Mary Saunders Women on Mission is a mission organization of WMU through which adult women pray for and give to missions, do missions, learn about missions, and grow spiritually toward a missions lifestyle. This organization promotes the church-wide giving of the four WMU mission offerings - Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, Local Missions Offering, Alma Hunt Virginia Offering, and Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

We invite you to join this passionate group of women at their monthly gathering on the second Wednesday of the month at 9:30 a.m.


Our Namesake

Mary Saunders, who died on April 23 at 90 in Walterboro, S.C., lived an adventurous and spirit-filled life that took her from a childhood home in Charleston to serving a world in need. She began working as a nurse during World War II and then as a Foreign Mission Board (now the International Mission Board) missionary in various African countries. Mary and her late husband Davis pioneered Southern Baptist missions work in East Africa in 1956. They were among three families that left the Nigeria mission to start new work in East and Central Africa. In Kenya, they started the first Baptist churches organized in the country. They also served as the mission board's first field representatives for the Eastern and Southern Africa administrative region. During their tenure, Southern Baptist work grew from three African countries to 33.

Friends and colleagues said Mary touched the Father with one hand while touching a needy world with the other. The 40-year veteran missionary couldn't help but give reassuring touches and hugs. It's how she showed love -- her own and God's.

"She loved teaching the Scriptures to young women," said Evelyn Moss, retired missionary. "She also used her nursing skills among the poorest of the poor. And she did it with such poise and grace in spite of the unsanitary conditions."

In 1973, the Saunderses moved off the field and became area directors for the board's Eastern and Southern Africa region based out of Richmond, Va. This move didn't stop Mary from returning to her beloved Africa for decades to come.

It was this exact spirit of evangelism and service that friends, family and colleagues said will be missed the most ... but, through the years, the legacy missionary nurse mentored many Africans and missionaries to carry on in her absence.

From Mary Saunders Leaves Long Mission Legacy, by Susan Rain

Address: 16520 Hull Street Road, Moseley, VA 23120 | Phone: (804) 739-2197 | Email:

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