1. So you’ve been to 80 countries. Which one is your favorite?
My early visit to Guatemala in the 70s plus the colorfulness of their tribal dress have always been very interesting to me. I would say, however, that it isn´t the country that makes any one of those 80 my favorite but the people that I know there and our special relationship.
2. Where are you off to next?
I used to have a plan, but now I am depending on the Lord to make my plans and put me where he wants me in his time. I claim Jeremiah 29:11 where it reads, “I have my plans for you,” says the Lord.
3. I hear you have a virus. Is it serious?
Yes, my virus is very serious, but it is not a physical virus. My virus, which is in my heart, is the urgent desire to help people to see the poor, the sick, the suffering, and especially those who have never heard about Jesus Christ, and I want to do everything I can to help them. Some might call it “missions.” That is my virus. I hope it is contagious and you get it too.
4. Do you have a family?
Yes, I have three sons, three wonderful daughters-in-law, and ten grandchildren. However, there are more. Because of the relationships I have had with Christian leaders in other countries, I have been given the honor of being the grandmother to their children. Here they are: China – 4, India – 8, Nicaragua – 8, México – 5, Saudi Arabia – 1, Senegal -1. This, too, is a great privilege.
5. When are you going to retire?
I will retire at the same age that Mother Teresa did. There is too much to do to retire.
6. What is your next book?
The Lord is challenging me to help people find their purpose in their precious retirement years. Yes, vacations, traveling, and golf are fun and enjoyable for a season and then comes the need to check options for productivity. With the skills learned in those early years there is so much one can do now that is fulfilling and rewarding. What opportunities does the Lord have ahead for those now with the time and the skill to provide productive change for so many others? Life can now get truly fulfilling and exciting in new dimensions. It is waiting for God’s servants for apply for the job.
7. Why do you like to speak?
What a privilege it is to challenge people out of their comfort zone. I only have so many years here on planet earth and I want to be useful to the Lord and enjoy the process. If I can enable listeners to see that they are important and can do something that no one else can do except them, I will be most blessed.
8. Why do you like to consult?
Having been a co-founder of a missions organization and later its president for fifteen years, I have had to cross a lot of bridges to make things work. If I can help someone who is just starting out or someone who is having trouble of some kind, I will consider it a privilege.
9. Why do you like to write?
Writing is work, hard work. I write because more people will get the message than if I only speak. Why not share with others the things that I know that work and the things that cause problems? And my latest book is called “The Why Not? Factor”
10. What is your Statement of Faith?
Matthew 6:33 sums it up quite well for me. “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
11. Do you have a Board of Directors?
Yes, I do. I feel every person needs to be responsible to someone, and I am responsible to them. I have three committed Christians who help with decisions. They are Paula Quinn, Holly Miller, and Marcia Newman.
12. What happened to your husband?
My husband, Charles (Chuck) Thomas, was a wonderful man. A great entrepreneur in Kingdom work. In 1992 the Lord gave Chuck his reward and took him to heaven. Because of that, I can also minister to widows and widowers.
13. How many years have you been involved in missions?
As I count if from humble beginnings, it is fifty years.
14. What is one of your most rewarding experiences?
Recognizing the need to train and assist indigenous pastors in remote countries in 1983 started me on a crusade. We have been able to teach pastors, provide resources, and equip them for ministry among their own people. Empowering these pastors this way, they have brought millions, and I do mean millions to the Lord. They know the people, the language, the culture, the needs, and they don´t have to worry about a visa for their country. As the Lord calls them to be his servant, and we have been able to help them, the Gospel has gone in places I never even heard of. What a blessing this is to me. What a joy. What an honor to be a part of this kind of ministry.
15. What is one of your most frightening experiences?
There have been many along the way, but one that stands out is when we had our forty-passenger airplane and were taking people to build a church in Jamaica and Haiti. We had permission to overfly Cuba but on the return trip, Castro changed his mind. He sent up three Russian Migs and forced us down. I remember working with the US State department on this and how it seemed there was no way out. It made the front page of the papers all around the world and all the TV news programs, and while that was going on Christians were praying. The Lord gave us a miracle, and within 25 hours we were out of there and on our way home. Yes, we did have to pay ransom, but the Lord provided that too. It is a story of fear and the miracle power of God for his people.