As Eric Mason and Amber Fowler put the final touches on their March 10 wedding, the couple turned their attention to what kind of favors they wanted to give guests who attended the reception. Maybe they’d hand out candies, candles or bubbles. But they didn’t figure any of the traditional wedding-reception favors would last long. They’d be eaten, used or stuck on a shelf and likely forgotten.
The couple instead hoped to use the funds to do something that lasted a bit longer, an effort that would have eternal consequences. They began to look at a variety of charitable gifts that would make better use of the money they’d normally spend on the favors.
Then, one Sunday, as they sat in worship services of Parkview Baptist Church in Bluefield, Va., the couple noticed promotional material for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering (AAEO) for North American missions. Because both of them had been involved in missions, they decided giving to AAEO would be the ideal place to invest their wedding favor money.
“Years from now, when we’re 80 years old, when our guests think back about what we gave as wedding favors, they can know they were able to impact the ministries of the North American Mission Board,” Mason said. “It won’t just be something that will last for a moment.”
The offering is sponsored by the Woman’s Missionary Union, and provides support for Southern Baptist missionaries in the United States, Canada and the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa.
The couple’s commitment to AAEO has been the most recent example of their growing involvement in missions causes. Mason and Fowler met while they were both participating in the Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) at Longwood University in Farmville, Va. Fowler notes her love for missions began and was nurtured through her participation in the BCM.
“I didn’t start going to BCM until later in college, but when I did, I recognized that when they served others, they loved getting to see the smile it put on people’s faces,” Fowler said. “They’d serve on campus. They’d serve firefighters. They’d serve at hospitals and a variety of other places. I was always volunteering and serving before that, doing a lot with children. But as I did it with my BCM, I was doing it with Christ’s love and spreading the Gospel with service.”
Mason has also been heavily involved in missions, even participating in international work. When the couple headed to Bluefield and together scouted out churches, they specifically looked for a missions-minded church where they could build on their outreach commitment. Their search eventually led them to Parkview.
The decision the couple made to invest in AAEO on behalf of their wedding-reception guests is just one example of how Southern Baptists are creatively supporting the offering. See other examples below of how churches are supporting North American missions.
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Source: Baptist Press