Skip to main content

A Tribute to a Friend

Way back in 1981 when I joined SIM, I spent a month at SIM headquarters for orientation. We had a fun group, many of whom are still on the mission field and with whom I am still in touch.

One of our group was Jim Collins. Jim and I ended up in Nigeria at about the same time. He came to Miango, where I was teaching at an M.K. school, for Hausa Language School. There he met a fellow teacher, Laurie Berg. They married and served together in Nigeria for a number of years before moving to Bolivia. In Bolivia they adopted two children before moving to Texas and joining Tech Team. Laurie suffered for years with rheumatoid arthritis before complications after surgery took her life.

At that point, Jim returned to Nigeria. His two children were young adults on their own and he still had a heart to teach in Nigeria. A year ago, right after Easter, he was killed in Nigeria in a car accident.

Chad Winsor came by one night to help us hang pictures. Chad grew up in Miango where I served for four years. His family lived right across the street from me and I taught two of his siblings. As we were hanging pictures, I said to John, "Guess who made this picture frame for me?" He didn't know, so I said, "Jim Collins". I was telling John what a good carpenter Jim was. Chad was just standing there smiling and then he said, "Guess who taught me to make those cupboards? Jim Collins."

So, when it comes down to it, I owe my beautiful kitchen cupboards to two friends: Jim Collins and Chad Winsor. Often when I am in my kitchen I think of how fitting it is for an older person to take a kid and spend time with them, teaching them skills. Jim let Chad, just a jr. high kid at that point, hang out with him one summer and taught him beautiful carpentry skills. Let's not forget that the time we spend with kids may have long-lasting effects!