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Marsha Hartley

Retired Missionary to Bolivia and Texas/Mexico Border Ministries
"I Chose You and Appointed You"
By Kateland Vernon, Staff Writer, February 2022

When the Sunday school teacher told her third-grade class, “Maybe one of you will be a missionary one day,” Marsha Hartley didn’t know at the time that someone was her. The seeds of missions work had already been planted in her life through her great aunt and uncle, who were missionaries in Burundi. A verse that has been particularly significant to Marsha throughout her life is John 15:16, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you” (NIV).

At twenty-nine, Marsha attended a revival service at her church. During that service, it became clear to her that God was calling her to be a missionary, so she decided to surrender everything to Him. She had been teaching kindergarten for seven years, but she resigned and enrolled at Kentucky Mountain Bible College to study missions.

In 1987, Marsha went to Bolivia with WGM. After two terms teaching at Santa Cruz Christian Learning Center (SCCLC), Marsha felt like God was changing her—leading her toward something different. While she waited on God to show her the next step she should take, she taught Spanish at a school in Kentucky.

When God renewed her call to missions, Marsha called headquarters and talked to David Kushman (who worked in Field Ministries at the time) about opportunities for service. David shared that there was a desperate need for a teacher at Taylor Christian School (TCS) in McAllen, Texas. Since it was already August, Marsha left for the border as soon as she could.

In both Bolivia and Texas, Marsha learned to share her burdens and to be more transparent and vulnerable with others. “Working together we achieve more,” she said. During her thirty-three years as a missionary, she gained a lot of experience working with others in her different roles as teacher, member care teammate, Sunday school teacher, leader on the Texas/Mexico Border, and co-director of TCS.

God has proved His faithfulness to Marsha time and time again. He has always provided for her, giving her peace during transitions, helping her build a ministry partnership team, and sending the workers, volunteers, funds, and teachers needed at both SCCLC and TCS. And now, following her retirement on July 31, 2021, God is continuing to faithfully provide as Marsha enters into this next stage of life. She plans to continue volunteering on the border and is learning more about literacy intervention so she can use that knowledge to meet needs in the future.

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