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WMU completes first home in Habitat for Humanity link

FAIRFIELD, Ala. (BP)–It’s not the reputation members of Woman’s Missionary Union usually have, but 200 women affiliated with the group became “experts” in construction Sept. 12-19 when the women — and a few good men — built the first of eight houses with Habitat for Humanity.
WMU signed an agreement with Habitat for Humanity International in June 1997 to recruit volunteers and raise $258,500 in money and/or materials to build eight Habitat houses. The Fairfield, Ala., house was dubbed the “pilot project” for WMU and most of the workers were employees from the organization’s national headquarters in Birmingham.
WMU’s remaining houses will be constructed July 11-Aug. 14, 1999, in Circleville, W.Va., and Pine Ridge, S. D.; and July 11-17, 1999, in Jackson, Miss.; Cleveland, Ohio; Portland, Ore.; and Albuquerque, N.M. WMU volunteers would work at two sites in Jackson.
“The week exceeded all of our expectations,” declared WMU Executive Director Dellanna O’Brien, who worked on the house three days during the week. “It was an opportunity for good fellowship. It also brought in women who had never been involved in WMU before.
“The week also highlighted the best Southern Baptists have to offer — cooperation,” she said, noting more than 20 churches in the Birmingham area helped make the effort a success.
For the volunteers and the homeowner alike, it was truly a labor of love.
“I loved it,” said Mary Evelyn Dodson, a crew chief on the project and member of McElwain Baptist Church in Birmingham. “I tried to do everything as though it was my own house. I can’t wait until the builds next summer.”
Among the week’s volunteers as Linda Fuller, co-founder of Habitat for Humanity.
The week was “overwhelming,” said Thelma Kirksey, the homeowner who will share the new home with her two young children and her mentally handicapped adult brother.
“I didn’t think it would ever happen,” she said, noting she has wanted to provide a safe home for her children for several years. “I’ve been in the project housing for eight years. I wanted a better life for my children. I thank God because through him it happened.
“I really appreciate everyone for coming together and doing this for me and my children,” Kirksey said. “They have shown love for us and each other.”
WMU currently is accepting volunteers’ applications and donations for next year’s builds. For additional information, contact Delane Tew at P.O. Box 830010, Birmingham, AL 35283-0010; phone, (205) 991-4097. Donations may be sent to the above address. Make checks payable to WMU, SBC, and designated for the WMU-Habitat project.
*Name changed for security concerns.

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