LEESBURG (FBC)—Nearly 200 participants had their eyes and hearts opened to the multitude of mission opportunities available to them as Florida Baptists during the “Missional Connection” conference April 12-13 at Lake Yale Conference Center in Leesburg.
Workshops highlighted a wide array of missions involvement, including social media, first aid, human exploitation, missional living, grant writing, orphan care, migrants and helping hurting women. Ministry projects fashioned mats for the homeless from plastic grocery bags, collected hygiene products for carnival workers and gathered Bibles and prepackaged snacks for Bible clubs meeting regularly in local elementary schools.
In all participants could choose from more than 30 training seminars.
On Saturday, 391 new and returning disaster relief volunteers from across the state joined the group for a day of intensive training in disaster relief. Delton Beall, newly named strategist for the Disaster Relief and Recovery Team noted this was the first time the DR training was held at Lake Yale.
The training is one of seven held around the state to train and credential volunteers in preparation for the next disaster. Emergency Management officials now require all volunteers to be credentialed before assisting in a relief effort.
The Missional Connection meeting included an introduction to the Convention’s new Missional Support Group, lead strategist Craig Culbreth and team strategists who are supported by gifts through the Cooperative Program.
Also on the program were missionaries Mike and Kathy Weaver serving in the Americans People Group. They shared the International Mission Board’s Embrace emphasis and how churches can become involved in reaching unreached people groups around the world. IMB missionaries Aaron and Jennifer Brown told about their work among people groups in South Asia.
Lorna Bius, a “LoveLoud” catalyst appointed by the North American Mission Board, SBC, spoke about her leadership in the ministry evangelism movement in the West region. LoveLoud is a movement of churches demonstrating God’s love by meeting significant human needs while sharing Christ.
The Valdosta native and Florida State University graduate told how 30 years ago she attended GA camp at Lake Yale and the impact that experience had on her life and ministry. She still remembers the GA counselor who took an interest in her spiritual development, she said.
Alachua native Laurie Register, who now serves as the WMU Executive in South Carolina, shared her own involvement as a Florida GA camp counselor at Lake Yale and working with Come Together retreats. The leadership experience gave her skills she built on throughout her life, she said.
The two-day Missional Connection has evolved from the Florida Woman’s Missionary Union annual meeting and then the “Sonshine Conference.”
The name and concept of the meeting has been changed, explained Cindy Goodwin, team strategist for the women’s Mission and Ministries/Missions Education Team, to broaden the involvement in missions to both men and women.
“Anyone who is involved in missions will benefit from the conferences, inspiration and commitment to missional living,” she said. “We hope to build on this nucleus to involve mission leaders and participants in our Florida Baptist churches.
During the meeting, members of the Florida WMU elected Anna Guy of Jacksonville as the 30th president in the organization’s 120-year history. She has been involved in the Florida WMU program for 25 years.
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