The month of November does not pass when I don’t remember the living and dying of Vanette Thorsell. She was likely the first missionary to Congo (then Zaire) I met. She was passionate about the need for teachers in Congo and loved to tell stories of her life there. She was so excited when Jeff and I visited her in Berkely, CA, to tell her of our decision to become missionaries in Zaire. Vanette had retired by the time my family arrived in Karawa, Zaire, but her legacy was alive. We were so excited when she came back to Zaire to serve an additional short term during our first few years at Karawa. She was so excited that we had gone there and were working with students she had taught. She became seriously ill soon after arriving and died in surgery. What was so amazing was the response of the population of the Ubangi to news of her death People walked for days to attend her funeral and burial. The road from the church to the cemetery was a sea of people. All people coming to mourn the death of their friend.
Vanette loved the people of Congo, not just a few, but many. She poured her life into them and her legacy is seen in the lives of the many she taught who have gone on in service to the church. I wish I had a picture to share, but unfortunately I have none.