Deborah Treat has been a devoted staff member at Missouri Western, working as the Administrative Assistant of the Communication Department since 2013. Rewind three decades before she took this position, and you’d find her overseas, spreading the word of Christianity. From January 1981 through December of 1983, Treat served as a missionary in Nigeria, Africa. After forty years in the works, she has finally published the memoirs and lessons from her trip in the book “Notes from Nigeria: Meditations of a Missionary”. The purpose of the book is to “challenge the reader to apply the lessons learned from these encounters to his/her spiritual life as the writer has done, and to glorify God.”
Originally, Treat went to school and received her Master’s in Physical Education. When the position for a physical education teacher opened up in Nigeria, she was immediately interested. She would take the job, but ended up being involved in much more. Treat had always known she was destined to share the Lord’s message.
“I had felt when I was 10 or 11, that God wanted me to be a missionary,” Treat said. “I ended up being involved in student ministry. I would go to universities and high schools and present the gospel.”
During the mission, she stayed in constant contact with her Aunt Lukie.
“I would take these encounters, write them up, and send them to my aunt,” Treat said. “She was in conversation with me the whole time, only by mail, and she saved all of those letters.”
Upon her return from Africa, Treat found inspiration to write about her experiences through the verse of Jeremiah 30:2
“Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Write in a book all of the words that I have spoken to you.”
Despite having every intention of fulfilling the message of this verse, Treat found herself struggling to recall certain details or find enough material for the book. In June 2020, six years after her Aunt Lukie passed away, her daughters held a garage sale to get rid of some of their mothers old belongings. Deborah’s sister went to the sale in hopes of retrieving some of the letters. Initially she was met with some terrible news.
“My sister told (my cousin), ‘she’s writing a book, she’d love to have those letters’” Treat recalled. “My cousin said, ‘Oh, I threw them in the trash’. She then went home and dug them out of the trash, they could have easily been history.”
The next day when Treat arrived at the garage sale, she was met with a life changing discovery.
“My cousin said, ‘Hey, I've got something for you in the car.’ So we walked to her car and she opened this metal box containing 124 letters that I had written to her,” Treat said. “I just started crying because I didn't know my aunt had saved those letters.”
The discovery of those old letters is what finally pushed Deborah Treat to complete the book about her time in Nigeria. They offer valuable insights regarding the time she spent there. The lessons she has picked up throughout the book writing process are timeless.
“I would say one lesson is to just persevere. I mean, if you really feel like God wants you to do something, he's going to enable you to do it.” Treat said. The second part of that lesson is to lean on him. Because I couldn't have done it without him providing those letters. Without them, the book wouldn’t be half of what it is”
The 127 page book is currently available on Amazon in both ebook and paperback format. You can purchase the ebook for $4.99 and the paperback for $10.