Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Are Older People Useful in Missions?

All Glory to God and Honor to the Little Lady of Tamworth, England

Someone pointed out that the Earl of Helsburg was 90 when he began preparing his 20-volume revision of English law. Galileo made his greatest discovery at age 73. Hudson Taylor was laboring vigorously on the mission field at age 69. J. Oswald Sanders ministered effectively into his later 80s; and at age 85, Caleb wanted a mountain so that he could drive out a stronghold of giants.

Mavis Orton is 77 years of age and has served the Lord with the poor in the Philippines for nearly 25 years.

In 1985, Mavis was somewhat discouraged. She loved the Lord and wanted to serve Him as a medical missionary but missions would not accept her because she was considered too old being in her 50s.

One day, however, she happened to read an advertisement in a Christian newspaper in England placed by Action International Ministries. It was a simple ad which began, “Wanted: dedicated men and women over 50; if you young people are not going to do the job, then get out of the way and let us old people back at it!”

With a heart for ministry of the Gospel and compassionate care to the poor, Mavis was encouraged, then contacted ACTION, applied, and was accepted in 1986 to serve in the Philippines, a country of over 90 million people.

A supporting home church in England and dedicated advocates, Geoff and Irene Foster, in Tamworth rallied behind Mavis to support her in ministry.

After language study, Mavis worked in various ACTION ministries in evangelism, discipleship and development to the poor of Manila. After several years, Mavis began using her training and experience as a midwife to assist extremely poor women in home delivery of their babies

Mavis later began the Shalom Christian Birthing Home in her house. At first, she delivered seven to ten babies monthly, with this growing 150 monthly!

Many Filipino young women are being trained in midwifery, and over the years, thousands of men, women and older children have heard the gospel with many coming to faith in Christ.


On June 13, 2007, Mavis received the Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. I was invited to accompany Mavis to the palace as ACTION’s Founder and International Director Emeritus with longtime special friends and supporters Geoff and Irene Foster.

Mavis trusted God for funds for the construction of a larger facility for the Shalom Christian Birthing Home. This adequate building enables Mavis and her team to support up to 2000 births each year.

ACTION’s web site www.actioninternational.org is able to receive gifts to help Shalom Christian Birthing Home as well as any ACTION office.

It has been an honor to serve over the years with this little woman of God. Yes, to God be the glory and honor (and thanks) to this little lady of Tamworth, a woman who did not let her age keep her from serving God!

3 comments:

Bill said...

Thanks Doug, & may Mavis see the realization of her dream in this building being wonderfully completed by the end of 2011 & fully outfitted shortly thereafter!

In Jesus & for His glory,
Bill/ACTION USA

NelsonReed said...

Great article Doug. Keep them coming. I will post links so others can be encouraged by Mavis' faith and courage. Blessings, Nelson

Chuck Weinberg said...

Isn't it awesome to see what God can do with someone who is simply wiling to follow His leading?
He is good to use these clay pots for His work- may we all be used in such an amazing way as she.
Thanks Doug!