When Lois Secrist was a teenager in the twenties she felt a devout love for God. Feeling it strongly made her want to do something that would please Him. Although she delighted in going to church, it just was not enough for her. She felt a need to do something that would bring others to know the Creator that she adored so much. At the tender age of 15, Lois promised her God that she would become a missionary.

Life has a way of getting in the way of even the best of intentions. At 23, Lois met a handsome farmhand named Galon Prater. Lois and Galon started seeing each other and before long they fell in love and were married.

Dreams of serving God in some far-off land changed to helping her husband find the Lord. He had become a heavy drinker and Lois had her hands full trying to keep him sober. Years later, before he died, Galon did become a Christian and even told his former drinking buddies about the Lord. In 1988, Galon passed away.

At the age of 76 Lois felt that old urge return. She wanted to serve God but felt that she was too old to become a missionary on some foreign field. Trying to resist the pull, she found that she just couldn’t. The devoutly Christian lady felt that she had been given a second chance to serve the Lord. Six months after the death of Galon, Lois was watching a Christian television show in her home near Seattle. A woman named Nora Lam was asking for people to go with her to the Philippines for a three-week outreach. Heart beating excitedly, Lois decided to go.

What she saw in the Philippines inspired her. She came back to the U.S. for a while, but soon returned to the islands and spoke at several churches during the month that she stayed the second time. Her experiences made her a different woman. She decided to build an orphanage on the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines.

In 1990, Lois sold her home, her car and most of her possessions and returned to the Philippines. Despite the fact that she was an old woman and alone, she began looking for land to buy. At first she couldn’t find any affordable property, so she called on the Lord for help.

A couple of days later a woman offered Lois a little over 12 acres for $17,000. The land needed improvements and so Lois spent the entire $25,000 that she had received for her house on the property. After purchasing the land and drawing up plans for the orphanage, Lois recruited help from a local church to help build it. Ed Bacani, a local minister, who was also a contractor, was instrumental in the construction.

Lois named the finished orphanage King’s Garden.

Eventually, dozens of orphans lived in the two-story white stucco building that was Lois’ dream. They called her Lola, which means “grandmother.” The children ranged from about one to ten years old. Classrooms were constructed in the 2,000 square foot building and soon the children were being taught there.

Lois served a need in that desperately poor country and God was exalted by that grandmother’s selfless devotion to Him. Lois did all of this without taking out a loan. Individuals across the U.S. who heard about what she was doing supported her.

Someone asked Lois if her lack of institutional financial backing made her nervous. Her reply was pure Lois. “I serve a mighty God. He’s in control.”

-Jim Adkins is a  member of the Tell City (IN) Church of Christ