Arizona WMU celebrates sharing of hope in Christ
By Robin Talley* | Nov 30, 2022
Avondale Baptist Church hosted the 2022 Arizona WMU (AZWMU) Annual Meeting and Missions Celebration on Nov. 11. More than 50 people attended to hear about the work being done by missionaries in Arizona, the United States and around the world.
Speakers from IMB, NAMB and the Minnesota-Wisconsin WMU team encouraged attendees with their stories of how hope in Christ is being shared. Isabel Han, a campus missionary for Christian Challenge AZ and member of Church on Mill in Tempe, led the celebration in worship.
Over a dozen of the attendees at the celebration were currently serving as missionaries. David Johnson, executive director of the Arizona Mission Network of Southern Baptists, summed up the appreciation so many of them feel toward WMU as he kicked off the meeting.
“I want to express my appreciation for all that AZWMU does to support the mission both in Arizona and around the world,” Johnson said. “These workers depend on your prayers.”
This year’s WMU watchword came from Romans 12:23, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” This year’s Missions Celebration highlighted many of the ways that AZWMU has been true to that vision. In addition to their legendary prayer support, AZWMU offered missions education, leadership training, compassion ministries and discipleship resources for all ages.
“We have discipleship material for everyone from preschoolers to adults, and it is all founded on scripture,” said Terrie Sullivan, interim recording secretary and executive director of Arizona WMU.
Several Acteens, one of WMU’s student missions discipleship programs, from Burton Baptist Church in Burton, led a prayer time using the WMU’s prayer calendar. The prayer calendar, which can be found on the national WMU website, offers a way to pray for all Southern Baptist missionaries on their birthdays.
“Although this is the only Acteens group in Arizona, we hope to see many more churches offer Acteens as a means of discipleship,” said Cheryl Onnen, Acteens consultant on the AZWMU leadership team.
Other areas of AZWMU will be growing in the coming year. Linda Hopson, who finished her five-year term as president at this meeting, announced filling two consultant positions on the leadership team. Autumn Barraza will serve as the church plant liaison and Lainee Pegelow as media consultant.
“Adding these two women to our team is a God thing,” Hopson said. “We have been praying for at least five years for these positions to be filled so our ministry vision can move forward.”
Shirley Arnold, a member of Citypoint Church in Tempe, was elected as the new AZWMU president.
The heart and hope of AZWMU could be heard in the prayer offered by Simone Lake, AZWMU Consultant for the women’s leadership.
“We pray that hearts and minds will be engaged for the lost, here in our community, city, state and around the world,” Lake said.
*Name changed for security
Robin Talley, longtime Arizona Southern Baptist, is a former Last Frontier missionary with the International Mission Board.