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Honored by the Queen at Buckingham Palace

Honored by the Queen at Buckingham Palace

Someone pointed out that the Earl of Helsburg was 90 when he began preparing his 20-volume revision of English law. Galileo made his greatest discovery at age 73. Hudson Taylor was laboring vigorously on the mission field at age 69. J. Oswald Sanders ministered effectively into his later 80s; and at age 85, Caleb wanted a mountain so that he could drive out a stronghold of giants.

In 1985, Mavis Orton, considered elderly and living in England, was somewhat discouraged. She loved the Lord and wanted to serve Him as a medical missionary, but missions would not accept her because she was considered too old being in her 50s.

One day, however, she happened to read an advertisement, which I, by God’s grace, placed in a Christian newspaper. It was a simple ad which began, “Wanted: dedicated men and women over 50; if you, young people, are not going to do the job, then get out of the way and let us old people back at it!”

With a heart for ministry of the Gospel and compassionate care to the poor, Mavis was encouraged, then contacted us at ACTION, applied, and was accepted in 1986 to serve in the Philippines, a country at that time of over 90 million people.

A supporting home church in England and dedicated advocates, Geoff and Irene Foster, in Tamworth rallied behind Mavis to support her in ministry.

After language study, Mavis worked in various ACTION ministries in evangelism, discipleship, and development to the poor of Manila. After several years, Mavis began using her training and experience as a midwife to assist extremely poor women in home delivery of their babies.

Mavis later began the Shalom Christian Birthing Home in her house. At first, she delivered seven to ten babies monthly, with this growing to an average of 100 monthly!

Many Filipino young women were being trained in midwifery, and over the years, thousands of men, women, and older children have heard the gospel with many coming to faith in Christ.

On June 13, 2007, Mavis received the Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.

I was invited to accompany Mavis to the palace as ACTION’s Founder and International Director Emeritus with longtime special friends and supporters Geoff and Irene Foster. As the Queen presented the award, Mavis spoke briefly with her and invited her to visit the Philippines and the Shalom ministry. The Queen was very gracious in her response.

After 25 years of ministry in the Philippine, Mavis turned the ministry over to others and returned to Tamworth, England where she died March 26, 2020.

It was an honor for us to serve with this little woman of God. Yes, to God be the glory and honor (and thanks) to this little lady of Tamworth, a woman who did not let her age keep her from serving God!