A Tribute

to

Florence Shires Webster

Page 2


 

 

On Feb. 14, 1965 Florence was married to Richard Webster, a fellow missionary involved in the Taiwan student work.  Dickís first wife Lucille had died of cancer two years earlier.  Now Flo became not only Dickís wife and co-worker, but also filled the role of mother to three wonderful children as well Ė Don (18), Dorothy (15) and Darlene (12).  Within three years God gave them two more sons, Larry and Sam, to complete their family.  All the Webster children studied through High School at Morrison Academy, a school for missionary children in Taichung, Taiwan.

Now Flo began to move between two worlds, the Chinese student work and the English-speaking student world at Morrison Academy.  In both situations she served as speaker, taught Bible classes, worked at training student leaders, and counseled with young people.  Flo and Dick both felt Godís call to build up and train young Christians to become students of Godís Word and effective leaders for Christ.  By Godís grace they saw many young people, both Chinese and American, grow, mature and later become pastors, teachers, and Christian leaders.

As an avenue to provide leadership training, Dick and Flo helped to organize the Village Gospel Mission.  This was an outreach program in which students could evangelize small villages near to their university setting.  Many students would look back at this outreach as a setting in which they received the training and tools that they would use in their later minstry.

Flo and Dick Webster with their new son, Larry, and with Flo's new daughters, Darlene and Dorothy.

Son Don was at Wheaton College when Dick and Flo were married.  He later entered Navy flight training.

With sons Sam and Larry.

Flo and Dick teaching Bible study methods at a student conference.

Flo with her "daughters," with whom she mentored.

Some keep in touch now as mothers and mentors themselves.

Playing tennis with fellow faculty members at Morrison Academy.

 

In December 1995, when Flo had reached age 65 and Dick age 75, they ďretiredĒ from overseas service  and settled in Southern California. Here they found fellowship in the many Chinese churches that have sprung up in the area.  The focus of their ministry became mobilization; seeking through prayer, correspondence and personal contact  to mobilize others to reach out to the world with the gospel.  Dick wrote a book, Seize the Baton,  in which he challenged the next generation of Christís disciples to grasp the challenge of the Great Commission handed to them by those who had gone before. As a rule, Flo and Dick would spend Sunday mornings with a Chinese congregation in Orange County.

Flo and Dick joined an English speaking church in Orange, and became a part of the church life there. Flo served as chairman of the Missionary Fellowship, and soon the dozen or so missionary families supported by the church began receiving not only monthly gifts but increased prayer as well.  Flo made it her goal that missionary email letters were no longer filed away, but shared in every way possible with members of the church family.  Flo carried on a personal correspondence with many of those missionaries.

 

Uncle Ernie, son Sam, Dick, Flo, and Flo's mother, Grace.

Holding grandson Marty.  He is now in University.

Tutoring two home-schooled sisters in Orange County.

With grandson, Kaizen.

Retirement allowed Dick and Flo to catch up with family that had lived half a world apart.

"Enjoying bad weather," as Dick would say.  Conversing with grandson, Eric.  Flo faithful in her exercising.

With great grandsons, Cody and Chase.

 

 

 

Southern California was becoming more crowded and more expensive, and members of the Webster family were gradually migrating north to Anacortes, Washington, a delightful little town between Seattle and the Canadian border.  One day when Dick reluctantly agreed to consider another move, the family rallied to the need, and escorted Dick and Flo up to Anacortes to join them.  

Dickís health had been weakening, and he could no longer drive or do many practical things, so Flo became his caregiver.  They found Anacortes a friendly place, and soon became active in a small church.   Along with a wonderful new friend Linda, Flo taught a prayer course in the church based on their prayer manual, Worship & Warfare which she and Dick had put together in Taiwan.

Flo had been vigorously healthy all her life.  In April 2001 Flo was unexpectedly diagnosed with Parkinsonís disease.   She had recently watched her best friendís husband suffer from Parkinsonís in its last stages, and had a clear picture of what could be involved.  However, knowing Godís faithfulness from personal experience, and fortified with countless promises in His Word that the Lord would be with her in every challenge of life, Flo found this a new opportunity to live out her faith on an even higher level than before.  Fortunately the disease progressed slowly, and although it brought frustrating limitations on energy and took up more time in maintenance than one would wish, she was able to continue driving, serving others, and found joy in helping to meet the spiritual and material needs of others.  

As this is written, in February, 2010, Flo is finding that the Parkinson's disease has advanced and limited her energy and to some extent, her mobility.  Dick has recently entered a rehabilitation center and is working to recover bed-ridden status due to a fractured vertebrae. 

Both Flo and Dick look back on a life that was Christ-directed and filled with the surprises and blessings that are part of life in Christ. To the end, their life's mission has been not only to pass the message of Christ's gift of salvation, but to encourage others to feed on the many other deep truths contained in the Bible. 

This Valentines Day of 2010, Flo and Dick will celebrate their 45th anniversary.  They look back fondly on a relationship filled with love, support and partnership.  They would say that their mutual desire to be in the center of Christ's will was a key to their joy and happiness.  One would have to agree.

Anacortes friend and prayer partner, Linda.

 

Great-grandson, Cody.

Flo has always found respite in her garden.

Sharing an insight with Tia.

 Flo and Dick Webster

 

The End

  

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Dick and Flo Webster email address:  flowebsterca@yahoo.com   

A Tribute to Richard Webster:  http://jali.net/richard/

Don's Home Page

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