For the next four weeks we will be getting to know different Nav Women across the country… in their own words.
Tell us a little about yourself – your family – how long have you been involved with Navs? Past
and current roles?
My name is Barb Van Zante, I am now 70, and am the mother of 4 adult children, and have 9 grandchildren. My husband Bob passed away 7 years ago. I’ve served with the Navigators for 45 years. Currently I mentor 2 EDGE women on our campus (Madison, WI), and our campus director’s wife, as a part-time staff person.
When you were a mommy missionary – what did your ministry involvement look like? If you were involved on campus, how did you make that work?
My involvement varied a lot over the years. When my children were little, I normally had students come to our house for time with them. Sometimes I lead a Bible study with students on campus. In the more recent years (15-20 years ago) I was involved in training young staff on our campus.
What did you do in your 20s and 30s that helped you stay engaged? What did you do then that helped prepare you for your current role now that your kids are grown?
I really enjoyed having women come to my home during those years with littles. I have a gift of hospitality, so that “piece” fit well with my season of life. We also had quite a few different activities in our home – especially overseas where we were beginning a ministry in Germany. Bob valued my contribution through all seasons, so he helped make this a reality.
How did you keep your marriage strong in the midst of the demands of littles and a busy ministry?
I give my husband lots of the credit for this. He made our regular “date nights” a priority in the very busiest years. (We had 4 children in 3 years — obviously we had twins!) As the years passed, we also would occasionally read a book on marriage together, or attend a marriage seminar. I think the MOST important piece would be that we made praying TOGETHER a priority — especially focused on our children.
If you could pass on one piece of advice to mommy missionaries, what would it be?
Don’t neglect feeding your own soul.
One or two life lessons God has taught you regarding ministry, marriage and mothering?
God is more interested in what happens IN your life, than through it. He often uses the most difficult circumstances in my life and His transforming work in me, to touch the lives of others. That continues to be the case even today. He shows His strength best in my weakness.