Founder of prison-related outreach honored by WMU

by Amy Whitfield, posted Thursday, June 22, 2006 (11 years ago)

GREENSBORO, N.C. (BP)--Woman’s Missionary Union and the WMU Foundation June 12 honored Eileen Mullins, of Kentucky, with the Dellanna West O’Brien Award for Women’s Leadership Development during the annual WMU missions celebration.

The award recognizes Baptist women who foster Christian leadership in other women, display the potential to be a leader in their community and world, and excel in missions education.

Mullins founded Haven of Rest in 2004, a hospitality house for those who have loved ones in prison. Located a mile away from a federal prison in eastern Kentucky, the ministry supplies food and lodging to visitors of those incarcerated there -- loved ones who often travel long distances with weary hearts and little money.

Mullins’ inspiration for Haven of Rest was rooted in her own family tragedy. In 1996, one of her sons was sentenced to 20 years in prison after killing his wife in a divorce dispute. In the midst of her own pain, Mullins saw a need to minister to others who were experiencing similar sorrow. God directed her to build Haven of Rest.

“We would not have this ministry if we had not gone through this valley of tragedy in our lives,” Mullins said. “The most important thing I have learned is that God calls us to help the hurting. He wants to share His love through us by meeting their needs.”

As Mullins accepted the award on behalf of all those who have made the vision God gave her a reality, she told attendees, “When God gives you a vision, when He calls you, He will equip you in His own time and in His own way.”

Joy Bolton, Kentucky WMU executive director, said Mullins had a special determination to be used by God and allowed him to turn a family tragedy into something for His glory.

“Eileen uses every speaking opportunity to not only tell the story of the Haven of Rest ministry, but also to urge Southern Baptist churches to once again emphasize missions education,” Bolton said. “She is an active participant in WMU in her association and has done a great deal to encourage women to fulfill their calling.”

A retired teacher and pastor’s wife, Mullins has been a WMU leader and missions education advocate for years and has enlisted several women to guide the Haven of Rest ministry by serving on its board of directors.

The Dellanna West O’Brien Award for Women’s Leadership Development, WMU’s highest honor, also carries a $2,000 grant from a WMU Foundation endowment that supports the award to further the ministry of Haven of Rest.

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