Way back on Christmas eve in 1980, Terry Dalrymple proposed to me as we went through Winterhaven, a section of town in Tucson, Arizona where each home agrees to put up Christmas lights. We were both very young and had starry eyes which were twinkling faster than any of the lights which surrounded us that night–but this did not mean that we were jumping into things. We knew God had called us to serve together in missions. In fact, on our first date, we learned we had each spent serving on the mission field. I had been in Argentina and Terry in the Philippines.
Fast forward almost 40 years. We have spent nearly a decade in the Philippines, learning two languages and starting a church before we returned to the United States; and when we returned our roles changed dramatically. Terry began to serve as the Southeast Asia Director at Medical Ambassadors and I chose to return to school for a nursing degree. Today, by God’s grace, Terry has become a missions leader with a great understanding of Community Health Evangelism, while I have been blessed to work at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix.
Many nurses will tell you, “I always wanted to be a nurse since I was little” or “My mom, aunt, and grandmother were all nurses. It’s in the genes!” When I graduated from nursing school, I was asked to speak to the graduating class. I surprised them when I said, “I never wanted to be a nurse. I thought I could not deal with the blood or poking people!” Actually, nursing was a practical choice–It was a profession which could work well around my family. Given time, I was able to get over those fears. I had the hope that one day, when my children were grown, I could once more work beside Terry and use my nursing skills which I acquired. It’s been over a decade since our last child left home, yet until now, this dream has not become a reality.
Until now, I have been able to justify our differing roles as I see that serving patients in the hospital IS a service to Jesus—a real mission field. I have had many opportunities to minister to people when they were at a vulnerable time in their life. One big thing has been missing—Terry and I have been living parallel, supporting roles, but not working together as we had hoped and dreamed.
In May of this year, Terry had a great need for help in the Global CHE Network office. I told him that I would be happy to volunteer part time. During these seven months, I have found great delight working in the office (yes, I do get to see him out of the corner of my eye). I have loved writing to churches in the United States and co-workers around the world, building relationships and informing of needs. I have loved working behind the scenes, supporting Terry.
In September, I became very ill and have been off work at Mayo. Over these three months, I have learned that working next to Terry is exactly where I need to be. I would not have learned this had I not stepped out and volunteered to help.
For most of you, this is NOT a new story, as you have followed us and prayed for us since 1985 when we were first appointed to the Philippines. You may not know some of the details and may have thought that we were happy working “parallel”. I have to say, we were happy, but we will be even happier as in the near future I will be able to resign and work alongside Terry full time. Would you pray for us in this transition?
I started out talking about our engagement in Winterhaven. Terry took me there because he knew how much I loved Christmas lights. I no longer need to go to Christmas Tree Lane because of the number of lights Terry has placed on the outside of our own home to make me smile! (I tease and say our dogs must keep moving or they may be adorned with a string of lights!) He will occasionally come hobbling in due to his back problem and overexertion. I promptly scold him, but I know it won’t matter. His love for me and desire to bring joy to my heart cause him to sacrifice.
This Christmas, can you give a gift of sacrificial love to someone? It’s exactly what Jesus has done for each one of us!
Luke 2:6,7 While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have the baby, and she gave birth to her first son. Because there were no rooms left in the inn, she wrapped the baby with pieces of cloth and laid him in a feeding trough.