The Friesens

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How did Lisa end up in missions?

I (Lisa) grew up in Christian home and accepted the Lord as my personal Savior at a young age. By the time I was ready for college, I thought I would like to be involved in full-time Christian work, but wasn’t sure quite what. So, I went to Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN. There I pursued degrees in Christian Education, Youth Ministry and Bible with a minor in business. As I considered how I might best serve God, I initially thought camping ministry might be the best use of my skills and my love of sports and the outdoors. About that same time, I took a course in Biblical Greek and found out that I really loved language analysis. My Greek professor encouraged me to look into Bible translation and my adventure to the mission field began.

In 1988, I attended Quest, a program run by Wycliffe Bible Translators to expose you to what Bible translation is all about and to evaluate your potential for translation. While there, I found that I really enjoyed the kind of work involved in translation and seemed to have the skills for it too. As I asked God to direct my decision, He showed me this verse: Proverbs 3:27 "Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act." It was as if He had said to me, "I’ve equipped you for this work. You see the need for other people to have the Bible in their language, and you have the ability to give it to them. So, do it."

So, after completing my degree at Northwestern in 1989, I enrolled in SIL (Wycliffe’s linguistic side) at the University of North Dakota (UND). After one summer session there, I got a job with Scripture Press in Wheaton, IL. After 1.5 years there I took a leave of absence to continue my studies at SIL in the summer of 1991. And that is where I met Dan...

How did Dan end up in missions?

I also grew up in a home with strong Christian roots. I accepted Christ as my personal savior when I was eight. During high school I thought of becoming involved in some sort of full-time Christian work, but I was not sure how God could use my interests in science, math and computers. Then I heard about Bible Translation at the missions conference during my first year at Providence College (Winnipeg Bible College at that time) in Manitoba, Canada. I was surprised to find out that many translators had a strong background in math.

From that point forward I started to prepare for work as a translator. In 1989 I also attended Quest, and my call to translation was strongly affirmed. After graduating from Providence with a BA in Biblical Studies in 1990 I enrolled in the SIL summer school at UND. There I became friends with fellow first-year students Mike Scott and Becky Beam. I worked over the winter, and also made plans to take a short-term missions trip the following winter with World Team (RBMU at that time). Meanwhile, I decided to take one more summer at UND SIL in 1991, and that is when I first met Lisa…

A quick romance!

During the first few weeks of school we got to know each other in class, during meals, and in the company of other singles at school. Mike and Becky were now newly-weds, and during the July 4th long-weekend break, I invited Lisa and Scotts (and some others who ended up not coming) to my parents place. We had a lot of fun together that weekend, and Lisa and I started to spend a lot more time together. A few weeks later we visited Lisa’s parents and all too soon school was over. Three weeks later we met at Lisa’s parents in South Dakota and we got engaged on Sept 1, 1991.

I still took my short-term missions trip with World Team to Irian Jaya, Indonesia as planned, although I had to return after only 3 months due to difficulties extending my visa. We got married on June 27, 1992. I moved to the US to join Lisa in the Chicago suburbs. We attended Naperville Bible Church, helping with the youth, and becoming part of the nucleus for a new Adult Bible Fellowship (Sunday School) group. However, missions was never far from our thoughts. In June of 1993 we attended World Team’s candidate program, where we and Scotts joined World Team. In January 1994 we left our jobs and devoted our efforts to preparing for the mission field:  

What we did to prepare for service in Cameroon:

Jan-May 1994: SIL in Texas

June-Aug 1994: SIL in North Dakota

Sept 1994 – Dec 1995: Raised our support, concentrating on Manitoba, North-Eastern South Dakota, Minneapolis and Chicago suburbs.

Nov 1994 – Mike and Dan take a one month fact-finding trip to Cameroon

Jan 1996 – April 1997: French School in Quebec City, Canada

Mar 28, 1997: Rachel Joy Friesen is born in Quebec.

June-Aug 1997: Teaching Assistants at SIL in North Dakota

Sept-Oct 1997: Raising more support (due to Rachel’s arrival) and preparation for departure

Oct 1997: Arrive in Cameroon

After our arrival we were placed with the Oroko, and have been hard at work in our ministry with them.