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Karen Duncan

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Karen Duncan’s call to missions came not once but three times: through God’s Word, an article in an encyclopedia, and a bulletin board highlighting the need for doctors and nurses at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya. Being a nurse on the mission field didn’t exactly line up with Karen’s goal of being a physical education teacher, but, trusting God’s plan over her own, she moved to Kenya with her husband, Terry, in 1977 to serve at Tenwek.

After four years of Karen working as a nurse at the hospital (and Terry as the head of maintenance), they relocated to Kenya Highlands Bible College to fill needs there. Karen was given the challenging task of setting up a medical clinic at the college. She then joined a team of women in delivering immunizations to the Pokot women and children, who lived in such remote locations in the northern mountains of Kenya that they couldn’t be accessed by land vehicle. This team brought not only medical supplies but the Word of God to these people, and Karen soon found herself in charge of the ministry.

When Terry retired in 2013 and the Duncans moved back to the States, they discovered new joy in the role of overseeing WGM retirees. They faithfully called, wrote, and visited retired missionaries and staff together until Terry’s passing in 2018. Karen has continued this ministry, saying of missionaries, “You retire, but not really.”

Serving alongside Terry, Karen was a mentor and encourager, friend and prayer warrior for missionaries. She offered advice, listened patiently, and cried and laughed with missionaries as they processed experiencing life in Africa. Karen gave wise counsel, prayed diligently, taught well, and is loved by those with whom she ministered.

Regardless of her specific role, Karen’s heart has always been for the salvation of those she interacted with. When she felt discouraged in their ministry, Terry would tell her, “You have to plant the seed and keep on watering it, and one day, somebody will be able to harvest it.” Despite uncertainty in their lives, Terry often felt the Lord telling him, “I will open my way up, step by step,” a promise that helped him and Karen trust His plan throughout their lives.

Read more about Karen's story here.

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