Chad, Africa and a Baptist Mid-Missions
Christian Education Consultant
I was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota, on January 31, 1950, to Louis and Ruth Tatter, the second of seven children. When I was about six years old I realized that I personally had to choose Christ as my Savior. That morning when the pastor gave the invitation, I would not go forward. That night I realized that God loved me so much that He would have died just for me. I got up from my bed and found my parents in the living room and told them I needed to be saved. They came and we knelt by my bed and I know that Jesus saved me from my sins that night.
My mother was a registered nurse and my father was the superintendent of schools. One of my mother’s best friends was a missionary in Africa. I remember her visiting us one day and she showed me a picture of tiny people about three feet tall who were full grown. The lady held a baby in her arms and the man had a beard. She explained how she worked with pygmies on the continent of Africa. She was very joyful about her life because she wanted her life to count for eternity.
One summer when I was ten or eleven, there was a missionary from India who preached about being living sacrifices for the Lord. At the end of camp, at the campfire, several of us publicly gave our lives to serving Jesus. When I was fourteen years old my pastor asked me if I would teach the three and four year olds Sunday school class for a couple of months in the summer. By the end of the two months, I realized that this was a way I could serve the Lord.
By the time I was in ninth grade, my older sister was in college and I was the oldest of six at home. We had moved to the Red Lake Native American Reservation in Minnesota. My father was the principal of schools and mom was working with some doctors from the Twin Cities who worked with nephritis patients on the reservation. We were active in the Redby Mission on the reservation and I found myself teaching ten to fifteen first to third graders. One day my sister Lorna and I were asked to sing at a funeral for a baby who died. Just before we were to sing, I learned that the baby had frozen to death while the mother was in the bar getting drunk. I broke down crying and Lorna had to finish the song. Until that moment I had not realized just how wicked this world was and I told God that I wanted to make a difference in this world. I was HIS to command.
I had first heard of the seven laws of teaching from my father. I believe he had met John Milton Gregory, who received his doctorate in Christian Education from Wheaton College. His thesis was an analysis of Christ’s teaching methods according to the Gospels. I graduated from Gonvick High School in Minnesota and then from St. Cloud State University with a bachelor of science degree in elementary education. I discovered that I was not only unhappy teaching in public schools but also wanted to learn more about why I believed in the "fundamentals of the faith." In the summer of 1975, God opened the door for me to move to Macon, Georgia to teach first grade in the Macon Christian Academy and attend the Gilead Bible Institute. While I was there, God showed me that I needed to prepare for missionary service somewhere. God opened the door for me to serve Him in Chad, Africa. Because I wanted to serve with an agency that had Baptist in its name and they were already in Africa, I was authorized and commissioned in 1977 with Baptist Mid-Missions.
After I studied the French language in Lausanne, Switzerland, I found that my teaching talents and work with children were invaluable in the Chad, Africa. God helped me put together a teacher training program plus provided experience in writing lessons for the Sunday school teachers.
During my thirty-one years in Africa, it was my privilege to help our Baptist churches (there were around sixty churches when I first arrived) start Sunday school ministries for the children ages three through fifteen. During that time, I wrote and put together a training manual which taught several courses including the seven laws of teaching and a child development course that briefly studied a child physically, socially, mentally, and spiritually from the time he is born until he is eighteen. We also taught a simplified dispensations course, the I AM Bible Study method, a course on prayer, and a simple Sunday School administration course, plus many Sunday School songs and methods courses. I also wrote eight years of Sunday School lessons.
In the summer of 2012, I transitioned to a new special assignment ministry as a Baptist Mid-Missions Christian Education consultant. I moved to Missionary Acres where I developed this ministry and eventually became retireed at the Acres.