Postcard From the Field
Inge-Lise Titheradge, 32, reluctantly identifies herself as a "professional missionary," but she quickly adds, "Although the word 'missionary' conjures up images of old women with no taste in fashion and bad hair worn in a bun, I hasten to add I am not one of those!"
For nine years, from 1993 to 2002, this fashionable woman from England traversed the globe with YWAM (Youth With A Mission). She spent the first four years assigned to a hospital ship traveling between Africa, Europe, and America that involved bringing relief and development to several countries, as well as offered surgery to people suffering from facial tumors, cataracts, glaucoma, and cleft lips.
"My primary role was to teach the crew's kids on board, which I did for two years, and then I worked with discipleship-training schools and led outreach teams," Titheradge recalls. "One year, we were based in South Africa, an amazing country where I got to lead a team to work with a Zulu township in Durban. We were the first non-Zulus to live with the people. It's a truly blissful memory."
Titheradge says that over the nine years she worked with YWAM, she visited 31 countries on every continent but Australasia and Antarctica. "I have led teams into China, Thailand, Vietnam, Turkey - I have too many stories to tell of all that took place. And I did it on no set salary," she says "Pretty good of God, really."
In 2002, Titheradge felt that she wanted to study more, and she wanted to do it outside of her mission organization. "I wanted to be exposed to others views, opinions, and mission groups. I also wanted to take time to see and hear again what direction God would have me head into. So I looked outside the box," she says. Her search for the right school eventually landed her at Fuller Seminary, where she is now studying for a master's degree in intercultural studies.
Her future direction, however, remains unclear. "I am in that wonderful place of "Arghhh--I don't know!'" she says. "What I know is that I have a real heart for meeting new people, for being a lifelong learner, and I always want to try new things.
"I have already lived such a privileged life, meeting so many peoples of the world. From the terraced farming in China to eating dragon fruit in Vietnam to spending hours learning about Turkish customs from locals while drinking sweet tea--there are few words to capture the moments. And all those moments have spoiled me for ordinary. Whatever is ahead, there is so much life, and I just want to go for it!"