How We Experienced God's Call to Missions
In 1972 during the summer following my spiritual awakening I received a draft notice, and promptly entered military service. The Army chose Russian language school as the appropriate training for my aptitude test results. I had never before studied a foreign language. I could not have predicted this and did not know it at the time, but I believe God was preparing me for later missionary service.
In 1984, several years after I left the Army, Coleen and I married, and a few years later we joined Putnam City Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. We each had our respective careers; hers in real estate and mine in petroleum title examination. Perhaps because we were so busy, we were not much concerned about mission work. Our family suddenly grew in December 1989, when we adopted our two daughters, Sarah, then 9 years old, and Leah 2. We loved our local church and enjoyed serving there. I began to teach adult Sunday school and later worked with alcoholics and homeless people at a city rescue mission.
My love for Russian was reawakened in the late 80’s when a group of local Christians asked me to help them learn verses so they could witness on the streets of Moscow. Almost simultaneously, my Oklahoma petroleum title business ran on hard times. A successful realtor with her own business, Coleen supported me in completing my undergraduate studies in Russian language, and I received my BA from the University of Oklahoma in 1990. From that time I worked part time as a title examiner and part time as a Russian translator and interpreter, serving in trade and cultural exchange. We continued to serve in Sunday School, small groups for Bible study, and in the rescue mission.
About this time Coleen and I began to consider foreign missionary service, although for a couple of years there were no open doors. Finally, I went on my first mission trip to Ukraine in August of 1992, and in March 1993 the Mission Directors of the Baptist Missionary Association of America asked me to assist with a mission trip to Moscow. I was delighted to serve the Lord in this capacity, and experienced his blessings. In the summer of 1993 we moved our membership to Southgate Baptist Church in Moore, Oklahoma, where Bro. Harold Hodges was Pastor. He recognized God's call in our life and greatly encouraged us by recommending us to the BMAA Missionary Committee. In April of 1994 the churches of the BMAA elected us as missionaries to Ukraine and the CIS. With our two adopted daughters, Sarah, then 14 years old, and Leah, 7, we moved to Ukraine in August of 1994. Today we live near Kiev, and have the pleasure of serving the missionaries and churches of Ukraine and other countries of the former Soviet Union.