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Posted: 7/25/03

Enjoying the birthday party are Mary Humphries of Lindale, former president of Woman's Missionary Union of Texas, and Joy Fenner, former executive director-treasurer of Texas WMU.

Rebekah Naylor, surgeon and former administrator at the Bangalore Baptist Hospital, tells the Texas Leadership Conference about her experiences as a medical missionary in India.

Texas WMU Leadership Conference

participants told they have 'promises to keep'

By Ken Camp

Texas Baptist Communications

WACO–More than 1,000 women gathered at Baylor University for a birthday party–the 50th for Texas Leadership Conference, formerly known as Woman's Missionary Union House Party, and the 90th for the Girls in Action missions program.

With “Promises to Keep” as their theme, the women took a nostalgic look back at the past and a hope-filled look toward the future of missions at the July 17-19 conference.

As a part of the celebration, speakers challenged the Texas Baptist women to recognize the promises of God across the generations. Suzie Person, who serves with Wycliffe Bible Translators and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, and her husband, Kirk, described how God used the influence of parents, missionary speakers and authors, churches and mentors to call them into missions.

Korean Woman's Missionary Union of Texas officers elected in Waco are President Jung Suk Chung of Korean First Baptist Church in Coppell, Vice President In Sook Ahn of Seoul Baptist Church in Houston and Secretary Hyando Do Kwak of First Baptist Church of Arlington.

She was joined on the stage at Baylor's Ferrell Center by her parents, Justice and Mary Ann Anderson, veteran Southern Baptist missionaries to Argentina. Anderson went on to teach missions at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and he currently is chairman of the board of Texas Baptists' new missions network.

“What part has God chosen for you to play in his world? Whose destiny are you being called to impact?” Suzie Person asked.

God's character mandates that he will keep his promises, medical missionary Rebekah Naylor told the women. Naylor spoke from her 30 years of experience with the Southern Baptist Convention International Mission Board as a surgeon and former administrator at Bangalore Baptist Hospital in Karnataka, India.

“Remember, God's promise brings responsibility,” she said. “Let us go forth to the ends of the earth, standing on the promises of God.”

God promises presence and peace, direction for living and joy in service to those who follow him, Naylor said.

“God will answer prayer when we pray in his name according to his will,” she said. “For years, I was the only licensed American doctor allowed to practice in India, and that was an answer to prayer.”

Prayer is the invitation God extends to his children to abide in him every moment of every day, Cindy Gaskins of Hong Kong, former Texas Acteens consultant, told the women.

“The only way you and I can walk in confidence is when we have been on our knees,” said Gaskins, whose husband is pastor of International Baptist Church in Hong Kong.

She used the model prayer of Jesus as a guide for learning to pray according to God's will, rather than for personal advantage.

“Go to God on behalf of the other peoples of our world and pray they will have an encounter with God,” she said. “The kingdom of God is so much bigger than where we are. But it starts right where our knees hit the floor.”

Speakers at the Texas Leadership Conference challenged their audience to pray and support missionaries who are seeking to advance God's kingdom in dangerous and unconventional mission fields.

New officers of the Baptist Nursing Fellowship of Texas are President Linda Garner of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas; Service Chair Rita Fuentes of First Baptist Church in Bartlett; and Secretary-Treasurer RaNon Caraway of First Baptist Church of Brady. Not pictured are First Vice President Amy Roberts of First Baptist Church of Arlington and Second Vice President Lupe Koch of Primera Iglesia Bautista in Fort Worth.

“Shari,” a young woman who serves among a historically unreached people group in a country closed to traditional missionaries, described life on the “last frontier” of missions. “We choose to call it Satan's playground,” she said.

Shari told the Texas women that many of the people with whom she works never had heard the name of Jesus, much less a presentation of the gospel, before she came to them. Even so, in this remote and isolated area, she told about being able to sit down at a café to enjoy a familiar American soft drink.

“Doesn't it break your heart to know that Coca-Cola has made it to places where the name of Jesus hasn't made it yet?” she asked.

Nancy Botkin, warden of the Gatesville Unit, and Suzanna Hinson, major at the Hilltop Unit, told the Texas Baptist women how they came to see working with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice as “mission work.”

Hinson particularly encouraged Texas Baptists to continue their efforts working with inmates and their families.

“Most of these people are not going to live their entire lives with me at Hilltop. They're going to come live with you in your communities. And the things that have molded their hearts inside (prison) are the things they will carry out with them,” she said.

Worship leader Cynthia Clawson followed their testimonies with her own experiences in prison ministry, particularly with death row inmate Karla Faye Tucker.

The Grammy and Dove Award-winning recording artist called on the Texas Baptist women to “mother” women in prison who may have been abused or abandoned by their own mothers.

“God bless the outcast, or nobody will,” she sang.

Conference Bible study leader Susan Pigott, professor of Old Testament at Hardin-Simmons University's Logsdon School of Theology in Abilene, cited three Old Testament women–Rahab, Abigail and Hagar–as examples of unexpected keepers of extraordinary promises.

“God delights in using the least likely people to perform the most significant tasks,” Pigott said.

News of religion, faith, missions, Bible study and Christian ministry among Texas Baptist churches, in the BGCT, the Southern Baptist Convention ( SBC ) and around the world.


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