“I have been involved in missions my entire life,” says Laurie Register, executive director-treasurer of South Carolina’s Woman’s Missionary Union.
She trusted Christ as Savior as a child and participated in Mission Friends, Girls in Action, Acteens, youth choir and other activities while growing up in church. “As a college student, I rededicated my life to Christ,” she said. “I knew at that time that someday I would go into full-time Christian ministry, but I did not know what, when or where.”
She became a successful insurance adjuster following her college graduation but sensed the call of God into full-time Christian ministry. “I resigned and moved to Texas to attend Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. After graduation, I joined the WMU staff in South Carolina. That was 20 years ago,” she pointed out.
As with most ministries, time brings change. What has changed with WMU? Register notes: “What has not changed is our singular focus on missions. What has changed is how missions discipleship is lived out. We are committed to helping individuals and churches find their place in the mission of God. We will do whatever it takes to help challenge our churches and members to find that place.”
Both the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and Woman’s Missionary Union are celebrating 125 years of existence this year. Missions education in South Carolina is even older. Register said, “We work closely with the South Carolina Baptist Convention (allocating over $1 million from the Janie Chapman Offering annually), the International Mission Board, the North American Mission Board and others to facilitate Great Commission living.”
Her passion for missions is personal. Not only has she led WMU forward in its vision to reach the nations with the gospel, she has personally been involved in mission trips to nine countries in four continents other than North America.
She considers the Lottie Moon offering to be “the lifeblood of our international missions efforts. When I give to Lottie Moon, I have the privilege of walking alongside those whom God has called to minister in another part of the world.”
The theme for this year’s offering is “Totally His … heart, hands, voice.” She believes “we need to use all that we are and all that we have to share with the whole world about the difference He has made in our lives and the difference He can make in the lives of those who do not yet know him.”
As South Carolina’s WMU leader, she faces unique obstacles. “There is a gap in age, learning styles, etc., between our oldest generation and our youngest,” she said. “Learning how to engage them and every group in between — valuing what each has to offer, helping them work together for the cause of Christ — is a challenge.”
Register says she is “so blessed to get to do what I do every day. I get to rub elbows with our missions representatives, interact with them while they are on the field, and see them and hear stories while they are home. I have the joy of knowing that WMU plays a big part in the calling out of these missions personnel, and maybe even a bigger part in keeping them on the field through our prayers, our service to them and their families, and our financial gifts.”
The Southern Baptist Convention’s Lottie Moon goal for this year is $175 million.