FENTON, MI – As a young girl, my favorite Sunday services were the times when a visiting missionary would share about their work overseas. Most of the time the stories were about the work they were doing in orphanages in a poverty-stricken community. As I would sit and listen in our small Catholic church in the City of Detroit, the Lord would over and over again put this question on my heart, “Who will go for me?”. After the missionary finished sharing we would sing, “Here Am I, Send Me.” The service would conclude with an offering basket being passed and I would offer a whole dollar of my paper route earnings. Oh, I would feel so proud of myself. It would then take me a few sleepless nights to try to forget the pictures of the faces of those small, suffering children.
Special missionary visits would happen once a year at our church and each year my heart would hear the question, “Who will go for me?” I would sing “Here Am I, Send Me” louder and with more passion as each year went by. I would continue to give some of my hard-earned paper route money. I would feel I had done my part and wear my, “I gave to missions” ribbon with such pride.
In my high school years, the call from the Lord and question “Who will go for me?” became stronger and stronger. At the time, I did not know what to do with this passion to service in ministry. All the information I had known up to this time required a vow of celibacy. Yeah, okay that wasn’t happening for me. My yearning to be a mommy was just as strong of a passion, as was the call to serving in ministry. My heart’s desire to be a mom was granted with four children to raise and love with their father, my very supportive husband. But God did not stop asking the question, “Who will go for me?”.
As a young mom and wife, with the perfect family and home, I still felt as though there was something missing. I prayed for understanding as to why I felt incomplete. At the age of 31 I understood what was missing was the surrendering of my life to God and needing to enter into a personal relationship with Him. After surrendering my life, I prayed for a woman of God to mentor me, and help me to develop the passion for missions God had given me.
It was a WMU leader, who first acknowledged my desires to serve God. As a young believer, I was seeking guidance. This WMU leader inspired and motivated me to recognize my spiritual gifts, and how they could be used for God’s Kingdom. I am thankful for many leaders who have and continue to invest in and encourage me in a mission’s lifestyle. These leaders committed themselves to “Love Loud” into my life. Presently, I have been called to lead others and to “Love Loud”, as a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a leader in my church, and as a women’s ministry and mission’s leader in my state convention. How I minister may look different in each of these settings, but the ultimate goal is that they would understand and experience the love of Christ more than they did yesterday.
Is it important for a Leader to “Love Loud?”
“Who will go for me?” I can now respond, “Here Am I, Send Me” with a clearer understanding that God was calling me and I could be used for His Kingdom. Ministry leaders took the time to invest in, influence, and mentor me as a young adult. I am so grateful for these leaders, but can’t help thinking how supportive it would have been if a leader would have “Loved Loud” into my life as a youth. What would it look like if leaders began to “Love Loud” into the lives of our youth? If they were to help them realize that God can use them? What if helping others to develop spiritually, providing missions discipleship, and educating young believers on the many pathways for mission and ministry careers was a priority? “Words spoken into the heart of a young believer can motivate and inspire her (him) to great things on behalf of the Kingdom of God.” Sandy Wisdom Martin, Executive Director, National WMU.
Will you LOVE LOUD?
What if we worked together to strengthen mission’s discipleship? What would it look like if we focused on mentorship opportunities for women in ministry? What if we looked for ways to encourage others and challenged them to be better leaders? The value of a life “Loved Loud” will have a great impact on those whom you have the opportunity to lead with regularity. Don’t miss the chances to “Love Loud”, carefully consider who God has placed in your hand. Every relationship and opportunity you are given, is potentially a new leader to be used to further God’s Kingdom.
Help us celebrate our commitment to “Love Loud” at the 59th Annual Meeting of the Michigan Woman’s Missionary Union. Our keynote speaker, Linda Cooper, National WMU President will challenge us to be radically involved in missions. The South Carolina WMU team will be joining us to lead mission’s education, and discipleship training sessions for each specific age level. We will have the newest mission’s education resources available for viewing and ordering. Information to pathways for mission’s involvement, social issues, and support ministries will be featured. The Michigan WMU team will be available to help and encourage you to take your passion for missions to the next level.
“Love Loud” will be held at Sunrise Baptist Church, 2138 N. Jefferson Rd, Midland, MI., on Saturday, September 30, 2017. The doors will open at 8:30 with coffee and donuts. The cost is $15 per person and includes a catered meal. Pastor’s wives are invited to be our guests at no cost. Free childcare will be provided for children 5 and under.
For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registration link: bscm.org/register
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sue Hodnett is the Women’s Ministry & WMU Consultant for the BSCM as well as the Executive Director for WMU of Michigan. She attends Lakepointe Church in Macomb, MI.