In 1986, some missionaries visited my Sunday school class. I had a preconceived notion that missionaries were doctors, nurses, engineers or preachers. I assumed that what this couple had to say would in no way concern me. After all I was “just” a secretary, and what would God want with a secretary on the mission field?
Much to my surprise, the young couple generated real excitement. They were just ordinary people doing what they had always done. They were using their skills and experience from previous jobs for the Lord’s work in Africa. They challenged our class to ask God how He might use us in His vineyard if we made ourselves available. By doing just that, I have since discovered what God would want with a secretary on the mission field!
The Adventure Begins
I joined Wycliffe Bible Translators in June 1987 as a career missionary. Depending on God for my financial support was a new concept. I was 40 years old and had been accustomed to the security of a good salary. It has been an amazing walk of faith to experience God's hand moving in my life as He shows me that He is my ultimate source of provision, security and benefits.
In March 1993 I began serving as the Secretary to the Director of our work in Yaounde, Cameroon. The population of Yaounde was over 1,000,000 and I had running water, electricity and eventually a telephone. Yet it was still a very different culture and there were adjustments to be made. Again, I experienced God's grace as sufficient. A favorite verse during my early days in Cameroon was Psalm 139:9-10 (NLT): “If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.”
Although I was not directly translating God's Word for any of the approximate 250 language groups in Cameroon, I did have a part in giving the Word to them. I always felt that I was a “servant to the servants of THE Servant.” In addition to my work in the office, my ministry was one of hospitality and encouragement for translation teams and my Cameroonian neighbors.
An Unexpected Turn
After six and a half years in Cameroon, Roy Peterson (who was then serving as president of Wycliffe USA) asked me to move to Orlando, Florida, to be his assistant. I had thought I had another five to seven years in Africa, but God had other plans.
It was hard to leave the life that I had come to love on the far side of the sea. But I am once again reminded that it doesn't matter on which side of the sea I settle, God is still with me. And I am once again learning what God wants with a secretary or administrative assistant. He wants a willing heart—ready to serve Him with my skills and abilities and ready to move when He speaks.