Sincere, honest, humble, & joyous are just a few words I would use to describe Mrs. Phyllis Stirewalt. Some of our other authors have called her exemplary, straightforward and faithful. The bottom line is that she loves Jesus and has spent the better part of her life sharing His love with hundreds, maybe even thousands, of souls in Kenya beside her wonderful husband, Randy. This week, we are following the lead of my pastor, Austin Gardner, who featured three amazing interviews with Mrs. Phyllis on his Leadership with Vision podcast. You’ll find one attached to each segment of our blog interviews this week. We loved the podcast interviews so much, we decided to come back for more so we could share this beloved lady with our readers! So, pull up a comfy chair and enjoy reading about our friend, Phyllis Stirewalt. Then, be sure to listen to the live interview provided below!
Phyllis: My name is Phyllis Stirewalt and I was saved when I was 9 years old at Morning Side Baptist Church. My father was killed when I was 6 in a road accident. My mother took us to church for a few years, but then she quit going and never went back the rest of her life. We were either sent to church or picked up by a neighbor, a bus, van, or someone else. I met my husband, Randy, when we were in high school. We went to youth group together at Bible Baptist Church and were in the same class at school. We dated our senior year of high school. Got married right after we graduated and have been together since we were 17. It is a VERY long story how we got from bus kids to missionaries, but when he surrendered to preach I nearly died!!! I was sure he was crazy!!! When he surrendered to be a missionary, then I knew he was crazy!!! Bus kids just don’t go to the mission field!!!!!!!!!
Lots of changes have been made in my life and heart. I realize now just what a disobedient brat I was and how very patient my God had been with me. He loved me through all my rebellion and so did my husband. He never condemned me but waited for God to make the changes in my life. We enrolled in Baptist Bible College, and after we both graduated went on staff as youth pastor and then on to pastor a small church. Every time I would think the words “mission field” were forgotten (much to my delight), it always came back to haunt me!! I went to the pastor where we were on staff and told him I was not going to the mission field!!!! He then told my sweet husband he needed to give up the idea because of his wife. My husband’s reply, “I have to go; God called me.”
We arrived in Kenya in 1979 not having a clue what a missionary did or even how to speak the language. I was 6 months along with our second daughter at the time. Was it easy for me? Was I a good wife, mother, and Christian? NO, NO, NO, I would cry myself to sleep. Beg my husband to leave!!! I got up every morning and went to language school, thinking I will never learn this language!! Spent 9 months in language school, had our second daughter during the school break and went right back to class with my husband. We have now been in Kenya from 1979 to this very day. So glad and thankful for a husband who isn’t a quitter, even when I begged him to. I have seen God do amazing things and He has changed my life completely and totally. I have gone from the “will NOT” to “Yes, Lord, here am I, use me.” I have fallen totally in love with our people, our ministry, our LORD, and, thank the Lord, He didn’t give up on me and waited for me to grow in obedience.
WBTS: Wow! What a candid testimony of the Lord’s work in your life! We would love to hear more about your family and marriage. What are some specific ways you encourage your husband during tough times in the ministry?
WBTS: Marriage is one of God’s most beautiful creations! Shifting focus to your children, how did you handle the fears you had involving your children on the mission field?
WBTS: Thank you for your wisdom! Many of our authors are working to balance the responsibilities of child-rearing and ministry. Can you tell us how involved in ministry you were while raising your children?
WBTS: Great encouragement for all mothers! Thank you so much for sharing with us how God has used you in the lives of your husband and children. We can’t wait to hear more from you on Wednesday!