"I love to tell the story of unseen things above," said Kathy Shafto as she quoted words from the beloved hymn and traced her journey as an IMB missionary to Burkina Faso. That journey began when a neighbor "allowed" Shafto to come to church and a mission leader invested time to "set my life on a course." Her love for missions was honed through time in WMU camps and as counselor.
Now she and her husband Jay, in turn, invest their lives reaching new believers in the West African nation, planting new churches and empowering them to share the story of the Gospel.
The story lives on through church planting, said Damien Emetuche, who traced his spiritual journey from seeds planted by Southern Baptist missionaries to Ethiopia.
Serving as church planting professor at New Orleans Seminary, Emetuche challenged the group to plant new churches to reach the multitudes of immigrants entering the U.S. who bring their own world religions to convert others.
The Dellana O'Brien award, named in honor of the past WMU executive-director, was given to Mycie Vue, president of the Minnesota-Wisconsin WMU. Vue is a Hmong immigrant whose family walked for six weeks to escape persecution in Laos.
Re-elected to serve another one-year term were Debby Akerman, national WMU president, and Rosalie Hunt, recording secretary. State WMU presidents were elected as vice presidents.
The next WMU annual meeting is set for June 9-10 in Houston, Texas.
Barbara Denman is director of communications for the Florida Baptist Witness.
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