Thursday, May 1, 2014


Pam & Ron, Word of Life Fellowship

Glam—Grace Ladies Are Missionaries.

Thank you to Pam Morton for suggesting and setting up a Facebook group (G.L.A.M.) to keep us connected in the months between the annual missionary conference.

Grace Presbyterian in Peoria, Illinois is our common ground. 

Each year Grace opens their doors wide to us. They celebrate us; they minister to us; they feed us; they offer us microphones in every service and Sunday school class and invite us to minister to them; did I say they feed us? We transform the narthex into a showroom of mission organizations. And in the process the Grace family has become friends. 

The conference officially starts Sunday morning. We walk in following the children carrying flags of many nations. Each of the more than 50 missionaries is introduced by name. The congregation stands and welcomes us with much clapping. Every year my eyes overflow. 

We meet together in large groups and small. We meet together as women. (The men have their times too.) We listen, we talk, we laugh, we pray. Some of us are single, some married; some are mothers, some grandmothers. A few of the grandmothers are Great-grandmothers. And they still travel to be with us. I am in awe. Over the years bonds of friendships have formed and tightened.

Our hearts and our callings are similar; how we live it out is as unique as each of us.

The 2014 theme, The Missing Puzzle Piece, highlighted that so well. Each of us is an integral piece of the puzzle to reach our world with the gospel of grace.

I have learned much from my fellow missionaries. They are the heroines of the faith. I have walked with these women through days of blessing and days of hard. Their stories minister to my soul. Tissues are always available. 

Allow me to introduce a few of these remarkable ladies …

Dorothy is a women of prayer. As the women share their missionary journeys I have ceased being surprised when they say I am here because of Dorothy’s prayers. Before her retirement, Dorothy spent many years in the jungles of Papua, New Guinea with Wycliffe Bible Translators. 

Becky and Sandy are co-laborers with Bill and I with the Navigators. Becky (an RN) is one of the most creative teachers I know. She applies that through her church, coaching Navstaff in fundraising, even traveling to southeast Asia to teach nurses.

Sandy, a friend since the 1980s, is a published author. Married later in life she turned that blessing into ministry by authoring, Love Worth the Wait. Check it out on Amazon here

Karen grew up on the mission field in Venezuela. It was natural for her to move to Indonesia with her husband to serve with Mission Aviation Fellowship. Besides raising two of their three children there, she taught English to Indonesian women, led Bible studies, and played the piano for monthly missionary services. Now back in the states, her ministry has expanded to leading classes at Curves, and serving as the new Mission Secretary at Grace.

Deb is a daughter of Grace Pres. She serves with her husband Mark (who was behind the camera) at the headquarters of Wycliffe Bible Translators in Florida. Deb’s role is the director of orientation and training. Along with Mark, she loves training and encouraging Wycliffe colleagues serving across the globe.

Alise lives in California. She and her husband, on staff with CRU, focus on providing prayer support for the Jesus DVD outreaches, publishing a quarterly prayer guide, and responding to questions about the Jesus film. Alise always has new stories of encounters with curious seekers. Two things I personally love about Alise is her encouraging heart (I have often been the recipient of her affirming words), and her gift of piano. We all are blessed as she serves the missions conference by bringing the grand piano to life in the sanctuary.

“Deep friendship is a calling forth of each other’s chosenness and a mutual affirmation of being precious in God’s eyes”. Henri Nouwen in Life of the Beloved.

Every year we have the privilege of calling forth the chosenness of our missionary sisters as we affirm them in God’s specific call.

These are some of the things I love about the missions conference. Next Thursday I’ll share some of the pitfalls that we fight when we gather together.  To be continued ...

    "... together with one voice you ... glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ".                   Romans 15:5 and 6

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