They were the dynamic duo of Bible teaching. OMF missionary Dr Lucille Ramish had a PhD and brought big-picture, academic rigour to the teaching. Another OMF missionary, Mrs June Lane who hadn't had the privilege of graduate studies, brought home the messages to our hearts. Together, they brought together the two components of Bible teaching, to the mind (Lk 24:45) and to the heart (Lk 24:32). They were one good argument for the fact that the best teaching should be team teaching.
I first benefited from their teaching when I joined their church community in my final few years in university. I was with them for three years after I graduated. The church eventually became Evangel Baptist Church. They helped me clarify my calling to the pastorate and provided material and spiritual support for the four years I was in seminary.
It’s now about 50 years later and as I look back over the years, it is clear that my spiritual formation in that critical period between tertiary education and working life was the result of a few key people like Lucille Ramish and June Lane. June’s husband, Denis Lane, also gave important guidance when I grappled with the big questions of vocation and preparation for vocation. They helped me by their Bible teaching and by their warm, loving friendship. They gave space for a cocky, know-it-all, young man to make mistakes and to grow.
These memories came flooding back last Tuesday when I was privileged to be on a zoom call to wish June happy birthday on her 94th birthday. Denis and Lucille have gone ahead to be with the Lord. It was a joy to be able to see June and to wish her God’s blessings and to briefly remind her of her very important role in my development. I have not met her in person for many years. In recent times social media has helped us to connect, but I do not know if I will see her in person again this side of heaven. At least I could see her and chat with her on Zoom.
I noted with interest that many on the call said she had not changed from the first time we met her about 50 years ago. June protested and said that there were so many changes, her hair colour for one. I realised why people thought that she hadn’t changed. Fifty years ago, we saw her love. We see that same love today. She hasn’t changed.