Some years ago, when our long time missionaries started retiring, someone had the foresight to build some low income housing for our members. Anne now manages one of them in Waxhaw, NC. We have another facility in Tucson, AZ as well as one in Dallas, TX.
Today we feature John and Billie Mishler who have lived and served in our Dallas facility for eighteen years.
John served his country in the Korean War, returned to the US in 1951 and enrolled in Arizona Bible Institute (ABI). It was there that he met fellow student and future bride, Miss Billie Jane Blevans.
Billie graduated from ABI and moved to California in ’53 to attend nursing school. In ‘55, John also moved to California to study aviation mechanics. That same year, they married and welcomed their first child a year later.
In June of 1959, they felt called of God to full time missionary service with Wycliffe Bible Translators and began training at the University of Oklahoma.
Preparations completed, they flew to Pucallpa, a city in the rain forest of eastern Peru, to begin their assignment.
Some of Billie’s favorite experiences were visiting Indian villages to do health checkups and give shots. She once spent a month partnering with a Bible translator beginning work with a newly discovered Amazonian tribe, the “Matses.” During her stay, a jaguar attempting to snatch it from its hammock attacked a Matses baby. Billie took the injured baby, treated his wounds, saving his life. In 2011, she had the joy of seeing this same child, now an adult, translating the scriptures for his people!
In 2000, the Mishlers returned to the US and eventually became managers of the Cowan Retirement Apartments in Dallas. Many times I sat as a guest at their table and in awe, listened to them tell of how, for 40 years, God had filled their lives with opportunities to serve the cause of Bible translation!
John now serves as our Senior Services Coordinator and is part of our Senior Benefits Leadership Team. Being the former Marine that he is, John has never used the terms “problem” or “challenge” with me in any conversation. He sees everything as an “opportunity to see God at work.”
I wish we had more space to share more about these special servants and their journey, but I chose this issue to share their story because Billie’s health began to decline this year after several heart procedures. Pneumonia set in and she was again admitted to the hospital. When it became apparent she was not getting well, she asked to be taken home under hospice care. After five and a half weeks at home, Billie slipped peacefully into the arms of her Savior surrounded by her family.
John has chosen to continue his duties at Cowan. We ask you to remember John and their children, Rebecca, Mike, and Julie as they adjust to life without their beloved Billie.
*** Our thanks to our co-worker, Jerry Stuckey, for sharing this story. Ken and Anne continue to work with John.