Duane & Marilyn Gibson
Duane: I am thankful that I had the opportunity to grow up in a Christian home where God's Word was always taught and we were very active in our local church. At the age of eleven, I received the Lord Jesus as my Saviour. I was always taught the importance of applying God's Word in my own life and also reaching out to others. Besides this, I was made aware of the importance of a worldwide missionary emphasis.
Until the age of seventeen I always looked forward to a life on my Dad's farm in Southeastern Iowa. I had grown up on the farm and loved that type of work. I knew the joys of a close family working together at home and in the local church. I was looking forward to a similar life for myself.
However, after my junior year of high school, while attending a youth camp in Colorado, I surrendered to the Lord's call for full-time missionary work. While in college, the Lord used several passages of Scripture to show me His perfect calling for my life. Trusting in these promises, I entered missionary work in l967, the month after I graduated from college. I have continually seen God's faithfulness over the years. He has been my strength and He has provided each need. Indeed, the Lord has given me the true desires of my heart according to Psalm 37:3-6.
When I surrendered to the Lord's call, I began to ask the Lord for a wife who would have a calling to serve the Lord in the same place and in the same type of work to which the Lord had called me. Nine years later the Lord answered this prayer. In 1971, the Lord brought Marilyn and I together in marriage for a life-time ministry. He had prepared our lives and hearts and had given us the same goals and desires to reach out to others. We are so very thankful for the many friends that have stood with us through the years.
Marilyn: I grew up attending church during the early years of my life, but I never even heard the message of salvation. Every week after I'd attended Sunday School, I excitedly took my Sunday School paper to my neighbor friends and taught them the Bible story that I had learned the previous Sunday, but never was I able to give them the message of eternal Salvation. At the age of 13, my mother went home to be with the Lord. She left this earth with such a peace, that even through the next long, hard months I knew things were okay with her. It was not until two years later at some special meetings, through the preaching of the Word, that the Lord spoke to me in a very clear way about my need of Him. That night I surrendered my life to Him and my life has never been the same since. The last two years of high school I was privileged to attend a Christian high school. It was there that I was able to get things in perspective and the Lord began to tug at my heart about serving Him. A missionary from Mexico that spoke in chapel one day and God really used that to get my attention. At that time I told my best friend that Mexico was one place I never wanted to go. But I did not realize how dangerous it was to say you will never do something.
After graduating from high school, the Lord led me to business school and then on to work in Lincoln, NE, for a year. During that year the Lord continued to speak to be about serving Him. Then through the influence of some close friends the Lord led me to Chicago to work in a small, student mission office. While working there, I was introduced to a small Spanish church that needed a piano player. I began attending this church to help with the music, and through my time there I began to acquire a love for Spanish and the Hispanic community. The Lord had given me two roommates that had grown up in Central America of missionary parents. One of the girls worked at Moody Bible Institute and knew of my search for God's will in my life. So, when it came time for the yearly mission conference, she encouraged me to attend the service at the institute. It was during these services that the Lord spoke to my heart and definitely called me into full-time service for Him.
In 1966, the Lord led me to South Texas to attend a Spanish Bible school. After three years at the Bible school, the Lord led me to work at the Rio Grande Bible Institute and Language School in Edinburg, TX. During my second year there, I met my future husband, best friend, and co-worker in the ministry. The Lord has been so good to us and has now given us 40 years to labor together for Him.
God has given us two children--A.J. (Aaron John), and Kela Jean. AJ and his wife, Ruth, have four children, Jonathan Martyn, Christian Whitefield, Katelyn Grace, and Hudson Livingstone. Both children live in South Texas. They are serving the Lord with a mission that works in remote unevangelized areas of the world. Our daughter, Kela, has one daughter, Margaret Danae (Meg).