Born into a family of Methodists (both sides) for generations, I sought to serve God with all my heart. At an early age I experienced a deep desire to become a missionary in China or Africa. I prepared through science courses to train as a nurse, but due to genetic hearing problems, I was not accepted into nursing school; I was, therefore, unable to pursue this desire.
Feeling totally unqualified and insignificant, it took a powerful encounter with God for me to throw myself totally on the mercy and grace of God for salvation. I was 26 years of age when Jesus called me by name into His Kingdom and four years later He reminded me of the desire He had placed in my heart as a child – to be a missionary. I gave up my job in a bank to prepare myself fully for going to the mission field. It was during the education process that I met the one God had purposed for me to marry and serve with – Steve Wilson.
By this time my desire for the mission field was fully turned toward Africa; I always had a love for the African-American people and felt I was to go to the place of their roots. In meeting Steve at our church we began to work together at rest homes and prisons, and we found that God was directing us both to the continent of Africa.
In August of 1970 Steve and I married but continued our education. When in October of the following year we became parents, we knew that continuing my education was not a possibility. Steve completed his degree and was working several jobs in order to pay off his school debt, when a phone call came from a family friend, asking what was keeping us from the mission field. When told it was his school debt, the lady told Steve she was putting a check in the mail to cover the debt. As we celebrated this provision, we began to pack and prepare for Candidate School with the Mission Board his parents served with. (We had been pastor/worship leader with a small Baptist church up until that time.)
At the end of Candidate School we were told that because I was not a child of missionary parents, nor had I completed my degree program, we would have to go to Missionary Internship in the state of Michigan. For 9 months we trained and served as pastors of a large Baptist church that was without a pastor. By August 1973 we had completed the training, raised our support and were on the way to Kenya.
In arriving in Kenya, my breath was taken away by the beauty of the nation. I sat weeping as I heard the African choir sing; I wept in seeing the sun set or rise. I wept a lot in sensing that the deep longings within me were being realized – finally.
Adjustment to the nomadic culture we worked with in the Northern Frontier took time, but I loved every bit of it, even the really hard bits…in time. Our daughter, Rachel, and I traveled with Steve whenever he was required to start a new work or build a dispensary at some site. Even though I was city-born and bred, I knew my life was not my own and this was part of the preparation for things to come. (Oh, the stories we could tell of our many experiences.)
During our first term, we were blessed with a second child – our son, Philip. Though I was quite busy with our two children and caring for our physical needs as a family, I was able to teach Bible in our little mission school and to meet with the women who were part of the group of Rendille people who settled near our mission compound. Every day was a new adventure and I loved it.
Steve made sure that I was part of all that he did; we were a team. God had put us together and together we worked. Of the many things we did and many places we went, one of the most exciting for me was when we built the training center for indigenous evangelists. We had discovered that the young people who were sent by missionaries to Bible schools in other parts of the country never returned to their own people. The school God had called us to build provided training and evangelistic outreach to people they knew and cared for. I loved praying for the work and teaching on occasion, but even more I loved being a mother/friend to the students.
In moving from the Northern Frontier to a colonial farm near Nairobi for Steve to undertake the training of workers and building of windmills, I was able to move more deeply into intercession for the work – whether for staff or for pastors who gathered to us during this time. My time with the Lord became much more intimate, as our children were able to go to a private school and I only had household duties and cooking. I was, as well, able to have daily devotions with the staff; it was great.
Then our move to England became another cultural adjustment for me but one in which I found deep life-long friendships. Intimacy with God grew amazingly, hearing His voice took on new dimensions, and intercession truly came alive. From caring for sheep on a sheep farm to life in the inner-city of a large city, during our years in England, I found great joy and fulfillment. All of it has been part of the preparation for working closely with the Spirit of God.
Hearing the voice of the Lord had become my passion (our passion); so, when called to return to the states, we did not question. And after several years in the states, when God gave me a vision of leaving the narrow, shrub-lined roads of England for a wide, open horizon, I knew He was with me (us) all the way. Although I had not completed my degree, I was invited to pursue a Master of Divinity Degree at Oral Roberts University. But once again I was unable to complete what I had begun, for God then called us to Springfield, MO, and all of the things we experienced in getting established were as nothing compared to the joy of planting Dayspring and having the doors so widely opened to the nations of the world.
As Steve has stated, he and I serve on both the national and international leadership teams of ICLC and travel extensively doing conferences and leadership training. We rejoice that we are also a part of the Global network, and we believe there is to be an ever-increasing role within the Global network for us over the coming years. Randy has become a real spiritual father to the both of us in the area of the revival and awakening, and we look forward to discovering all God has for us in this relationship.