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Nina Kunkle

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Born in 1947, Nina Kunkle grew up in the jungles of Bolivia as the youngest child of pioneer missionaries John and Mable Kunkle. Her early exposure to the medical world led Nina to develop an interest in a medical career herself. As a young adult, Nina received an opportunity to return to the States and attend Indiana University Medical School, and in 1983, she returned to Bolivia and to missionary work.

At first, her ministry involved providing medical care for those in rural areas without access to other options, much like her parents had during her childhood. While she enjoyed this season of life, she had no idea that her ministry was about to change. While living in Ascención, her church, which was without a pastor, approached Nina and asked if she would serve. Pastoring wasn’t what she had come to Bolivia to do, but she was glad to serve the Lord and the people she loved.

After about a year, the church was able to find a permanent pastor to take over, and Nina felt the call on her heart shift toward Santa Maria, the village where her parents had raised her. “The Lord began to put it on my heart that those people needed to hear about Him, as well.” She felt she was supposed to help start a new church in the area and soon formed a connection with Eliseo and Doli, a couple who told her the Lord had been speaking to them about the same need. The little congregation that developed began to grow, which soon led to the purchase of a property and the establishment of a sanctuary where they could meet, led by Eliseo, who accepted the role of pastor.

After spending the majority of her lifetime in Bolivia, the Lord finally began to tell her it was time for a change. Nina recounts one highlight of her ministry as being able to experience so many milestones with those she loved, stating how wonderful it was “to see how I had been able to serve God and have a part in their lives.” She grieved over having to leave these people she loved so deeply. But she also welcomed the chance to travel the U.S. to thank those who had supported her throughout her many years of ministry, some from the very beginning. She is still adjusting to the culture here in the U.S. but is grateful as she looks back on all that she was able to do with God’s help during her time in Bolivia.

Read more about Nina's story here.

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