Esther Vermillion

Retired WGM Support Staff
By David Adams, Writing Intern
November 2013

Sorting mail, preparing wills, and sending thank-you letters—these are just a few of the activities that occupied Esther Vermillion’s 28 years of service at World Gospel Mission’s headquarters in Marion, Indiana.

Esther also organized the missionaries’ mail and sent it to them, ensuring that it got to their fields in a timely fashion. She even visited some of these fields, where she said she was challenged by the faithfulness of the missionaries.

Esther especially enjoyed the times when missionaries came through WGM’s headquarters, when she would finally get to connect the names on the packages she had sent with the faces of those who were serving God around the world. In praying with them, meeting their children, hearing their stories, and helping them with their mailings, Esther was glad she could serve the missionaries.

“It was such a privilege and honor for me to be a part of their ministry,” Esther said.

The sixth of seven children, Esther was born in Minnesota in 1933. Her grandfather had served as a missionary to Sierra Leone in western Africa, and her father was a Wesleyan pastor. Through her family’s influence, Esther became a Christian when she was about 7 years old.

She moved frequently in her early life, from Minnesota to Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota again, and Nebraska before she settled in Indiana in 1955. During those years, Esther said she was a “nominal Christian.” She didn’t stray far from her conservative upbringing, but in her words, “I felt in my heart I needed to become more serious in my faith.”

Esther knew she needed to give in to God’s pull on her heart for the sake of her walk and those of her four sons and husband, Don. Esther had met Don in 1961 through mutual friends, and the two were married in 1962. Esther made a commitment to “serving the Lord wholeheartedly” at a revival meeting about the time she married Don.

In March 1967, Esther learned about an opening at WGM through Ruby Abbott (whose husband, Hollis, later became president of WGM). Esther began her career in the mailroom, where she served as a caretaker for the missionaries’ mail. Eventually she moved to gift acknowledgement, sending letters to donors. She later worked in stewardship and accounting, where she was secretary to the treasurer for the remainder of her time at WGM. She also traveled to Kenya, Honduras, and Bolivia with various work teams.

“I still look back on those days with fondness,” she said.

Esther retired from WGM in 1995, and God has continued to work in her life over the last two decades, perhaps most evidently in her husband’s decision to come to salvation mere months before his death.

Don was a nominal Christian for most of his life, Esther said, much like she was in her young adult years. He attended church on special occasions and supported her work for WGM, but his own walk with God was limited. When Don got lung cancer, people from WGM and their church joined Esther in praying fervently for his salvation.

Two months before he died in 2006, Don told their pastor about his cancer. The pastor visited Don at home one afternoon, and although Don was initially resistant to their meeting, the pair talked and eventually began to pray. Esther cried silently in the background as her husband finally gave his life to Jesus.

Esther remains active in missions through her church, and she enjoys encouraging and supporting missionaries around the world. She meets frequently with retired WGM missionaries in prayer fellowships, lifting up missionaries and their families. She still hears from families she worked with at WGM and prays for their children.

As she reflected on her life, Esther recalled the words of 1 Corinthians 10, which say that God will never let His children be tempted more than they can bear.

“The Lord’s been so faithful to me,” Esther said. “As many times as I’ve failed him, and I know I have, I’ve been able to get back on my feet.”