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Don and Norene Hohensee

Don and Norene’s eventful service in Burundi was a far cry from their humble roots in Montana and Washington, respectively. Don’s father died when Don was a child, and his mother raised him as a single parent. In the seventh grade, Don was working in a grocery store to earn money for his clothes, and it was in the basement of the store that God began speaking to him about missionary service. At that time in rural Montana, it was unusual to study beyond the eighth grade, but Don knew God had called him to ministry, and he worked his way through high school and was able to attend Cascade College (Oregon).

Norene grew up on a dairy farm and attended a local Methodist church. A missionary from Colombia spoke at the church, and Norene felt a tug on her heart toward missions. In high school, she was active in Youth for Christ and started a Bible club at her school. Her first contact with WGM was at a camp meeting, where missionary Maxine Moss was speaking. Maxine took a special interest in Norene, encouraging her to answer God’s call. She stayed in touch with Norene for years afterwards.

Don and Norene met at Cascade College and were married in 1961. Don went on to study at Western Evangelical Seminary (Oregon) while Norene taught the second grade. While in seminary, they applied to WGM, indicating an interest in serving in Africa. They were appointed to Burundi, a small country in central Africa. They arrived there in 1965 after eight months of French language study in Belgium (Burundi had been a Belgian protectorate).

Learn more about their story here. 

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