My husband Rob and I have had a heart for missions for many years. Looking back, God was prompting us to get involved beyond just financial support, but we had no idea several years ago that He would lead us half way around the world to India. I guess His purpose for us was bigger than we could have ever imagined.
I previously taught at Waldorf University with Dr. Kristen Berg (GoServ Global India director), training pre-service teachers. When Kristen returned from taking some University students to India in 2016, she told me about Kuni (principal at Emmanuel School) who had been in prayer about someone coming to train her teachers. This small seed was planted, but I readily dismissed it for so many reasons. One of the main reasons is that I have a communication disorder called Spasmodic Dysphonia, or SD. My disability can sometimes be a barrier with communication, and I thought maybe someone else would be better equipped to fulfill God’s plan.
Despite my “foot dragging,” God began to send me many messages through various people and events that made it clear that He wanted me to travel to India with Dr. Berg.
My husband Rob and I were led to support two young women at Emmanuel School. One of them, Pannina, is now in college (equivalent to our grades 11 & 12). She and another girl, Amni, walk down the long dirt road each morning to catch a taxi and attend college. I was able to walk that road with them this last December and speak with them about their educational aspirations and hopes. They are able to stay at Emmanuel School, receiving room and board and continuing their education because of sponsorships through GoServ Global. Another girl, Tappaswini had given me a note as I was leaving from my first trip. Because of her note, Rob and I were led to support her also. We are in prayer for her education, and most of all for her faith in Jesus.
On my first trip to India, the children and people that I met continually asked that I remember and pray for them. Many of them wrote their names in my journal. I printed off all of the girls pictures from the GoServ Global site in order to memorize their names. God reminded me that what they desired most was to be known. I knew it could be challenging as faces and hairstyles change but when I stepped foot into their dormitory unannounced and began calling the girls by name, I could see just how much it meant to each of them. Pannina, who had urged me to learn as many names as possible in 2017, had tears in her eyes and exclaimed, “You remember us!”
I’m thankful for GoServ Global, as this organization provided the scaffold that allowed me to meet people around the globe and move beyond my comfort zone! These experiences have truly changed my life and grown my faith in ways that I could not have imagined!
Rob and Sheila farm and raise purebred Angus cattle near Crystal Lake, Iowa. Rob recently retired from 33 years of banking and Sheila recently retired from Waldorf University. They have 2 children and 9 grandchildren, one of which was adopted from China.