Laurie Register, executive director-treasurer of the South Carolina Woman’s Missionary Union since 2009, has announced her plans to the organization’s Executive Board to step down at the end of 2022.
“We value Laurie’s commitment and long-standing service to the Lord through South Carolina WMU. Her relentless dedication has presented the concern for God’s mission in all aspects of WMU,” said state WMU President Cindy Burns, a member of Jones Avenue Baptist Church in Easley.
Register has been an integral part of WMU’s leadership team for more than a quarter century, having begun as Acteens consultant in 1993.
“It has been a privilege to serve with each of our staff — both those currently on staff and those who have previously served,” Register said. “Each has brought a unique set of gifts and skills, as well as a passion for the advancement of God’s kingdom, through the missions discipleship of WMU.”
Although much has changed during her tenure, WMU’s emphasis on missions and the relentless pursuit of making disciples of Jesus who live on mission has remained a constant throughout its 123-year history, she said.
“The organizations have changed, approaches have changed, methods of communication have changed, but the singular focus on missions — helping people understand and preparing them to hear God’s call to missions, equipping them to be on mission wherever they are, supporting those who are called to full-time missions financially, through prayer, and by walking alongside them — that has not changed,” Register said.
“With people more and more time conscious, I think they are also more intentional and focused about the things in which they are involved,” she said. “I think people are more laser focused about what God is calling them to be involved in — whether it is ministry to refugees, intentional connections with a neighbor, ESL, and so on.”
Among the key highlights for Register in missions and ministry for South Carolina WMU has been the care the group provides for missionaries.
In addition to providing gift checks to South Carolina missionaries and college-aged missionary kids each year, state WMU have been involved in several special ministry projects.
“Twice since I’ve been on staff — once as executive director and once as Acteens consultant — we’ve been able to host the MK Re-entry Retreat,” Register said. “Each time we had around 100 MKs, just leaving the field to attend college in the U.S.”
The International Mission Board provided staff and counselors to orient students to U.S. and college life. South Carolina WMU provided accommodations at Camp La Vida, as well as recreation and welcome gifts.
When some missionaries returned from the field in 2016, South Carolina WMU sponsored a one-day retreat at Camp La Vida and distributed gift baskets provided by local WMU organizations.
“I was able to hand-deliver baskets to many of those unable to attend the retreat. They were all overwhelmed at the support and love shown to them by our South Carolina WMU groups,” Register recalled.
Register has tried to meet as many of the newly appointed South Carolina missionaries as possible. Then, as they return for stateside assignments, she has tried to reconnect with them.
“Those face-to-face interactions with our appointed missions representatives, hearing how God is using them, praying over their concerns — those are absolute highlights for me,” she noted.
As she retires, Register has some dreams for the future of South Carolina WMU.
“I want to see church and associational WMU groups leading people all across South Carolina to live a missional lifestyle,” she said, “to see the people around them through Jesus’ eyes, to connect with people who need to know Him, to live out what they have been learning, … being Jesus to those who need to know Him.”