Whether we are at a theme park, Chuck-E-Cheese, a local play, or university football game, my seven-year-old daughter, Kinsey, loves to meet the “characters.” Although she can’t sit still for more than five minutes, she will happily wait in line for half an hour to take a picture with Bugs Bunny–even if she has never seen a Bugs cartoon. She always wants to hang around after an event and meet the actors who starred in the play or the costumed mascot at the end of a game. Kinsey just has an affinity for characters.

Last week my husband and I brought both our daughters to Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s General Assembly in Dallas. We began our week at Baptist Women in Ministry’s annual worship service. Squirming Kinsey sat on my lap as the service began. After a few minutes, Pam Durso introduced a young woman who would be supported by the BWIM’s Carolyn Weatherford Crumpler missions fund. As the young woman got up to speak, I whispered in Kinsey’s ear, “Shh. Please be quiet right now. This is mom’s friend Lauren Brewer Bass and I want to hear what she says.” Kinsey quieted down and listened carefully . . .  and then proceeded to continue fidgeting once Lauren was done.

Later at BWIM’s luncheon Kinsey heard Pam say that Lauren had written a book and would be signing copies after the lunch. On her way out, Kinsey quietly made a note of how neat it looked for people to stand in line and have Lauren sign their books.

When we arrived at the headquarters hotel just hours later, Kinsey spotted a banner with Lauren’s picture on it and shouted, “Hey, look! It’s Lauren Brewer Bass!” Then, Kinsey heard my husband and I talk about how Lauren and her husband, David, would be commissioned as field personnel during the Wednesday evening worship service.

As we prepared to go to dinner Wednesday evening, out of the blue Kinsey proclaimed as if it had been churning in her little head all day, “I want to be like Lauren Brewer Bass when I grow up! I want to write books and sign books and have my picture on banners. Will you read Lauren’s book to me once we get home?”

Kinsey had found a hero, a character. For the next forty-eight hours I heard the name “Lauren Brewer Bass” over and over. Once Kinsey realized that Lauren was moving to Cambodia to be a missionary she was a little concerned that she wouldn’t be able to see Lauren much, but she still chanted her name, “Lau-ren, Lau-ren, Lau-ren,” as we waited in line to get a picture with Lauren at Smyth & Helwys’ book signing on Thursday night.

I am so grateful to be a part of a fellowship that has characters like Lauren Brewer Bass. Baptist Women in Ministry and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship are places where a seven-year-old girl can find heroes who write books, sign books, have their pictures on banners, and even go to Cambodia to share God’s grace and hope.

You can buy Lauren’s book, Five Hundred Miles: Reflections on Calling and Pilgrimage from Smyth & Helwys, HERE, or learn more about Lauren and David’s work on their BLOG.  My family will be supporting Lauren and David in their ministry, and I will keep Kinsey updated on all things “Lauren” in the years ahead. You also can give to support Lauren and David as well as other CBF field personnel HERE so that little girls and boys around the world can find characters and heroes worth standing in line for and chanting about.

Meredith Stone is director of ministry guidance and instructor of Christian ministry and scripture, Hardin-Simmons University, Abilene, Texas.