COMMENTARY | Meredith Flynn
On some Wednesday evenings, if I listen really hard, I can still hear it:
Girls in action, girls in action, missions growing and mission action. Praying, giving money, so the world may know that Jesus loves…
The jaunty chorus bounced out of a third floor classroom at our church every Wednesday at 6:45 p.m., heralding the beginning of our weekly GA meeting. It was in GA’s – the aforementioned Girls in Action – that I first learned most of what I still understand about missions.
This year, as the organization created by Southern Baptist Woman’s Missionary Union celebrates its 100th birthday, I’ve been remembering the most important piece of information I received from GA’s: I could do missions.
Every week our teacher, Mrs. Briggs, led us through 45 minutes of good things: international snacks, missionary stories, and the occasional letter from an overseas pen pal. As we prayed and ate and learned and gave, missionaries became more real to us. They were our heroes, yes, but they were also normal people who even wrote us letters sometimes. So, as I grew up and became a normal person, I never questioned that if God so purposed, he could use me as a missionary.
That’s why missions education is still important, because we are far more likely to try the things we think we can do. We GA’s (and the RA’s in the boys’ class next door) heard week after week that there is always something we can do to support the advance of the Gospel. We lost the excuses of “I can’t,” or “The task is too big,” or “I’m just one person.” The ways Southern Baptists cooperate to reach the world are compelling, even to a third grader. And when we saw that we had a place within that cooperative system, the missions potential felt limitless.
Every Wednesday night now as I sit in my community group (where, sadly, we have not once had egg rolls or baklava), I’m reminded of the lessons I learned more than 20 years ago. Mrs. Briggs and her volunteers played a part in my decision to go on my first international mission trip this summer. And their counsel back then reminds me that I’m called and equipped to be on mission, here and now.
Meredith Flynn is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.