Missionaries Walt and Maggie Emry
Dear Pine Grove Baptist Church,
Thank you so much for your interest in the work here in the South Pacific. Also, I would like to thank you for thinking of us and including us in your prayers.
I am Walt Emry. I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. My father was a Longshoreman and my mother a housewife. I was not raised in a Christian home and neither of my parents went to church. It was my Grandparents that were concerned about my spiritual condition. My grandfather passed away when I was 11 years old which left my grandmother to take us to church, which she did most every weekend. At the time, we were going to West Haven Evangelical Free Church. They closed in 1977 and we started going to West Hills Baptist Church. I was heavily involved with the youth group, even serving as the president.
In 1978 I had the privilege of going on a two week mission trip to Mexico. Missionary Don Lang was our sponsor. I sure got a taste of what life was like on the foreign field, we went to some pretty poor areas. At that time I had NO idea what God was preparing me for. I remember sitting in S.S. class and the teacher said that God has a plan for each one of your lives, and a one-word thought passed through my mind….Pastor! I didn’t give it much attention or even a second thought at the time.
In 1979 I joined the U.S. Army. I spent two years overseas in Germany. While serving in Germany, for some reason, I decided to come home on leave. I met my wife to be. She happened to be going to West Hills Baptist Church after spending a semester at Western Baptist Bible College. We fell in love during that 37 day leave. One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do was get back on that plane to go back overseas. I spent another year in the military and then was honorably discharged. When I got back to Portland I lived with my parents, and two months later Maggie and I were married, October 16th, 1982. We sporadically went to church but hadn’t found a church we wanted to return to. On October 14th, 1984 we had our first child, Sara Bradie. It was at that time I finally started to grow up, I had another life to be responsible for.
In 1985 we moved to Spokane, WA, where Maggie had lived since 1973. We moved in with her parents for 8 months. It was during that time we had another child, a son, Bret Neil, born February 20th, 1986. I worked in management for different restaurants, where I got some leadership training, doing books, making schedules, and being a boss. We were going to the church where Maggie’s mom and dad were going. It was called Berean Bible Church. We were content there, for a while, but they didn’t baptize, at all, had no membership rolls, gave no invitation after a sermon You didn’t even have to bring a Bible because the pastor didn’t cite any references during his sermons. I was oblivious to it at the time. I guess my mind was on making money, even striving for wealth (which I never got). Maggie was the one who got discouraged with it. It just so happened that one day while shopping Maggie saw a lady that used to go to Berean. Maggie asked her where she was going to church now. She said, “Oh I’m going to this little Baptist church, you probably wouldn’t like it; we’re small”. Maggie asked her where it was. So the next Sunday we went to it. We walked in and we just knew right from the start this is it. This is where God wants us. It was Bethel M.B.C. which is now our sending church.
Pastor Doug Rogers was there at the time but has since passed away. We attended for about a month or so and then we joined the church in April 1988. We have never looked back. When we joined Bethel our youngest daughter Penny May was just three months old, born January 29th, 1988. It just so happened that Bethel at that time had a satellite school from the other side of the state, so I started attending seminary classes. God started working on my heart immediately.
It was in July of that same year that I preached my first sermon before I ever announced my call to the ministry. My Pastor must have seen the Lord working on me. One night I woke up in the middle of the night and I had a whole outline in my head, so I got up and wrote it down. One day shortly thereafter there were a few of us riding in a car and I told him I had prepared a sermon and I asked him if could I preach it. He said, “Absolutely, how about this Sunday night?” So, I preached my first sermon on “Love” in July 1988. About two months later, listening to a Sunday evening sermon from a visting preacher, God firmly impressed upon me that He was calling me into the ministry. I still remember the sermon title “Are Ye Able”. I told the preacher after church that God wanted to use me somewhere. As soon as I made that comment the Pastor grabbed me by the arm and said to me, “We need to talk!”. The next Tuesday night the ladies were having a meeting at the parsonage and Brother Doug came over to my house to talk. I was still not completely forthcoming with my calling; I was still working it out in my mind, maybe even fighting it. After our meeting Brother Doug went back over to the Parsonage and when he walked through the door all the ladies stopped, looked at him with anticipation, and with one voice they said, “Well?” All he could do was just nod his head Yes. Then collectively they all said, “We knew it!”
After a couple of years of seminary classes, I started filling in at a church that didn’t have a pastor. I preached there off and on for about three months. Eventually, they asked if I would preach in view of a call. I told them I wasn’t ready yet. The next week they asked me again, so I told them I would. The very next week they called me as their Pastor. We moved to the field on Dec. 31st, 1990. We served there for three years, then we moved to my next Pastorate in Sandpoint, Idaho where we were for five years. Then I heard of a new mission work that was starting up in Walla Walla, WA. I didn’t even know where Walla Walla was. With much prayer and thought (and including agony), we decided to take the mission work. We were there for seventeen years. I will admit now, looking back, that I stayed about five years too long.
By then all of our children were married and now two of them have children of their own. As of today, we have nine grandchildren, ranging from ages 19 down to 3. In January of 2015, I was approached by Ron Smith about taking a short term mission trip to the Solomon Islands. We got excited about going. But, I was still on ABA salary and we couldn’t just up and leave for a month. They were scheduled to leave in August of 2015 and we gound that so much was about to take place between January and August. I ended up resigning from my current ABA mission work in May of that year but stayed on until the end of June. During our time in Walla Walla, I finished earning my Associates Degree in Ministry and attended all but one session of The Worlds Mission Seminars, hosted by Flatwoods MBC in Mt. View, and Faith BC in North Little Rock, both in Arkansas. We ended up going on that one month trip. It ended up being a survey trip for us, and we even extended our stay another month. After we came back, Bethel took us on as our sending church and we did our deputation for close to two years. It was during our time in Florida, while attending the Westwood School of Missions, that we came and visited Pine Grove there in Christmas. It was a local association meeting if memory serves. And then we came back for a mission revival when Pastor Anthony Phillips and Missionary Chase Reynolds preached for you.