Mercer administrator’s faith leads her to serve Macon women facing hardship

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Dr. Samantha Wilson Murfree, assistant vice president for student affairs, is committed not only to serving the Mercer community but also women in Macon.

In September 2018, Dr. Murfree authored The Prevailing Woman: A Devotional to encourage women from all walks of life to overcome difficult circumstances.

Dr. Murfree was inspired to write the book after attending a women’s conference in 2010 that stirred her heart to listen to what the Lord placed on her life to accomplish.

“The speaker was Beth Moore, and she was encouraging the women in attendance to do whatever they had been called to do, including writing a book,” Dr. Murfree said. “This resonated with me from a spiritual perspective, and I knew she was talking directly to me.”

Dr. Murfree always aspired to write a book but avoided it out of fear that the assignment would be too difficult. However, she decided to place her faith in God over fear of the unknown.

“I actually had a desire to write since probably 1997, and I loved writing mini messages and devotionals,” Dr. Murfree said. “It had always been something I wanted to do, but I never saw myself actually doing it. I knew that I wasn’t capable of doing it in my own strength but because I believed that I would be empowered by God to complete that task.”

Dr. Murfree is dedicated to helping women prevail in their spiritual, personal and professional lives through the founding of Prevailing Woman Ministries Inc. in 2018, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that achieves Murfree’s goals through various modes of outreach.

One way that Prevailing Woman Ministries Inc. serves is through the distribution of keepsake gift boxes that include toiletries, personal items and inspirational cards to lift the spirits of women who receive them. These boxes are typically given to organizations such as the Crisis Line and Safe House of Central Georgia and other shelters that serve women. Additionally, boxes have been distributed to the Atrium Health Navicent Breast Care Center for distribution at local infusion centers to breast cancer survivors and more. This organization has also distributed necessity tote bags filled with nonperishable foods and toiletries to shelters, such as Daybreak Day Resource Center, along with providing meal packages to single moms.

“In 2019, one of the things that we started doing was trying to do something tangible to transform the lives of women who were hurting,” Dr. Murfree said. “They need to know that they are valued and that they are appreciated, regardless of the hardships they’ve undergone.”

Although the pandemic presented itself as a challenge, service did not stop for Dr. Murfree and Prevailing Woman Ministries Inc.

“We were still able to give our boxes, and in fact, they were a needed resource at the Crisis Line and Safe House,” Dr. Murfree said. “During the pandemic, we also went to Daybreak, so ministry did not stop for us. We just had to think about strategic ways to do it.”

Dr. Murfree cites her faith in God as the well constantly springing up her passion to serve others.

“The centerpiece comes from my faith in God, and I can’t sugarcoat that and can’t put it in another frame of reference other than me having a faith that compels me to serve other people,” Dr. Murfree said. “I ultimately believe all people are called to serve, but I feel specifically compelled to serve in an encouraging and inspirational way to women from all backgrounds.”

Mercer has played a sizable role in Dr. Murfree’s service work, as she believes the University aligns directly with her calling to service.

“One of the beauties about this place is that it already has a reputation of service, and so I don’t think I’m doing anything out of the ordinary with the whole ethos of Mercer,” Dr. Murfree said. “I also view my responsibility to the institution as an act of service; it is not a job to me. Whether it’s asking me to read to a group of elementary kids during Read Across America or participate in Dr. Seuss Day, I get the privilege to do it, and it is a joy to do.”

Dr. Murfree encourages others to make an effort to find their calling in life due to its resounding impact on not only the individual but also those around them.

“The biggest thing anyone can ever do is discover their purpose and their calling,” Dr. Murfree said. “Whatever it may be, it will fuel your passion, and you will be compelled to do it joyfully. People go through life not knowing what they’re here for, and I’m grateful that I get to live out what I believe each day.”

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