“I really feel like I’m at age 66 living the best part of my life. He has shown me a greater love than I have ever experienced. Opening my heart to what He loves is an amazing adventure that I would not want to have missed.”
This year, Val Bowman has assumed the role as both a prayer partner with AFM and a church mobilizer. In her role, she walks alongside churches encouraging them to look beyond their walls to a world in need of the gospel. She explains, “The church is God’s chosen instrument for sharing the Gospel and yet today we find the church very inwardly focused.” Using tools like the 6 Ways curriculum and sharing her own story, she helps churches understand how God has shaped their hearts and talents for this work. What actually is her story?
Val was born in Michigan to military family that moved a lot. Her father, an army officer, was stationed all over the world, including overseas stints in France, German, and Turkey. The family moved with him, and her father insisted that they live among the people rather than on a military base. She says, “I am thankful that he did so, so that we could learn to feel comfortable in the culture we were living.”
Val’s father retired at Fort Lee, Virginia, and the family set down roots in Virginia. Valerie met her husband, Bill, at Virginia Commonwealth University where they were both students. Upon graduation, not only did they start life together as entrepreneurs in the construction business but also as parents to their first son, Ed. Their second son was born just two years later. During these years of raising children and building a business (including her opening her own shop and showroom), Val and Bill’s social life was very much connected to The Church of the Good Shepherd where Val served in outreach ministries and on the vestry.
It was also through The Church of the Good Shepherd that Val made her first connection with Anglican Frontier Missions. She recounts the story:
Julian had visited Good Shepherd on a Sunday I had not been in attendance but folks been talking about his visit. Several years went by and Julian came by again and this time I was in attendance. It sparked my interest in global cultures and a group of us began praying and talking about joining God where he was already at work. During Lent we invited speakers in to talk to us and we approached Julian about sending someone to speak to us. An AFM worker in Turkey came and spoke to us about a group in eastern Turkey. My love for Turkey was revived from my wonderful childhood memories and an indescribable excitement I understand now that is how the Holy Spirit works caused me to want to return. Through this AFM field worker and Julian, I was mentored and in 2012 I was able to return and spent several months in Turkey with two trips into these areas.
Val says that becoming involved in missions has created quite a reawakening in her life. Each day she wakes up joyful knowing personally the people that God loves and has caused her to love as well. “I delight in knowing them. I enjoy being with many parishes to help them become engaged with different cultures,” she explains. As part of her new ministry, Val works on a team that puts together the Perspectives Course on World Missions in Richmond and surrounding areas. Wanting to serve the those in need at her doorstep as well, Val has become a conversation partner to Turkish students who come to the US to study and has befriended refuge women from Nepal whom she helps navigate their new adopted culture, ministries that give her great pleasure.
When asked what God has been doing in through this ministry, she responded:
“Our God is an amazing God. I see his hands clearly reaching out to bring all things together. I have seen people with no hope begin to have hope because there is a God who loves them and desire them as His own. I have seen God bring all sorts of broken folks together so that they can be healed and share that knowledge with others. I have seen new believers, tremble before the Lord as they worship and praise the name of Jesus. I know in my own life that I can depend on God’s provision and protection when I am far away from home. I am joyful each day to learn what encounters will take place and know that he can take us no matter where we are in life and use us for His purposes if we have faith enough to take that first trusting step.”
Val knows first-hand that taking that step of faith into following wherever Jesus calls us can be the most wonderful experience of our lives. She continues, “I really feel like I’m at age 66 living the best part of my life. He has shown me a greater love than I have ever experienced. Opening my heart to what He loves is an amazing adventure that I would not want to have missed.”
Valerie Bowman keeps busy, not only with her ministry, but also as she continues to work part-time in their construction business. Her six grandchildren, ages 11 to 4, are an important part of my life as well. Her ministries keep her on the move, but if you would like to contact her, she can be reached by cell phone (804-439-3305).