 based on estimated expenses. Last year actual expenses totaled a little more than $1.5 million. The WMU-NC income, however was $46,557 less than the expenses. Funds were transferred from investments, reserves and designated funds to make up the difference.
    Last year the Heck-Jones goal was $385,000. It was exceeded by a little more than $11,000. The same goal has been set for 2013. As of April 15, $183,000 has been raised toward the Heck-Jones goal.
    This year the group raised $9,898.66 in its offering during the event. Of that, $7,728.66 will be split between Camp Mundo Vista and CWJC; $1,250 goes toward the Crown Club; $400 goes to operating funds; $270 goes to Heck-Jones offering; $50 goes to prison ministries; and CWJC gets another $200.
    The next Missions Extravaganza is April 4-6, 2014. Visit wmunc.org for more information. Visit photo gallery.
    5/7/2013 3:39:34 PM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor | with 0 comments
    Filed under: Great Commission, missions, WMU

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