I did not grow up in a Christian home. I was taught at an early age the moral things to do and not do. We might go to church on Easter and Christmas. My aunt, who was a Christian, would call us on Saturday night to see if we’d like to go to church. We would decline most of the time. She did take me to Vacation Bible School during the summer which I enjoyed.
In August of 1975, my “safe’ life as I knew it came to a halt as my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. Throughout my senior year of high school, my memories would be filled with my dad’s chemo treatments, seeing how sick he was and all that goes with a cancer diagnosis in the 1970’s. He was told that there was nothing more they could do for him. I remember him lying on the couch, no energy, with hair loss and pale, on oxygen… a memory that will forever be in my mind. Thankfully, my mother and father accepted Christ near the end of his life here on earth. The Lord took him home in July 1976. Our lives would be changed forever.
I was angry and did not understand why my dad was taken away. I went ahead with my plans to pursue a career in nursing. I had wanted to be a nurse since I was a little girl and my dad had written me a good-bye letter saying, “I want you to go to nursing school as you had planned.” So I did. That was a very difficult year following the death of my dad, I was homesick in more ways than one.
After my first year, I decided to return home. I was able to start in a nursing program closer to home. I became a registered nurse and worked at our local children’s hospital. I loved children and caring for them. I thought my dreams had come true.
Over the next two years, I began to feel that there had to be more to life. I felt that God was drawing me to Him. This had not been on my radar as I knew little about God, but He could not be denied. I accepted Christ in my twenties and met my husband Greg at church.
I was still at the children’s hospital and began working on the pediatric oncology unit. I had no plans of doing oncology and had planned to stay away from it, but God had a different plan. After 21 years with children, God moved me to the Norton Cancer Institute where I cared for adult cancer patients. I ended up spending the majority of my nursing career caring for patients with cancer. My profession was also my ministry in a mighty way due to the patients whom God had placed in my path. Things were all good working there and then, God had another plan, He was calling me into missions.
As we served together in the Mission Ministry at our church, we never dreamed that God would call us to be missionaries leading teams internationally. God has a purpose for each of us far beyond what we could ever imagine if we step out in faith and trust Him!
I grew up in a Christian home. We went to church every Wednesday night, Sunday morning and Sunday night. I remember going to Wednesday night prayer meeting in my baseball uniform at times. My growing up years in church didn’t really mean a whole lot to me. At least, I thought that way at that time.
I remember falling away in my high school and early college age years, going to church off and on and not really feeling like I fit in. I remember our preacher at that time delivering a message that had me crying embarrassingly in front of my parents and those around me. I came back to the Lord and this time turned my life over to Him completely.
I met my wife Cheryl at church and soon after we were married. We have two adult children both married with two daughters each. I had a friend once say, ‘there’s got to be more to life than getting up, doing the mundane, day in day out, going to church on Sunday morning and starting it all over again.’ She was right. There is more, much, much, more!
God is anything but boring as I hear people say from time to time. John Piper made a comment that has been a driver for me and my faith. “RISK IS RIGHT. Better to lose your life than waste it.” We can’t wait to get up in the morning and see what God has in store for us that day. I am usually a very adventurous man. I have never been on any adventure like the one’s God has taken me on. This scripture says it all for me. Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” He said it, I believe it, and by the grace of God I’m going to live for Him and His Kingdom.