SEBRING, Fla.—The Ladies’ Missionary Fellowship of Maranatha Baptist Church celebrated their 35th anniversary by inviting five of their past presidents as mystery guest speakers.
Each of the ladies shared life experiences that equipped them to be president of the Ladies’ Missionary Fellowship. “The purpose LMF is to further missions in the local church, and with praise, our presidents have been more than able to accomplish that purpose,” says Betty Hendsbee.
LMF has participated in numerous projects over the years that further its outreach efforts. This year they took part in a project called KindledSpirit through A Refuge of Compassion, a ministry of Baptist Mid-Missions. KindledSpirit provides pastors and church leaders in Africa with Kindles that are loaded with Bibles and Bible study resources in their language.
Betty explains, “We passed out metal missionary banks in November and the ladies brought them back in May. We had a carry-in dinner and then opened the metal banks. The ladies opened the banks and counted the money. The total of our giving to the KindledSpirit project was $1,302.69. Several checks came in from others who caught the vision, helping with our offering.”
This year the ladies also got together to make nearly 10,000 bookmarks for Editorial Bautista Independiente, a Spanish literature ministry in Sebring, and 90 greeting cards for missionaries. They also gathered school supplies for a kindergarten class that will be formed in Haiti, where retired missionaries Roy and Ruth Shelpman served.
- Read more about the Ladies’ Missionary Fellowship:
“Missionary Speakers Answer, ‘Who, Me?’”
“Ladies’ Missionary Group Gives Around the World”
“Women Gather for Missionary Meeting”
Seven ladies have served as president of LMF since its inception:
The first two presidents, Lorraine (Wallace) Burkholder and Myrtle Thompson, are now with the Lord.
Joan Coles and her husband were short-term missionaries in the Philippines with ABWE. She also served beside him when he was a pastor in Ohio, Indiana, and New York, and associate pastor at Maranatha Baptist Church.
Jean McCulley and her husband, Hal, served in the Air Force for 28 years in Japan, Germany, and the U.S. While in Japan she worked with missionaries in a Bible study and taught cooking and cake decorating to Japanese ladies.
Allegra Whipple served beside her husband, Paul, who was manager of Maranatha Village, a retirement community in Sebring, for 10 years. She also taught a ladies’ Sunday School class for a number of years.
Ruth Brock was a missionary among four Native American tribes: Navajo; Six Nations in Ontario, Canada; Iroquois; and Ojibwa in Kenora, Ontario. She also taught children in Kentucky. Her ministry spanned 37 years.
Kathy Webber served beside her husband, Dr. Gerald Webber, as a missionary in New Zealand. Dr. Webber was also Baptist Mid-Missions’ administrator for Pacific Basin and president of Continental Baptist Missions; he is now pastor of Maranatha Baptist Church.
After hearing from five of these former presidents, the ladies ended their event with a Celebration Tea.