By Vickie Anderson
Executive director, Tennessee Woman’s Missionary Union
When most people who grew up in the church hear about being a light in the darkness, they think of the song, “This Little Light of Mine.”
“This little light of mine
I’m going to let it shine
Oh, this little light of mine
I’m going to let it shine
This little light of mine
I’m going to let it shine\
Let it shine, all the time, let it shine.”
With other verse lyrics like “All around the neighborhood, I’m going to let it shine; Everywhere I go, I am going to let it shine; Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m going to let it shine; and I won’t let anyone blow it out! I’m going to let it shine;“ this childhood song still reminds us to shine our light and share hope to those in darkness around us.
Many of our North American missionaries are ministering to hard-to-reach people in dark and challenging places. Statistics show there is an ever growing need for us to see North America as a major mission field. More than 275 million people are estimated to be without Christ. Our prayers and gifts to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering provide the funds for thousands of missionaries as they train and serve across North America.
The suggested dates for the 2021 Week of Prayer for North American Missions are March 7-14, and the theme is “The Mission Moves Forward.”
The focal Scripture verse is I Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
The Annie Armstrong Easter Offering (AAEO) is the primary way Southern Baptists support mission efforts in North America. Gifts given to AAEO are used to support Southern Baptist missionaries serving across the United States and Canada.
The offering was started in 1895 by Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) to benefit the work of the Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board). In 1934, it was named in honor of Annie Armstrong, a bold missions advocate and WMU’s first national executive leader.
Today, more than $1 billion has been donated by Southern Baptist churches and individuals. The national goal for 2021 is $70 million. We emphasize the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering during the Easter season, but donations are accepted year round.
We give to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering and pray for our North American missionaries as part of a collective effort to keep the mission moving forward, shining light and sharing hope.
Life may throw challenges at us that slow our progress, but slow progress is still progress. Each of us may move at a different pace, but the thing we must continue to do is keep moving forward with the Mission of Jesus Christ.
Contact the Tennessee WMU office or visit AnnieArmstrong.com/resources to get promotional resources to engage your church in praying for and giving to North American missions.
Be sure to include in your promotion plans sharing who Annie Armstrong is or why the offering for North American missions is named after her. Resources and information can be found at www.wmustore.com/anniearmstrong and www.anniearmstrong.com/who-is-annie/.
Our prayers and financial gifts are the fuel that keeps the mission moving forward to reach the estimated over 275 million people in North America living without Christ. Let’s shine our light brightly! B&R