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Frank and Sharon Martin

Retired Missionary Pastors
"The Gift of Encouragement"
By Rachel Elwood, Staff Writer, October 2016

Frank and Sharon Martin are the dynamic duo ministry team. Together, they served on the American Indian Field, as headquarters staff, and, most recently, as pastors to missionaries. From the beginning of their marriage, after meeting at Asbury College (Kentucky), they knew that God’s plan for them was in missions. 

Frank was raised in a Christian home in Stonewood, West Virginia. He accepted Christ around age 12 at a youth camp, and at age 18 felt God call him to Christian service. He wasn’t sure what that was supposed to be, so he continued in his plans to attend Fairmount State College, majoring in industrial arts. When a new pastor came to his church and encouraged him to pursue God’s calling, he transferred to Asbury College, and earned a teaching degree in history and psychology. 

Sharon was raised in a pastor’s home, and was saved at her father’s church, Little Country Church in Waynesburg, Ohio. Her connections to WGM go back to her grandfather, Melvin Troxel, who was a first cousin to Cecil Troxel, one of WGM’s first missionaries to China. After graduating from college, she taught at Southwest Indian School on the American Indian Field as a Volunteers In Action participant. 

Sharon and Frank had met at Asbury, and they were married after Sharon returned from her VIA experience. Frank went on to seminary at Asbury Theological Seminary and completed his degree at Fairmount State College. As they sought God’s will for their future, they considered returning to the American Indian Field as missionaries. Frank contacted Doug Carter, the field director at the time, and soon they came on board as career missionaries. They raised their three children—Nathan, Holly, and Michael—while serving at SIS for 19 years. 

At various times, Frank served as teacher, coach, chaplain, principal, and field director. Sharon served as teacher, assistant dorm parent, student sponsorship coordinator, and was the library administrator for 14 years. When they relocated to Marion to serve at WGM headquarters, Frank became the director of Prayer Ministries and later the director of Church Ministries. Sharon worked in the Media Department, and then she coordinated the Missionary Volunteer Partner and Missionary Disciple programs. During this time, Frank and Sharon led prayer teams to 14 countries. 

“One of the gifts the Lord has given me for ministry is the use of object lessons,” shared Frank. “On the American Indian Field, the Native Americans really enjoyed them. Little did I know that I would be able to use those object lessons around the world. In some countries, the Lord had to help me with new object lessons, because most of the objects I use are from the U.S. and would not translate cross-culturally. The Lord always showed me objects from that country that I could use to proclaim His principles.”

In 2009, Frank and Sharon transitioned to the Member Health team, serving as pastors to missionaries. In this role, they were perfectly in their element, visiting missionaries on their fields of service, listening to them, encouraging them, and praying for them. 

“We love being able to come alongside of our missionaries and help them to fulfil the calling that God has on their lives,” said Sharon. “We help them see that with God’s help and encouragement, they can succeed. I love watching them grow!” 

One of Sharon’s favorite memories was in 2010 when they had to fly from Hungary to Ukraine in a WW2 propeller plane: “I asked God to wake up all our prayer partners!” Frank remembers the time he was preaching in Papua New Guinea and was double-translated—first from English to Pidgin and then to the local dialect. 

Frank and Sharon retired in September 2016 after 39 years of faithful service. As they look forward to what ministry opportunities await them in retirement, we know that God will continue to use them in mighty ways to build His kingdom.

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