Hi Don. I was really excited to find out you were receiving the Lifetime Service Award from Missio Nexus and had so hoped to meet you in September. But perhaps by then, you will be seeing Jesus, which way cooler than me getting to see you! :-) But I didn't want to miss the opportunity to thank you for your impact on my life. I grew up on the mission field, my parents were also Bible Translators, and my mom (not a nurse) ran a clinic on our front porch in our small West African village. I always figured I would be a missionary, because that was "what we did." But when I was 12, I distinctly knew that the Lord was calling me into mission, not because my parents had done it, but because He had planned that for me. And then when I was 14, at board school in Cote d'Ivoire, I read Lords of the Earth, and it profoundly impacted me. I knew then, that the Lord was calling me to reach those who had NEVER had an opportunity to hear the Gospel at all. I fell in love with PNG at that time, and set my life's trajectory toward going there when I was grown. Everyone who knew me from high school through college and beyond, knew that I was going to PNG. When I got my first car, my license plate number just happened to be PNG 817. (I spent years pondering what the 817 meant...!) I am now in my 50's, and have never been to PNG. And years ago, it became evident to me that the Lord was calling me back to the country where I had grown up. I resisted that for a long time, as that country was largely evangelized, though with little true results. I was to go to the unreached, and this didn't seem to fit the bill. Over the past 10 years, I have served in my adopted country, but the Lord has placed me in leadership of a ministry among the largest group of unreached people in the world - those marginalized and ostracized because of disabilities. When I realized that that was His plan all along, but my perspective on the reached and unreached had to change, I was humbled, and grateful. I am grateful to you and your story for the profound way that it shaped my life and ministry. Thank you.
My siblings and I were raised in Hong Kong as missionary kids. We grew up in a home where cross cultural missions were part of our daily life. I graduated from high school in 1974 and returned to the States to go to college. A few short years later, I bought a copy of "The Peace Child" and read it in one sitting. Then when "Lords of the Earth" came out, I immediately bought a copy. A few years later when "Eternity in Their Hearts" came out I added it to my personal library. Don visited southern California once during the 80's and I went to see him speak at one of the churches in Riverside but I don't remember the name of the church. Afterwards, I introduced myself and thanked him for his work. I am grateful for Don's influence on my thinking and understanding about missions. I am passing his legacy on to my children as we are currently reading "The Peace Child" as part of our homeschooling. I thank God for his and Carol's lives and I look forward to them introducing me to their Sawi brothers and sisters in heaven some day!