I was born in Seattle,Washington, August 9th, 1929. My parents separated when I was four. At that time my mother obtained my custody and that of my new baby brother, while my father got the custody of my two older brothers. Occasionally at Easter my mother would attend church, and I would accompany her. I also attended various Sunday schools at different times. I even attended Sunday School at Emmanuel Bible Church (our present home church) for a while when invited by a friend during an attendance contest. Though the Gospel did not sink in at that time, I am still thankful for having memorized all the names of the books of the Bible and some Scripture passages while attending Sunday School.
In 1942 my mother won the custody of the boys. During the time of the custody case, my brother Dick visited his and my maternal grandparents. Our uncle paid his way to a Bible Camp. It was during that week at camp that Dick came to know the Lord. He immediately wrote a card to his mother and one to his dad telling how his life now belonged to the Lord and quoted John 3:16:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
So Dick moved in with Mother and me just after being saved. He faithfully gave the Gospel to me, but I was indignant that he would call me a sinner. He was the one always getting into trouble, not me!
After about a year Dick decided to move back to live with Dad. During the year that he was away the Lord began working in my heart in answer to his prayers. Then when he came for a visit, my heart was ready for the Gospel. When he told me the way of salvation it seemed I had never heard it before. When Dick asked me if I knew I was a sinner and that Christ died for me, I said “yes.” That was it! In that moment of time, I passed from death to life. But in saying “yes” I knew I was aligning myself with people and a message that I had once ridiculed. That “yes” was also a complete surrender to Jesus as the Lord of my life.
A few days later while at Bible Camp as a new babe in Christ, I heard a missionary to China speak of missionary work. I realized that the Gospel had delivered me from an eternal hell, and I felt I was a debtor to those who had never heard. From that moment on I set my face towards the mission field. I graduated from summer school on my 17th birthday.
My brother Dick had heard Paul Fleming, founder of New Tribes Mission, speak and had preceded me to NTM. It was through Dick that I heard of NTM and decided that that was where the Lord was leading me. So in February, 1947, I entered New Tribes Institute “boot camp” training in Fouts Springs, California. After the summer break in 1947 instead of returning, I went to Prairie Bible Institute in Canada for four years. One of the summers I spent in mission work in rural Idaho and another summer, after graduation, in rural British Columbia. Then that winter I worked in an office to save money for further training. In the summer of 1952, I attended the Summer Institute of Linguistics in Norman, Oklahoma. Following that I returned to NTM’s training camp for a year in preparation for working in New Guinea.
Jerry Sherman and I sailed to New Guinea in June of 1954, arriving on the 9th of July, one year to the day that Jerry’s husband had burned to death in the forest fire that claimed the lives of 15 men who had been fighting the fire. I was excited to be beginning my lifetime vocation.