My life really began when I was six years old, the day I accepted Christ as my personal Savior. I always like to begin there with my testimony because for me that seems like the starting point in my life when I met the Lord.
God graciously allowed me to be born into an Independent Baptist preacher’s home where I was daily taught the Bible. I learned very early what was right and what was wrong, so that by the age of six, I knew that I was a sinner and that I had to be saved in order to go to Heaven. To this day, I can still remember how my Dad gently explained to me the only Way to go to Heaven--that I needed to be sorry in my heart for my sins and to trust in Jesus' Blood alone to save me. I can still remember that day how in tears I asked Jesus to save me!
In 1987, my Dad surrendered to be a missionary to Papua New Guinea, and after a year and a half of deputation, we arrived on our mission field. For a nine-year-old little girl, it was a real adventure! I loved making the six-hour hike through a swamp and over a couple of mountains to our bush village, and my sister and I enjoyed playing with all the native children every day. Of course, as children, we learned to speak Pidgin, the national language, within the first three months!
Over the course of the next twelve years, we lived in three different tribes and I had the privilege of watching God do amazing things for us in meeting our needs, in protecting my family from dangers, and in giving us the victory over the devil in the spiritual battles we faced. The greatest blessing for me was getting to see firsthand how lives can truly be changed for the glory of God. It made it worth it all every time someone would look at us with tears streaming down their face and say, "Thank you for being willing to leave America (#2 heaven in their mind) to come and tell me the Truth about Christ."
My parents were always looking for ways to get me involved in the ministry even at a young age, and today that is something for which I am very thankful. It was not just their ministry. Those New Guinea people were our people, and we were always together as a family in serving the Lord. I really believe God used my parents’ example as they trained me to place in my heart the burning desire to be a missionary myself someday.
When I was 21-years-old, we came back to the States for our third furlough. It was at this time that my Dad suggested to me that we pray about me going to Bible College. We asked for the Lord’s guidance, and He clearly led me to Oklahoma Baptist College. It was there that God allowed me to further prepare for His perfect plan for my life. Of course at that time, I did not know exactly what that plan for my life would be. I just knew that I longed to be a missionary and that my heart yearned to go back “home.” Home for me could never again be America. I wanted nothing more than to go back to the mission field, wherever God would lead me.
The Lord had also placed in my heart a desire to learn sign language. As a young girl walking to different villages with my dad, I saw deaf people with no language, no form of communication, and no one at all to love them. It was there in those villages that God broke my heart for the Deaf. I remember weeping as I asked my parents, "How can we reach these people? Are they just to die and go to Hell because we can't communicate the Love of Christ to them? Who will tell them?" How I longed to learn sign language! I told the Lord, "If You want me to learn this language, then You'll have to somehow make it happen." Imagine my joy upon arriving at college to find that they offered a Missions/Deaf Ministry major! God was busy giving me all of my hearts desires!
And then, after a year and a half of Bible College, God led His perfect choice into my life. I knew it was perfect because I had laid out countless fleeces about the man I was going to marry! I had a list of about 50 qualifications, some of which seemed nigh impossible. Okay, maybe I went out on a limb, but I was simply voicing my heart's desires to the Lord! One of my prayers was that since I'd been saving my heart for one man, I wanted a man who had saved his heart for me alone. And saving his heart for me meant not dating around. B.J. Cormier, was a senior at the time, called to be a missionary to Kenya. He, too, was learning sign language, and in many ways, God knit our hearts together. By the way, he had never dated anyone in his life! From that I learned you can ask God for anything, no matter how wild it may seem! (Ephesians 3:20) From the very beginning of our courtship, both of us had peace that this was God’s will for our lives. And as our friendship grew, I could not help but marvel at the way that God had led both of us. It seems that God delights in answering every prayer I ever prayed and fulfilling every desire of my heart. He has truly been so good to me.
And now I am also blessed with two precious children--Seth, who is absolutely loving life in Africa, and Sabrina, my beautiful baby girl. I am blessed beyond measure, and now as we look toward the future and God’s will for us here among the Deaf in Kenya, I feel so privileged that God is willing to use us to serve Him on the mission field. God’s promise in II Samuel 22:31 has definitely come true in my life: “As for God, His way is perfect . . .”