Esther Livingston

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sther Livingston
grew up on a farm on the edge of Washington, Iowa. Her father's parents were immigrants from NW Germany who spoke littleMom's Story by Esther Livingston or no English. Her mother's family had come to this country early on and had a long heritage from the early pioneer days. Her mother's mother passed away when her mother was only age 9, so her mother had to keep house for her father and baby sister at a tender age -- all she knew how to cook was oatmeal! You can read about both families and their stories in Mom's Story, which began as a story her mother wrote to preserve all her memories and those of her family -- her gift to her children and grandchildren. Esther then further researched both families, taking trips to Europe, consulting with other relatives, and did historical research on life in Germany as a villager and life as a pioneer on our early American farms, to write the full story you will read in Mom's Story.

Esther was the youngest of four children; her older brother, a twin, passed away at age 13 from spinal meningitis when she was only one year old. She grew up with her two sisters and parents on the farm during the depression. In high school she met her husband, The Livingston Chronicles by Esther LivingstonDavid Livingston, Jr., who was attending junior college on the second floor of the highschool building. He had a good view of the high school students as he climbed the stairs to class, and the beautiful young Esther with her mischievous sparkle caught his eye. He was fresh back from being in the navy during World War 2, and was studying agriculture at the junior college, planning to farm with his dad. BUT, as he completed his studies, his plans changed and he headed to Wheaton for pre-med -- but, upon graduation from Wheaton, plans changed again and he went to seminary in preparation to be a missionary to China and follow in the footsteps of an aunt and uncle; he had read the biography of Hudson Taylor which spoke to his heart, giving him a vision to minister to those less privileged than us. They were married in 1950 and went off to seminary together. Esther has written up the story of his family history as well, in The Livingston Chronicles, which takes us back to Scotland and the early Covenanters. David's family mostly arrived in the USA and Canada as some of the earliest settlers, escaping religious persecution in Europe. They wound up in Washington, Iowa as well -- and so, between the two books, you get an inside look at our founding fathers, our pioneers, our immigrants, the early church in the USA, and our farm folks in our mid-west -- stories similar to those of many of our fellow countrymen.

As a child, Esther was a member of 4-H and helped with the care of animals on the farm as well as sewing projects. She loved to crawl in a quiet corner and read Betty Zane, which she wore out. She walked to the little one room school house up the road where her sisters had attended before her. The girls loved slipping the horses out of the barn, unbeknownst to her dad on during his Sunday afternoon nap, and go for a wild ride. After high school, Esther went on to Bob Jones for two years, majoring in home economics -- which came in handy on the missionfield and as a pastor's wife; using her creative talents, she has always made a lovely home full of cheer, beauty, good cooking, and hospitality for which she is famous. In high school and college she also sang, often on the radio, and won many awards for her beautiful soprano voice. Her children remember fondly when they will little, being sung to sleep as she sang and played the piano, often with her husband, David, singing along and playing his autoharp.

Esther and Dave married in 1950, and in 1956, when she was only 26 years old and the mother of three small children, they crossed the ocean in a 2 1/2 week stormy boat ride across the Pacific in a condemned freighter, to begin a ministry in Korea that lasted ten years, in the Kang Nung, Kang Won Do province. By then, China was not open to foreigners and an invitation to come to Korea, instead, was accepted. You can read their stories in Never Alone, of living in a land devastated by first the Japanese occupation and then the communist uprisings and war, and the dear people who became their neighbors and co-workers.Never Alone by Esther Livingston From building houses, living in the old Korean culture that no longer exists as it did then because it has achieved a more Western lifestyle in recent years, caring for her husband through a bad episode of hepatitis and her son she nearly lost from encephalitis, the stories of the other missionaries, the stories of the villagers, her husband becoming president of Kwan Dong College and helping to turn it into a large successful university today, finding a stone age village buried in their back yard, her children attending the local government schools for the Korean children and then going off to boarding school, and more. Laugh and cry with Esther and her family, as she tells their story taken from letters sent home, and then fills in with her own words the memories of things she never shared in the letters about the good times, the tears, the fears. Hear how all those tears and prayers were sewn into a harvest that now is one of the biggest success stories in the history of missions - the church in Korea. See how individuals devastated from war and murder of their family members, having lost all they owned, having no hope, were given hope and went on to raise wonderful Godly families and help many hundreds and thousands as their witness rippled out through the community and encouraged others. Gain comfort from her sharing from her heart as she shows how God was with her and her family and never left them alone, no matter how difficult things became, and how as time has passed, He has blessed all that was given to Him and multiplied it many times over. And for those of you who are Korean by ethnicity, learn of your own history and rich heritage, what your parents and grandparents lived through, how God blessed and healed so many wounds, and learn how your parents and grandparents used to live -- a way that today you can only learn this by visiting the museums or listing to family stories from the old timers. Never Alone is her latest book, sharing all the memories of their ten years in Korea.

After leaving Korea, she and her family spent a semester in Israel while her husband studied for his Masters degree at the American Institute of Holy Land Studies in Jerusalem. During his time there, he became aware of the discrepancies for dating the Exodus from Egypt by Moses and the Israelites, and the Conquest of the land of Canaan by Joshua and the Israelites. This resulted in his founding the Associates for Biblical Research and his own archaeological excavations at Khirbet Nisya in Israel (his proposed site for the ancient Biblical city of Ai; the story of this battle is told in the Biblical book of Joshua.) Esther accompanied her husband on numerous digs and tours in Israel from 1966 to the present. Her husband, now Dr. David Livingston, Ph.D., has recently published his findings in Khirbet Nisya: The Search for Biblical Ai 1979-2002. His research and writings can be found at, at or

Esther can be found pulling weeds, quilting, braiding rugs, baking cookies, playing games with her grandchildren, putting a puzzle together, entertaining her many friends and houseguests, comforting a friend in their difficult times, fighting with her hand-me-down computer as she struggles to write another chapter, e-mailing her children and grandchildren spread around the globe to far away places like Russia, Latvia, Israel, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Germany or New Zealand - as well as all over the USA --- or she might be just enjoying a good book with a cup of coffee next to her fireplace. Pull up a chair and share a laugh - or a tear - with her and her family in their many adventures.

Mom's Story
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