By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector
MOUNT JULIET — Despite “the rough spots” a dream became a reality for Tennessee Woman’s Missionary Union on Nov. 1.
It was because of those rough spots that “we knew that God was in this,” said Bobby Turner, Tennessee Woman’s Missionary Union president, at the dedication of the missionary house built by Tennessee WMU.
She quoted Hebrews 3:4 — “For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.”
“This was a God-sized task,” said Turner of Knoxville.
Tammy Saffel, Tennessee WMU president when the idea was broached in 2008, recalled that Tennessee WMU was asked to develop a prayer garden for then proposed missionary houses to be built on this land. The property, which now is home to the TBC Missions Mobilization Center, was given to the TBC by the late Don Davis and his wife Ann of Hermitage Hills Baptist Church, Hermitage.
“I was frustrated because I thought Tennessee WMU is capable of doing so much more than that,” said Saffel, now of Ruston, La.
Saffel’s challenge to the organization to build a house was accepted, recalled Candy Phillips, Tennessee WMU executive director.
Phillips said the house is named “Mary’s House” for three former Tennessee executive directors — Mary Northington, Mary Mills, and Mary Jane Nethery who served a total of 61 years.
The house was built by contractors but also by many volunteers, reported Vickie Anderson, newly elected executive director (see story, “Tennessee WMU Elects Exec”). Several of those volunteers commuted hundreds of miles to serve, she added.
“Our watchword has never been truer, ‘We are laborers together,’ ” said Anderson.
Finally, Turner thanked the donors who gave $300,000 and additional funds for an endowment to maintain the house.
“It took the nickels and dimes of Mission Friends to bigger donors. It’s taken all of us,” noted Turner.
“It’s been a long, long process, but God has been faithful,” said Phillips.