Doug was born in Western Australia, 254 miles (400 km) north of Perth, in a wheat and sheep growing area. He was born into a family with Christian parents, and has two older brothers and an older sister, and two younger brothers. Their family attended a small country church of around 50 people, and Doug was saved at an early age. Their home was always open to teachers who needed boarding, shearers, grandparents and others who needed a place to stay. Many times they had missionaries visiting in their home. MAF was in particular a challenge to Doug, and he had a desire at an early age to be a missionary pilot.
When he was 14, the family moved from the 4,000 acres in the country to the city. Doug never considered himself to be a good scholar, so after the move he decided to leave school and get a job. He didn’t settle into any job for any length of time, but continued to be involved in his church as a Sunday school teacher and as a Boys Brigade leader. At around 18 years of age, Doug was very aware that God wanted him in His service full time. He asked a number of mission societies about working with them. Some of the missions said, “Get your University Entrance and then come back to us.” Then, a missionary couple working with New Tribes Mission (NTM) visited from Papua New Guinea. They talked about the challenge of living in remote villages and learning the local language and culture to share the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The thing that really caught Doug’s attention was that NTM did not require a University education to enter the training. What they wanted was a walk with the Lord. This really appealed to him.
Bev was born to a couple who met during the war while serving in the Australian Air Force. She had a good home life and upbringing, but although her mother was brought up in a Christian home, she was not walking with the Lord. For years, Bev was quite religious and attended an Anglican church. After leaving school, at 14, she began her five-year apprenticeship as a Beautician. Many of her customers were recently saved at the local church, and witnessed to her as she styled their hair. She was invited to their church, and it was then that she first heard the Gospel and the need for a personal relationship with the Lord, and she was saved. She met Doug at church and they began courting. As their relationship became serious, they realized together that God wanted them in His service on the mission field.
Bev and Doug decided before they married that they wanted to go into full time service for the Lord, and so they sent their application in to New Tribes Mission. They married on February 2, 1967, and in July of the same year started missionary training.
They enjoyed missionary training–getting to know returning missionaries, learning of needs on each field, and learning many new truths from the Word. Jungle camp for 6 weeks was very interesting. Bev was a city girl and didn’t appreciate bush living. However, they made it through, and in January, 1970, they arrived in Goroka, Papua New Guinea.
After their initial orientation to the field, they assisted in the construction of the new school site. In January, 1971, they moved from the site so that the school personnel could settle in to the new buildings.
God had plans to teach the Croots a number of things over the next couple of years and so they did not get settled into a village that term. They left on an early furlough, planning to go to a different part of PNG when they returned
During their furlough, NTM began working in the Sepik region, and the Croots were challenged to work with the Owininga tribe in the East Sepik Province in 1975. After writing to Dave and Barb Schrag to ask if they would consider them as partners to work in the Owininga, they arrived in Maprik at the end of April, 1975. Dave and Barb Schrag are from Wichita Kansas, USA – and they were instrumental in a couple of churches from Kansas deciding to support the Croots. Although they never met them for the first eight years of support, the Kansas churches have faithfully supported them these past 25 years. The Croots are very thankful for that
Just a couple of weeks after arriving in Maprik, Dave went to the Owininga tribal area to start building his house, and asked if the Croots would come and cook for them. Doug and Bev moved up river in January, 1976 to a mission station just two hours from the Owininga, and they began making preparations for building their own house. In the interim, Bev got very sick with an unknown disease and almost died. Doug had to give her mouth to mouth resuscitation during the night to keep her alive.
Bev recovered from that, and they eventually shifted into the barely-completed house in September of 1976. Dishes were washed in a shower base and a piece of plywood was their table. Sadly, Dave and Barb moved out of the Owininga after just a few years because they were called to move into a support ministry. Doug and Bev are thankful for Dave and Barb’s support in the Owininga in those early years.
About a year later, in January 1979, the Croots were joined by Dean and Loretta Mundy, with whom they worked until 1997. Dean is a very well qualified translator and to date has approximately 43% of the NT translated. They are trusting the Lord to return to PNG after an extended period in the states to get their children settled. Please include them in your prayers.
When the Croots were preparing for missionary work, they were challenged with the thought that they would have to send their children away to mission school. They geared themselves up to send their children away to school for ten or more weeks at a time.
When the time came for the girls to leave for school, Doug and Bev encouraged them with the thought that God had a place for them in the mission school. Also, they shared that this was God’s best for them. They would have wonderful friends to play with, teachers who loved them and dorm parents to love and care for them.
Sometimes, some interesting things came up when the girls returned home for break from Numonohi Christian Academy (Lapilo is now the name of the ground the school is on). For instance, one of the girls was watching Bev make a dish for supper and said to her, “That is not how you do it! My dorm mum/mom does it like this!” Not a good thing to say to your mother. Bev promptly explained to her that her way of cooking was different, not necessarily wrong.