An interview with Terry and Jeannie
Terry and I were appointed to go the Philippines in July of 1984. (This number looks like it belongs in a history book!) Recently, Bethel Baptist Church in Tucson, Arizona sent a series of questions. Although the questions were pretty basic, it was fun to think back and relive where we have been, where we are now, and look to the future. Hope you learn more about us!
Why did you want to become a missionary?
Jeannie: This is a story which takes time! When I was 12 years old, I moved to California where I lived with Gary and Susie Williams for six years. Susie is my sister and I can look back now and say I am grateful for their love and care. When I first moved into their home…I was not so grateful!!! My life had turned upside down. During the first 12 years of my life, I never had to go to church. Suddenly, I was expected to attend church, do chores and even babysit!!! I was the youngest in my family and not used to this type of treatment!
However, God was working and by April of the following year, I had received Jesus as my Savior. I have many pleasant memories during that time. One which stands out was that first Christmas at Gary and Susie’s, I am sure they did not have 2 cents to rub together. Grandma Williams (Loretta) had come to visit us. She insisted that I call her “Grandma” which was very special. I never had grandparents. She also gave me a Christmas gift, a “tie-dye” purse, which I treasured. These memories and family loving on me during a difficult time in life, caused my faith to grow as they were Godly people themselves.
After I had received the Lord, I loved when missionaries would come to church. I would read their letters and look at their pictures in the church hallway. I had always enjoyed and had a propensity toward foreign languages, having studied French and Spanish. In my Junior year of High School, our youth pastor arranged for several students to go abroad for the summer to assist the missionaries. I went to Argentina and that solidified my desire to go into missionary service. I chose to go to Southwestern College in Phoenix to be an education major as I wanted to teach missionary children. It was there I met Terry “officially” (which is a whole different story). Our first date, we discussed missions and eventually went to the Philippines in 1986 with our two small children. You supported us from the start!
Terry: My story begins at Bethel where I grew up surrounded and loved by Christian people that taught in the ways of our Savior. After a short period of rebellion as an early teen, I yielded my heart to Christ on April 20, 1974 and was baptized. From that moment, I sensed that Jesus was calling me to follow Him, although I had no idea what that would mean. During my years at Bethel, I taught a Good News club with Child Evangelism Fellowship, started a Bible club and daily prayer meeting on my high school campus, served on a committee to help facilitate Sing-n-Sips in Tucson, picked up young people in the church van and brought them to church (days were different then), spent my summers serving at a Bible Camp in Show Low, and served as the State Youth President for the Arizona Baptist Convention. By the end of my high school years, I was convinced God was calling me into ministry.
The next transformative moment in my life came at the CBA National meetings in Colorado in 1977. A pastor from Brazil named Brother Fanini, pleaded for missionaries to come and help in the harvest. His invitation was simple – “If God were to call you as a missionary, would you go?” That seemed to me to be a call I could not resist. I went forward to say to God “Anywhere? Anytime! Anything!” My mother came up behind me, took Brother Fanini by the hand, and with tears streaming down her face said, “If God wants my son on the mission field I will go.”
God provided a scholarship to Southwestern College where I was discipled by the Missions Professor, Rev. Steve Sonmor, and sent to the Philippines where he had served before being forced to leave the field due to illness. I came back from the Philippines convinced that God was calling me to be a missionary.
I met Jeannie in 1979, married her in 1981, and arrived on the mission field in 1986 as church planting missionaries. Today I serve as founder and coordinator of the Global CHE Network with ministries in 134 countries mobilizing and equipping the church for transformational Gospel movements in a million villages. www.chenetwork.org.
Where are you a missionary?
Jeannie: During our time in the Philippines, nearly ten years, we learned two languages. We planted a church in the town of Iloilo City and we still have dear friends there to this day! While in Iloilo, we were confronted with poverty and illness, which however good intended the two of us were, we learned we could never solve the problem on our own.
We returned from the Philippines for home assignment and learned of a group called Medical Ambassadors. They too, had concerns for poverty alleviation while teaching the good news of Jesus. They were using a strategy called Community Health Evangelism–a strategy which addresses the needs of the whole person, physically and spiritually. We joined Medical Ambassadors and moved to Modesto, where we were based until 2009.
Terry has always been a visionary. Community Health Evangelism needed to be implemented by different mission organizations around the world. In 2009, he started the Global CHE Network which now works to assist over 900 organizations working in over 134 countries. I was recently at a doctor’s appointment, explaining what we do…he was astounded that this work is being done out of a small office in North Phoenix! God is VERY good!
We are now based in Phoenix in order to be near to Terry’s mom. Much travel is required. We are blessed to live in this time as communication takes place worldwide on a daily basis because technological advances. This week, Terry has an online meeting with 11 people from all over the world! This beats the days when we first moved to the Philippines and it would take 3 weeks for a card or letter to cross the Pacific!
Tell me about you and your family members…
Terry hit the big 60 this year! Thank you for all the cards and well wishes. In his spare time, while not leading the network, he has written a book and is currently working through the right publisher. He injured his back in May, which has been a “thorn in the flesh”, so he appreciates prayer.
Jeannie is working at Mayo Clinic part-time and works in the Global CHE office as Terry’s admin. She is loving this position as it has placed her in contact with international servants all over the world. She loves being at their service as it was her desire since she was in high school.
Our dogs: Mollie and Maisie, keep us on our toes and sit at our feet as we work in the office!
Our son, Tim and his wife Vanessa, currently live in Bend, Oregon. Tim is studying at Western Seminary for his Master of Divinity. He has the same teachers Terry did 30 plus years ago! Tim and Vanessa have three children: Jack, age 7, Finn, age 5 and Esther, age 1. We love getting to see them.
Our daughter, Karen and her husband, Joe, live just 25 minutes from us in Phoenix. Karen is blessed to be able to stay home with their sweet baby boy, Ian, who just turned one. Joe works in computers and is an editor.
Our daughter, Michelle and her husband, Cody, live in San Diego. When Michelle is not playing basketball or Cody riding his motorcycle, they like to camp with their two dogs, Waylon and Billie.
What exactly does your job entail?
Terry, as coordinator, of the network, casts vision and gives direction related to priorities in coordination with representatives throughout the world. At this time, they are working on the following priorities:
- Strengthen member ministries, organizations and partnerships.
- Facilitate prayer globally on behalf of the poor and the workers that serve them.
- Facilitate training and monitoring for the next generation of leaders and measures to assure the quality of tour work.
- Encourage formation of national coalitions with National strategies for expanding Community Health Evangelism in every country.
- Intentionally seek out opportunities for CHE work among the unreached and unengaged peoples.
- Research best practices and provide the network with tools and curricula for the continuing development of the CHE ministry
- Assist governments worldwide in poverty alleviation and community health using CHE principles.
As you can imagine, these are goals to reach for and we need your prayer to accomplish them!
My job, in the network office, is to assist Terry, oversee other office staff, communications and prayer. I love working alongside Terry. I still work at Mayo, as a necessity for health insurance reasons.
What is something exciting you are currently working on?
You may have heard the term, “Million Village Challenge”. This is a goal to reach a million villages with the good news of Jesus by challenging nationals to adopt ten surrounding villages and bring CHE principles to these villages and bringing Christ. This is just one initiative which is ongoing at this time. We would ask for your prayer as nationals reach their neighboring villages.
I am working on improving our communications, to supporters and to network members. I have enjoyed renewing relationships and making new ones!
One thought on “Getting to know Terry and Jeannie”
OH MY GOODNESS – I just read all of the above out loud to Gary and had to pause numerous times to joyously “cry out loud” many, MANY happy tears – all praise – all GLORY to GOD. I know, as Bob Goff expresses in his book “Love Does” – along with him, I’m “emotionally incontinent”. Thank you, THANK YOU Bethel for those outstanding questions with answers that HUGELY BLESSED OUR HEARTS.