Illinois leaders key to founding and continuing ministry
Illinois’ very own Evelyn Tully was honored at the 50th anniversary celebration for the founding of Acteens. The event was held at national Woman’s Missionary Union headquarters in Birmingham ahead of the Southern Baptist Convention meeting. Tully was the first national director of the WMU’s missions organization for girls in grades 7 through 12 when it was launched in 1970.
Another Illinoisan, current WMU executive director Sandy Wisdom-Martin declared “the story of my life cannot be told without Acteens,” as she welcomed current and former Acteens and leaders.
Five women, including Tully (third from left in photo), were honored with Acteens Legacy Awards, created to mark the year-long anniversary.
“Acteens didn’t just happen,” Wisdom-Martin said. “It took planning and preparation and prayer. It took dedicated leaders at all levels. It’s hard to imagine Acteens without the women who have paved the way for us.” The awards cited their commitment to “investing in teenage girls” and challenging them “to live their lives openly for Christ in a very real and radical way.”
“Today I am involved in missions because my life was shaped by Acteens. I owe a debt of gratitude to those who went before us,” Wisdom-Martin told the honorees. “We will give you certificates that say ‘Acteens Legacy Award,’ but those gathered in this room and many more like us are your legacy and we are grateful for you.”
As an IMB missionary for 14 years, Laura (whose last name was withheld due to her assignment in a sensitive area in Africa) noted, “I received my call to full-time missions as an Acteen…. I learned that our Lord has a heart for all people. Acteens laid the foundation for the Lord to give me that heart and open my eyes and show me that He loves all people and desires for us to go and share with them.”
Among participants at the event, Mary Krome and her daughter Rachel traveled more than 800 miles from Wisconsin. “I wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” said Krome, a former Acteen who became her daughter’s Acteens leader. “It has been part of my life for so long.”
Rachel, a former WMU Top Teen and National Acteens Panelist, has helped her mom teach Acteens, Girls in Action and Mission Friends over the years. “I really think everything comes back to the cycle of missions—one person telling other people,” Rachel said. “It’s standing up for what you believe in.”
–Trennis Henderson for Baptist Press