Throughout my freshman and sophomore years at King, I was very drawn to missions. When missionaries spoke on campus, I soaked up their stories. During one of our World Focus Weeks, I met a couple who were serving with New Tribes Mission. It was the first time I had heard about this organization. I remember speaking with them after a chapel service and asking questions. It was exciting to hear of missionaries who were looking for tribes who had never heard the Gospel and then translating the Bible into their language.
I also met missionaries with Wycliffe during this time. I even prayed for a specific tribe of people in Papua New Guinea for years as missionaries worked to learn their language and write it down and then translate the Bible for them. I can see now how God was giving me a burden for this specific type of missions way back then.
During those years of college, I told our Father that if He wanted me to go into full-time missions, I would. I wanted my life to be His. I studied English and secondary education and waited to see what God would do.
After classes started in the fall of my junior year, I kept seeing this familiar face in nearly every class. Patrick and I had the same major and minor, and so we had several classes together that semester. We began studying together, and we became good friends. In spite of ourselves, we even began dating (that’s another story!) in November of that year.
Patrick had a strong background in missions. As I said, he had been on the trip to Papua New Guinea that I was on, but he had also been on some spring break trips to places in the States. His home-church was (is) very missions-oriented, and so he knew many missionaries. His parents and siblings had also participated in some short-term trips. However, Patrick did not feel called to be a missionary. He planned to study technical writing.
When it became clear that God had brought us together and Patrick and I would marry, I gave up the idea of being a full-time missionary. God had wanted me to give Him my life and be willing to do whatever He wanted, so I did; but I was off-the-hook for missions. My mission field would be the students I taught and the neighborhood in which we lived and the youth group we helped with at church.
And that’s how it was. We got married, and Patrick attended graduate school at a secular university. What a mission field! I taught elementary students in a Christian school. We worked with the teenagers at church and participated in the college ministry. At one point, when I wasn’t teaching, I baby-sat a baby boy for 30 hours a week. His parents did not have a relationship with Christ, so their family was my mission field.
We supported missionaries through church. We prayed for missionaries. Friends of ours had a sign over the front door of their home that said, “You are now entering the mission field.” That’s how we tried to live, not that we always did such a perfect job. But that was our heart.
I’ll write more in Part 3. I have two little boys who are getting bored with books and toys and some laundry that needs folded.