10 questions with: Nancy McBride February 24, 2009Posted by Andrew Killick (Publishing Manager) in 2. Author Interviews, 4. Castle Distributed Books, Nancy McBride, Two Lives One Dream.
Late last year, Nancy McBride, with the help of some generous family and friends, published an autobiographical account of Bible translation missionary life with her husband Sam in Papua New Guinea. The book is a really fascinating and touching story and well worth reading. Castle provided publishing services for the project and are distributing the book as well. We’re immensely proud to have been a part of the whole endeavour.
Nancy thought she was producing a book for a few friends and her grand kids, but Two Lives, One Dream has really taken off, and we are currently printing more copies to meet demand.
We chatted with Nancy about her life and the Two Lives, One Dream book project…
I had always wanted to write something about our lives so that my children and grandchildren would have history to look at. I never expected to write a book to be published. I was encouraged to write it by Dave Bay, a close friend of Sam’s, and also by my brother-in-law, Jim McBride. I am now happy that they did but initially I had a hard time accepting that I could even possibly do it… but with the prayers and help of many, God brought it all together. I especially thank Dave Bay, Jim McBride, David McBride and Maurice Koch as they wrote the parts of Sam’s background. I really see it as a book to honour who Sam was and his life in Christ.
A lot of what you write about in the book, including stories about Sam, are very personal and close to your heart. What was the experience of writing about that like?
I found writing this book a very emotional experience as I re-lived what had happened during that time in my life but perhaps even more so because it was condensed into a small space of time, whereas living it was a gradual experience.
How has the book been received by people who have read it?
I have been amazed at how well the book has been received and been blessed by phone calls, emails, and letters I have received from all over the world telling me how it touched them. I feel very humbled!
So, what would you say to others who are thinking of writing about their life experiences?
One of the comments I have been given over and over by people is that the book was easy to read and they just couldn’t put it down. Others have said it just flowed and wasn’t complicated. I guess what I am saying is if you write with too much detail people find it hard to follow. It is better to give them something that allows them to read it quickly and wanting more as people are so busy these days and don’t like to get bogged down in books. I am talking about the average person. When I wrote this book I didn’t know what I was doing and I have learnt a lot!
Also, be prepared for all kinds of emotional feelings to come up. Memories stir up lots of things but remember it is okay to have those emotions. It’s a good cleansing mechanism about the deeper things in you… which you may not have realised you had.
And your book becomes like your child and you become very protective about what you write and may even be offended when others try to help you see how to put it differently in a book. I sometimes felt like saying, “but you weren’t experiencing it, you don’t know the truth”. But they are helping to make it better and not criticising you. I had to learn that too.
Tell us a bit about your experiences as missionary. What was the ‘culture clash’ like when you (an American) married a Kiwi in PNG?
Because Sam and I met and married in PNG and were constantly living with people from all different countries and we were all experiencing life together, our marriage seemed normal without many cultural clashes. Our family backgrounds were really quite alike. His family thoroughly seem to accept me and my family accepted him. I felt the differences when we came to live permanently in New Zealand though. I was the only American around where we were and it seemed then my Americanism came out stronger and I found the NZ and American culture clashes. Sam help me through those times.
What are some of your fondest memories of the time you spent in PNG?
There are so many that it would be hard to put them down but two that really stick out was meeting and marrying Sam there and having our first child being born there.
What do you most admire about the people you met in PNG, the people you grew up with in the USA, and the people around you in New Zealand?
In PNG, the Gimi people that we lived with taught us so much about the treasures of nature, about generosity and serving. There was no competition in their culture which is quite different from the western world.
I grew up in the US during a time when people honoured God and His values. There I learned a love for God, a love country and a love for all nationalities.
In New Zealand I’ve learned about going to the extremes of what it means to care for people… no matter what.
What would you say to others who were thinking about venturing out on missions?
From the young age of seven, I knew that God had called me to serve Him overseas. From that age I gave my all toward that goal. There were hiccups along the way but having the assurance of what God had called me to do helped me push through those times. Missionaries are just ordinary people and we are the same at home as we are abroad… changing countries doesn’t change you but it can bring out the worst in you! God put us in the best place where He can work out His sanctification in us. But what a joy to serve where God wants you. Whether home serving the Lord in your work place, in your home etc or on the mission field He is wanting us to seek Him.
What was the most rewarding part of the ministry you shared with Sam?
Again there were so many rewarding times in the ministry, but four things stand out…
– When the old men in the village looked forward to Sam going to one of their houses each night after he had finished doing the translating of the Word each day, and checked it out with them to see if they understood what was being said. They loved it and would be so upset if for some reason or other if he couldn’t come to discuss it with them.
– When we came back to the village for a break and head men from different villages came to ask us what had we done to a man named Hutenu… he was different. We told them we didn’t know what they were talking about. Then we found out that he had accepted the Lord into his life while going over and over the Word on the tape and tape recorder we had left him while we were gone from the village. What they saw was that he could walk through the bush alone at night and not be afraid… no Gimi would ever go anywhere alone. They wanted what he had.
– Seeing the change that took place in Kabazo (one of our translation helpers) and his wife when she was near death and we prayed with them for the Lord to touch her. As we left to go back to our village they told how an angel appeared above the door of their house and they knew she would be healed… and she was. This, along with the Word Kabazo was translating with Sam, brought them to believe in the one true God.
– When Abaroro, our head man, told us: “If I hear the English Bible it means nothing to me. It would be like eating sweet potato from a distant place. It would taste unfamiliar. If I hear it in Pdigin English, it would sound familiar
but I can’t really under stand what is being said. It would be like eating the sweet potato from the Fore (a neighboring tribe) but it wouldn’t satisfy my hunger. But when I hear God’s Word in Gimi it tastes so good and I get filled up and satisfied. Just like when I eat our own sweet potato, I get filled up and satisfied.”
What’s next? What dreams and hopes do you have for the next few years?
My next project is to finish a book for my grandchildren to show them how God speaks through the Word into every area of our lives and how wonderful it is to have a love for God’s Word. It is like a devotional book where I put a verse at the top of each page that God has made very alive for me during certain periods of my life when I needed encouragement, guidance, enlightenment, direction etc. Underneath each verse I tell the story of how God used that specific verse or verses in my situation.
I have spent many years very busy in church ministries and other things which have kept me occupied, and have recently felt to lay these things down so that I am free to reach out to my neighbours in love and friendship. I still have speaking engagements etc, but this is my main focus for this time. And I also want to be available to be free to visit my children and grandchildren. Only God knows what He has in mind for the future and that is okay with me.
For more info or to order copies of Two Lives, One Dream contact us.