Tuesday, May 22, 2001

Her mission since 1960: Being a pen pal


Cards, letters sent to church workers overseas

The Associated Press

        HOMERVILLE, Ohio — A northeastern Ohio woman has been a pen pal for missionaries for more than 40 years, writing to more than 300 overseas church workers annually to mark birthdays and anniversaries.

        “It has been a wonderful ministry and a way to get to know the missionaries better. I thank God for the opportunity to do what I have done,” Bertha Caesar said.

        Her cards and letters are sent anywhere missionaries of Grace Brethren International Missions serve, including Asia, Europe and Central and South America.

        Ms. Caesar began her correspondence in 1960 as a member of Women of Grace ladies group at the Homerville Grace Brethren Church. She has been selected to continue the job each year since.

        With nearly 300 missionaries to remember, the project keeps her busy all year in this community 40 miles southwest of Cleveland.

        “I take each month at a time. I have 32 cards to send out this month, and I have 291, to be exact, to send this year,” she told the Wooster Daily Record.

        The women's group and the church help by buying cards and postage.

        Church secretary Mary Muntz said Ms. Caesar also sends birthday cards and anniversary cards to the children and spouses of missionaries and includes a handwritten note in each.

        Heidi Sisson, a missionary in the Central Africa Republic and a member of Warsaw Community Grace Brethren Church in Warsaw, Ind., has been on Ms. Caesar's mailing list.

        “It's very encouraging to receive her notes especially when you know she writes to so many different people,” she said.

        Retired missionary Dorothy Hodgdon and Ms. Caesar were able to meet after years of correspondence. Ms. Hodgdon and her family worked in Brazil for 29 years.

        “Over the years she wrote to myself, my husband and our four children. It meant so much to all of us. She always included several paragraphs about the church, her family and things in the states,” Ms. Hodgdon said.

        Last year Ms. Caesar won the Senior Medal of Ministry Award at the national Christian Education Conference of Grace Brethren Churches in Winona Lake, Ind.

       



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