By Julie Walters, WMU Communications
NEW ORLEANS – Students and children will be offered unique missions experiences by the WMU during the Southern Baptist Convention in New Orleans June 19-20
State WMU leaders, student leaders, and adult third-culture kids (TCKs) from across the nation will help students going into 7th through 12th grade make the connection between Bible study and missional living.
“Students will enjoy a worship experience in the morning along with small group Bible studies and interaction with a missionary,” explained Gayla Parker, Maryland/Delaware WMU executive director and coordinator for the Youth on Mission event. “They will have the opportunity to live out what they studied as they serve in hands-on ministry projects at the Baptist Friendship House in New Orleans and surrounding community. Upon returning to the convention center each day, there will be a brief prayer and debriefing time before students can head out with their parents to enjoy family time in the evenings.”
Students will help fulfill the mission statement of the Baptist Friendship House – meeting needs through love, action, and in truth – through their service.
“Ministering to the whole person – addressing their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs – will allow students to build relationships with others so that a life-changing relationship can begin with Jesus,” said Kay Bennett, director of the Baptist Friendship House. “Not only will students have the opportunity to change lives, the students’ lives will change through reaching out to others in need.”
Children going into 1st through 6th grade will enjoy a “To the Finish Line” Missions Day Camp and be challenged to “run the race” of life with Christ in their everyday lives.
“Bible studies will encourage campers to choose to follow Christ, train spiritually, move past obstacles to faith, and win a heavenly prize,” explained Cindy Bradley, Michigan WMU executive director and coordinator of the children’s missions camp. “In addition to Bible studies, children will visit with missionaries representing both the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board, and will participate in worship sessions, games and recreation, and crafts and mission projects.”
Bradley said experienced children’s missions leaders will encourage children to learn and apply the Bible to their lives and help them understand the power of prayer as they are taught to pray for needs around them, missionaries, people groups, and missions in general.
As in previous years, volunteers from state convention Disaster Relief organizations’ childcare units closest to the annual meeting site will care for preschoolers, ages 0–5. This year, state Disaster Relief childcare volunteers from the Alabama and Mississippi state conventions will provide childcare in New Orleans.
According to Donna Swarts, Disaster Relief childcare coordinator for the Mississippi Baptist Convention, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief has provided childcare for the past 10 years during the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention.
“The beauty of using trained disaster relief childcare workers for the annual meeting is that they’ve all gone through background checks to ensure the safety and security of the children,” Swarts said.
Childcare for preschoolers and missions camp for children will both be at the Ernest Morial Convention Center, the site of the SBC Annual Meeting.
Students will also meet in the mornings at the convention center, then travel to the Baptist Friendship House each day.
For pricing information and to register preschoolers, children or students in any of the above, go to http://sbcannualmeeting.net/sbc12/childyouthregister/. There is no registration deadline, but space is limited.