Please login to continue
Having Trouble Logging In?
Reset your password
Don't have an account?
Sign Up Now!
Register for a Free Account
Choose Password
Confirm Password

Your account has been created!

Paul Steward

Retired Missionary to Bolivia
"Step By Step"
By Grace Yates, Intern, adapted by Jace Martin, Staff Writer, September 2022

One of the biggest lessons Paul learned during their 41 years of missionary service with his wife, Lois, was that God is sufficient. “I think that whatever He asks you to do, He makes it possible for you to do that.”

As they were growing up in rural farming communities in South Dakota and Nebraska, neither Paul nor Lois realized what God would ask them to do with their future. They met at Seattle Pacific College (Washington) and were married on August 30, 1955. They pastored in South Dakota for two years before beginning their career as missionaries.

Life in Bolivia got off to a running start. Paul got malaria two weeks after arriving, and during their first term (with no prior medical training), the couple stitched up a nine-inch gash in a man’s arm. Paul and Lois kept busy throughout their career in Bolivia as they moved several times and worked with different missionaries. They raised two daughters: Sandy, who is now a WGM missionary with her husband LeRoy on the American Indian Field; and Sue, married to Jim, a pastor in Ohio.

“My title was ‘jack-of-all-trades,’” said Paul. He worked in a variety of positions, including farming, building, purchasing supplies, communicating via radio, preaching, planting churches, teaching, discipling, and serving as field treasurer. During most of their time in Bolivia, Lois was teaching. She homeschooled their children and taught Theological Education by Extension classes and classes at a local primary school, Berea High School, and Berea Bible Institute. Lois also did a lot of work with women in the churches, partnered with Paul in church planting and discipling new believers, and did some medical work.

“Our gifts were never so much evangelism as much as training the believers,” Paul said.  In most of their work, they tried to encourage, equip, and train Bolivians to reach out to their fellow countrymen.

The hard work was interspersed with adventures, fun, and memorable stories. Lois recalled playing her accordion for hours one Sunday afternoon as the Bolivian Christians sang through the entire hymnbook. Some trips required driving across rivers without a bridge. “The first time I had to drive down in the river, I thought, ‘Whoa, wait a minute!’” said Paul.

In a somewhat-prophetic salutatorian speech at his high school graduation, Paul said, “I like to think of life as a river that flows to the sea, a river with many different channels that we can follow. . . . As the stream of our life flows on we will meet obstacles—ice floes or sand bars in our way. Some currents will be pushed aside by these while others will try to wear them away so as to make the river bed better for the ones that follow.”

Paul and Lois certainly bettered their path through Bolivia, both for other missionaries and for Bolivians they met. God faithfully carried them through each step—and even through the inevitable missteps. 

Paul and Lois retired in 1997 and lived in Upland, Indiana, for the next 20 years. Like their time in Bolivia, their retirement was full of activity. Both volunteered at WGM for several years, Lois in the mailroom and Paul in the print shop. Paul also managed the archives at WGM headquarters. They met once a month in a WGM prayer band with several other retired missionary couples, and Paul was treasurer of the WGM alumni association.

Until moving to an assisted living home in 2017, their involvement in their church included teaching Sunday School and volunteering as the church relocates and remodels a new facility. They helped the church develop a missions program that now supports five missionaries. Lois was involved in a community women’s Bible study and used her Spanish skills to translate during parent-teacher conferences for Spanish-speaking parents in the community. She passed away on January 29, 2018, and Paul joined her in heaven on September 21, 2022.

Support a Missionary
Global Impact Fund
Advancing the Great Commission through your partnership.