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Lois Steward

Missionary to Bolivia
"Lord, I Will Do Your Will."
By Rachel Elwood, Staff Writer, January 2018

As a young college student attending Seattle Pacific College (Washington) in the early 1950s, Lois wrestled with her calling in life. She was dating a charming young man named Paul, who had been clearly called to be a missionary. Lois was not convinced she was qualified for missionary service, yet she also wanted to help Paul be who God wanted him to be. Although she had been a committed believer since childhood and was heavily involved in Christian outreach at college and in her church, Lois was majoring in physical education. How could God use her on the mission field? She argued with God, saying, “You know I can’t be a missionary!”

God gently assured her, “Go and teach whatsoever I have commanded you.” Having submitted to the Holy Spirit’s leading, she changed her major to Fine and Applied Arts education, and she and Paul were married in 1955. They served in the pastorate for two years in South Dakota, during which time they applied for service with World Gospel Mission. They were appointed to Bolivia in 1956.

Life in Bolivia got off to a running start. Paul contracted malaria two weeks after arriving. Then—with no prior medical training—the couple stitched up a nine-inch gash in a man’s arm during their first term when they lived in a jungle station. Paul and Lois kept busy throughout their career as they moved around in Bolivia several times and worked with different missionaries. They also raised two daughters—Sandy Anderson is a WGM missionary with her husband LeRoy on the American Indian Field in Arizona, and Sue Smith is married to a Jim, a pastor in Ohio.

During most of her time in Bolivia, Lois was teaching, just as the Lord called her to do. She homeschooled her daughters and taught classes at a local primary school, Berea High School, Berea Bible Institute, and through Theological Education by Extension. Lois also worked with women’s ministries, partnered with Paul in church planting and discipling new believers, and did some medical work. She also volunteered her musical skills. One memorable afternoon, Lois played a pump organ for hours as Bolivian Christians sang through the entire hymnbook!

With their calm, quiet demeanor and servant’s hearts, Paul and Lois were greatly loved by missionaries and Bolivians alike. Bolivia became their adopted homeland, the jungle station a place of personal discovery as to God’s deepest truths and calling. The prayer of their hearts became, “Lord, I will do your will.” They served with that spirit for 41 years, retiring in 1997 to Upland, Indiana.

During retirement, Lois volunteered in the mailroom at WGM headquarters; met every month with a local prayer band; and was heavily involved with their church, Hartford City Wesleyan. For many years, Lois used her Spanish skills to translate for Spanish-speaking parents during parent/teacher conferences. Their home was also a welcome stop for missionaries and missionary kids traveling through the area. At Christmastime, there was always a plate of Lois’ legendary homemade peanut brittle.

Now, Lois is receiving a magnificent reward for her many years of faithful service to her Lord and Savior. We mourn with Paul, Sandy, Sue, and others who loved Lois. Yet we know she is in the presence of Jesus, freed from all pain and weakness. 2 Timothy 4:7 (NIV) says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Lois finished her race well, and we rejoice that she is celebrating her new life in Christ today.

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