Total Years of Service with NTM
Elwin and Virginia served with New Tribes Mission 34 years.
We served for 34 years in Brazil, South America, working in several capacities in a support role. Some of these were keeping books; teaching in language school; teaching in the school for missionary children; being principal of the same school; being dorm parents; building houses; running the guest facility; having a ministry to kids in our large old home we had remodeled.
How were you challenged into missionary service?
“Lord, if you will give us a healthy baby boy, I will dedicate him to you,” Elwin’s mother prayed. She didn’t feel well, and was concerned; it had, after all, been fifteen years since her last pregnancy. She never told anyone of her prayer, until as a young man, I came home and excitedly told her, “Mom, I know now what the Lord wants me to do with my life. I want to be a missionary!”. A Bible School teacher, Alan Haggert, had talked to our Sunday School class challenging us with his experiences as a missionary. When my Mom heard that, she revealed her prayer uttered for me even before I was born. His wife, Virginia (Ginger) added, “I felt a desire to be a missionary since I was a small child. I knew the Lord would prepare me and provide the opportunity.”
What was your biggest test of faith?
We had been taught to trust in the provision of the Lord, so when we went, with three children, to California for our missionary training, we went with no support and just a few dollars. Yet all the way, the Lord surprised us, even providing tickets for our flight to Brazil.
If you served in a support role, how did it help the other missionaries?
All of the missionaries helped one another, contributing to the educational needs of the children; filling in for one another; each one doing his or her part.
Advice you would give to new missionaries going to the field.
Said Ginger, “…get a first-hand look at what missionary life is like. Visit the field, or go on a short term mission trip, so you can see what you can anticipate. Also, knowledge of first-aid is valuable, since it teaches you how to position an injury while awaiting care, or how to treat common ailments.” She then added, “I delivered a ‘pile’ of babies during my years on the field. Elwin delivered our last one! You simply have to be prepared for about anything the Lord puts in your path to do!”