From mission field to wheat field
Kalle Siebert of Hillsboro is as much at home operating a combine as she is in assisting doctors and nurses as they treat people.
She has temporarily left her mission work as a medical assistant and returned home to help with wheat harvest.
The youngest of six children of Bruce and Tereasa Siebert, Halle is between missions to Vanuatu, a country of 83 islands northeast of Australia.
Harvest began Monday and includes the family’s 80 acres plus that of neighboring farmers. Kalle runs the combine while her mother does the trucking.
A 2014 Hillsboro High School graduate, Kalle was unsure about pursuing a career in nursing, so she looked for a medical mission as a way to find out.
She joined Youth with a Mission and traveled to New Zealand in January 2015, where she was trained in discipleship and the basics of first aid.
She traveled with doctors and nurses to various villages to provide medical care. She also served the ministry’s staff members at their headquarters.
Every summer, she returned home to raise money for another mission trip. This past year, Halle spent two months at a family care center in Vanuatu and returned to New Zealand to lead a discipleship class.
Before returning to the States last week, Kalle was part of a crew of 60 who lived on a ship named Pacific Hope and sailed from island to island providing medical services, including dentistry and optometry.
The ship is owned by the mission and is staffed entirely by volunteers, including the captain, doctors, and nurses.
“Two months ago, I had a fear of water and the ocean, and here I was having fun living on a ship,” she said. “We had a near collision with another ship and were threatened by a cyclone, so it was pretty exciting.”
They anchored off the rocky coasts of the islands and took small boats to shore. She was in charge of housekeeping and hospitality and spent four-hour shifts monitoring the ship’s operation in the engine room. She also operated a crane on deck that transferred boats and supplies to the water.
People on the islands claim to be Christians.
“They value relationships, so they will take on whatever they are presented,” Kalle said.
She has learned the basics of their Bislama language, broken English.
Kalle is raising money to return to the ship in a month. The mission will run through October. She sells cotton candy and earns harvest money. Her parents will be selling spaghetti and meatballs for her Thursday at Hillsboro Farmers Market.
“I’ve learned to trust the Lord,” Halle said. “I’m surprised every day. He’s always been there for me.”