Meet the Writer: Janora Skeens

Janora Skeens

In our ongoing "Meet the Writer" series, we would like to introduce you to Janora Skeens. Janora has written for Mission Friends for many years. This year, she has written the International Mission Study 2017 Preschool Teaching Guide: Russia. Thank you, Janora, for sharing your heart for preschoolers with us!

When I was a senior in high school, I discovered my love for writing. What I enjoyed most was the research put in. I loved going to the library to read about the chosen topic. I even enjoyed writing term papers. Miss Perry, my English teacher deserves the credit for my love of writing. She was a wonderful teacher. After a year and a half of typing class, I grew into an excellent typist. Due to the fact that my portable Royal typewriter had no memory, copies were made with carbon paper, and mistakes were corrected with special erasers. Those erasers usually left a smudge on the paper. Looking back now, a computer would have made writing a lot easier.

In the sixth grade, I joined GA (Girl’s Auxiliary) when my father became a Christian, and my family joined Westmoreland Baptist Church. At this time, I had already accepted Jesus as my Savior, and my sister and I jumped into GA with both feet. We were so excited about the different steps and awards we could earn, and we made it our goal to catch up to the other girls. Our church sponsored us to go to GA Camp. It was there that God called me into missions, and I gave my life to be a missionary.

I grew older, and taught for 4 years. Then I went to seminary. My mind was set on going into missions, but God was calling me to be a children’s minister. I served as a children’s minister for 32 years.

Around 8 years ago, my life came full-circle. I went home and spent 4 months with my mother, until she passed away. Leading up to my mother’s passing, we talked about job opportunities West Virginia held for me, and I applied to substitute teach. I thought about my desire to write, and wrote Joye Smith, asking if Mission Friends® needed writers. She referred me to Rhonda Reeves, the past editor of Mission Friends materials, and I have been a writer ever since. I have felt so honored to write for Mission Friends and leaders for the last 7 years. My very first unit was on Thailand, The International Mission Study 2010. 

I love reading the information sent from the missionaries, and I love going to the library researching about the country where the missionaries live. The process reminds me of a puzzle. I am amazed how all the pieces fit together to build a unit, and I am very proud of our Mission Friends material. The writers are just like me; they love missions, preschoolers, and writing. 

In January, I finished writing the teaching guide for preschoolers, about Russia and special workers for the 2017 International Mission Study. At this time, I have not seen the final copy, but it is always exciting to see my work in print. Writing about Russia was challenging; it is such a vast country. I was inspired by special workers, Nolan and Kimberly Grogan.* They are always looking for ways to share the gospel.

While I am single, with no children of my own, I consider the hundreds of children in my children’s ministry to be my own. Now that I am back home in West Virginia, I am working with preschoolers in the church I grew up in. There is beauty in being semi-retired—it allows me to have freedom to do what I want. I am enjoying my great-nephews and great-nieces. I have 2 brothers who live nearby, and a sister who lives in St. Louis. I work a couple of days a week at a toy store, where I greet children and their families. I have also continued to substitute teach. I love serving on the West Virginia State WMU Council, and occasionally help my friend with a Lay Renewal Weekend. I enjoy a good book, watching the news, and reading the daily newspaper.

*Names changed

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