Angeline Tucker is not a name most of you will recognize. I never knew her well although I did meet her in my early twenties. Her daughter and I taught together my first year of teaching. I knew her story, but we spoke of it only once.
In the early 60’s, Sister Tucker, her husband and her two children were missionaries to the Congo. In 1965, Angeline Tucker’s book called He is in Heaven was passed among my mom and her friends. It garnered much discussion. I was thirteen. I read the book later while in high school.
The Tucker family was ministering in the Congo when a revolt took place. Reverend Tucker was taken prisoner. The insurgents took over a convent several miles away for the prison. The nuns were also captive but allowed to give minimal care to the prisoners. Sister Tucker knew one of the nuns and the two of them were able to talk by phone briefly each day. Sister Tucker would start the conversation with “How is my husband?” After many mornings of “fine, okay,” the morning came when the nun answered, “He is in Heaven.”
Within a few days, Sister Tucker and her children were running across a field to a hovering US Army helicopter to be evacuated. Her daughter shared with me that she was nine years old . She knew the helicopter occupants were friendly and there to rescue her family. However, she ran across the field with AK 47’s pointing at her.
Angeline Tucker and her family returned to the United States where she worked at the National Assemblies of God headquarters. She wrote and developed the first girl’s ministry curriculum known as Missionettes. The program that would become a passion for me. I would spend 25+ years serving the local church and my district as sponsor, teacher and leadership trainer. It would be my privilege to plan many events for our entire state, city, and local church. Over 100 girls would cross my path during this ministry. Most of them are counted today among my friends.
Angeline Tucker was the catalyst for my understanding of missionaries. In her story, I saw the sacrifice of these extraordinary women. As an adult, missionary women would command my respect and gifts. Dee McNeil, Peggy Sims, Loretta Wideman, Joni Middleton, Linda Stamps Dissmore, and Tina Morrow to name a few.
Angeline Tucker will never be in a history book, but God knows her name. He knows how her impact on a thirteen year old girl made a difference in Tonya’s world.