By Grace Thornton
WMU Foundation writer
MEMPHIS — Martha Pitts says that when she was a young girl growing up in Whitehaven, her Girls in Action (GA) leader Mary Quick sneakily talked her into her first public speaking engagement.
“She asked me to go with her to an associational GA meeting and say the prayer there,” Pitts said.
She assumed it would be a small group.
“I said I would do it,” said Pitts, who grew up at Whitehaven Baptist Church. “I was probably 10 or 11 years old. And we went to this church, and it was full of GAs.”
She quickly realized she was going to have to get up and speak in front of several hundred of her peers, and she panicked a little. “But Mrs. Quick pushed me on up there,” Pitts said. “I don’t have a clue what I said or how it was, but ever since then I have never had a fear of talking in front of people.”
Quick’s influence in moments like that were life changing for Pitts, now president of Tennessee Woman’s Missionary Union and a member of Germantown Baptist Church, Germantown. That’s why Pitts decided to honor her by purchasing a brick in her memory for WMU’s new Walk of Faith garden.
The Walk of Faith, to be built on New Hope Mountain in Birmingham where WMU headquarters is located, will honor missions heroes past and present — people like Quick.
One hundred percent of the funds from the bricks will go to the Wanda Lee Joy Fund to meet WMU’s operational needs.
So far, WMU Foundation has sold 190 bricks, raising $59,500 for WMU. There’s no end date to the project — as long as people would like to buy them, WMU Foundation will continue to lay them in the Walk of Faith.
“Mrs. Quick probably didn’t realize when she made me pray in front of the church or allowed me to meet a missionary that it would mold my life,” Pitts said. “By her teaching us Scripture and then showing us how to put action to the words, I learned to pray, give and go.”
Pitts also bought a brick in honor of Bobbye Clark, who served on the WMU Leadership team with her for years in the Memphis area. She said Clark showed her what it meant to never grow tired of pushing for greater missions involvement.
She bought a third brick in honor of Vickie Anderson, current executive director of Tennessee WMU, whom she called “a great advocate” of God’s mission.
“Purchasing the bricks was a chance to honor these women and the impact they’ve made, and it’s a chance to honor WMU too,” Pitts said. “Through the bricks, I got the privilege of saying thank you to them and thank you to WMU.”
David George, president of WMU Foundation, said the walk will support the ministry of WMU into the future and honor the unsung missions heroes and mentors who have impacted so many. “It’s in the DNA of people within WMU to want to honor the people who got them involved,” he said.
Heather Keller, Children’s Resource Team ministry consultant for national WMU, says women in Tennessee definitely set her on a path toward missions involvement. Keller bought a brick in honor of all the WMU women at her home church, First Baptist Church of Bolivar.
“The women of FBC Bolivar’s WMU challenged me as a child, teen and adult to see my role in God’s work,” she said. “My prayer is that they will know their work and dedication to missions discipleship has created many adults today who are living out the Great Commission in Tennessee and around the world.”
Anyone interested in honoring missions heroes in their lives can order bricks through the WMU Foundation. For more information, visit wmufoundation.com/walkoffaith. B&R