Beth’s Years in Africa
Beth was born in what is known today as Tanzania, Africa. Her parents, Edward and Lillian Glock were missionaries there for 33 years. Beth has 5 sisters and 1 brother. Her brother died when he was only 2, after ingesting a peanut which lodged in his esophagus.
Beth had a glorious time returning to Africa in December of 2011. It brought back to her
many happy memories of her childhood there. The African people are so polite, they love to laugh and are so open to others. They are a joyful people that love to sit and talk with you. Younger people bow to their elders to show respect. When they were there last December, even a 2 year old already knew to bow in respect.
When Beth was a child, a pitcher of water, a basin, soap and towels were carried to each person that had come to a meal. The person with the pitcher would bow and carefully pour water over each person’s hands till each one was carefully washed and prepared to eat the meal. This happened in each family home before and AFTER each meal. During a meal, you ate with your hands and had no silverware. This custom is still performed today except that now silverware is provided for guests.
Beth remembers some favorite foods. Bugali was a thick cornmeal porridge. They rolled the bugali with the right hand into golf-ball sized balls, pushed a hole into the top of the ball, and dipped it into “makubi” (greens, like a spinach with peanuts), or into a chicken gravy. It was quite a healthy diet.
The main language in Tanzania is Sukuma. Beth’s parents spoke Sukuma fluently. Beth could understand Sukuma, but she didn’t actually live in the village most of the year, so she didn’t become fluent in Sukuma.
For 9 months of the year, Beth and her siblings would go off to boarding school. At the age of 6 ,she had to leave to go far from home, only spending April, August, and December at home. When she was in 6th grade, she had to change schools. The school was much farther away (in Kenya). She would leave every 3 months to take an overnight ride on a lake steamer and then another night’s ride on a train to get to school. She would spend 3 months at school and then one month at home. Her parents weren’t able to come to visit them at school because it was so far away. When she would leave for school, she would be quite homesick for a few weeks, but she wasn’t unhappy at school because she had many close friends there.
Going back home was a very special thing, however, because they weren’t always there. Her memories of time with her parents at the village are indelibly marked with her parent’s love for her, being able to spend quality time with her siblings, and doing special things with the family, and joining in some of her parents’ ministry activities.
Some time in the US and then off to South America!
When Beth turned 18 and it was time to go off to college, she came to the US to attend Gordon College which is located in Wenham, MA. During that time she met a young man that she married. They had 2 sons and 1 daughter. Beth became a stay-at-home Mom and just loved it!
In January of 1985, their little family left for the mission field. They served for Wycliffe Bible Translators in Suriname, South America. They were there till August of 1992. At that time, they left the mission field to come home on furlough. Both Beth and her husband knew that they had some problems that needed to be worked out before they could continue as missionaries. It had come to light that Beth’s husband was an alcoholic and alcoholism and deceit had taken a great toll on their marriage.
This began a period of several years on a roller coaster of emotions. Beth and her husband worked on their marriage, but there were many ups and downs. Sometimes it seemed as though the marriage was mending and then it would break apart again. Beth was also discovering some serious sin issues in her own life. Ultimately, Beth’s husband asked for a divorce and despite Beth’s desire and attempts to restore the marriage, he chose to marry another woman in 1998.
Beth was left in complete brokenness before the Lord. Her life was completely out of her control! Years later she realized that is exactly where God wanted her, and that is where He can step in, if we just pour out our hearts to Him!
God sent many evidences of His love and grace just for her. One faraway friend unexpectedly called her on the phone and told her to read Hebrews 4 until she understood it. Beth read it again and again. Eventually the words began to sink deeply into her soul and a tremendous peace flowed over her. Jesus became her REST.
Beth was also faced with “How will I pay my bills?” God answered in a way that nearly blew her over. On one particular day, she stopped in a small produce store which she had never been to before, and bought some vegetables. She happened to have along a clay figure that she had created. Beth really loves to create with clay. God is creative and He had given Beth a desire to create and at this time she had just begun realizing that she particularly enjoyed working with clay. She had asked God to show her how He could use her. He inspired her to make nativities, bible figures and many other figures to express the amazing work He had done in her life. That day at the produce store, the manager of the store saw one of her figures and asked if she’d made it. He asked her, “Would you like a place to sell these figures?” She said yes and was astonished when he led her to a backroom that was just perfect for a little store. She began to sell the clay creations (which she still sells from her home).
God provided all that she needed during this painful time. Many days before she left to go to the store, Beth would get out of bed and literally fall on her face before the Lord sobbing and pouring her heart and all her pain out to Him. Again and again, He would raise her to her feet and fill her with a peace and joy that didn’t match the pain at all. It was unexplainable ,other than God’s grace to her.
Bob and Beth Seng
Beth had a long time friend, Bob Seng. Bob had lost his wife in a terrible wreck. Beth knew both Bob and his wife. As time went on, she and Bob began to have a relationship. Beth struggled with whether is was wrong for her to remarry. Eventually, she and Bob married in September of 2001. As a couple, they have gone on 6 missions trips to other countries, they moved to Nebraska for 5 years to be near Bob’s youngest daughter and her family, and they are currently preparing to move back to Arizona. Beth has been leading women’s studies in her home and we will really miss her leadership!
Beth has a passion for marriage and encouraging those that are struggling in their marriages. To consider the mystery of Christ and His bride, the church, spurs on her passion. Beth looks for the mysteries of the Bible, ponders on them and marvels at them. She encourages others to be like Jesus to their mate. Leave notes on their pillow, send flowers and gifts and work to keep the love alive.
Beth is very grateful that her 3 children, although they have experienced lots of turmoil and have faced tough times in their own lives, have kept focused on the Lord and have learned to trust in Him through the hardest times. Beth finds it a privilege to guide them in their marriages to love their mates as Jesus loves us.
She and Bob have children and grandchildren spread throughout the United States and it is their pleasure to travel visiting them all.
In Beth’s Own Words…
Beth says, “ As I meditate now over those emotionally painful years of my life, I am overwhelmed by God’s amazing grace. Knowing how God can lift you out of deep despair and depression is a wonderful thing. This is a big part of my life (in fact, a very major part), and I can tell you for sure that God has given me much more depth of knowing Him through all this. I learned who I was; no different than any man or woman on earth in weakness and sinfulness and how my only hope lies in Him who gave His life for me. I learned to pour my heart out while crying prostrate on the floor, praising Him in spite of circumstances, listing all the things I was thankful for during times when I didn’t feel thankfulness, and learned that He would lift me up with a peace and joy that I could not describe. Over and over this happened. I learned how He answered specific prayers, and there was no way they could be coincidences. It has made me much more sensitive to secret and hidden sins in my life, ones that creep in unexpectedly and that I must be very careful to be honest before God. I learned that much of my life was lived in a lot of unknown self-righteousness. I learned about forgiveness and the love of God in a new way. God took me from knowing about Him, and doing a lot of “good” things (religiously), to a relationship with Him that is real, living, vibrant, free, and thrilling. It’s not that I didn’t know Jesus before that time; it’s just that He had a lot of “refining” to do in me. And knowing too that God loves to bless us; He does not condemn us! He has blessed me now with a wonderful godly man who shares this intimacy with God.”
Praise God from whom all blessing flow!
Beth’s Years in Africa