This article is written by Laurie McClary:
This particular story features Mary Newman.
I have known Mary for 5 years. During those 5 years I have witnessed her use her gift of hospitality in many ways. I am blown away that at the drop of a hat she is able to whip up table decorations and food that brings every event together in a divine way. Her creativity in this area never seems to stop. But in addition to this she has the ability to laugh at herself displaying an inner strength she always gives the Lord credit for.
She and her husband Jim have been married for 28 years and have 3 children, Jordan, Catherine and Danielle. Jordan left home several years ago to serve in the military and last summer married Tiffany. Catherine is in her final year of college and Danielle is a sophomore in high school.
Mary and her family are on loan from World Gospel Missions (WGM) and have served on staff at MMS for the past 5 years.
When did you first feel called to missions?
During my teenage years I felt the Lord calling me to missionary nursing. Following this call on my life upon graduating from high school I went off to college to obtain my RN. During my sophomore year I met Jim. We had not been dating very long before I told him of my call. He said then that he did not necessarily feel called to missions but he did feel that we should be married and he would follow where God called me as a nurse. In other words, he would be my support. We got married at the end of my junior year and I finished my degree in our first year of marriage.
Where did life take you then?
After a couple years of marriage Jim received his personal call and pursued a degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology at LeTourneau University in Texas. I worked in a nearby hospital while Jim went to school. When he graduated he went to work for an avionics company in Houston.
So, was missions forgotten then?
It was not forgotten, just put on the back burner. We were very comfortable with our life. We had a good income, our kids were growing well, and life was good. Then, we became uncomfortable with life. Clearly, God wanted us in missions. So, we did some research, applied with World Gospel Missions (WGM) and were subsequently accepted. Our assignment was Bolivia. God was faithful through the support raising, our house sold in weeks and before long we were living in a parsonage in Indiana getting ready for language school.
How was Bolivia? What was your role?
I loved Bolivia, the whole family did. We served there for a total of 6 years. And, interestingly, I never functioned in the professional role of missionary nurse and Jim was not the support person, I was. However, I did have a thriving ministry with the children and women in our local community. Towards the end of our time there the Lord brought 160 children to my gate each week to learn bible verses.
How did you then end up at MMS?
Towards the end of 6 years, Wings of Peace, aviation ministry with WGM, closed due to government issues. They sold their plane to another mission organization and we came back to the states. It was hard on all of us and I particularly did not want to leave. I had fallen in love with Bolivia. But, once we arrived in the states we started looking into other mission organizations. One weekend while we were living in Indiana Jim came to MMS by himself to check it out. When he returned from that trip he told me that he could see himself at MMS but he would not pursue it unless there was a ministry for me. He went on to explain that there was a need for a ministry with the women. We packed our bags and here we are.
How do you see yourself at MMS?
I am the support person - that is where God has me now. And, co-leading Apprentice Women, which is where Jim saw me serving, and is a good fit.
Mary faces each day with honesty, integrity and a desire to serve God and His people in spite of the health issues she has struggled with most of her time at MMS. I marvel at her.
Mary, thank you for the time you took to sit down and chitchat.