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Phillips bids Madison a loving farewell

Mickey Starling: Greene Publishing, Inc.

Judy Phillips will barely pose for a picture, much less brag on her accomplishments, which speaks loudly of her character. Phillips has served the Madison community tirelessly for the past 18 years, the last four of which were spent with the Middle Florida Baptist Association. Her excellent work ethic as an administrative assistant and clerk was evident at every turn. She also taught Sunday school at Madison First Baptist Church for 14 years and Phillips was the Senior Adult Ministry President for 10 years. Additionally, she has worked with the WMU, the AWANA program and Operation Christmas Child. Churches and individuals throughout Madison County have grown to love Phillips and she will be greatly missed. Below is Phillips' description of how her decision to move came about.

“‘This is my story. This is my song. Praising my Savior all the day long.’ My decision to leave Madison and return to my childhood home began just over three years ago. Pearl Raines, one of my Sunday school ladies, moved to Andalusia, Ala., about that time to be near her only daughter. Since that time, as I would return to visit my mother and extended family, I would visit with Raines. On one visit, God planted a seed in my thoughts, ‘This would be a good house for you someday. I mean, it's on the corner.’ Anyone who knows me at all, knows that I have said since 2000, ‘I love my little house on the corner with the street light.’

The years passed and Mrs. Pearl died in the fall of 2018. God was watering the seed. Then, my mother died in November. As I was home during that time frame, my youngest sister said to me, ‘You just need to get back here so we can take care of you. I know those folks in Madison have and will do a good job, but we are family.’ God just added some more water and fertilizer. The seed was now a plant.

So, I called Raines' daughter to see if the house might still be available. It was. She volunteered for us to go look at the house to see if I was really interested. In the meantime, while waiting with my mother at the nursing home, I had made a list of things I wanted before I would consider moving at all. God did it again. As I toured the house with my sister and her husband,  I was able to check off all the things on my list, right down to the tub in the bathroom. Most close friends know that I have a sit-down jet pool tub here in Madison. This ‘plant’ was really beginning to grow. ‘Now,’ I told the Lord, ‘I need to sell my house for enough money to buy the Andalusia house, moving and relocating expenses and some left to live off of for a while.’ 

In order for this ‘plant’ to grow some more, I had to take the initiative and ask family here first if they would like to buy the house. It was just the right thing to do. They didn't. So, I asked my wonderful neighbors if they would like to buy my house. They had to think about it and I was thinking maybe I just heard God wrong. But God was planting and watering a seed in their lives too. They also took a step of faith and made the decision to buy my house in less than one week after I had mentioned it to them.

All the legalese was put into action and without going into detail, let me say that the Lord has and continues to orchestrate this move right down to the cost of relocating. He has provided more than I need to buy the house in Andalusia, relocate and even have some left over. I told someone the other day if I had just had enough faith to ask for a million dollars, perhaps I would have received that, but probably not, since God promises to supply all our needs and not our foolish desires.

Will I miss my ‘little house on the corner with the street light?’ Of course, but more than this, I will miss the folks that have made Madison my home for the past nineteen years. My family at First Baptist tops the list along with the thirty-two churches and folks that make up Middle Florida Baptist Association. I have close friends and special ‘grands’ in nearly all the churches in the area. Mine at First Baptist will forever be in my heart, on my mind and in my prayers. The folks at Winn Dixie Pharmacy are the absolute best. Those folks that have taken care of my other medical needs will be hard to replace. And where else can one go to dine out and the staff call you by name and remember your favorite DQ Blizzard, or what you order for breakfast?

But, God has a plan for me that includes moving to Andalusia to be near my family. I'll just unpack boxes for a while and rest. Then, I expect to be involved in a local church, WMU, the local thrift shop called the Christian Service Centers of Covington Baptist and Operation Christmas Child. I might even make a trip or two to the ‘loveliest village on the plain.’ In addition, I have a son, three grandchildren, two sisters and their grandchildren to enjoy. They will help make this plant become a full grown tree.

Thanks to the Madison Community, First Baptist Church and the Middle Florida Baptist Association for the part you played in watering and fertilizing the seed God planted here in 2000 and is now being transplanted. I would ask for your prayers as I make the transition, that I would keep growing in service and love to Him.

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see;

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!”

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