LEESBURG (FLBaptist)—“How can my church be ready to respond when a disaster strikes in my community? What are my first steps?”
“How can I be involved in aiding a victim of human trafficking?”
“Will a partnership mission trip impact my congregation? How can I make it happen?”
“Can you teach me to pray for our missionaries?”
Answers to these questions and other topics of interest to mission-minded men and women are among the many experiences awaiting Florida Baptists during the “Missional Connection: Celebration of Missions and Ministries” April 24-26 at Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center.
The three-day event combines conferences for women’s enrichment ministries, men’s ministries, ministers’ wives, missions groups, missionary parents and chaplains with hands-on ministry opportunities.
This combined event, coordinated by Women’s Missions and Ministries/Missions Education and teams from the Florida Baptist Convention’s Missional Support Group, is designed to involve a broader audience in mission education, experiences, and fellowship; and provide an awareness of what Florida Baptists are doing in the state and around the world.
Worship sessions will feature missionaries Harry and Barbara* from Southeast Asia; Larry and Dianne,* who serve in Africa; and Patrick and Archalena Coats, church planters and NAMB missionaries in Miami. Worship leaders are Eddie Lockamy, pastor of Arlington Baptist Church in Jacksonville, and his wife, Faye.
A special feature of this meeting will be “Family Ministry Night” on Thursday evening, when participants will visit five ministry rooms to learn about statewide mission efforts. In each room, they will review each ministry, look at photos and receive a CD of all featured ministries to share the new ideas with their church.
The meeting also will celebrate 120 years of Florida Baptists on mission, which began as the Florida Woman’s Missionary Union and blossomed into women’s missions and ministry endeavors and now includes men and boys in mission causes.
“We will (be celebrating) the story, honoring the past, serving the present and building the future,” said Cindy Goodwin, lead strategist for the Women’s Missions and Ministries Team.
At the close of the meeting on Saturday, Florida Baptist Disaster Relief will hold training for new and returning volunteers at Umatilla Baptist Church, located near the Lake Yale campus.
This annual missions fest has drawn devoted participants across the years.
“Life is a fast lane journey,” said Irma Moss of Orlando. “Attending Missional Connection provides me the opportunity to slow down, pause, listen and reflect. I am deeply moved by listening to the real stories of our missionaries who unselfishly serve our Savior around the world.”
“Missional Connection is a powerful reminder that our calling is to be faithful,” she added.
“I look forward to Missional Connection, and invite as many women as I can,” said Carol Clark of Tampa. “This conference is more than just going and listening to speakers; it is a retreat for the soul. It refreshes me when I gather with other women. This is a time when I focus on the Lord and allow Him to speak to me.”
Clark said both the worship time and the conferences “encourage me to use and stretch my God-given talents when I come back to Tampa.
“I love to hear from the missionaries; their stories and the lives they touch because I don’t want to be isolated in my Jerusalem. I am called to make a difference in Florida, the U.S. and around the world and to encourage as many others in this way. Missional Connection helps me to do this,” she concluded.
The activities begin Thursday, April 24 at 7 p.m. at Lake Yale in Leesburg and conclude Saturday at 11 a.m.
For more information and for costs, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; call 800-226-8584, ext. 3141; or go to www.flbaptist.org/MinistryPrograms/MW/WomensMissionsMinistriesMissionsEducation/WMMDocuments.aspx.
*Last names not published for security reasons
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