by Marjorie Truesdale

In an article that appeared in Pray! Magazine, '04 Jill Briscoe indicated that many pastors' wives don't enjoy that role.

I agreed with that statement because I felt the same way when my husband pastored his first church. I had grown up as a PK, Preacher's Kid, and knew the fish bowl experience from the inside out. Many times my older sister made the statement, "I'll never marry a preacher;" (but she did!) and I reflected the same statement. There was an ego-building feature to being elevated in the community. Even so, what I felt others expected of me angered me

My mother was my only role model and she felt frustrated, unfulfilled, and criticized as a preacher's wife. God has patiently worked in my life to heal me of my own hurts and unrealistic opinions. He provided other women who have nurtured me and demonstrated joy in their positions. Those women are still available to me as godly mentors.

God burdened my heart to share with others what I have learned. Out of that passion, the Heart of America Ministry Women was born. As an organization, we seek to be the safe place where pastors' wives from all denominations honestly share their personal struggles and are surrounded by peers who will pray for them.

Marjorie Travels Route 66

April 2008 - I celebrated my 66th birthday the end of March. As I anticipate this chapter of my life, I am calling it my Route 66 year. From time to time I'll probably share some of the scenery I am enjoying.

Like all road trips, there may be unexpected car trouble or detours. And always . . . I will be making new friends at stops along the way. Yes, I need a map, comes in 66 books, God's Word, a lamp to my feet.

My journey began in Billings, Montana. I am the second born daughter of Neal & Jean Jantz, home missionaries. Many times, as I grew up, I was resentful that I had been born into a ministry family. However, in my better moments, as a wiser adult, I know it was the best place and preparation for the "good things He planned for me to do." Eph. 2:10b

My newest friend in this journey is Gracia Burnham. An estimated 570 attended the Spring Tea to hear her share her amazing story being held captive for 13 months. Check our website for photos.

July 2008 - When I was five, my family moved to the Ozark Mountains of South Missouri. I attended a one-room school for all eight grades, the community had no electricity until I was eight, and we ran barefoot all summer.

Living on limited resources didn't stop my parents' desire for travel. During dark winter months, we planned the summer trip. When I was eleven, we actually made the journey on the original Route 66. We could only afford simple groceries and fixed our meals at picnic tables. Sleeping arrangements were cots in a tent. But we saw the Grand Canyon, the Pacific Ocean, and Yosemite National Park.

Every day, from 1st grade to 3rd grade, I held school in the afternoon for my younger siblings. This was such a serious commitment, a friend of the family made and gave me a chalkboard for Christmas one year.

My own personal spiritual journey began the summer I read the old classic What Would Jesus Do? I put my faith in Christ, and then read the Gospels almost non-stop.

I had my first taste of missionary experience when I was 14 & 15. For 6 weeks each summer, I accompanied a college woman to remote communities in the Ozarks. We lived an entire week with a family and taught Vacation Bible School. Over the weekend we did our laundry and had better bathing facilities, before moving to a new home for the next week. As I shared in April, God was using each piece of His puzzle to prepare me for the future.

October 2008 - The Fall season brings back lots of memories. When I was in 9th grade, I transitioned from the county school of 27 students to the town school with 600.

Crisp evening air reminds me of the H.S. football games. That's where I met another freshman, the guy wearing the red jacket. If you haven't guessed by now, his name was Phil Truesdale. Our sophomore year, he became the Bible Club president and I was secretary. We often met during our lunch break to discuss "club business." What a discovery . . . we both had an interest in overseas missionary work.

Our wedding was during Christmas break during our 3rd year of college. Our first married place of residence was here in Kansas City . Three years later we moved to the Boston area for Phil to attend seminary. During the early 70's the Christian Community Movement applied to us as well and for 2 1/2 years we were Mom & Dad to eight adults as well as our own two children. Set up to literally be an arm of our church, God began teaching us how to disciple new Christians. We left the Good Shepherd House with fond memories as our road lead us to overseas missionary work. With a new baby in tow, our adventures continued in a very remote part of western Venezuela at a school for missionary children.

December 2008 - Our first Christmas in the tropics was like an electric shock to our emotions. Past Decembers had meant snow, shopping in decorated stores, seasonal music on radio and TV, plans to be with family, and traditional foods. Now we were thousands of miles away from family. Telephone calls weren't options because of limited available connection to the U.S. It was against the law to cut a tree. When we packed the previous July, it had never occurred to us to include an artificial tree for Christmas.

Our lives intertwined with other English speakers at the school for the missionary children. It was there we experienced a traditional Christmas and gift exchange, (with home-made gifts). I was doing reasonably well in my new environment until the evening of the school program. With the notes of the very first carol, my home sickness was expressed by weeping. "How could this be Christmas?" I heard Him whisper "I understand. I wasn't home for the very first Christmas either."

The next few weeks, I began to walk in Mary's sandals. Far from family, moving to Egypt (new language) under Palm trees (no snow) Christmas was celebrated by the Holy Family because Immanuel had come! Their lives weren't made easier. Actually life became even more difficult. My new Christmas became a celebration of Him coming to our planet to announce release for captives, the gift of joy regardless of circumstances, and His precious daily relationship. And YAH! that doesn't change with the weather, the food, or the presence . . . or absence of other humans.

February 2009 - After seven wonderful years living in Venezuela and Costa Rica, our travels took us to Pasadena, CA. Our new address was 100 feet from world famous Colorado Boulevard, and the Rose Parade. All three children struggled to adjust to very large public schools; Phil was attending seminary full time, and I kept everyone fed and where they needed to be in our only vehicle, an old Red VW bus. We had been warned to expect a reverse culture shock when returning to our country of citizenship. Those were painfully true understatements!

The media called attention to the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Challenger disaster this past January 28. Our family remembers that same day as cancer surgery for me. Isaiah 43:2 doesn't say IF you ever have a hardship, but WHEN one goes through raging water or burning fire. . . He will be with us. Effects of massive chemotherapy resulted in a body with no immune system. An infection required emergency surgery; weeks later I found out how close to death I had been. Looking back, we can tell story after story of God's provisions for us financially, emotionally, and spiritually. God used this experience years later when I had the privilege of leading Al to the Lord, a connection he related to because he was battling cancer.

April 2009 - Our time in Guatemala came to a close. In 1992 we moved to Kansas City to be near aging parents and an adult child facing overwhelming challenges. However, our years living in a Spanish culture deeply affected us.

Two children and their single mother had lived with us in Guatemala . Just after Christmas in 1997, cancer took her life. The next nine months, I experienced a welcomed but difficult pregnancy; finding a way to bring the two teenagers back into our home, legally! My nest was now complete.

I physically completed my 66th year the end of March. To celebrate, I traveled with my daughter Terrie and two of her children to actually get a picture of myself on the official Route 66. I have no road map to look at for my 67th year, I am grateful for the BEST GPS system possible, the Holy Spirit. I know He still has plans for me, Ephesians 2:10.