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Bob and Peggy Bushong

Retired Support Staff
"It’s always been a ministry, not just a job."
By Alex Gergely, Staff Writer, April 2019

As WGM employees for over forty years, Bob and Peggy Bushong have embodied the love and sacrifice of Christian servants. Their WGM journey spans across multiple buildings, several countries, and countless job titles, but through it all, they never stopped trusting that God had a plan for them. Although Bob and Peggy’s stories begin in very different places, neither could have ever imagined how God would take their seemingly ordinary lives and use them to shape an entire organization. Looking back, Peggy recalls that it all seems fairly simple: “We’ve been following Him step by step.”

Bob’s story begins at the Texas/Mexico border where he was born. The son of a WGM missionary, he spent the majority of his childhood following wherever his parents served—for many years in Honduras and Bolivia, and then eventually at the WGM headquarters in Marion, Indiana. Bob graduated from Marion High School and went on to spend a few years at Vennard College in University Park, Iowa, studying Bible and Communications. After returning to Marion, he worked at a bicycle shop for a summer before beginning part-time maintenance work at WGM headquarters. Eventually, he was asked by his former professor and the director of the Media Department for help with audio production and the photography darkroom. Bob left for a short period of time to study at Ivy Tech and work at a technology company, but when he returned to WGM, he took on an even bigger role than before—shooting photography and video overseas, implementing and using state-of-the-art audio and video editing software, and producing sound tracks for professional slideshows. “We did a little bit of everything back then,” he remembers. In the years that followed, Bob switched between working in the Media Department and IT—continuing to selflessly fill whatever role was necessary—until eventually becoming the head of the mail room where he retired.

Peggy was a preacher’s kid from Coshocton, Ohio. Growing up, she fondly remembers her mother being a part of the WGM Prayer Band ministry, faithfully reading the then-named Call to Prayer, and hosting missionaries in their home. Despite her home church lacking a focus on missions, Peggy knew through these interactions with WGM that God did big things on the mission field. Like Bob, Peggy also spent some time at Vennard College after high school, but left soon after in order to attend a local business school. In 1971, she took a position at WGM—working in the same Prayer Band Department she knew so well growing up. At first she started as a driver, chauffeuring the Prayer Band leaders to conferences and meetings around the United States. But Peggy began to take on bigger and more diverse responsibilities at WGM, always willing to change her role and move between departments if need be. Her responsibilities through the years included preparing receipts, typesetting The Call, organizing all printing and publishing, editing, proofing, and even becoming the head of the Publishing department for thirteen years. One of Peggy’s achievements during this time was moving the department from physical to digital. Word processing was pretty new at WGM, and Peggy loved the convenience and efficiency of the computers. She remembers, “I was like ‘hmm,’ we’re not going to type these manuscripts on typewriters.” Eventually Peggy moved into a receptionist role, willingly going wherever she was needed, and continued copyediting articles and newsletters until her retirement.

Although they both studied for brief stints at Vennard College, Bob and Peggy first met at WGM in 1975. Working late one night trying to create special effects for his slideshows, Bob remembers seeing that Peggy was working late, too. They got to talking, and Bob asked her to go out that night for some ice cream. “He had finally figured out I wasn’t married,” Peggy says as she laughs. “And that was the beginning of our dating.”

Bob and Peggy carried a number of different titles throughout their tenure, but their favorite shared experience remained the same: “The highlight has always been the interactions with the missionaries and being able to assist in their ministries somehow,” Peggy says, “It’s always been a ministry, not just a job.” In his Media Department days, Bob fondly remembers going to all the different fields and taking thousands of pictures, sometimes visiting places even few missionaries had ever been. On a couple of occasions Peggy accompanied him on trips, and those overseas experiences played a huge part in reminding them why they loved what they did as support staff. “Our kids [also] got a wider world view from WGM,” Peggy explains, and “WGM is still special to them to this day.”

Bob’s favorite Bible verse has always been the same—Genesis 1:1. Like Bob, it gets right to the point.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (NIV)

“If I’m ever worried about anything, I can think of that verse,” he says, “God created it all—He knows what’s going on.” Peggy finds peace in Proverbs 3:5-6, a passage that she says became her life-verse back in high school.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight. (NIV)

“He directs and guides and leads, and when you put it in that order, things work out pretty well,” she admits.

For Bob and Peggy, retirement is bittersweet. Bob recalls, “It feels like it was just yesterday, feels like not long ago I was working with old friends…. I remember seeing other staff members retire and thinking, ‘I’ll never get there.’” But now, he is excited to finally have time to work on some projects of his own. “I still hope to do things for the Mission,” he qualifies, “I’ve got a good 10,000 slides or more that need [to be] re-labeled.” Peggy is excited to be more involved in their church and local ministries, especially at the prospect of working with at-risk kids in the community: “I’m anxious to see how the Lord will use me.” But ultimately, she’s ready to have a more open schedule for both volunteering and spending time with her grandkids—“I don’t think the Lord’s ever done with you,” she confesses, “I don’t think retirement is in the Bible.”

Bob and Peggy’s impact on the WGM culture, missionaries, and staff will succeed them. Because of their faith and love for others, their lives remain a testament to how God uses each one of us to answer His call.

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