I never cease to be amazed that memories tucked away in my mind years ago have somehow set up permanent residence in my heart as well. Sometimes I draw them out, to relive and be grateful all over again.
This year draws out a powerful memory I’ve carried for 25 years. It is my unforgettable memory of the birth of the WMU Foundation in 1995. At that time, I was the Children’s Consultant for national WMU. I remember the great excitement in the WMU headquarters when we heard the news. Having a Foundation meant there would be a focused effort to secure funding to help WMU for years to come. It would strengthen our ability to encourage church members across the nation to pray for, be personally involved in, and support missions financially. I never dreamed at that time I would someday play an active part, even beyond becoming a donor. Since retirement, I have had the privilege of serving two terms on the WMU Foundation Board. I see firsthand the giving side and the receiving side of money devoted to mission causes. This awareness has created multiple memories to last me a lifetime—memories of needs met, lives changed, Christian witness given. My mind and my heart are both brimming.
This focus on the WMU Foundation’s history brings out memories of other past experiences. Consider my first “giving to missions” memory. It has been rooted in my mind and nurtured in my heart for over seventy years! Missions giving started for me with a small drawstring bag. My Sunbeam leader at FBC, Nacogdoches, Texas, made a little bag for each of us Sunbeams, and she also gave us this big challenge: “If you are paid to do chores at home, place the money in this mission offering bag. Just think, children. When you bring your offering bag back to Sunbeams next month, you will be helping missionaries around the world tell about Jesus.” I eagerly took that drawstring bag home and headed straight for my paternal grandmother’s bedroom. I knew she would help me do this important job. Grandmother Jones instantly liked the idea and said I could dust her dresser and her nightstand. It made me feel important. I think I dusted that furniture every day for a month, and my grandmother “crossed my palm with silver” every day with a shiny coin. I don’t know the final amount of money in my bag, but I know it was filled when I carried it back to Sunbeams. In my mind, as I had learned in the Sunbeam song, I really did “shine for Jesus” that day.
As such memories return freshly to me, I love to picture and pray for the people whose lives are being touched and changed by monies given through the WMU Foundation. Imagining this inspires me to celebrate and give again. I know of others who must share such feelings because there are many donors who have given to the Foundation every year of its 25-year life. I don’t know all their names, but I salute their generosity in regular missions giving. Those faithful donors surely must have also influenced others along the way to join them and regularly give. You may be one of them…or you may want to become one. Remember: it never matters how much any donor gives because God blesses and multiplies all gifts.
I wonder whose lives will be touched the next time I give.
I know my life will—I can only imagine theirs.
You can continue the legacy of missions giving and support the missions and ministries of WMU through your gifts to the Vision Fund. You’ve sponsored over 95,500 hours of WMU ministry through the Vision Fund over the last 25 years!
Written by Sylvia DeLoach, former WMU Foundation board member.