The Woman’s Missionary Union “Defining Moments” Missions Celebration launched with a breakfast of burritos, quesadillas, sweet rolls, fruit, coffee and juice provided by the New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home & Family Ministries.
National WMU, state WMU, and local church WMU ministries have led Southern Baptists in missions for over 125 years by promoting age-level missions in local churches. WMU's imperatives are to pray for missions, engage in mission action and witnessing, learn about missions, support missions, develop spiritually toward a missions lifestyle, and participate in the work of the church and denomination. New Mexico WMU provides structure and connects associations, churches, and missions of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico and national WMU. New Mexico WMU is a ministry of BCNM and NMBCH.
According to WMU, "an important part of missional lifestyle" is praying for missionaries, particularly on their birthdays. During the celebration, Claudia Johnson, former missionary to Bangkok, expressed her thanks for prayers while she and her family were on the mission field. She then guided prayer for missionaries on the birthday calendar the day of the celebration.
Commenting on the meeting, Connie Dixon, New Mexico WMU director, expressed the hope that women attending the annual celebration would come away more excited about living missional lifestyles. She praised God for how He orchestrated the celebration's testimonies, messages and defining moments.
Kay Madaris, from Ruidoso, shared how, in her defining moment, God guided doctors to the proper medication to treat her arthritis. She said she endured several years, much discomfort and much pain before reaching a solution. Through it all, she said, God remained faithful.
Melissa Lamb, from Santa Rosa, recalled suffering and feeling the loss of a quilt that her grandmother had made. She lost it when her house burned. A defining moment broke through when women from New Mexico WMU made and delivered a replacement quilt to her, she said.
Karen Pilgreen, from Albuquerque, shared how she learned early in life to pray for missionaries on their birthdays. She said a defining moment for her came when she actually met one of the missionaries for whom she had prayed: Kay Weldon Madaris.
Teresa Howard, from Rogers, stressed the importance of her mother’s involvement in WMU. She described that her mother including her in missions had influenced her work at NMBCH. She said, she experienced her defining moment with the ministry of Christian Women and Men's Job Corps.
Ronna Jordan, from Farmington, said her defining moment connected a Mission Friends experience of "going on a safari" when she was 5 years old with an experience 40 years later when she established Houses With Hope, a ministry in Kenya. Jordan also sang an original song, “Love Leaves No Choice,” which challenges people to show love to God and others.
Some speakers' emotional defining moments brought tears to others. Joy Pittman, from Albuquerque, said, “What is it about WMU meetings? Every time I go, I have to fix my make-up because of the tears.”
During the meeting, Pilgreen paid tribute to Paula Hibner who had introduced her to a website emphasizing prayer for missionary kids. Hibner was the former president of New Mexico WMU who died Oct. 20, four days before the WMU celebration.
In his closing remarks, Randy Rankin, NMBCH executive director, remembered Dottie Rambo’s song, “Who’s Going to Teach My Children’s Children?” He encouraged bringing defining moments to our children’s children. He said reaching the next generation of women with missions education is a priority. Rankin said today’s celebration brought the NMBCH, WMU and the Baptist Convention of New Mexico closer together.
Gordon Fort, senior ambassador for the president at the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention issued a challenge when he said, “We all are a defining moment by God’s design. He is extending an invitation to each of us.”