Ginger Smith, executive director of the Mission Centers of Houston (Texas), will be the keynote speaker for the celebration's opening session on Sunday evening.
Smith has served since 2002 at Missions Centers of Houston, which encompasses three ministry sites -- Fletcher Mission Center, Gano Mission Center and Joy Fellowship Center that minister to impoverished communities in inner-city Houston by sharing the love of Christ through programs such as kids and youth clubs, English classes, senior adult programs and Christian Women's Job Corps. During the missions celebration, Smith will address the topic of human exploitation, the focus of WMU's Project HELP.
Jeff Iorg, president of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, will be the keynote speaker on Monday evening. He teaches leadership, preaching and church ministry courses at Golden Gate and frequently speaks on these subjects in conferences. Iorg also is the author of "Live Like a Missionary: Giving Your Life for What Matters Most," a book to be released this summer by New Hope Publishers, a division of WMU.
Other featured speakers at the WMU missions celebration include Don and Diane Combs, IMB field personnel serving European peoples, and other field representatives with the International Mission Board. Representing NAMB will be Jan Lows, a Missions Service Corps missionary who directs Life Among the Nations international student ministry at Arizona State University, and church planting strategists Louis Spears of Arizona and Jason Williams of California.
Participants are encouraged to bring school supplies to help Spears with an ongoing ministry at Seyenna Vistas, a 67-acre mobile home and RV park in Phoenix with more than 100 children in grades 1-6. A complete list of needed supplies is available at www.wmu.com.
Wanda S. Lee, executive director of national WMU, said of the missions celebration, "We will enjoy learning practical ways to strengthen and energize our missional journey. Both new and experienced missions leaders as well as those who may be searching for a place of service will want to be sure to attend a variety of breakout sessions. These sessions include options for how to lead WMU age-level missions organizations, and Joe Conway from NAMB will lead sessions on what's new with RAs and Challengers."
There will be three general sessions: Sunday, June 12, at 7 p.m.; and Monday, June 13, at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. A special missions feature facilitated by Gordon Fort, vice president for overseas operations with the International Mission Board, is slated on Monday at 11 a.m. Breakout sessions will be offered on Sunday from 2:30-5 p.m. and on Monday from 2-4:30 p.m. Debby Akerman, president of national WMU, will give her presidential address during the Monday morning session. Tangena Mishler will lead in worship along with pianist Nancy Grainger.
This year's celebration will be in the Grand Ballroom of the Wyndham Phoenix Downtown Hotel, just two blocks from the Phoenix Convention Center where the Southern Baptist Convention will hold its June 14-15 annual meeting.
There is no charge to attend and no preregistration is required. Onsite registration opens on Sunday at 2 p.m. Visit www.wmu.com for more information.
Julie Walters is the corporate communications team leader for WMU (Woman's Missionary Union).
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