Speaker 1 00:00:02 Welcome to Lavish Hope, season four. I'm your host, Liz Tesa. This episode is a little departure from our regular rhythm in honor of a very special guest from her residence in northwest Iowa. I'm joined by much beloved retired missionary nurse Arlene Steinman, and her good friend and biographer Jeff Barker. At 98 years young, Arlene has nearly a century of wisdom and encouragement to lift and inspire us. I'd like to acknowledge and thank Pastor Steve Green for all he did to make this recording possible. Arlene and Jeff share stories of her many decades of collaborative medical mission work across Africa, and how her deep faith, sense of humor and supportive family and friends grounded her and helped her stay hopeful and resilient. Arlene is part of the legacy of RCA Global Mission, which for many decades has created space around the world for women's gifts, influence, and leadership to flourish. Let's join Arlene and Jeff now to hear more about her trailblazing faithful life as a missionary nurse. Greetings everyone, and welcome to Lavish Hope, stories of resilience and overcoming. I'm your host, Liz Tesa, and today on the podcast, I'm so excited and delighted to have one of our missionary matriarchs here live and in person with us all the way from Susan Center, Iowa, Arlene Steinman. And alongside her is her dear friend and biographer, Jeff Barker. Welcome to both of you. Thank you for coming to be on the podcast today.
Speaker 2 00:01:48 Thank you. Thank you.
Speaker 1 00:01:51 Yeah. So good to have you here. So, you know, as we have already been chatting, we've already had a great conversation. Prior to this podcast. We've been talking about these themes of hope, resilience, and overcoming. And Arlene, it's so clear that your life is full of stories about all three of these things. And so, um, I'm wondering maybe Jeff, you could just introduce us a little bit to Arlene and to, uh, some of those themes of resilience.
Speaker 2 00:02:26 Sure. Um, first of all, Arlene, are you willing to tell us how old you are now? Yes, I am 98 plus. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:02:36 Praise God.
Speaker 2 00:02:36 And you and I have known each other. You and I met in 2005 when I wanted to write a play about a woman in ministry. And I was asking you about a friend of yours, Betty Green, who was one of the co-founders of Missionary Aviation Fellowship. And after you told me about Betty Green, I began to ask you about yourself. And I finally said, Arlene, I think the Lord wants me to write about you. And you, um, you said to me, why do you wanna do that <laugh>? And, um, I said, well, I, I, I wanna write a story of a woman in ministry to edify the church and to support the gospel. And you said, those are good reasons. And then you also gave me a, um, a requirement. Do you remember what that was? You must never put a missionary on the pedestal. That's right.
Speaker 1 00:03:41 Never put a missionary on a pedestal.
Speaker 2 00:03:46 And I agreed with that. And then we began, and, uh, out of that conversation came your sharing with me of your journals and your letters. That took some time to build up some trust Yeah. And some relationship. Yeah. Um, and, um, and then eventually you asked me if I would write your biography, and that turned into three books. And then we've just be, we've just sent off to the publisher the fourth book, which is a book called Whispers from the Lord. And, um, do, do you wanna try to describe what that book is, Arlene, or do you want me to do? I think you can do it. I'll give it a try. Yeah. I discovered as I read your journals, Arlene, particularly the journals from your time in Ethiopia, and then a little bit into Zambia, I discovered over a one five year period, you wrote what I would call personal prophecies.
Speaker 2 00:04:53 There would show up in your journal. Um, every day you would write the scriptures that you were reading that day, you would write some of the themes that were speaking to you, and then suddenly the voice would change, and it was my child, and then suddenly it was the Lord speaking directly to you. And I found 90 of those in your journals. And then I thought, well, I, I should see if these maybe have, um, meaning to some other people. So I read some of those to my students. I eventually came and I said to you, may I share these more publicly? Said, I trust Jeff. Go ahead. And so the publisher agreed. And, um, and we have written together a book, which includes those scriptures, includes the context in which you were living, and then includes the word from the Lord on those 90 occasions. And then there are some follow up question, reflection questions in
Speaker 3 00:05:56 That book, which will come out next March.
Speaker 1 00:06:01 That's so exciting. You know, Arlene, I'm just wondering, can you just tell me a little bit about how it was, you know, you're in the mission field, you were working, and we're gonna hear about that, we're gonna hear about you as a nurse and all the different people that you were working alongside of and training and helping. But how, how did you find time to sit and journal and really be with the Lord while you were in the middle of so much? It's almost like you were able to be a Mary even when you were in a Martha context, if that makes sense. You know, Mary and Martha <laugh>. Did you have to intentionally take time?
Speaker 3 00:06:45 It was something that I just had in me. It was to, to, um, tell the story, tell a story. I felt there was some story that needed, needed to be told. And so I just started doing that. I don't know how it happened, but it just did. Do you remember who gave you your first journal? Yeah, my grandma Sche gave me a journal and as a gift. And so I took that home that, uh, was, um, how old were you at that time? I, I don't know. It was when you were 19. Oh, 19th birthday. 19th birthday, okay. Then she gave me that. And then that was an inspiration for me to start using it. And then I really became a dit because I would write a little bit every day or, um, something, I always felt like I needed to put something in there, even if it wasn't anything very special at the time.
Speaker 1 00:07:58 So it was almost like a discipline, like a a or a spiritual practice that you would just Yes. Right. I think that's really important for our listeners to hear, because in today's world, right, things are so connected with technology, we're just going minute to minute and just to be able, we're all looking for these ways to build in practices to help anchor us and to just help us just take a moment to be thoughtful, you know? And I'm just thinking that was 80 years ago. That was just about 80 years ago that your grandmother gave you that first journal. And look at what has flowed out of it three now, almost four books, and just countless ways that, um, those, what's in the content of those journals has blessed people. So thank you for being obedient to that way. It must have been the Holy Spirit just kind of spurring you on in advance. Right. For surely God knows the plans. It
Speaker 3 00:08:55 Was the Holy Spirit guiding me. I'm sure.
Speaker 1 00:08:58 So beautiful. So then in terms of, you know, we talk in this podcast about resilience, building that kind of muscle of being able to overcome things and being able to kind of snap back. Um, Reverend Dr. Denise Kingdom Greer talks about resilience as a rubber band that stretches and then can come back to its form again. So it just, um, I'm just wondering, Jeff and Arlene, if you can just talk a little bit about, I mean, Arlene, you had so much resilience in so many ways with being in the mission field as long as you were in, in several different countries on the continent of Africa. And so did that resilience, was that in, like, did you build that through your time with God, through your journals, do you think?
Speaker 3 00:09:45 I think so. I think so. And I felt that it helped me to remember my path that I was walking to, that it was important. For some reason I didn't know what, but for some reason it was important that I do that. When I was in Africa, far from home, I felt that, that if something happened to me and I died, that my mother, my parents would have something that they could think of that I had done that day, or that there was something that would be, uh, in touch, would make it personal. And, uh, I think that was one real, uh, reason
Speaker 2 00:10:40 You were aware at that time that what you were doing, what you were writing in your journal, what you were writing in your letters would somehow become public, at least to your family.
Speaker 3 00:10:52 Yes, yes. I wanted them to know what hap what I was doing that day, uh, if the word came that I was no longer there. And so, yeah, that was the reason behind it.
Speaker 1 00:11:07 That's so beautiful. And you were sharing with me that you come from kind of a, a beautiful, uh, nuclear family of six girls, six daughters, and your parents. And you said you're the second eldest. And, um, so I can imagine that it must have been so wonderful for that family right back in Iowa, to receive letters from you sometimes that phone call, that brief phone call, but to have that connection with you,
Speaker 3 00:11:39 I can remember being at home and then having our meals around the table in the kitchen, and that my youngest sister, which is Millie Mildred, uh, would sit on my lap while my father was reading the Bible at the end of the meal and praying for us.
Speaker 1 00:12:02 Oh, what a beautiful image. So beautiful.
Speaker 3 00:12:05 That's my background.
Speaker 1 00:12:07 Lovely. So Arlene, you know, I would love if you and Jeff might be able to share with us how you became a missionary. How did that all begin? How did you hear God's call and pursue it? I know we've already talked about this theme of community, how important the community, your church, your family. Um, but I know our listeners would love to hear how it all began.
Speaker 3 00:12:34 Well, it happened in my church, and I was sitting up in the gallery. We had a, a church that had a big gallery up on like second floor. And I was sitting there and I remembered that the pastor was preaching, and his name was, uh, Reverend Young. And, um, he had the text was, the text he was using that day was, uh, Lord Send Me. And that's what I remember. And I, I can re still picture the, um, the organ, the pla the pull pu put, and the area where the pastor was standing and me in the crowd. But I could feel like, um, like, uh, heavy or heat or something just go through my body and down to my feet. It was just like, and I thought, what is this? And I, I looked around me to see if other people were being affected somehow, and everybody was just normal.
Speaker 3 00:13:52 And that, that surprised me because I thought, what was that? And I think that that was really the Holy Spirit making those words that the pastor was saying, who am I, uh, sin me? And, um, that was imprinted upon me in a way that I felt it, I didn't just hear it. I felt it. I heard the, the pastor's voice speaking, but I also felt it, which, um, which really amazed me. And I didn't tell anybody right away. At least you didn't tell anyone in your family, but you told the pastor didn't. Oh, that's right. That we, oh yeah, that's right. Then I started thinking about that, what is this? And so I made an appointment with Pastor de Young. He was an older man, bald, very kind. And I made an appointment whether I could come and see him. And then I told him what had happened to me. And he said, well, what are you going do about it? I says, that's why I came to you. I wanted to know what I ought to do about it.
Speaker 1 00:15:26 You were seeking wise counsel.
Speaker 3 00:15:29 And then he, he said, well, here, here is a little paper with an address on it, and you write to this address, and then that's what you should start with, tell you what you told me, and write it on this paper and send it to this address, which was an address in the headquarters of the Reform Church. So that's, that's what happened.
Speaker 1 00:16:00 So that letter though, was to the mission that was to the missions department at the Reform Church? Yes. Is that what that was? Yes. Oh, so it was, he was, so your pastor Young was sensing that you were being called to the mission field?
Speaker 3 00:16:14 Yes. And he had a brother who's also a pastor, and that brother was a pastor in Hall, which was just a very near Susan. Um, and so I talked with him. This
Speaker 2 00:16:28 Was part of a longer journey in which you had heard a call some years earlier, a call to nursing, and, um, and this was at a missions conference in Orange City that you and your, um, sisters and mom attended. And, um, and you felt a, a very serious call at that time, but you had already signed a contract to teach the next year, and still you stayed as a country school teacher for a few more years.
Speaker 3 00:17:00 There was this missionary who was speaking there, and my mother took us to that, hear him speak, and that, at that meeting, I thought, oh, that's for me. He was asking for, we need help. Who will go, who will go for us? And I wanted to, but I, but I was already teaching, so I, I couldn't go then.
Speaker 1 00:17:35 So how beautiful though, that there was this kind of, you know, confluence of different sources around you where God was just sort of pointing these arrows of, of what you needed to be doing next, right. Of what you needed to be considering?
Speaker 3 00:17:52 Yeah, and I wasn't, I didn't want my family or my parents to get all nervous or excited. That's why I think I went secretly to my pastor and then he could break the news to my family,
Speaker 1 00:18:06 <laugh>
Speaker 2 00:18:08 To Arlene as I recall. The, um, this was, you were a little bit older student Yeah. Than, uh, your other colleagues there in the nursing program. So they wanted you to come and teach there at the nursing school?
Speaker 3 00:18:22 Yes. They did the, yes, the principal of the school, um, invited me to be one of the staff.
Speaker 2 00:18:30 Close to the end of your studies, you told your family?
Speaker 3 00:18:34 Yes. I thought the time discount that I need to tell them now that, um, I have plans for overseas. We were all together, the whole family was there, even little, a little nieces and nephews and so on. And, uh, we were just ready to go home. Everybody's just ready to go home. And then I says, wait, I need to have something I want to tell you. And then I told them that I was planning to be a missionary. My mom says, well, let's, everybody now, they were nervous. Nobody knew what to say. And so they, um, my mom said, just get your wraps on and, you know, go home. And that's what they did. And then the next morning, then when we got downstairs from waking up and, um, then my father was sitting there and he said, uh, what was that you were saying last night? And I said, well, that I wanna be a missionary. And he said, you can be a nurse right here in <laugh>. There, there's a need for nurses right here. And I says, but that isn't what God wants me to do. He goes, I said, did you, how did you sleep last night? And the first thing he said, I didn't sleep.
Speaker 3 00:20:12 I was awake all night.
Speaker 1 00:20:14 He was a worried
Speaker 3 00:20:15 Papa about thought of. Yeah, he was more so than my mother. I think my mother seemed to understand it better than my father.
Speaker 2 00:20:27 But your relationship with them was strong enough and important enough that you trusted them and they trusted you. Yeah.
Speaker 3 00:20:35 Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:20:36 And then they really became part of your mission all those years in terms of praying for you and communicating with
Speaker 3 00:20:44 You? Yeah, everybody was behind me. I felt everybody was wanting to do something to help. In fact, what did they say about supporting your mission? Financial? Oh yeah, they said that, uh, they didn't want anybody else to help support me. They could do it all. They wanted to do it all to the rs. A had to, oh, the rc, you have to let other people help with this. They can't, they don't have anybody to sit. So you have to let them help with the support that, that was the, uh, the response, the response is really fantastic of the way they were so ready and eager to be a part of it.
Speaker 1 00:21:33 It was like, it was a whole community endeavor, you know? And that's what's so beautiful that not only had God put it on your heart for you to go and be in missionary for you to pursue this calling in nursing overseas, but then everybody also,
Speaker 3 00:21:49 They Yeah, they had a part. Yeah, they wanted to have a party.
Speaker 1 00:21:55 That's so beautiful.
Speaker 3 00:21:57 And then of course, I had to stand up in front of church for the first time ever and tell them, give them my, uh, testimony of what my plan was and so on. And that was very important too. But that was something I would never have gone and stood a testimony like that, but I did. Uh, and our pastor wasn't there. We, our pastor had accepted a call to another congregation. So the, uh, one of the elders in the church, his name was Maureen Toski, was in charge of the service, and he got me up on the pu place and told, had me tell what my plan was. And, um, the congregation were just kind of dumbfounded. I saw some people wiping tears, you know. Wow. And, um, but I told them what I felt God was wanting of me. And, um, then I went to sit down. I think Grata was sitting in the front with me. I'm not just sure. I'm sure I wasn't alone. I'm probably was great. Maybe Joyce and Miller too. I don't remember just who was in the front of the church
Speaker 1 00:23:34 Room. And you had your sisters with you?
Speaker 3 00:23:36 Yeah. And then when we walked out of church, then there was a lady who was married to a pastor who were retired. And I remember her, uh, walking right next to me and telling me how this had affected her, that I was going to do this.
Speaker 1 00:24:00 Oh, that's so beautiful.
Speaker 3 00:24:01 Yeah. That was one of the members of the congregation. But she was, uh, yeah, walking right out beside me and going down the stairs and down, you know, to go out to the building.
Speaker 2 00:24:12 Something that we don't understand today, Arlene, is that at that time when you went off to the commission field, how many years would you be there without coming back home again?
Speaker 3 00:24:22 Yeah, it could be like three, five years.
Speaker 1 00:24:27 I think you had told me that at the beginning. It was five years. Yeah. And then they decided,
Speaker 3 00:24:33 Yes, that was too long, they said, mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it would be better if we came. We had a shorter time here, but more frequent,
Speaker 1 00:24:43 Yes.
Speaker 3 00:24:44 It was better for me as well as the churches, because that would give, uh, a chance for me to go to all the churches, to, to share the story and
Speaker 1 00:24:54 Share
Speaker 2 00:24:55 Those five years. How did you communicate with your family?
Speaker 1 00:24:58 Yeah.
Speaker 3 00:25:00 Um,
Speaker 2 00:25:02 Did you call 'em on the phone?
Speaker 3 00:25:03 Uh, once in a great while, I would try to set up a, a telephone connection, and the, the operator into center knew about it too. They were gonna facilitate this. And it happened, you know, we did get to talk, but when we got to talk, then all we could think of was, oh, it's so good to hear your voice. And then the next one, then they all wanted to say hello to me. And so I wanted to say hello to them. So this was all we said to everybody. Oh, it's so good to hear your voice. Oh, it's so good to hear your voice. Oh, it's so good to hear your voice. And we never got anything else said, <laugh>. That was all, but that was important.
Speaker 1 00:25:51 Oh, that sense of connection. You know, we're in this age where young people text and chat, you know, through technology, not through that voice. That's important though.
Speaker 3 00:26:03 Oh, that was so important. The voice.
Speaker 1 00:26:05 So beautiful. So, you know what I'm realizing, Arlene, um, and Jeff too, I think for our listeners, they need to hear, what did you actually tell your congregation you were doing when you were first starting out? Where were you gonna go and what were you gonna do there? Particularly, I know you said that you had gotten the training as a nurse.
Speaker 3 00:26:25 Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:26:26 Right. And so then you were headed out, and then also, like, what was the timeframe, Jeff? So, so folks can kind of figure this, like what, what, what exactly was the, the specifics of this calling?
Speaker 2 00:26:40 So this was 1955, and you remember where you were going on that first call? Or what was the, the Riverside town that you were going to
Speaker 3 00:26:51 That was, uh, Masser was in Africa. Yeah,
Speaker 2 00:26:55 In the South Sudan.
Speaker 3 00:26:56 South Sudan.
Speaker 1 00:26:57 Yep. So 1955 South Sudan.
Speaker 3 00:27:01 Yes. And that was very far from, especially, I remember my parents, especially my dad, he thought that was so far.
Speaker 2 00:27:15 And what did you do there in,
Speaker 3 00:27:20 Well, I learned the language, first of all. And that was one of our highest priorities. We were not to get too involved in taking care of sick people, uh, right there on the spot and make myself available to them if they come and knock on my door, because then I would never get to learn the language. So they, uh, that was a very strong recommendation, and that you could not go back home to America from Africa until you knew that you had passed certain tests in knowing the language. And we had teachers there for helping us to learn the
Speaker 2 00:28:07 Language. This of course, is very tricky at that time, because so much of new era was not a written language. No. And so you desperately needed those teachers. Eleanor Van Davor would've been one
Speaker 3 00:28:18 Of them. Yeah. And Marion Bark, those were good friends. And Mary Bark was from Iowa, and all that was so wonderful for the family. So we chased over to the town where she lived all the way across Iowa, I can't think of the name of the town right now. And, and visited my parents had to meet Marion's parents because then we would be sort of like connected as families so that if I, if they got letters, they would share the letters with them and they got letters, they would share it with my parents. So that brought a whole different connection.
Speaker 1 00:29:00 So. Beautiful. So see, I'm just feeling like these small things that you're talking about are, they're, they're significant things, right. Learning the language that's, I mean, that's actually no small thing, but it's a specific thing. And then having the connection with your girlfriend over there, Marion, and then her family here. Yeah. Having those conversations by phone every once in a while. And, you know, as we're thinking about these themes of resilience and overcoming, it feels like those are all part of what helped you to succeed because you not only served in South Sudan, you then went on to serve in other African countries and do even more extensive types of mission work.
Speaker 3 00:29:46 We were, I was expelled from Sudan.
Speaker 1 00:29:49 Oh, well, tell us about that. We need to know why you were expelled. <laugh>, Jeff is already having a chuckle over there. That's gotta be a good story.
Speaker 2 00:29:59 A public health course that you set up to teach
Speaker 3 00:30:03 There. Yes. I was teaching public health.
Speaker 2 00:30:06 Well, you were teaching them about sexual health and how they had to be careful who their partners were. Yeah. And that turned out to offend a local policeman who was, um, was having extra marital affairs with one of the women. And so he then told his superiors that the American nurse was setting up a conflict between North Sudanese and South Sudanese. And so then you got thrown out of the country. That's, that's when your educational career began, because you started a dresser school, which is kind of a physician's assistant or a nursing school in the western mountains of Ethiopia. And that served as a, a great help to all of the villages in that region, because then they could have medical professionals come and care for the people in those villages.
Speaker 1 00:31:11 You told me, Arlene, when we were speaking earlier that, um, you know, of course, first I having as my first career, uh, in theater, I had to understand what a dresser school actually was. So, if I remember correctly, let me see if I'm remembering this correctly. You, this was about dressing wounds. So this was about wound care,
Speaker 3 00:31:33 Wound care,
Speaker 1 00:31:34 And that you had, um, you know, sometimes we think of missionary women, they must be going and only serving women in the mission field. But you said that you had male students that came Yes. And were very eager for the training.
Speaker 3 00:31:48 Yes. And, uh, the women were busy with their families. They, they didn't have time to go, but the men were more ready to study and, and take the courses. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:32:05 So you were able to, you know, this is the best, this is the best possible type of mission work when, you know, you, you're able to serve alongside and support and build up people from the community, right? Yes,
Speaker 3 00:32:19 Yes. Yes.
Speaker 1 00:32:20 That, and you worked along, we were in partnership reform Church in America has a long history of partnership, um, globally with the Presbyterian Church.
Speaker 3 00:32:29 Yes.
Speaker 1 00:32:30 Right. And you had, yes. I think I'm remembering correctly that you had, that was partnerships with the Presbyterians there as well. Yes,
Speaker 3 00:32:36 Yes, it was.
Speaker 1 00:32:37 That's so good. And then tell us a little bit about, um, I have here in my notes the National Council, national Nursing Council of Ethiopia.
Speaker 3 00:32:49 Yeah. I got involved in that. I can't remember now. You'll have to tell
Speaker 2 00:32:56 Ethiopia. It was probably in, in, um, the writing and the, the monitoring of the tests that needed to be taken by all of the nursing schools across
Speaker 3 00:33:08 The country. And I was in charge of quite a few of the schools. I was, I had some responsibilities. I know
Speaker 2 00:33:19 You eventually in, um, Zambia became part of the National Nursing Council there, and there was a, a great deal of committee work. You were, you were traveling into the capital city with SAA quite often to participate in helping the leadership of nursing schools in that country as well.
Speaker 1 00:33:42 Yeah. So that's three different countries now. Right. Are those, those are the three countries that she served in, right. That you served in
Speaker 2 00:33:48 And Ethiopia, Kenza,
Speaker 3 00:33:50 Zambia. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, those three.
Speaker 1 00:33:52 What a wonderful influence across many cultures, because we know there's lots of different cultures within those countries, I'm sure in different tribes.
Speaker 3 00:34:02 By that time I had a car, a little car, um, that I could go back and forth to Osaka for meetings and so on. Um, I remember with a lot of cattle on the road when I was on the road driving, I would come to you herds of cattle that were crossing, and I'd have to stand and wait for the cattle to go <laugh> across. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:34:31 At that time, there was also, um, a, a great revival happening in Ethiopia. And you were a leader of the church as well. Yeah. You, you had a position as an elder in the church in Ethiopia, didn't you?
Speaker 3 00:34:47 I did,
Speaker 2 00:34:48 Yeah. The Lord was doing a mighty work. And, um, talk about signs and wonders that, that story has been told elsewhere as well. But, um, but certainly you became a prayer warrior and a, a caretaker of the people in the church as
Speaker 1 00:35:06 Well. We know there's those three books. So do each of those books pertain to one of the countries where she was doing the particular mission work? Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:35:15 <affirmative>. That's right. Yeah. It started out as one book, and then I realized there's no way to tell this one book. And so the first book is Sue Sudan, the second book, Iowa, Ethiopia, and then Zambia Home. And then the fourth book that I mentioned, whispers from the Lord, which focuses on the times when God spoke directly to Arlene through her, the journal writing.
Speaker 1 00:35:44 I'm wondering about Arlene. I'm sure people are thinking, gosh, didn't she ever just feel a little hesitant or a little, even a little fearful, even though you were so clear about the calling to go off on your own and do this kind of really important work. Did you ever feel any trepidation at all?
Speaker 3 00:36:09 From the time that I set my foot on the path of where God was leading me, I was on it and I didn't turn back.
Speaker 1 00:36:18 What do you think it was that helped you just stay the course so confidently?
Speaker 3 00:36:24 Well, because I, I knew it was God who was leading me. I didn't want to be disobedient. I wanted to be obedient.
Speaker 1 00:36:35 And it feels like to, you had so many people supporting you.
Speaker 3 00:36:38 Yes. A lot of people supporting.
Speaker 1 00:36:41 Say a little bit about your sister Grada and how she was part of this. Like, you know, sometimes people think, oh, missionaries go off to, you know, overseas to do their global mission work, and they come alongside and have partners there, and then they just sort of pop back into the states and, you know, make visits. But there were things happening stateside, right? Oh,
Speaker 3 00:37:02 Yes. Uh, uh, my correspondence was a big problem for me, but I would write one letter and then she would, um, mimeograph or whatever, make copies and, and I had a mailing list, a long mailing list
Speaker 1 00:37:20 Of your supporters, right.
Speaker 3 00:37:21 Of my supporters and people who had special interest. It was like answering my correspondence, uh, that she would then send out the le a letter, uh, to those on my correspondence list. And she came to visit me too in Africa.
Speaker 1 00:37:43 Oh, that's great. So she had eyewitness account.
Speaker 3 00:37:47 She did.
Speaker 1 00:37:47 That's wonderful. And you said she's a little younger than you are?
Speaker 3 00:37:51 Seven years younger than
Speaker 1 00:37:52 Me. Seven years. So she's still
Speaker 2 00:37:55 Family members came to a
Speaker 3 00:37:57 Big Joyce. Yeah, Joyce. Well, um, be and Howard even went. Okay. Yeah. Different members of the family came to see me when they found out that it was a possibility.
Speaker 1 00:38:09 How wonderful.
Speaker 3 00:38:10 I remember that. Uh, great. I had made a new outfit for herself of cotton material because it was gonna be hot there, and she had, it looked so nice. It was so pretty. It was a beautiful blue green sort of teal color. And I fit it on and it just fit me so nice. I said this, so she gave it to me and she sewn it all herself and she, for the trip, and she ended up leaving it behind.
Speaker 1 00:38:43 Oh, that's so wonderful. She sounds like a great sister, wonderful sister, and a wonderful partner in ministry too, in the mission. Yes.
Speaker 3 00:38:52 Yes, she was. She
Speaker 1 00:38:53 Is. That's so great. When you came back to the US to share, what were some of the questions that you had to answer or, you know, just how did people, how did you help people really understand what it was you were doing there?
Speaker 3 00:39:11 They would ask questions. I remember if I spoke to a smaller group or a women's group or a different kind of group, there would be interesting questions that would come up. Well, what do they eat? You know? And, um,
Speaker 2 00:39:25 This was a time when the Holy Spirit was doing work across the world. This was the time of the charismatic movement to the United States. And, um, and certainly there was charismatic movement in church in your own life, and so the churches did want to know about that.
Speaker 3 00:39:45 Yeah. How the Holy Spirit was working, especially those questions would come up.
Speaker 1 00:39:52 So Arlene, just thinking about this kind of idea of doing mission work in community, when you were in those places in Africa, where did you live? Who did you live with? Do you, do you recall that aspect of being there? Yeah,
Speaker 3 00:40:13 I remember, um, when I went, the mission board sent me to a different country, um, that I would always ask them for advice or for information about what kind of housing would be provided for me when I came, so that I would know that, that it would be a safe place. And what kind of other missionaries, maybe women who were, would be living near me or, uh, I find out something about what was going to be provided.
Speaker 1 00:40:58 That's so smart. Right? So then you're, you're that, that probably helped with not feeling anxious or Yeah. You know, a little fearful or anything because you were knowing what to expect.
Speaker 3 00:41:10 Yeah, I, and it would be a, a house and there was, um, a stove or something, you know, where I could prepare food, the water, the water system.
Speaker 2 00:41:26 You had a space in each one of your locations that you referred to as your chapel that was often an outdoor space, was it? Yes,
Speaker 3 00:41:35 Like on a, on a hillside. Um, overlooking, overlooking the area far away, you know, maybe even miles away I would have a view or a place where I could be on a hillside seeing pastures with cattle in them. And so reminding me of the farm and at home and, um, just sort of a, a way to get away from the busyness and just being alone with the Lord, that was important to me.
Speaker 1 00:42:14 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>,
Speaker 3 00:42:15 Like there would be a space, a place. And I knew I had one little, um, animal, little dick that became a pet and just followed me around.
Speaker 1 00:42:29 Oh.
Speaker 3 00:42:29 And would go, would go with me to these places. This
Speaker 2 00:42:34 Was a, a little dyker, a little deer like animal that would follow you out to, to the chapel in met Ethiopia.
Speaker 1 00:42:42 Oh, it was, are you saying it's a little deer? Like a
Speaker 2 00:42:46 Little, yeah, it's, it's, it looks like a deer, but it's very small
Speaker 3 00:42:49 Dyker.
Speaker 2 00:42:49 It's like a dog size. Yeah. Dyker.
Speaker 1 00:42:52 Oh,
Speaker 3 00:42:53 I could feed them and tiny, it's in the legs. And we had wax floors in mouths. Then they would slide their, their legs would go like this. Yeah. That didn't work too well inside. Very much because they weren't able to walk there.
Speaker 1 00:43:13 Arlene did. Were there ever times when you felt discouraged or a little homesick?
Speaker 3 00:43:20 Not really.
Speaker 2 00:43:22 The reason you say I wasn't afraid and I wasn't discouraged is, is because that happened in your life, but you counted it as sinful the way that you, um, the way that your theology functioned was that the Lord asked you to rebuke the fear and to rebuke the discouragement because your job was to be appraiser and to be grateful. And those were parts of your discipline, even in the face of those emotions that would arise in
Speaker 1 00:44:07 Your life. That is so inspiring. Jeff, I'm so glad that you just articulated that because I can imagine our listeners are like, how did she not be ever be afraid? How did she not be discouraged? Like, how could you not experience something? Um, and so just how you're naming this Jeff, I think is helpful for people to understand that, you know,
Speaker 2 00:44:30 It's a, it's a daily discipline of standing against that Yeah. And asking the Lord to fill that
Speaker 1 00:44:37 Void. It's that intentionality. You know, Jeff, um, I think you mentioned, uh, earlier that you have students that you started to share some of Yes. Arlene's story and practices with your students. Can you share a little bit about their response?
Speaker 2 00:44:52 Sure. Um, I, I read some of Arlene's personal prophecies to them, and they said, these, these are very meaningful to us. We want to hear more of these. These are speaking into our lives as well as our lean's life. So will you please get them written down so that we can hear the Lord speaking to us through them? And that raises a, a really important principle. Um, Arlene, you are from a Dutch culture, things are held close to the chest. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they're, they're not shared. You
Speaker 3 00:45:33 Don't share. Uh, yeah. It's
Speaker 2 00:45:34 Private. Yes. That's private. And here I have come to you and said, I, I want you to share these stories very publicly. And, um, and one of the things that you and I have affirmed together over the years is that these things that happened in your life were for your life for sure. But God wanted these things to happen so that they could be shared. The purpose is to share them. These stories are not just for us, they're their ways to see God at work in other people in ways. What I've heard you say, Arlene, is that everybody has a story
Speaker 1 00:46:29 That's so beautiful and it connects in our reformed faith with this sense of calling that word bca, that everybody has a call and it's all different. Callings are honorable no matter what it is.
Speaker 3 00:46:41 Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:46:42 So what an encouragement, and Arlene, I I've heard tell that you're quite the mentor, that you have people asking you to mentor them quite a bit. Is that true?
Speaker 3 00:46:56 Well, I have had, yes. Not so much now anymore, but for a while. Yes.
Speaker 1 00:47:03 Isn't that wonderful? Part of, I think your story of hope is that there's this sense of, so you have the obedience to the Lord, but then the Lord, I mean, the Lord had confidence in you that you could do this. Right? So, so you had that from the Lord, but then you also had this beautiful circle of people all around you that were supporting you Yeah. And coming alongside. Yeah. And then,
Speaker 3 00:47:29 And that came through my church a lot.
Speaker 1 00:47:32 But in 1955, that must have been quite a big thing. Had there been other women missionaries?
Speaker 3 00:47:38 Yeah. Like, um,
Speaker 1 00:47:40 Well, there was Dr. Ida scu, she's our Yeah. Great
Speaker 3 00:47:44 Older person. Yeah. But there were others too. I can't think of their names right off, but friends of mine,
Speaker 1 00:47:51 You know, you just think about this walk of faith, right? This, this, this. You think about the times that we're in right now when things seem so challenging for many, and we have a lot of young people that are just struggling to figure out their direction in life. I've just been seeing this. I've got, um, my husband and I have young adult daughters who are, you know, just starting out life. And so many of our nieces and nephews and godchildren and friends who are coming out of this season of pandemic. You know, here, I'm on the east coast, I'm here in my studio today at New Brunswick Theological Seminary. Um, and we're in this New York City metro area, and we got hit very hard by the pandemic, you know, and we, many things just kind of came to a halt for so long, I think a little more extended than for you folks in Iowa.
Speaker 1 00:48:41 But in general, the whole United States, the whole world has been hit. And what I'm seeing now is this pattern of young people, and you, Jeff, I mean you're, you know, college prof that, that, you know, it's just young people are struggling to figure out their purpose. What is their purpose? How can they contribute? What can they do in the world? They feel, you know, this kind of sense of discouragement. And I'm just thinking, Arlene, how wonderful your story is for them to hear how inspiring for them, just as Jeff was sharing, that his students were eager for more <laugh> of your, you know, of your writings. What would your advice be to these kids today that are struggling? And rightly so, right? The world's been turned upside down. What, what could they do to assure themselves up to find that hope, to build that resilience? What, what, and you too, Jeff, you may have advice, but what can we tell people of all ages actually, um, but particularly the next generations to help encourage them and build them up,
Speaker 3 00:49:46 Really read the word of God, and to draw close to him and find fellowship with friends of the same beliefs as they have. I'm digging out your Bible here. Um, or one of your many bibles that are, is right in front of me. And one of the passages of scripture that you taught me as your treasurer is that has been meaningful to you and that speaks to the next generation is, um, in fact, I wonder
Speaker 2 00:50:26 If you would, you would read maybe to, to some of this passage here. This is from Psalm 71.
Speaker 3 00:50:35 Since my you, for God, you have taught me. And to this day, I declare your marvelous deeds, even when I am old and gray. Do not forsake me on God, tell, I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come
Speaker 2 00:50:58 There. What that says to me, Arlene, is that you as a person of the older generation have a responsibility to tell your story. And in answer to your question, Liz, I would say that the younger generation needs to look for stories of the people that have gone before. Whether they are just just going to people in their churches or in their communities and asking questions, tell me your story. Or finding books to read books of, of great Christians who I should change that, of Christians, ordinary Christians who have, who have gone before and, and reading their stories, learning their stories. And that will be such an encouragement to the people who are, um, young people especially who are, are caught up in this malaise post covid days and looking to a further view, looking how God has been at work in the prior century and being encouraged by that.
Speaker 1 00:52:10 Praise God. How beautiful is that? And you know, Jeff, how amazing too that you answered your calling <laugh> with the edict of Arlene to, um, to, to just enter into this Yeah. Relationship with her, figuring out, you know, women missionaries and their stories, and then seeing that our lean story is so important to tell. And, you know, I just think about, um, the other perspective too. I, I'm kind of interested in this multidisciplinary opportunity for people to learn stories. Yeah. So there's this, there's kind of the grio, the telling of the stories. There's the written word, but then Jeff, you've also brought this to the stage.
Speaker 2 00:52:54 Yes. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:52:56 Can you just share a little bit about that piece? Cuz I think that's very interesting for folks to hear that like we can share our stories in different ways Sure. And, and we can hear stories in different ways, right? We can, we can understand stories through different types of art forms
Speaker 2 00:53:13 That That's right. And, and eventually the, this all started, my, my journey with our lead started out as a short play, and then it, that grew into three plays. And then that grew into a four hour long play, which told the whole story. And that play is online and on YouTube. People can watch the whole of Arlene story there. Um, Arlene and African trilogy. And, um, and so that journey was really important and valuable to share with the church. But that journey comes out of an ancient journey, which is the ancient people of Israel putting their stories into dramatic form. And we have those ancient stories. We have the ancient dialogues in the historical narratives of the Old Testament, and we think of those as histories, but they're actually plays, they all have dialogue in them. What, what, uh, histories have you read that have dialogue? Well, these Old Testament narratives are Bible plays, and those plays can be performed as well, and suddenly, um, suddenly the light bulbs go on when we put those ancient stories on their feet.
Speaker 1 00:54:41 How beautiful. How beautiful. And that was your, a good part of your work at Northwestern College, is
Speaker 2 00:54:48 That right? It's part of my work at Northwestern and alongside Dr. Tom Bogart at Western Theological Seminary. We eventually wrote a book out of that work with my students and his students performing the plays of the Bible. But that is all interwoven into my work with our lead.
Speaker 1 00:55:07 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, you know, I think that's, that's really the message here is how God's big story, right? We have God's big story and how do our stories, whether we're ancient people of Israel or whether we are people today, um, how does, how, how do our stories weave into God's big story, part of God's big story.
Speaker 2 00:55:32 Exactly. That's
Speaker 1 00:55:34 The
Speaker 2 00:55:34 Point, is to be part of that story
Speaker 1 00:55:36 And how amazing Arlene, that God put that on your heart all those years ago when you got that first journal from your grandmother to start to write your story down. How beautiful. Well, I wanna thank you both for being here on the podcast today. I wanna make sure that we just say one more time, this wonderful upcoming fourth book that's a devotional book. And I think that can be so life giving for people that are trying to just engage in that practice, right? Of sitting with the Lord that you said was one of your strategies, Arlene, one of your holy strategies for, um, for being so hopeful and confident in your faith, um, whispers from the Lord. Yes. And that is now with the publisher and you're anticipating March, 2023 that will be released. Yep. And until then, people can find you on, it sounds like they can find the videos online, the plays online, and then there's the three books that they can also avail themselves up to learn. Your full story is, did I get that all right, <laugh>?
Speaker 2 00:56:48 Yep, that's all right. Just go to Amazon and you'll find it all.
Speaker 1 00:56:51 Perfect. Perfect. Well, thank you so much for being here today, Arlene. Is there any last thing that you wanna say before we sign off for today?
Speaker 3 00:57:01 No, just thank you for having me and sharing, giving me an opportunity to share the story. Again, I appreciate what you've
Speaker 1 00:57:10 Done. I know you've shared it many times over the years, so thank you for doing it with us on this podcast and through this lens of lavish hope, resilience, and overcoming, I think people have been there just been, um, given such a treat to hear your story and, um, and just your wisdom I think is so important. I also just wanna say thank you to Pastor Steve Breen, who's the one who approached me at a recent conference and said, what do you think about doing this, um, this story with Arlene on the podcast? So I'm grateful to him and so grateful to you, Jeff, for being a partner in this podcast with us. Thank you so much again.
Speaker 4 00:58:02 Hi, Jeff, this is Arlene and I'm calling, uh, about the podcast, uh, because as I sat here and thought about it some more, I wish I had said to them the power of the verse. There was two verses that had tremendous strength in my life at a certain time. And the one verse was Dr. On me, 31 verse five. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged. And then one other verse from Joshua one verse nine, be strong and courageous. Do not be discouraged for the Lord, your God is with you wherever you go. For me, it was like clinging to these verses with both hands, uh, because to me they were promises from God to me. But anyway, I thought I'd at least tell you. So thank you, uh, Jeff. Brian,
Speaker 1 00:59:39 Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Lavish Hope, season four. I hope my conversation with Arlene Steinman and Jeff Barker has inspired you and given you insights into what hope, resilience, and overcoming can mean for your own gifts and calling. As you heard from Jeff, you can learn more about Arlene's life, work, and faith via the several books written about her. If you wish to send Arlene a message, you can email me and I'll be sure to pass it along. If you've enjoyed this Lavish Hope podcast, please subscribe, leave a review and reshare any place here on social. You can also connect with me [email protected]
. This episode is brought to you by Faith word.org, an online learning community where you'll find ideas for living out your faith, reflections on scripture, in church stories about how other Christians are following God's call and resources to bring your own faith community along for the ride. The Lavish Show Podcast is produced by Lorraine Parker, grace Reuter, and yours truly trulys Test found designed by Garrett Dyer. Until next time, may you find ways to cultivate lavish hope and build resilience each and every day. God bless you.