By Grace Thornton
Writer, WMU Foundation
BRENTWOOD — Creely Wilson has been packing recently to move to her next home — a small place in a senior living community. She’s had to downsize a little bit.
But in all of the cleaning out, Wilson was certain one thing wasn’t getting left behind — a small Lottie Moon doll that’s been on her mantle for years. She has other things she loves in life, but missions tops the list.
“I’ve learned a lot from the life of Lottie,” she says of the beloved missionary to China. “She really got women started in missions.”
It’s a legacy that’s kept going with Wilson, says Betty Wiseman, a fellow church member at Brentwood Baptist Church in Tennessee — to the point that Wiseman says without hesitation that Wilson “is our Lottie Moon.”
“She’s revered in our church,” Wiseman said. “She’s a gem, a really special lady. She represents to us what it means to be a woman of God who cares, who gives and who offers servant leadership.”
For Wilson, the love of missions goes all the way back to Sunbeams. She still has her cape from Girls’ Auxiliary (now Girls in Action and Acteens), something she earned by completing a special set of missions challenges. She said most of the Scripture she has memorized comes from that season of her life.
“Being a GA was very important to me,” she said.
“I was a member of the band in high school, and when it started meeting on the same day as Girls’ Auxiliary, I told my band director I couldn’t do both.”
Those days set the stage for a life of missions focus for Wilson, who with her late husband, Bill, served as the first missions ministers at Brentwood Baptist. Over the years, they instigated the church’s now “dynamic” emphasis on missions — including a special “Hope for the Nations” offering that today draws in an extra $1.3 million over the church’s budget. Wilson also started Tennessee’s first Christian Women’s Job Corps.
“She embodies everything WMU,” Wiseman said. “She eats, breathes, lives, walks and talks everything missions.”
Wilson, now 87, still works with internationals, teaching English as a second language.
She leads Bible studies and has a Women on Mission group that’s named in her honor.
And she loves WMU’s vision — to the point that when she read that WMU now has a Walk of Faith where people can buy bricks to honor their missions heroes, she knew immediately that Brentwood Baptist should be a part of supporting WMU that way.
“So I mentioned it to a friend, and she was just quiet — she didn’t say anything,” Wilson said.
Turns out, Wiseman and the other WMU ladies at Brentwood Baptist had seen the article about the bricks — and had already ordered one for their very own Lottie Moon.
“It’s really something to be on the same walk as Lottie and Annie (Armstrong),” Wilson said. “But I do love missions. I’ll represent Jesus wherever I go.”
For more information about how to honor a past or present missions hero on the Walk of Faith, visit wmufoundation.com/walkoffaith.