Mary Jo's testimony

I was born to Robert and Wilma Nietering on November 8, 1946 in Grand Haven, Michigan. From the time I was a child, we went to the Reformed Church. So from my early years I was taught the Reformed catechism. I am very thankful for this education but it wasn’t until my late teens that I realized there was a gap here. Also in these early years, my greatest desire was to become a nurse. Because I was never a 4.0 student, I wasn’t sure I could qualify to get into a college for this. So, I made a deal with the Lord that if He got me into nursing school, that some day, I would serve Him on the mission field….in Africa! As I was in training it was evident that it was difficult to get home on the week-ends to go to church, which was an important thing for me. One of my classmates invited me to go to church with her to a Baptist church not far from school. It was here that I learned about the missing link in my “theological” upbringing. I learned that I had a good base, but missed the fact of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I first had to learn of the necessity of my obeying and following in the waters of baptism. This was extremely difficult for me, being brought up in the teaching of infant baptism. My folks did not agree with this, nor did they attend when I was baptized. However, when they realized that this was not just a passing fancy or just doing this because my friends had done it, they were more acceptant of it. As I finished my nursing studies, the Lord allowed me to be able to step right into a job of my dreams in maternity - labor and delivery. A position just “happened” to be open at the same time that I graduated. But the Lord gave me no peace about staying there. After almost two years of working and learning, He took me out to Baptist Bible College of Pennsylvania. There I took all classes on missions. Since I had dreamed of medical missions since I was a young child…even drew pictures of my doing maternity nursing in an African village, at the age of five or so, I knew this was where I needed to be. Even though it was extremely difficult for me to leave my hometown and family, I had to do it. It was also at BBC that the Lord brought my husband [to be] into my life. Even though I resisted this at first, as this was very definitely not the reason I had gone out there, and besides this guy was too young for me. Not by God’s design…

Through the years I have seen God’s perfect leading first in the years of catechism, of my knowing there was something else to the catechism I had learned, of my friend inviting me to that Baptist church (that eventually became my home church), to the “chance” job opening, to going out to BBC and meeting my husband, of his being invited out to Togo to do audio/video teaching tapes at the hospital. Sometimes it seemed difficult to follow some of the Lord’s leading, as we didn’t understand it. But as we look back now, we see His perfect leading with each new “happening” in our lives. God has allowed me to have a ministry that I only dreamed of as a young girl. He has allowed me to be able to share the Gospel with so many nationals over the years as we work daily in His field at the Hôpital Baptiste Biblique in Togo, West Africa. It is only by His grace and power and strength, that we have been allowed to and will continue to work in His field, sharing the wonderful message of Salvation, as long as He allows us to do so.

 

We have stated time and again that the Lord called us to Togo and will call us away.  We are unsure if that is what is happening in our lives now.