Have you ever wanted to sit down with a missionary and ask them what life was like on the field, hear their stories, and get advice? Now you can! We interviewed a variety of former IM missionaries who served within the first 50 years of IM. Read their stories and stay tuned as we share more former IM missionary interviews in our new series, “Leaving a Legacy: Former IM Missionary Interviews.”
Dr. LaVerne & Lorene Miley, Ivory Coast (1959-1978)
After settling down and having a family… and encounters with Laura Belle Barnard, the Mileys became convinced God was calling them to medical missions… In January 1962, the Mileys arrived in Doropo. Immediately, the medical clinic was built and put into operation. (Reference: Into the Darkness)
Photos above in order: Laura Bell Barnard with two girls, Dr. Miley’s medical bag
When were you appointed and how long were you on the field?
My husband and I were commissioned to serve on our mission field in Ivory Coast, West Africa, in October of 1959, during the annual missionary conference held at Free Will Baptist Bible College (Welch College). One month later, we set sail for language study in Paris, France. We departed from the field more than 18 years later, leaving the day after Christmas in 1978. My husband departed this life on March 5, 2005.
What were some of your responsibilities and roles while on the field?
I've always liked Solomon's advice in Ecclesiastes 9:10, ``Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” From the beginning, I considered my primary role was to keep my husband so fed, so clothed, and so encouraged that he could do well the task to which God had called him. At first, until he trained someone, he had no one except me to assist him in the medical work. I was untrained, but I learned a lot by osmosis. Two afternoons a week we had sewing classes, one for young girls and one for women (Our screened-in back porch couldn't accommodate all in one class.) I don't think they learned much, but it was a lot of fun. Languages were never my gift, so when I taught classes (Isn't that what a missionary is supposed to do?) I found the girls and women very forgiving.
Tell me about one memory from the field (personal, spiritual, funny, etc.)
At the end of the day, after a bath, when supper was over, the Aladdin lamp extinguished, and lying between clean sheets with a mosquito net securely tucked in around me, the peace that enveloped me cannot be described. I wouldn't have traded places with anyone in the world.
Tell me what you miss most about your host country?
Not so much now, but mostly I missed the simple, uncluttered lifestyle. Except for the trips to the “big city” for medicine and supplies, all of our activities centered on the mission station, which we rarely left. Every year was essentially the same, yet every day something happened to make it different from any other day. I hoped to stay there until I either died or was raptured. Each year I was there was my best.