Teaching is like breathing to Dee Levens. It just comes naturally.
The 63-year-old former principal at Palo Alto Middle School in Killeen spent more than 30 years in education and then settled comfortably into her retired life as an artist. Yet, it was a wake-up call from the Lord that changed her life.
“He told me to write my Bible study material and teach it,” Levens said. And so she did. That material eventually became her first book, “Echoes from God” published in 2012.
Written in an easy-to-read style, the book was developed over Levens’ seven years of teaching classes at Faith Temple, now Faith Point, in Killeen and later at Faith Assembly of God Church in Rogers.
She and her husband, Jack, retired from the U.S. Army, reside in Killeen.
Then the Lord spoke to her again and told Levens, a grandmother of six, to get the book into the hands of pastors in remote countries.
Levens had no idea how to accomplish that. A few months later, she met Ronnie Matheny, president of Mission Barnabas International.
“Most of the leaders in East Africa have very little resources to use to study for teaching,” Matheny said. “Dee’s book is an excellent tool for a pastor to be able to teach Bible doctrines in a concise and user-friendly format.”
He told Levens that pastors would love her book, but it would be better if she went to Africa, too.
In 2013, Levens took her first trip to Nairobi, Kenya, and spoke to 500 pastors at a leadership conference.
Traveling over bumpy dirt roads and seeing families living with their farm animals in one-room mud huts, Levens spoke in churches that had sunlight filtering through the flimsy wooden walls. She was the first white woman to preach at one church, so the women gave her a scarf and called her “blessed mother.”
“When I came here, it was like I came with the whole buffet, because they were hungry for God’s word,” Levens said.
Matheny called Levens’ passion to help African pastors remarkable.
“She was a real trooper, as she would venture anywhere, stay anywhere and eat anything to help a pastor,” he said.
Now an ordained minister, Levens knows the need is great for teachers and pastors around the world.
“God would have left me at home if all was going well, but God had a plan for my life,” she said.
In March, she traveled to Uganda and Kenya and plans to return to Kenya in 2015. She also wants to take a trip to India in the future.
For every copy of “Echoes From God” sold, Levens gives a book to pastors who can’t afford them. She uses the proceeds from selling her handmade jewelry and artwork to fund her ministry and pay for her travel costs.
“The Lord opened up the whole world, so when the doors are open, that’s where I go,” she said.
“Echoes From God” is available at www.deelevens.com.