In 1977, I had finished my one and a half year contract with the Queensland Dept. of Education in Australia. It was time to return to the United State. School was out in December, therefore I thought I would take the time to visit Asia on the way home.
I bought on open ticket and contacted friends who lived in various countries. The first three months, I enjoyed working with the Australian Baptist Mission in Papua New Guinea. Then I went on to stay with Ed and Melba Waggoner (Ed was my 8th grade English teacher. His mother was my Sunday school teacher.) Ed and Melba taught with the Department of Defense schools in the Philippines. I also included in my open ticket Hong Kong (My roommate’s, in Australia, parents were missionaries in Hong Kong.) Taiwan, Korea, and Japan.
My time in the Philippines changed my life forever. The Philippines was under Marshal Law so the Waggoner family did not want me traveling alone. Therefore Chaplin Chamberlin, his wife Wanda and his daughter Carol where traveling north using a driver from the Service Men’s Center and said that I could travel with them. We became good friends and they invited me to take an adventure in the mountains with rented cars and drivers. We would spend three days seeing tribal areas and visiting interesting villages and rice terraces. While we were at our first hotel (I stayed in Int. Hostel near the hotel) it began to rain. There were two landslides each blocking of our mountain road on each side of the little village. They were going to open up the road going out of the mountains so we would not be able to continue our tribal adventure on the steep mountain roads.
On the way down the mountain, Wanda remembered there was a New Tribes Mission flight center in Aritao. Because of the law we had to be off the roads by mid-night. She remembered it was a place that had its own lights so we should be able to see it. She was right. We drove past it but looked back and up on the hill were the lights from the generators.
The next morning, Chaplin Chamberlin had mentioned that they were starting a school on the center and were looking for a teacher that taught the “Slingerland” program for Dyslexia. I had been trained in this program and the Lord had been putting on my heart a desire to use this program to help His children. But of course, I was thinking about a Christian School in the USA. I talked to Bob and Judy Ambrosius and they were encouraging me to pray about this. I knew that the Waggoner family was planning to bring me to a mission station in the mountains for Easter and I began to realize this was the station (though it was more in a valley than in the mountains). I told Bob and Judy, I would pray about this and let them know my answer in two weeks when I returned with the Waggoners.
In those two weeks, the director of Christ for Greater Manila (now Action Int’l) was speaking at the Service Men’s Center. He talked on knowing God’s will. He gave out a tract about George Muller and how God lead him. The Lord used this speech and tract to confirm to me this was God’s Will for my life. The one thing that was holding me back was my grandmother and in those two weeks she passed away. My grandfather on my Dad’s side had passed away in December and was proud that I would going to Papua New Guinea to help missionaries. My grandmother was on my mom’s side and I am not sure if she really new the saving grace of Jesus Christ. But her time had come, I could not use her as an excuse.
When I returned to Aritao, I gave my answer to the Ambrosius. My answer was YES!
I stayed two years as an associate not really planning to go full time. I did know that I needed Bible training. My first, second and third graders knew more than I did. I had met Enid Sanford, who shared with me about Prairie Bible Institute in Three Hills, Alberta, Canada. What I learned was that it was a solid Bible school and that the rules required people to learn God’s Word not go for social purposes. I was sold, I had been distracted in my college years and I wanted a strong emphases in God’s Word not in social activities. It was perfect. They had social activities, but the Word was the Center of everything. It was like LOVING GOD and then enjoying others was an out growth of that love. The Word became alive and our fun times were even more fun. We laughed a lot and encouraged each other in the Word. I grew so much in the LORD. In graduated with a One Year Diploma.
We had a revival during that year at PBI and the LORD spoke to our hearts. I began to realize I wanted to serve HIM full time. Dun Gordy, NTM Representative, was there and he told me that if the LORD was talking to me about going into Missions that maybe HE wanted me to return to the Philippines. Dun said that people were praying for me to return. Many other things were said during that year and I knew that I was to return to the Philippines with New Tribes Mission.
I went on to Baker, Oregon, to inter the training of New Tribes Mission. There, I found my self going into culture shock. I had lived outside of the United States for 5 years and I was not prepared for the student body at that time training to go into missions. They were such a contrast to the people I worked with in the Philippines and the students at PBI.
Three weeks later, the LORD took me out of the situation and sent me to Colombia. They had an emergency need of a substitute teacher to cover the 2-4th grades at the MK School there for three months. Though I struggled with my first three weeks in the training, our NTM home office – having known me for 3 years- gave me the choice of what to do. I was ready to get out of the US and be back into the foreign cultures.
My time in Colombia was a highlight in my life. Not only did I feel right at home (similar culture as the Philippines) but the Missionaries were very wise and gave me the counsel I needed. They explained that not all the people in the training would make it to the field. It was a weeding process. When I returned to the training only two families and two single girls were left in my class at the training institute. I became more confident in that the LORD was in control and that I needed to trust Him alone.
But another problem had arisen. The Philippine Field was upset that I had been allowed to go to Colombia as they were expecting me to be finished with the training and return to the Philippines for the fall classes. I was told that because of this need, I would be released after only one semester of the training. I was not to mention this to the students. Thus, I planned the Jungle Camp house we would be building in the summer and helped prepare the foods for the event. Life went on and I learned so much. God was teaching me daily that His ways were perfect.
At the end of the semester, it was announced that I would be leaving early to return to the Philippines. Some people took this hard but what could I say? Teachers are needed and schools are going to open in the fall with or with out teachers. But a miracle happened. While I was packing my things and the men and the single ladies left to prepare their plastic homemade houses for the 4 weeks of Jungle Camp, I received a letter from the Philippines Field. It stated that there was not enough students for the following year and that they would be closing the school for a year. I could finish my training. I was excited as now I could finish my training and spend time with my parents. I had not lived in the United States for 5 years and I needed time to be close to my family for a while. God knew I my heart.
After finishing Baker Mission Training Camp in Oregon that December of the same year, I was given the choice to work on my support or go on to Camdenton, MO, for a semester. I asked the LORD for guidance. I had been reading in Genesis where Moses’ Father-in-law suggested to Moses to split up his responsibilities with the leaders of each tribe. God had honored Moses in listening to his Father-in-law. I dashed down stairs and decided I needed to ask my Dad what he thought about this decision of whether I should work on my support or go on to Camdenton, MO. My Dad said that if I am serious about going to the mission field I had better start raising support. That was my answer. I spent the next 8 months contacting one church every day in my area and praying. It was hard work. No churches took me on for support, but individuals out of those churches became my partners in prayer or in support.
As years passed, I have seen my support go up and down but I have always seen the LORD as being faithful. Five years later, I had my first supporting church. Twenty years later, the LORD provided me with two more churches. I always tell people that I really enjoy having individuals support me because of the personal contact and the years of stories behind how we met; how the LORD put us together; and how the LORD has helped us through some hard times. Some of my supporters have known me since I was a child, others of us met in Bible studies, at Bible School or on traveling adventures in the Philippines. We have links that could each be a chapter in a book. Even the three churches came because of friendships developed years before the contact. God has been faithful in preparing me for this adventure of teaching with NTM since I was a child and my prayer partners/supporters have been part of the journey on the way of becoming a Missionary Teacher.
Thank you, Lord for that journey. And may You bless all those who have been part of this journey with You.