A tribute to the late Dorothy Walker 1921 ~ 2012
WHEN YOU FIRST start out in missionary service, the Lord in His mercy and kindness brings certain people across your path, people whom you never forget and to whom you are forever grateful; both to the Lord and to those He sent, to share in their wisdom and experience.
For Mary and myself, one such person was Dorothy Walker.
On August 1, at the age of 90 years and whilst living in the city of Tauranga, New Zealand, Mrs Dorothy Walker went to be with her Lord and Saviour. Together with her late husband Dal in 1968, they founded the Tawangmangu Bible School (TBS) in central Java, Indonesia after relocating their ministry base from the island of Bali. TBS has been an affiliated ministry of World Outreach International from its very beginning.
Dal and Dorothy were married in 1941 and arrived in Indonesia in 1949. They were blessed with eight children – fours sons and four daughters. Besides the ministry of TBS, their ministry took them to many islands, cities, towns and villages of Indonesia, and for a season they were also based in the Philippines.
When her husband Dal died in an car accident in central Java in March 1974, Dorothy was suddenly left with the huge responsibility of leading TBS, a growing and vibrant Christian training institution. With the anointing and grace of the Lord, along with the support and prayers of family, friends and churches both in Indonesia and abroad, Dorothy rose to the challenge. Under her leadership, TBS continued to grow in stature and reputation. Today more than 4,000 Indonesians have graduated from TBS and can be found serving the Lord throughout the greater Indonesian archipelago, as well as in other nations.
In 1984, Dorothy believed it was time to hand over the ministry of TBS to her daughter Carol and son-in-law Sam Soukotta, who continue to lead the ministry today. Dal and Dorothy’s ministry legacy at TBS continues unabated.
It is to be expected that the responsibility and leadership of TBS weighed heavily on Dorothy. Many tough decisions and sacrifices had to be made. Once at a family reunion after she retired from the field, she shared with the whole family how difficult and emotionally tough it was to send her children away to New Zealand during their teenage years, so they could further their education. While Dorothy was a woman of great faith and prayer, nevertheless, the heartache of the loss of close proximity to her children was very real.
Following Dorothy’s passing, the family has received tributes from all over the world. Her life, her walk with the Lord, her faith, passion and tenacity impacted so many. One came away ‘richer’ in so many ways from having been in her company. One of the Lord’s most precious daughters has gone to be with Him forever. As her late husband Dal often said, “sudden death is sudden glory.” Dorothy has entered into her well-earned reward.
John is the Present Emeritus of World Outreach. He lives with his wife, Mary, in New Zealand.