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Treasure Berens

Retired Missionary to the Texas/Mexico Border
"To Be More Like Christ"
By Erin Curtis, Intern, April 2016

We never know how God may connect events in our lives for His greater plans. Treasure Berens couldn’t have imagined as a little girl listening to a missionary from the Texas/Mexico border that she would someday teach and minister in that very place.

Treasure was born in 1939 and was raised on an 80-acre farm in Michigan. She was brought up working hard with her 12 older siblings to care for the property and livestock. Her parents were Christians and regularly attended church with their children. At a revival meeting when she was 7, Treasure heard a message on heaven and hell and accepted Christ as her Savior that night. 

Missionaries from World Gospel Mission regularly visited her church. When Treasure was 13, a missionary from Taylor Institute, a WGM ministry, came and spoke about her work on the Texas/Mexico border. At the end of the service, Treasure’s pastor gave a call to anyone who wanted to dedicate their lives to missions. “All of a sudden I began to shake, and I knew I was the one,” Treasure shared. “I went forward and gave my life to missions. It was an emotional thing, that’s for sure.”

After gaining a BA in elementary education from Bethel College, Treasure connected in 1967 with WGM to fulfill her calling. Originally, she sought ministry work on the American Indian Field. “I wanted to just speak English—I didn’t want to learn another language,” she said. However, WGM needed someone at Taylor Institute in McAllen, Texas. After studying Spanish at Rio Grande Bible Institute for a year, she taught at Taylor while continuing her studies at Rio Grande. Four years later, Taylor Institute closed to missions, temporarily pausing Treasure’s ministry. 

Treasure spent the next three years back in Michigan teaching at Hamilton Elementary School. However, she didn’t view this as a setback, and commented, “The three years were good.” After this, she returned to the mission field, this time to Saltillo, Mexico. She traveled between villages, teaching elementary-age Sunday Schools and Bible studies and speaking to whoever wanted to hear about Christ. Through her teaching ministry, Treasure and her team worked to open up communities to the gospel and missionary involvement. 

“I enjoyed the teaching very much,” Treasure said with fondness. Some challenges she recalled included learning Spanish and working with the communities in Mexico. Certain villages were less receptive to missionaries, which made it intimidating at times to approach the people with the gospel.

In 1981, Taylor Institute reopened to missions work and was renamed Taylor Christian School. Treasure began traveling back and forth between Mexico and Texas. She continued her teaching ministry in the Saltillo area and taught elementary school classes at Taylor during the school year. In 1993, Treasure became the director of the school. Looking back on her experiences there, Treasure said they taught her “to be more submissive to the leaders and to be more like Christ. But we all learn that as we grow.”

God had prepared Treasure for her ministry even while she was a child. Living in an underdeveloped region in Mexico harmonized with Treasure’s family background. “We were raised on a farm that didn’t have a bathroom in it, and we would eat most anything set before us. Those were the things I was able to use in Mexico.” 

Her upbringing also helped her mesh into the Mexican communities where she served, and she understood intrinsically their way of life because of her childhood. “They called us Mexican, and they accepted us,” she said. 

After 36 years of missionary service, Treasure retired in 2003. In her spare time, Treasure enjoys gardening and yard work. She reads often and involves herself in her community and church by being friendly with her neighbors and praying. 

Psalm 23 has always been a strengthening force in Treasure’s life, reminding her of God’s care and provision in every circumstance. She encourages believers, “Keep on keeping on, trusting the Lord and drawing closer to Him. Keep on praying, and remember that God’s in control… always.”

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