Devoting Their Labor to God’s Mission—Wanda Lee Joy Fund

In January 1985, Carolyn Weatherford said, “We build buildings to provide a launching pad for those who grasp the vision, commit their genius to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and devote their labor to God’s missions plan.” We still want that for all who enter the national WMU building at 100 Missionary Ridge.

As I serve through national WMU in Birmingham, my surroundings continually remind me that we stand between a revered past and a future of marvelous possibility. Fond memories dance their way forward in my mind. It seems just yesterday, I was a youth memorizing the address for the headquarters of national Woman’s Missionary Union. A visit decades ago filled a young-woman version of me with awe.

Subsequent visits never failed to inspire. There is something sacred about putting your feet where giants have trod.

I want to dwell on vivid memories of faithful saints, but we must simultaneously “go forward.” It is our turn to do what must be done to pass along the gift of 100 Missionary Ridge entrusted to our care. Although the WMU building was extremely well built in 1984 and maintained, years have taken their toll.

Gifts to the Wanda Lee Joy Fund through the WMU Foundation provide critical funds for WMU operations, including upkeep of the building. Many state partners and individuals have come alongside to provide dollars as well as donate time, talents, and sweat equity.

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I called my friend, Serena, and asked if she would volunteer with a team working on projects outside. She took vacation days and paid her way from Chicago to help lay the first bricks on WMU’s Walk of Faith. Bricks purchased help support the Wanda Lee Joy Fund. Serena even taught me how to lay the bricks. Read on and learn why she was willing to make personal sacrifices.

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“My earliest memories of prayer and serving others were through my Girls in Action group, led by my mom. My earliest mission activity memories are of cutting bed sheets and rolling them up to serve as bandages that our group would send to the Baptist Hospital in Nigeria. Missions activity and giving were instilled in me through my parents’ example as I grew up. I felt the Lord’s calling to missions during my college years and was privileged to serve in campus ministry with support through the North American Mission Board. I knew that I would be covered in prayer support each year on my birthday as my name appeared on the prayer calendar. During my 15 years of service with the North American Mission Board, I truly came to appreciate the support given through WMU: prayer support, financial support, and emotional support. I also had the privilege to serve with WMU Women on Mission trips domestically and internationally. These experiences demonstrated how the Lord can bring strangers together, through a common love of Jesus and missions, and form them into lifelong friends. What greater joy than to join together with these friends and give back to Woman’s Missionary Union, which has helped to form me into the person I am today?”

— Serena Butler

100% of your gifts to the Wanda Lee Joy Fund support operations at national WMU. Thank you, Serena and others, for helping us stretch each and every gift as far as possible.

Written by Sandy Wisdom-Martin, executive director of national WMU.

Zachariah Seanor

Director of Mission Advancement