If you’re new here, Frieda is my wonderful mother. Today she is sharing some deputation stories from when my parents first started out as missionaries. Enjoy her story below.
In 1963, when we were newly appointed missionaries bound for Central America, we set out on “deputation.” I don’t know if that is still the term used, but the mission board required missionaries to get churches and individuals to sponsor them. We had to raise a certain amount of promised monthly support before we could depart for the country where we were to serve. I believe we had to raise $400 a month.
Hal is a good speaker and never had a problem getting invitations to speak. We were on the road almost constantly for a year. We were invited to churches both small and large and of different denominations in many States. Churches would always give us an offering, which would invariably be enough to get us back to the small apartment we were renting in Oklahoma or on to the next speaking engagement. However, understandably, many churches who gave generous offerings were not interested in making a long-time commitment. As we continued to have all the invitations we could take but very little support, I remember remarking facetiously that maybe we were just called to be missionaries on deputation.
When we first started and didn’t have as many invitations to speak, money was pretty tight. One time one of Hal’s sisters, who lived on a farm, gave us a bucket of eggs. She had no idea what a blessing it was. In fact, that was all we had to eat. We had eggs scrambled, boiled, fried, in salad, and in sandwiches. I searched my cook book for every imaginable egg recipe.
Church people everywhere we went were wonderful to us. Besides taking up offerings, people invited us to eat and to stay overnight when we needed a place. Sometimes I was asked to give a testimony about my life as a “missionary kid” before Hal spoke, or sometimes I spoke to women’s groups in churches or in homes.
One pastor was really enthusiastic about helping us. After Hal’s message he asked us to stand at the front of the church in front of the communion table as the whole congregation filed past to shake our hands. And instead of taking up an offering, he decided to ask me to hold the offering plate so those who wanted to could contribute. How embarrassing! I felt that people would feel obligated to put something in the plate. I couldn’t decide where to look—I was embarrassed to look them in the eye, and I sure didn’t want to look down at the plate as if checking to see how much we were getting. The people seemed to be oblivious to my discomfort. I appreciated the intention, but was really glad when the service was over!
The ladies of one church wrote me that they were planning a personal shower for me. They wanted to know all my clothing sizes and sent a fill-in-the-blank list for my convenience. With much appreciation, I obliged and filled it out. A few weeks later we arrived at the church. In the foyer something with my name on it caught my eye. There on the bulletin board for all to see were my sizes for each and every article of clothing including . . . well, you can imagine.
I’m linked with Women Living Well.
I remember having to travel around with my parents doing deputation in the early 80s and then again when we were on furlough. It’s amazing what people will do to missionaries! One church asked my dad to speak on a Sunday night. My dad asked if maybe he could speak in the morning, but the pastor was adamant that it be that evening, that’s right, Super Bowl Sunday!!!!! My parents arrived at the church and spoke to FOUR VERY elderly women, and I think one of them even fell asleep!
Was the mission board testing your commitment? If so, y’all passed with flying colors! 🙂
Esther, I think you should do something to designate where your introduction ends and your guest begins. Perhaps a row of asterisks in between segments? Or a significantly different font?
Thank you Melanie! I didn’t realize it was running together!
Oh my goodness…embarassing moments to be sure! :O
To Jeni, that’s funny though I guess it wasn’t at the time! Most people and churches and really loving and helpful. But some things are funny. A friend of mine with five children told me that a lady in a church they were visiting told her, “I’d love to have you over sometime, but we only invite missionaries in the summer so we can eat on the patio.”