This year's panelists are Cassondra Couch of Central Baptist Church in Corbin, Ky.; Elizabeth Stanbrough of First Baptist Church in Alexander City, Ala.; Nayely Vallejo of Freeman Heights Baptist Church in Garland, Texas; and Claire Wells of Eastern Hills Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala.
Acteens is a missions organization for girls in grades 7–12 sponsored byh Woman's Missionary Union. Through Acteens, girls grow in their relationship with God and each other as they learn about and participate in missions and develop leadership skills.
"Gifted, willing, servant, selfless -- these are words that come to mind when I think about the 2014 National Acteens Panelists," said Suzanne Reece, WMU's student ministry consultant. "These young women not only know what it means to live a missions lifestyle, but they are living it every day."
All four panelists have been involved in Acteens for the past six years and have demonstrated a commitment to serving others and sharing Christ.
Describing Acteens as one of the greatest blessings in her life, Vallejo said she has learned about "what it means to be a woman of God, the challenges and joys of being a missionary, how to be a leader, what it means to truly love God and what it means to help even if you don't feel like it."
Couch said Acteens "allows girls to experience spiritual accountability, love, independence and leadership while equipping them to be missionaries in the true sense of the Great Commission."
"Living a life of missions means you live to serve," Couch said. "We are being sent on a mission every day of our lives, and that mission is to live with the Gospel in mind. When we inherit God's Kingdom at the point of our salvation, we also inherit a purpose. We are to exalt God and spread the message of His Word."
"A missions lifestyle," Stanbrough noted, "is not something you say, a shirt you wear or a book you read. It is what you do every day to reach people who do not know Christ and show them his undying love."
In addition, Stanbrough said, one of the most important aspects of Acteens is learning from godly leaders and developing strong friendships.
"The constant contact and similar ideals create trust and understanding between Acteens," she said. "This trust paves the way for accountability. I wish every girl could receive the benefits to her faith that result from being in an Acteens group. The relationships and teaching, when taken to heart, are invaluable to a girl's walk with the Lord."
Likewise, Wells said, "Acteens is a place where girls can find friends that will be encouraging to them in their walk with Christ. Acteens has been one of the biggest sources of encouragement to me and it has kept me grounded in my faith."
The national panelists will serve through Dec. 31 and receive $1,000 from the Jessica Powell Loftis Scholarship for Acteens from the WMU Foundation.
These Acteens panel members have been part of the WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting in Baltimore, June 8–9, where they gained opportunities to meet national and international missionaries and interact with missions leaders from across the country.
They are available to speak at churches, associational and state Acteens and WMU meetings and events, and they will write articles for The Mag, the Acteens missions magazine, and the Acteens website, wmu.com/students.
Applications for the 2015 National Acteens Panel are available at wmu.com/students and in the fall issue of Acteens Leader. All applications must be submitted to national WMU by Dec. 1, 2014.
Reported by the communications staff of Woman's Missionary Union.
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