About Margaret Stringer:
I am convinced that there has never been a missionary go to the field who wanted to be a missionary more than I did.
God saved me when I was 11 years old and I dedicated my life to be a missionary when I was 12. I had never seen a missionary as our church didn’t have those odd creatures visit our church, and am sure that nobody really expected that I really would do it – but they had not taken God into account.
I use to cry myself to sleep in high school begging God to let me be a missionary. I wanted to go to the most primitive people in the world – only I didn’t know just where that was.
After graduating from high school, I went to Tennessee Temple University where I learned a lot about missions and met scads of missionaries from all sorts of ministries and from many different places. I never heard a dull missionary speaker and wanted to return to their fields with all of them.
While waiting for God to show me “my place” I went home for vacation where I heard a missionary from my church speak about a place way off in what was then Dutch New Guinea. He showed slides from a village named Senggo of little black boys wearing bright red shorts which had been made by the missionary’s wife. The people were very primitive – in the Stone Age culture – and still practicing headhunting and cannibalism.
When I saw his slides it seemed as if God said, “That is going to be your place.”
In July, 1964 I went to “my place” which at that time had become a part of Indonesia and was Irian Barat, Indonesia – now Irian Jaya or West Papua, Indonesia. After about 10 years in the Mimika tribe the Mission moved me to the village of Senggo in the Citak tribe. There I met the very ones who had worn the little red shorts and some of them became my language helpers and the first church leaders.
During my 40 years and 3 months there I never once doubted that I was there in God’s will. God is so good to let us forget the difficult times and remember the good ones. I look back on my time there and wish I had been a better missionary, but would do it again in a minute.
We talk a lot about “surrendering to do God’s will”. I believe that we should be standing in line hoping and praying that God will choose us to do something special for Him. He chooses us not because we are someone special but because of His grace and mercy and when He chooses us to do something for Him we have been highly honored and should thank Him every day for that privilege.
He gave me the almost unbelievable privilege of working in the Citak tribe on the southern coast of Irian Jaya where I had the joy of reducing the unwritten language to writing and translating the New Testament into two languages – Citak and Tamnim.
I got to be the first white person to go into an area where the people were still practicing headhunting and cannibalism. Just before coming home in October I got to participate in the church dedication in one of those villages and hear Boar, the village chief and former headhunter say, “Thank you for coming. Thank you for telling us how to go to Heaven. You brought us out of the darkness into the light.”
A book about that experience with the headhunters, “From Cannibalism to Christianity” has been published.
In “retirement” I am keeping busy speaking in churches, Bible Colleges, Christian Academies, Ladies’ Retreats, etc. I have had the privilege of participating in the Candidate Schools of 2 missions which have been a joy. God is good and it is a privilege to serve Him.