CANDIDATE CLASS: 1980
COUNTRY SERVED IN: Togo, Mongolia, & USA
Q: How did God first call you to missions?
A: As a university student, I began to learn what a Christian truly is, and as I sought God and took steps of obedience, God changed my priorities and desires.
God used His call for harvesters — particularly His calls to Samuel and Isaiah — to impel me to ask what He wanted of me. I could not get away from those verses. Day and night they resounded in my mind and heart. So when a very special woman in my church asked me if I’d ever considered being a missionary, it was not long before I knelt before the Lord with wonder, anticipation, and trepidation, and said, “Yes!”
Q: How did God call you to Togo?
A: I had no idea how God would lead me as I was burdened for so many people and saw need everywhere. I sought the Lord in His word, and I studied the lives of people of whom we have some detail — Joseph, Moses, Daniel, and Paul — and I saw a pattern: God used their personality, family, education, and experiences to prepare them for a particular place, people, or ministry. I asked God to show me how He had prepared me.
Still seeking that answer, I went to Jordan in 1979 as a missionary apprentice. While there I learned a great deal and God solidified three main criteria for choosing a field of service, even though Jordan was not that place. When I returned home, I turned to a pastor for guidance, and he encouraged me to contact Dave and Kathy Clutts who were on pre-field for Togo. I hadn’t thought that Africa would be the continent, but after meeting with the Clutts, it was clear that God was leading me to Togo.
Q: What is your favorite memory from your time as a missionary?
A: Teaching a ladies’ Bible class under a tree in the town of Adeta on Tuesday afternoons is one of my favorites. I had the tremendous and humbling joy of watching God take His word and apply it to their lives in ways I never would have imagined. Often their eyes would open wide in epiphany, or sometimes a woman would suddenly stand and break out in a dance of joy for what God had shown her. When that happened, we would stop, pray, praise, and rejoice together before going on to study more. There is now a church in that town born partly out of that class.
Q: What moment had the biggest impact on your ministry?
A: Before I even knew Togo existed, I was exposed to a negative situation through an acquaintance where I learned the value of humbleness in mission work and in ministry. I saw the subtle danger of thinking yourself superior simply because you are American or may have more education. I also saw the value of learning to enjoy the culture in order to build relationships in their context and not in your own — this included the great importance of language learning. Without a common language, we miss out on the shared laughter, the confidences, and the ability to have someone share their heart in their own language.
Q: What advice would you give to new missionaries just starting out or those considering missions?
A: First, be sure of the calling and direction of God. That will help you to stay the course. Next, know that God is sufficient. God gives us others, but there may be difficulties and confusion and times when you will stand alone. He is sufficient!