Birmingham, Ala.–Arlene Miller, of Crofton, received the Dellanna West O’Brien Award for Women’s Leadership Development, and Hydiatu Konneh, a National Acteens Panelist from Louisville, shared her testimony during the WMU Missions Celebration and Annual Meeting in Grove City, Ohio.
Miller, a member of New Palestine Baptist Church, serves as co-coordinator of Christian Women’s Job Corps in Hopkinsville, where she helps women develop personally and spiritually; and as director of Impact Ministry, an outreach effort she helped to start in 1994 with the Christian County Baptist Association that offers assistance to low income families.
Joy Bolton, executive director of Kentucky WMU, said Miller leads a team of volunteers at Impact Ministry who are mostly women.
“Arlene inspires commitment to the ministry and helps develop them in their roles,” Bolton said. “She is very good with children and is a wonderful role model to mothers who come into Impact Ministry or CWJC.”
Working alongside Miller as co-coordinator of CWJC, Linda Moore said Miller is effective in meeting needs and touching many lives as a result, as well as encouraging others to volunteer.
“Arlene spends many hours at the ministry sites as well as developing support for and educating area churches about needs and opportunities in each ministry,” Miller said. “She has a genuine love for others and a desire to serve others.”
Sandra Duguid, who has worked alongside Miller in missions for nearly 40 years, agrees.
“Arlene truly has a missions heart that has developed as a result of allowing God to take her and use her,” Duguid shared. “I know there were times she fought against it because of fear or just simply because there were things God was calling her to do that she didn’t want to do. But each time, I saw her surrender to what she knew she was to do. With that surrender came growth and a joy that one can’t help but realize comes only from a right relationship with God.”
Miller also serves on the WMU leadership teams for Christian County Baptist Association and Kentucky WMU, as WMU director in her church, and led Acteens, the WMU missions organization for teenage girls, for 27 years.
“If Arlene hears of a need, she will do whatever it takes to meet it,” said Laura Clark, Acteens leader at New Palestine Baptist Church. “She is always sensitive to the needs of others and is always doing something innovative to meet needs and share Jesus.”
Clark continued, “As a little girl, I was a GA. My missions education has continued through the efforts of Arlene Miller. She has been an inspiration to me and to all that come in contact with her.”
A retired nurse and widow, Miller has three children and five grandchildren. She is also a Kentucky Missions Service Corp missionary and serves as a missions mobilization consultant with the Kentucky Baptist Convention. She has participated in missions in Haiti, Poland, Greece, and across Kentucky.
As recipient of this leadership award, Miller received a $2,000 grant from the WMU Foundation to further her ministry efforts.
Konneh, a member of Fern Creek Baptist Church in Louisville, told how she grew up in a home of two faiths—her father was Muslim; her mother was Christian.
“I chose to follow the Christian faith because I was active in the Christian faith and church,” she shared. “I was taught the Bible and at an early age began reading the Bible along with my mother.”
Konneh accepted Christ in her heart at a young age, and was baptized at the age of 10 in 2008 at First Baptist Church of Davenport, Iowa.
“Being an Acteen has impacted my life in many ways,” Konneh said. “It has made me bold to share my faith, to talk about Jesus’ love and how he died to save sinners like me. It has given me the opportunity to view the purpose of my life, to love and serve God and Jesus Christ with all my heart and strength; to do what He commands of me, to make disciples of all nations and to teach others what Jesus has taught me according to the Bible; and to love others as myself, to be a servant, serving my fellow man each day of my life.”
Through Acteens, teen girls develop their faith and experience missions, and they learn what it means to live as a follower of Christ, said Bolton.
“We are proud of Hydiatu and encourage other churches to engage their teen girls in Acteens,” Bolton added. “The impact of women as role models and mentors for teenage girls is vital. “(WR)