I was born in Raytown, a small suburb of Kansas City, MO. I grew up with a Roman Catholic background throughout my teenage years. I began turning away from the Roman Catholic Church influence when a priest said in his sermon on Sunday, “The Bible says not to be drunk with wine, so I go out on Friday nights and drink all the beer I want!” As he spoke, he patted his fat belly with both hands. I knew something was not right with that lifestyle.
I lived my high school years as a typical lost individual. I ran around with lost friends who led me into a life of alcohol and drug usage. After high school graduation, I chose to learn airplane maintenance. At that time, I did not know that God was directing my aviation interest to fit into His plan for my life. The next three years found me working in airplane line maintenance at the downtown Kansas City airport. In 1975, God’s plan for my life, leading to my salvation, was comprised of going through a lay off and relocating to Indiana with Bethlehem Steel Corporation working as a millwright mechanic. As Christ Jesus was born in Bethlehem, I was born again while at Bethlehem.
Being separated from the girl I loved, Sandy Fraizer, led to our marriage in October of 1975. My salvation followed in December of 1976. Our pastor discipled Sandy and I using the Navigator’s material during his new membership class. I realized my need of believer’s baptism, received believer’s baptism and became a member of Evergreen Baptist Church. Sandy and I both joined Evergreen Baptist Church in Michigan City, Indiana where we became firmly rooted in God’s Word. Our pastor encouraged us to be active in Christian service. We worked in every opportunity of service available in the church. During our time in Indiana, Sandy and I felt God’s desire for us to be in full time Christian service. Weekly, we built our savings account to over $25,000 toward our Bible training. To make a long story short, we lost a total of $35,000 in an investment. God knew we must trust fully in Him now–or we would quit. God’s promises became real in our lives. He has supplied all of our needs. I testify that there is nothing that my God cannot do — with a willing servant!
Our church was very missions minded. We supported one particular missionary couple that worked in Papua New Guinea (PNG). During their field presentation in our church, they stated that, “Papua New Guinea needed some young missionaries just like you.” He pointed to me in the service as he stated that sentence. Later, it was like God’s Spirit was saying to me, “Why not you, Steve?” I began to ask myself that same question, “Why not me?” It was at that time of my life when I said “yes” to foreign missions. As that desire burned within my mind, another missionary speaker came to the church. His name was Hank Scheltema and he worked in Brazil with missionary aviation and the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE). I saw how God could use my aviation training to serve Him on the mission field.
I now felt that the place of service and the type of ministry was clear to me. I found out later that ABWE had originally intended to evangelize PNG with the use of missionary aviation, post World War II. Our pastor recommended Piedmont Baptist College (PBC) as one with a great aviation program emphasis. The emphasis was to train missionaries with aviation skills in the work of evangelism and church planting. Our pastor and ABWE suggested that PBC was a good choice. We made application to PBC and they accepted us for the fall of 1982.
I now had to resign from Bethlehem Steel Corporation and sell our house. This was at a time when real estate was not selling. The house sold very quickly in answer to prayer. As part of our training, Sandy and I were able to go to PNG in 1988 for two months of practical missionary training. Sandy and I both felt God’s direction in our lives was to return to PNG after graduation from PBC. Two years later, I graduated with honors from PBC with the class of 1990. I received the degree of Bachelor of Theology and Aviation. As we were deciding which mission board to go out under, God answered in a very specific way. Of all the mission agencies we contacted, ABWE was the only one to keep in contact with us. We asked for a specific answer and once again God gave us clear direction. We attended candidate classes with ABWE in July 1990.
We arrived in PNG on February 4, 1995. The container of our belongings and the airplane arrived in June 1995. The airplane has been the tool we have used to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ in PNG. We planted the Bundi Baptist Church which has an average of 80 in attendance each week. The people have built a permanent church building and have voted in their first national pastor. We are excited to see this work go forward to the glory of God. Peoples’ spirits are encouraged, lives are changed, souls are saved and God’s name is lifted up.
I was born and reared in a Christian home located in Kansas City, MO. Attendance at a Baptist Church was a weekly part of my growing up years. At nine years of age, I asked my father about trusting in Jesus. I had some mixed feelings before that my parent’s salvation would save me. My father took me to talk with my pastor, who made it clear to me. I accepted Jesus as my Savior. In the years to follow, I attended church but never grew strong in my walk with Christ. During my teenage years I met Steve. By the time I was ready to graduate from high school, we were making wedding plans.
Steve relocated to Michigan City, IN to work at Bethlehem Steel prior to our marriage. After a few months, he came home to Kansas City and we married in the Baptist Church although Steve was a member of a Roman Catholic Church. I began attending Evergreen Baptist in Michigan City, IN hoping that the pastor, or someone there, would help witness to my lost husband. I saw the need to be a better example to my husband, so I experienced the joy of rededicating my life to Christ. About a year later, Steve saw his need of Christ as his Savior.
I attended a new member’s class that stirred in me to desire to serve the Lord more. I knew God had answered prayer about my husband’s salvation and we both became active in serving the Lord. I wanted to know and fully follow the Lord’s will for my life. Some missionaries that our church supported had an impact on my life toward missions. Steve and I felt God wanted us to further our education and serve in a foreign country. Steve, our two toddlers, Stephanie (age 3) and Tyler (age 1), and I moved south to attend Piedmont Baptist College (PBC) in Winston-Salem, NC. While at Evergreen, Papua New Guinea (PNG) became a burden to us, and stayed on our hearts during our years at PBC. The mission’s professor at PBC planned to go to PNG the same year we were to go. What joy we had going on a missions trip to PNG in 1988, prior to our graduation and acceptance with Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE), in 1990.
From this …
to this …
to this in 100 days.
We departed from America on January 30, 1995 in an ice and snowstorm. We arrived in warm, sunny Papua New Guinea five days later on February 4th. The lifestyle and culture of the people in PNG are as diverse as a snowstorm is to a warm sunny day. Aviation is a necessary tool to reach lost souls in mountainous Papua New Guinea. This type of ministry allows us to evangelize, disciple and teach literacy skills to new believers so they will be able to read and study their own Bible by themselves. In addition, we are able to have many national people in our home to fellowship with.
I have started a children’s church and a women’s literacy class at Bundi. I have also trained teachers who are teaching those classes today. What a joy it is to see them learning to print and read some simple sentences. God is using my life with the talents that I have — not with talents that I do not have.
When we arrived in Papua New Guinea (PNG) on February 3, 1995, our two children, Stephanie (1979) and Tyler (1981), were a very active part in our ministry. They flew with us on many occasions to Bundi (Boone – Dee) where we planted our first church. Stephanie liked to teach the children in Sunday school and children’s church. Tyler liked to lead the song service. Both children trained themselves out of a job to national workers.
Stephanie is presently married to Aaron Thomas who is a schoolteacher. They have two children. They are working to gain support to return to PNG with ABWE – to work with youth as career missionaries. Stephanie is a licensed beautician. Her professional skills are greatly needed on the mission field.
Tyler went home to be with the Lord on July 24, 2006. He was killed instantly when a driver turned his car into Tyler’s lane of traffic and struck his motorcycle head-on.