The almond trees were in full bloom when my parents brought me home from the hospital to our home in Lodi, California, in February 1939. Six months later, we boarded a ship to the Island of Sumatra in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). My father, David Morken, heard God's heart crying out for the Aborigines, who had never heard of His love.
My memories as a child are rooted in Asian cultures. We had to run for our lives through the jungles of Sumatra during W.W.II. Escaping by ship and tossing on the high seas for three months we avoided the submarines until we arrived safely in New York City harbor. Later, we sailed to Shanghai only to watch it fall to the Communists one year later.
We were placed under "house arrest" for another year. My missionary parents felt an urgency to tell others of God's love and plan to save them from their sins. I watched and listened carefully to see if this message was worth risking their lives and the lives of their six children. I watched my parents as the bombs were falling and experienced a quality of peace that filled me with awe. I returned to America for my schooling, where I met my future husband, Joe Winston.
After attending Hampden DuBose Academy and Wheaton College, we were married in 1958 and moved to Atlanta where he completed his medical studies.
In 1965, we took our own growing family to Hong Kong as medical missionaries. It was there that I first began discipling other women in earnest. For years I taught Sunday school classes to children and adults, but I dragged my feet when women asked me to teach them personally the Bible.
It wasn't until my daughter came home from college in 1978 and asked me to study with her that the floodgates opened. What began as an intimate group soon grew into a community Bible study involving women from 20 different churches! Other Bible study leaders were born in that group, and I was able to leave it in capable hands. Since then, I have launched other Bible studies while developing a ministry to pastor's wives and speaking at women's Bible conferences and retreats. I have had the privilege of joining Elisabeth Elliot in some of her "Gateway to Joy" radio programs and was interviewed for a six-part television series, "Thinking About Home," on women as mothers, as wives, and in society.
Now after 61 years of marriage, five children, 28 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren, I find I am living in a world no more secure than when I was growing up. I am convinced of God's love and His ability to take the worst in life and turn it for good and His purposes if we cooperate with Him. Giving other women this hope has been one of the reasons for teaching Bible Studies and speaking in women's conferences and retreats. It is also the reason I have written the book, HEART-CRY, the story of our lives in the jungles of Sumatra. I am preparing an audiobook of HEART-CRY to be published in December 2019.