She and her husband have been serving on the mission field in the intermountain area of the United States for 31 of the 35 years they have been married. We will call her Diane as that is her name. She would have been, in her earliest years, the most unlikely candidate for a future missionary because of her home environment, but God!
Church bus workers knew how to draw children back week after week (with candy!) and Diane says she got hooked, but not only because of the candy but more importantly because of a loving church family that took her into their hearts and homes and nurtured her, after she became a child of God through her new birth following a gospel message at a Christmas Youth Group party. Dr. Fred Moritz, then pastor of the church she was attending, baptized her and the rest is history. She became the “adopted” child of a half dozen or more loving church families while cherishing Psalm 27:10: “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.”
In ways that only a sovereign God could have engineered Diane was able to enroll as a student at Bob Jones University after a wise youth pastor and his wife took her on a trip to BJU where she for the first time in her life got to experience “a little bit of heaven on earth.” She did not know what she wanted to do but through her first semester “it seemed all I heard in chapel, in my Bible classes, and in my devotions, the Lord kept pointing me to missions. That summer, my pastor, Anthony Slutz, preached on John 15:16. All I heard was Go! I didn’t know where the Lord wanted me to go, but I was willing to go wherever He led me! I went back to school in the fall and changed my major to missions.”
Tony Miller, leader of a missions team to the Intermountain West, spoke in a missions chapel that semester on John 15:16. Diane says, “I went to the team meeting to learn more about it. I really believed the Lord wanted me on this team, but I had no idea how I was going to return to school next year, let alone go on a mission team! I told the Lord I was willing to go, but He would have to provide. A few days later, I learned that my Dad had money in an account that no one knew about at the time of his death. It was enough for me to go on the mission team, as well as return to school in the fall! My heavenly Father knew that the money was there when I would need it.”
The trip west sealed Diane’s burden for the Intermountain Mission field and she testifies that on that trip was a handsome young man that she was drawn to: “We’ve been married for 35 years and have been serving the Lord with Northwest Baptist Missions for 31 of those years. God has always been so faithful and good to us!”
Most of Diane’s family have never professed faith in her Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, though by her life, love, letters and prayers she has wept over them and waited with hope of hearing that her Savior had become theirs through faith. She had little or no encouragement from anyone outside of her church family and Christian circle of friends, including a Christian school, to attend church, continue in church, attend a Christian college, or to become a missionary.
It is not a stretch to say that Diane’s story, like others, is one of the grace of God, the skillful guidance of His hand and the loving care for a child pretty much “on her own” who was found by some faithful bus workers, evangelized by a faithful youth pastor, nurtured by a faithful church family and mentored by teachers whose sole interest in Diane was a soul interest in Diane. May their tribe increase. The host of believers whose lives have been interwoven with Diane’s for the past forty plus years can rejoice, praising our great God for a child whose heart was open to and drawn to our home mission field and who, listening through messages, testimonies and lessons would later testify that “All I heard was Go!”
“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. And He said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed….” (Isaiah 6:8,9a)