Tell us a little about yourself – your family – how long have you been involved with Navs? Past and current roles?
I married Dave 37 ½ years ago and we have two daughters, Lori and Julia. Lori and husband, Dustin, minister with The Navs at the Univ of Georgia and have an almost 4 year old son and a 15 month old daughter. Julia and husband, Justin, live in Long Island and have a 4 year old son.
I gave my life to Christ as a freshman at Purdue when my roommate Sue Zeltwanger Goerzen came back from a Navigator Bible study. Sue got me out of bed to show a “Bridge” illustration that she wanted to practice before she forgot. After coming to Christ, I was very involved as a student with Navs at Purdue and then lived with Jody Baker and Julie Turnquist in Minneapolis while I did my dietetic internship. I returned to Purdue, worked as a dietitian in the residence halls and was in charge of the Nav women’s ministry. After two years, I resigned my job and started a dietetic consulting business and went on staff with The Navigators. In 1978, I married Dave Bowman who was an electrical engineer in the area and volunteering with Navs. Dave resigned his job and we moved to Michigan State for Navigator training with Larry Whitehouse for three years. Then we led the ministry back at Purdue for 14 years before moving to Penn State where we ministered for 19 years. A year ago we moved to the Atlanta area where Dave serves as campus mission director for several campuses in and around Atlanta. We also serve on the Collegiate Leadership Team and Dave co-leads National Training and we are the BlueRidge Trainer Coaches. I have been involved with The Navigators for 47 years and on staff for 39 years. Amazing!
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?
I feel that my main ministry gifting is evangelism. I loved leading Investigative Bible Studies and usually had at least one going on throughout my mommy years. Dave used me to train students and staff in leading these. How we worked it out: Wednesday evenings were my nights on campus. I would leave around 6 p.m. and Dave would stay home with the girls (which was their favorite night by the way 🙂 I would pray with the women who had recruited a group for me to lead and then have a half hour discussion on the Bible, usually in John. Then I would meet with one of the student women in the ministry and head home around 10 p.m. We lived close to campus and women would come to me during the week for discipleship also. We often hosted people for meals and fun activities in our home.
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 didn’t marry until I was almost 28 so I was very involved in ministry as a single woman and young married. I was 30 and almost 33 when I had children. I have always met one to one with at least one woman and usually with several.
This helped me not feel “out of touch” when my kids were grown. Dave and I work as a team on almost everything. I do most of the correspondence/ newsletters and he cleans my floors etc.
How did you keep your marriage strong in the midst of the demands of littles and a busy ministry?
Dave and I are best friends and enjoy being with each other and communicate often and well. We each know the other is the other’s highest priority after God. We also took an anniversary trip once a year. We didn’t start this until our 10thanniversary but wish we had started sooner.
If you could pass on one piece of advice to mommy missionaries, what would it be?
Enjoy these years. Know that you have the capability, authority, responsibility from God and accountability before God to make real decisions. What you do will look very different in your varying seasons. Figure out what are your gifts and strengths and don’t compare yourself with others.
One or two life lessons God has taught you regarding ministry, marriage and mothering?
Your value doesn’t depend on what you do.
Ask God to free you from your lies and self-protective and manipulative strategies.
Faith, Hope, and Love is what counts.
Believe the best in others.