|National WMU President Janet Hoffman addresses the gathering of teen girls at the Tennessee Capitol. (Larry Hyche/BP Photo)|
National Acteens Convention knocks at Nashville
By Erin Curry
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–More than 6,500 teenage girls, gathered for the National Acteens Convention in Nashville, assembled for a prayer rally at the Tennessee State Capitol to pray for Nashville, Tennessee, America and the world.
Acteens is a missions organization for girls in grades seven through 12 sponsored by the Southern Baptist Woman's Missionary Union. The national Acteens meeting has been held about every five years since 1972.
|Acteens from Florida and Louisiana carry a cross, leading 6,500 Acteens to the Tennessee state capitol during the National Acteens Convention held in Nashville. After walking past the historic Ryman Auditorium (at left), the teens gathered at the Capitol to pray for the nation. (Kent Harville/BP Photo)|
The girls, meeting at the Nashville Convention Center, marched to the state Capitol, where they sang praises to God and prayed for God's blessings.
Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell welcomed the girls to the city.
“I also want to tell you how proud I am of the goals you have while here in Nashville,” he said. “I believe it could be the beginning of a lifelong journey of making a difference.”
The girls fanned out across the community, helping to prepare 65 schools for the return of students by unpacking books, painting, cleaning school property, beautifying school grounds and distributing backpacks full of school supplies.
“You need to know that the director of our public schools, Pedro Garcia, myself, all the faculty and, most importantly, all the parents and 70,000 Nashville school students will be touched and changed because of what you are going to be doing in those schools,” the mayor said.
Purcell read the Acteens' theme verse for the week from Habakkuk 1:5: “Look at the nations and watch–and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your day that you would not believe even if you were told.”
Linda Leathers, minister to singles at First Baptist Church in Nashville, led the girls in a prayer for Nashville and Tennessee.
Leathers noted 6 million people live in the state and thousands visit daily. “Please, Lord, use us to take your gospel of good news to these people,” she said.
Leathers also prayed for Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, the state representatives, senators, office workers and judges. Then she prayed for the 550,000 people of Nashville and for the mayor.
WMU's national president, Janet Hoffman, reminded the girls of one of her favorite hymns, which says: “Oh, what peace we often forfeit, Oh, what needless pain we bear; All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”
Prayer truly is the greatest work the girls can do, Hoffman said, and then she led them in praying for the United States.
|Acteens from New Life Baptist Church of Garland pray outside the Capitol. (Theresa Barnett/WMU Photo)|
Hoffman also prayed for national missionaries and the North American Mission Board. She closed in praying for God to bless America with revival as he has so many times in the past.
Hoffman then instructed the girls to gather in clusters of 10 or 12 and pray for their home states and communities.
Twylia Bell, an International Mission Board worker in Tanzania, shared a story about God's provision of food for Tanzanians when rain did not come and they could not grow their crops. Then she led the Acteens in praying for the world.
“We pray for the countries that are in turmoil right now, that you would not just give peace because we know peace is not going to reign in the world–you've told us that–but that in the turmoil you would show your might and your power and what you can do,” Bell prayed.
In closing, girls representing various countries of the world prayed the Lord's Prayer in their languages.