“You will be the momma to many.” This was what ACU Online student, Pam Buller, heard whispered from the Lord as she prayed nearly 10 years ago before her move to Liberia in West Africa. For years, she and her husband felt a calling to follow God into the unknown to serve in global missions. What began as a small stirring in Bible studies eventually changed the trajectory of Pam’s life and that of her family forever. Learn how her life in West Africa has shaped her family, her faith, and led her to pursue her Bachelor of Science in Christian Service and Formation with ACU Online.
Answering the Call
Once Pam and her husband, Eric, realized the Lord wanted to mobilize their family, it was time to make the move happen. They liquidated their home and belongings, and began attending every mission training they could enroll in. Moving to Liberia took several years, but the Lord made a way.
Finally in 2012, the Bullers, along with their teenage children, moved across the ocean to serve the people of Liberia. “Going to Liberia meant I was putting my children in the hands of God,” Pam said. Following the call was never easy, but the Lord faithfully gave Pam opportunities to love their Liberian neighbors in times of heartache and crisis, including recovering from a civil war to dealing with several pandemics.
While these tragedies have definitely challenged the Bullers’ ministry, they have continued to pursue orphan care by ministering to families in crisis and working toward orphan prevention. Currently, the Bullers are developing a training center to equip pastors and leaders to share the gospel with the unreached as well as teaching them sustainable permaculture practices. They also have plans to open a clinic in their village.
In addition, Pam has had the privilege of adopting Liberian children into her own family as well as nurturing local teenage boys through Bible study and caring for teenage mothers as they navigate motherhood as a single parent. As Pam said, “It’s not lost on me that after 10 years, God has created me to be a ‘momma to many.’ ” Buller acknowledges her time in the mission field has been incredibly challenging, but says, “There is unexplainable joy when you experience what you were created to do.”
Continuing the mission
Pam’s journey to ACU was clearly a part of the Lord’s master plan for her family. The Bullers had neighbors and close friends who were ACU alumni and shared about their experience. They mentored and loved the Buller children, and eventually Pam’s two oldest children ended up graduating from ACU.
“Their faculty and peers at ACU influenced them in their own faith, building on their crazy upside-down worldview they experienced in their formative years overseas,” Buller said. “They were seen and validated by their professors. I saw the quality of education they received, the professors and mentors who loved them, challenged them and encouraged them. When I decided to inquire about going back to school, I came across ACU and it was already home to me.”
Pam’s son inspired her to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Christian Service and Formation. While she considered a path in English or communications, the Christian service and formation classes appealed most to her work and experiences overseas. “I live in a country with widespread trauma. I have cried with so many mommas who have lost babies to malaria or other treatable illnesses. I’ve felt unequipped to minister to those around me. I’ve also felt unequipped to weather my own trauma through these heart-wrenching experiences.” This program was a clear way to become better equipped to minister to the Liberians whom God called her to serve. Pam stepped forward in faith and with the help of her family and ACU’s advising team, applied to return to school.
The online format made it possible for Pam to access classes anywhere – even a tiny village in the middle of the jungle in West Africa. Even though the possibility of pursuing her education seemed nearly impossible given Buller’s location and the time difference, she has been able to fulfill her life-long goals through ACU Online. Pam recalled, “Although I had to forgo sleep many nights, I was able to stay present for my family and the needs of my friends around me.”
Buller also sees the need for missionary care through the experiences her children had when re-entering the United States. “I hope to go on to get a master’s degree that helps me walk alongside those in trauma. I want to validate and give voice to those who are numb and have lost their voice amidst tragedy.”
Buller would strongly encourage anyone who is considering an educational path to pursue one with ACU Online. She said, “I can do anything God calls me to for a season. I’ve weathered malaria, time differences and even a medical emergency with one of my children. Through it all, my professors have been consistently understanding and supportive. They worked with me to keep going. ACU cares about who we are spiritually, and I believe that sets ACU apart from other online options.”
Whether your mission field is overseas or closer to home, ACU Online offers degree plans to equip you to minister to those around you. Interested in learning more? Visit acu.edu/online or contact us at 855-219-7300.