July 28, 1999

WMU blitz builds seven houses
___By Teresa Dickens
___Woman's Missionary Union
___BIRMINGHAM, Ala.--Woman's Missionary Union volunteers from 32 states came together in six cities across the nation July 11-24 to build seven houses in partnership with Habitat for Humanity International.
PAT LONG of North Hardin Baptist Church in Silsbee works on a WMU Habitat for Humanity home in Franklin, W.Va.
___But the projects resulted in more than homes for seven families. They also provided an opportunity for the 300 volunteers to share the gospel message through a variety of ministry projects and to build Christian fellowship with one another.
___The six cities benefiting from the construction projects were Albuquerque, N.M.; Cleveland; Franklin, W.Va.; Pine Ridge, S.D.; Portland, Ore.; and Jackson, Miss., where two houses were built.
___In addition to building houses, volunteers also participated in ministry projects, including street evangelism, door-to-door visitation and canvassing, prayerwalking, backyard Bible clubs, sports clinics, health fairs and revival services.
___At most of the sites, volunteers worked in four- to six-hour shifts on the house and spent the other portion of the day helping with a ministry project.
___"We came together this week to build two houses, but we've also built up the kingdom of God," declared Rebecca Williams, president of Mississippi WMU, during the dedication of one of two houses July 17 in Jackson. She referred to the 106 professions of faith and 10 other decisions recorded during ministry and evangelistic efforts held there.
___While each site operated differently and worked on a different construction schedule, they all featured enthusiastic, hard-working women, men and youth.
___"It's been wonderful," said Niece Edwards, a member of First Baptist Church of Carmi, Ill., on Wednesday of her week at the Cleveland site. "I love being a part of a trip like this. You meet a lot of different people, and the experience is good for you personally.
___"It's also frightening," she added. "I don't have a lot of experience in construction work so I'm afraid I'm going to make a mistake. Thankfully, there's always someone around who can give you help."
___National WMU President Wanda Lee, who worked at the Cleveland site July 12-16, said she is pleased with the outcome of the WMU-Habitat partnership.
___"I believe the goals we had for this partnership have been realized," she said. "We wanted the partnership to be one more way to challenge our
___women to allow Christ to minister through them with something as basic as providing a house for a family in need. We also hoped that it would give them the confidence to return home and duplicate what they have learned on the sites through their churches and associations.
___"The houses that were built through this national project will be a constant physical reminder of our love and concern for these families and communities," she added. "But more importantly, I pray that the spiritual seeds that were planted through the various ministry projects will have an eternal significance in the lives of people touched by them."

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