Sunday, February 14, 2016

Telling My Own Story

Most of my writing relates to church history and missions, now and then giving that writing a personal touch as in the Postscript to From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya: A Biographical History of Christian Missions. Near the end of this final section, I refer to stories of those who felt called to become missionaries but never fulfilled that calling. Here are the final paragraphs of the book:


One of those stories began in the 1950s in a farming community in northern Wisconsin. The setting was a summer Bible camp where missionary Delmer Smith of the Christian and Missionary Alliance was the featured speaker. There in the rustic pavilion under his moving messages a thirteen-year-old farm girl caught a vision for missions, and at the closing meeting she stood to commit her life to God as a foreign missionary. Through her high school year that followed, foreign missions was her life’s goal. Nothing, she vowed, would ever deter her.

Following her high school graduation her life was busy and eventful. Bible college, Christian liberal arts college, university, marriage, family, teaching career. One followed on another. But as the years slipped by, the prospect of embarking on an overseas missions career became less and less a reality.

Only three miles away from her childhood home another young farm girl was growing upher cousin, Valerie Stellrecht. They attended the same schools and the same little country church. Valerie, too, felt called to foreign missions. She, too enrolled at the St. Paul Bible College to prepare for her life’s calling. And she, too, longed for marriage and family. But her sense of calling to the foreign field came first. Valerie graduated from Bible college and soon thereafter bade farewell to her family and loved one sand set out alone for Ecuador, where she continues to serve today with the Christian and Missionary Alliance.

Two young women whose lives paralleled each other’s in so many respects. Two young women who felt called to foreign missions. Valerie went. I stayed home.

And now the rest of the story. . . .

In my latest writing, I tell the story that I've kept secret for many years. As I say in the previous paragraphs, I feared that I would end up a single missionary. I fell in love without asking questions and married a man who said that he, too, was called to be a missionary. When he finished seminary he served as pastor of two churches and taught in a Bible College. The marriage ended after 19 years, much of it colored by black and blue bruises, defended with a black and white Bible. I wonder how many missionary wives have stories that are not so different from mine.



Zondervan has a blog here that contains a lengthy excerpt.






No comments: