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Billie Sue Dunn

Retired missionary to Bolivia and the American Indian Field—a teacher at heart
"“It’s been a privilege…”"
By Alex Gergely , Staff Writer, February 2019

Billie Sue Dunn’s journey to becoming a WGM missionary began early in her life at the inconspicuous but mission-minded Little Country Church in Waynesburg, Ohio. While there, she heard the story of a visiting missionary and felt her own heart being called toward the mission field. Inspired by her pastor to find a verse to cling to, Billie Sue turned to the words of Isaiah 41:13: For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. (KJV)

But as a special-needs teacher in the public-school system, Billie Sue didn’t think there was any place for her to use her skills overseas. “I told the Lord he didn’t need a special-needs mission field, but He did,” she says. Struggling with fear and the ability to trust the Lord in her next steps, Billie Sue ultimately found that her trepidation about God’s plan would be completely turned around. God shaped her life into something greater than she could ever have imagined.

Billie Sue began working with WGM, and in 1987, boarded a plane headed for the deepest part of the Bolivian jungle. In the town of Ascención, she served as a teacher to missionary kids for one year before transitioning to a teaching role at the Santa Cruz Christian Learning Center shortly after.

This was one of Billie Sue’s favorite chapters of her life—even if the most challenging. “I argued with the Lord a lot,” she recalls, “but I loved my time in Bolivia.” After only two years of teaching, she moved into an administrative position as the principal of the school and kept that title for the rest of her 15-years of service in the country.

“My favorite story,” Billie Sue remembers, “was when I was the principal of the school and would have lunch with the 4th graders. A boy asked me my age—and guessed 94! The boy beside him said that he would be happy to sing ‘Joy to the World’ at my funeral! I really did enjoy working with the kids.” Later in life, Billie Sue learned that her love of teaching would also apply to adults—“I’m a teacher at heart.”

Billie Sue’s move toward administration foreshadowed the next part of her mission journey. Back in America, she earned her master’s degree and transitioned to the American Indian Field as the field treasurer. To her dismay, Billie Sue discovered, “We had an audit almost immediately!” while settling in to her new role. She continued to pursue her passion for teaching, this time as an adult Sunday School leader. Billie Sue remained the AIF field treasurer for the rest of her 17 years in ministry—even past her official retirement date in November of 2018, in order to help smooth the transition for the next field treasurer.

In retirement, Billie Sue plans on moving back to Ohio—returning to the Little Country Church where it all began. As an illustration of her own sacrifice and the cost of following the Lord where He leads, Billie Sue says, “My great-niece once said to me, ‘and just who are you?’”

“I want to get to know my family,” she says through a laugh. “It’s been a privilege to serve with World Gospel Mission, and I thank the Lord.”

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