Posted by: janpierce | December 8, 2011

One Woman’s Influence

  Yesterday Western Seminary in Portland honored Dr. Mary Wilder for her many years of teaching the History of Missions and for the loving guidance and friendship she’s given to staffmembers and students over the years.

I first met Dr. Mary when I took a course called the History of Women in Missions. I don’t even know if she was paid for teaching the course that term because there were only two of us in the class! I was so taken by the wisdom and knowledge of this woman who had been a medical missionary to Pakistan for seventeen years. Dr. Mary came off the mission field when she needed to be caretaker of her ailing parents and she never returned. But oh, the stories she has to tell. Heartbreaking stories of young women dying needlessly because the men in the family wouldn’t allow them medical care, funny stories of cultural miscues, and always the warmth and affection of this woman who always says, “The safest place you can be is in God’s will.” Dr. Mary often signs her name, “Mary Wilder than ever.” I just love her.

When Roger was seeking direction for his work abroad I took him to meet Dr. Mary. It seemed like the right thing to do. Sure enough, her desk mirrored the Boar’s Nest (Roger’s office) and they became instant friends. Dr. Mary heard a bit of Roger’s story and stopped the conversation to introduce him to Dr. Galen Currah who in turn introduced him to Dr. George Patterson and…before we knew it Roger was being mentored in all things related to house church and the work in India was birthed.

I was given permission in my missions course to focus on India as I wanted to be able to support Roger’s travel there. My own travel had not yet been revealed:) I learned so much in that course and the knowledge gave me a good foundation for understanding Indian history and culture.

I’d travel many miles to give honor to Dr. Mary. She is a truly humble servant of God whose life experiences make her a rich resource for those fortunate enough to spend time with her. Oh, one more thing–she always has chocolate to share with friends.



  1. She sounds like a truly wonderful person and inspiration. I’m so glad you had her in your life.

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