Trusting God on the Journey

By Mary Lane

God gave Natalie Hall (Nat), a New Hampshire native, many nudges to direct her life’s journey to JAARS. Through patience and prayer, God directed Nat when she left home to answer his calling.

God first nudged Nat to serve at JAARS years ago. At church she met Dave Barton, who had become involved in the youth group. Dave and his wife Deb, served at JAARS before going to Papua New Guinea, where they now serve.

Nat with Dave and Deb Barton and one of their sons, Josiah

“He finished high school, went off to college, came back [to our church] and started talking about missions. He said he was going to be a pilot, and talked about JAARS, which I’d never heard of,” Nat shared. Through getting to know Dave, Nat learned of the many support roles involved in missions, especially those that support Bible translation. This piqued her interest about wanting serve there herself.        

Marilyn Lazlo, who served with Wycliffe Bible Translators, was also a huge influence on Nat. They met in 1998 when Marilyn visited Nat’s church in New Hampshire. Marilyn shared about serving as a translator in Papua New Guinea for 24 years, both the highlights and the challenges. She explained Bible translation in a way Nat had never heard. “The thing that she stressed was that we’re not just translating God’s word, we are giving [people] their language in written form, which preserves their language and makes them literate.”

Nat first journeyed to JAARS as a volunteer in 2007. Due to her various computer skills, she was placed with International Media Services. She loved the experience because she helped edit their web page for various products. She returned two years later and did the same thing.

Nat’s next journey to JAARS had to wait, because her mom, needing care, came to live with Nat and her sister. They took care of her until she passed in 2017. Finally, Nat sold her house and moved to JAARS permanently in June of 2018. This time, she had new challenges—finding a home and church family.

“It’s not always easy to trust God and step out in faith,” Nat remembers. “There was one point as I was driving down here, when I almost had a panic attack. I thought, ‘I don’t have a house anymore. Everything I own is in storage. I don’t know where I’m going to live.’ But I took a deep breath, and said ‘Lord, this is what you want for me.’”

She prayed for the Lord to take care of all the unknowns, and God reassured her of his protection and guidance as details fell into place once she arrived. Within a month of moving to JAARS, she bought a house and soon became involved in a church.

Nat currently serves as a volunteer coordinator in the Human Resources Department. She finds roles for volunteers, no matter how long they stay. Her favorite part of serving here is meeting people and helping them find their roles. “I’ve learned that every job is important for Bible translation. If we don’t do our jobs, then the Bible translators can’t do theirs. It’s like a chain reaction. Anytime I put somebody in a position, whether it’s in the kitchen, housekeeping, or grounds keeping, I pray with them and emphasize that every job is important, because the end result is Bible translation.”

So what has Nat learned during her journey? “To trust God,” she said. “I had that surety of knowing it’s where he wanted me and then stepped out in faith, trusting that he was going to provide the house, and whatever else I needed here. It was an element of trust to get here, but now there’s an element of growth and spiritual encouragement to have that church family around me as well as the JAARS family.”

How might God be asking you to step out in faith for his kingdom? Check out some opportunities to serve Bible translation at JAARS here.