By Sharon Mager
JARRETTSVILLE, Md.—At a Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) Women on Mission Retreat at Camp Wo-Me-To in March, attendees had a special prayer time for returning International Mission Board (IMB) missionaries, especially those from Maryland/Delaware.
Every year the women are encouraged to give for a project. After prayer, and being led by the Holy Spirit, the women chose to give to assist the returning missionaries. The total for the weekend was $1,670.
WMU Executive Director Melody T. Knox said she had heard about the IMB’s recent budget reduction and their decision to offer missionaries 50 and older early retirement. She was alarmed at the situation.
“I didn’t realize how much of a culture shock these people were dealing with,” said Knox, noting the returning missionaries had to find housing, cars and other ways to help support themselves.
“It happened so quickly, they can’t process it,” she said. “And they miss the people they’ve left behind.”
Knox and WMU President Barbara Matney, led the women to gather in groups to pray for the specific missionaries and their families.
Two baskets were put at the cross at the Camp Wo-Me-To chapel and women walked forward to deposit their offerings.
“There’s something about going to the cross that does something to people’s hearts. It does to mine,” Knox said. “I was blown away by how the Holy Spirit challenged the ladies to give.”
Five ladies, Daphne McBride, Barbara Spruill, Louise Haven, Lynda Stanbery and Kathy Robinson, from New Harvest Baptist Church, Dover, Del., took the challenge back to their church and collected $1,075.
“We’re a church plant, and we have about 60 members and that offering was right after our Annie Armstrong offering,” said Jim McBride, Sr., pastor of New Harvest Baptist Church. “I was so proud of them.” This was Stanbery and Robinson’s first WMU retreat.
“I’m overwhelmed with the fact that they gave like they gave,” Knox said.
She has contacted the missionary families affiliated with Maryland/Delaware churches and is giving them gift cards with notes letting the families know they’re not forgotten, and that the Network’s WMU is continuing to pray for them.
Knox said she met IMB President David Platt in January. “I introduced myself and told him we’re praying for him and for the decisions he has to make. I told him I was praying that God would give him wisdom. He hugged me and said he appreciated it so much.”