When I was growing up, I told everyone who asked that I wanted to work in a “helping” profession. When I became a Christian, my dream of being a “helper” turned into a dream of being a “missionary”, but while I was still in college, I met and married my husband, Ken. I did graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, mostly because Ken was going to go to medical school, and I needed to work to keep us debt-free. I worked nights in the medical and pediatric ICU, picking up extra shifts when I could. I eventually burned out, just in time to start having babies.
We currently have six children (three children born to us and their three spouses) and two granddaughters. Our years of raising a family were fun, chaotic, challenging, and memorable. By the time our oldest was 12 years old, he had lived in 10 different homes, 6 different cities, 2 different states, and 2 different countries. Needless to say, the Hillner kids love adventure and learned flexibility as a way of life. I wouldn’t be totally honest if I didn’t share that we had some rough moments where our faith and beliefs were challenged.
Ken and I were in the empty nest phase of life when I felt God preparing me to return to work. My favorite MLK Jr. quote is, “If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. But by all means keep moving.” I was leading Bible studies, mentoring college students, having guests in my home, etc., but I wasn’t moving forward. The Mama Club Director job opened up and I applied! The rest, as they say, is history.
Working at APO is my dream helper/missionary/adventurous job. Thursday night, the night Mama Club meets, is the best night of my week. This organization is so unique, something that can only be sustained through God willing it and through community involvement. I am thankful I can be a part of it!!