WACO—Texas Baptists have the opportunity and responsibility to share the hope of the gospel with spiritually unreached people across the state, a cross-cultural mobilizer told the Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas Annual Meeting and Missions Celebration.
“God is bringing the mission field to us,” said Rani Espanioly, an Arab-Israeli Christian who works with the Baptist General Convention of Texas as a missions catalyst among different people groups throughout the state.
Tamiko Jones, executive director-treasurer of Texas WMU, agreed with Espanioly.
“We have a hope that our world needs in times like these… . We believe that God is not done,” Jones told the conference that met April 5-6 at First Woodway Baptist Church in Waco.
With this hope comes a responsibility for Christians, Jones explained. Followers of Christ are called to pursue opportunities to share the hope of salvation with the nations.
Discussing the conference theme of “Pursue,” Jones described how God not only pursues his followers, but also expects his followers to pursue him. Furthermore, just as God is pursuing others, God wants his followers to pursue every avenue to introduce spiritually lost people to Christ.
Jones introduced “Passport to Hope,” a new way to share mission and ministry stories. Participants can send in stories to WMU with their name, event and location. Each story will earn a stamp in their passport, which can be collected at the next annual meeting. Participants are encouraged to write details about their events under each stamp to remember how God has worked throughout the year.
Jones called attention to John 3:30—“He must become greater; I must become less.”
The goal of WMU and its ministries is not to bring glory to the organization but to God, she stressed. WMU must continue to be involved in ministry and missions, especially in these changing times, she insisted.
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“God has a plan for you,” she said. “It’s our prayer that you’re obedient.”
Texas WMU elects officers
During the annual meeting, Texas WMU elected Earl Ann Bumpus of Graham as president, Elida Salazar of Carrizo Springs as vice president and Susan Morgan of Houston as secretary.
Bumpus—who has held a variety of roles with Texas WMU at the associational, state and national levels—was elected exactly 50 years after her mother, Cleota Lenert, was elected president of Florida WMU. Bumpus is married to Mark Bumpus, pastor of First Baptist Church in Graham.
Throughout the weekend, breakout sessions offered attendees information about ongoing missions opportunities, ideas to expand programs within their own churches, and the work done by WMU in the past year.
In one session, Ruth Ortiz, a Texas Baptist River Ministry missionary, discussed the importance of ministering to immigrants along the Texas/Mexico border. After passing through immigration, many people are left at a Greyhound bus station with no money and no way of contacting relatives. Ortiz explained that these bus stations are important ministry points. Immigrant families desperately need supplies, ranging from food to diapers to toiletries.
“They are going to different states and to Mexico,” said Ortiz. “The people in the Greyhound stations are going everywhere… . The harvest is plentiful, but there are so few workers.”
In another session, Bumpus described opportunities to spread hope through mission work in Texas. The Mary Hill Davis Offering enables many of the ministries around Texas to take place, such as Baptist Student Ministry and church planting, but only a small percentage of Texas Baptist churches contribute to the offering, she noted. Bumpus encouraged attendees to involve their churches in the offering so that it may continue supporting missions around the state.