Steps Along the WayLinda
Linda was born to Ralph and his wife, Gertrude, in Chicago, Illinois.
Linda was the third daughter. She was followed by two younger
brothers. Linda was raised in a loving, Christian home where she was
taught from the Word of God and by her parents' Godly example. Linda
attended The North Side Gospel Center, a church where the Gospel of
Grace was taught by her pastor, Lance (Doc) Latham. Doc and his wife,
Virginia (affectionately called Teach), worked with youth all through
their lives. The Lathams and Art Rorheim, who became the director and a
co-founder, began the AWANA Clubs in the basement of the Center. Linda
attended AWANA Clubs and Camp AWANA all of her growing-up years. She
eventually earned the very special Citation Award for completing the
entire AWANA program. Linda became an AWANA Club leader and a girl's
leader at Camp AWANA. She began studying the piano at the age of four
and became an accomplished pianist. She also sang in the choir and in
various other singing groups.
You couldn't attend The North Side Gospel Center and not be challenged
by Missions. Sending missionaries to the "Regions Beyond" was at
the very heart and "soul" of the Center.
After graduating from high school, Linda began attending Moody Bible
Institute Evening School. She also continued her piano training and
lessons through Eleanor (Sally) Sherry. During the same years of her
schooling and working in a suburb, west of Chicago, she continued to be
an AWANA leader at the North Side Gospel Center, and every summer she
took at least two weeks off from work to be a leader up at Camp Awana.
All this time, she worked at the Bankers Box Company (now called
Fellowes Manufacturing) for 8-1/2 years. She eventually became the head
accountant/auditor for the entire company. One day her boss asked her
an interesting question after she had witnessed to him for the umpteenth
time. "Linda, are you trying to tell me about how to get saved,
again?!" he asked. Another time, an unsaved co-worker who was attending
a Bible study at Linda's home, asked her, "Why don't you become one of
those....you know...one of those people who go overseas to tell people about
this?" That girl was saved a short time later at the Bible class!
During the summer of 1973, Linda was a Lodge Leader for high school
girls up at Camp Awana, and that particular time, Teach was teaching a
Bible Class which leaders could attend if they had time. Every time
that Teach taught from the Word of God, she seemed to be speaking
directly to her. Virginia quoted Scriptures like Romans 12:1,2, and
said that God doesn't want your money or your talents, He wants you!
That was the part about giving your life, "a living sacrifice." Linda
began thinking more seriously about how the Lord wanted to use her life
- really for what purpose was she here! Another special speaker that
summer at Camp Awana was Mel Wyma, a veteran missionary with New Tribes
Mission. He had told the group of girls at Camp Awana, "You cannot do
too much for the Lord." It was just as if Mel was speaking to Linda
personally. She began to pray about serving the Lord as a full-time
missionary, and kept finding verses about "going." So one day, she
even asked her Mother if she could go just according to the Word.
Linda's Mom was excited as she replied that "Of course, you can!" In
fact, that's the only way to know for sure what the Lord really wants
you to do. Linda's parents have always been supportive of her going
into missionary work. What a blessing to have Christian parents who are
Before the time that the Lord was speaking to her heart about missions,
a young man by the name of Tom Christensen began dating Linda. Through
time, their relationship began to blossom. It was during that time that
Linda was definitely challenged to become a missionary with New Tribes
Mission. Tom wanted to ask Linda to marry him, but could not find the
words and, before he knew it, Linda was on her way to the NTM training.