Debby: I have always felt compassion for people in need. This developed as I got involved with the disabled during my high school years, which led to training in nursing and then later full-time charity work.
I am a teacher (preschool to high school) and ESL (English as a Second Language). I’m a life coach, entrepreneur, and businesswoman, managing two home-based businesses. I’m also a community volunteer with refuge centers for women and children.
Richard: I have always had a desire to use my life to help others in some way, though it took a lot of twists and turns along the way. I searched for a plan, but did not find any clear goal or real purpose until I found Jesus through the New Testament and received Him as my Savior. It was then that I decided to work as a missionary.
Why I am a member of the Family International
Debby: With all the desire I felt to help people, I found it difficult to share my love for the world in confined workplaces with so many regulations and strict protocol. When I met TFI, I found flexibility that enabled me to help others; I could reach people in a way I felt was “me,” adding Jesus to the picture as the solution giver, as He was to me. A whole new world opened for me and I have not found another organization to match it, so after 30 years I remain a member.
Richard: I became a member because, through the organization, I found a way to follow Jesus that connects to my goal in life, which is to help others. I have been a member for over 40 years now.
How I live my faith
Debby: My husband Richard, and my daughters (along with any young people willing to join us) and I share “free hugs” and distribute Christian literature in the city a few times a year, usually on special occasions such as Christmas, Easter, and Valentine’s Day. We then document it on our website, which brings in traffic. So many people come to our website and download the material we make available there; some pray the salvation prayer, leave comments, or write in.
We’ve been sending consignments of prostheses for breast cancer patients annually for the past six years. Home educating my 16-year-old daughter and involving her in our mission work is also very inspiring. In addition, I work part-time with a health science business. So I am preaching the Gospel, healing the sick, and feeding the poor! I love it!
Richard: I share my faith with those I work with and come in contact with through my work, as I find sponsors for the charity work I and my wife, Debby, do, as well as managing the accounting.
- September 1951
- I was born in San Diego, California.
- June 1971
- My first year as a member of TFI.
- August 1973
- Traveled to New Zealand, then Australia.
- June 1975
- Left Australia for the Philippines.
- February 1979
- Moved to Hong Kong.
- May 1980
- Returned to Philippines.
- July 1982
- Met Debby.
- February 1985
- Married Debby; our life together began.
- August 1960
- I was born in Perth, Western Australia.
- February 1978
- Entered teacher’s college.
- March 1979
- Worked as a nurse for six months.
- January 1980
- Joined the Family International.
- September 1981
- Moved to the Philippines, where I utilized my teaching and nursing abilities, plus participated in a lot of outreach programs.
- July 1982
- Met Richard, my future husband.
- February 1985
- Married Richard at Villa Escudero.
- May 1986
- Moved to Japan—Debby to assist missionaries in the care of their children and Richard to help manage the business of one of our centers.
- September, 1989
- Moved to Sydney, Australia.
- April 1990
- Gave birth to our first child, Sharon.
- April 1996
- Debby gave birth to our second child, another daughter.
- November 1997
- Spent a year in Indonesia, involved in missionary work.
- May 1998
- Returned to Perth. We later discovered that Debby had cancer, which she received surgery and holistic treatment for.
- November 1999
- Discovered Richard had advanced cancer; followed by surgery, lifestyle and dietary changes.
- August 2000
- Debby again had major surgery for cancer. We are known locally as walking miracles!
- March 2001
- Returned to the Philippines to assist local mission works in childcare and outreach.
- October 2002
- Returned to Australia as Debby was in need of further surgery, this time for non-cancer reasons, thank God.
- August 2003
- Returned to Indonesia to continue assisting in childcare and youth outreach.
- March 2004
- We returned to Perth, Australia, where we have been since, starting a WA (Western Australia) chapter of TFI, ministering in women’s and children’s refuge centers, distributing Aurora Christian productions to public libraries and public and Christian schools, working in a prosthesis ministry for cancer patients in developing countries, particularly India.
- Prosthesis cancer ministry expanded to the Seychelles.
- Childcare and education
It seems I, Debby, have been involved in childcare and education my entire life, and it still is a major part of my life even now. Richard has taught media production, Christian science, and history, as well as chemistry and math.
- Personal witnessing
Debby: Sharing my faith is part of who I am. I can’t keep silent about our wonderful Savior. Everybody needs Him. I witness to atheists, agnostics, believers, and anyone the Lord sends along my path. I particularly ministered to doctors, nurses, surgeons, anesthesiologists and specialized doctors during my cancer years. Many of my witnessing opportunities were “by appointment only.”
- Humanitarian aid/volunteer work
Our prosthesis ministry is still very active annually and takes a few months of each year to organize.
Jean-Yves Marc Deroubaix
Belém do Pará, Brazil
Tommy A. Miller
Silvia Tabita Martins
Lauro de Freitas, Bahia, Brazil
La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Debby and Richard Blettner
Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Thailand