Life Story for Judy Vander Ploeg
Judy Mayo Vander Ploeg, 63, of Waxhaw, North Carolina, went to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Sunday evening, July 23, 2017.
Judy was born in Tampa Florida to Gladys and Buddy Mayo in 1953.
She attended elementary, middle, and high school in Tampa, FL where she graduated in 1971. She then travelled to Jackson, MS to attend Belhaven University where she graduated in 1975 with a degree in education.
She worked at a school for the deaf and blind for several years before she felt the call to go into missions. She joined Wycliffe Bible Translators in 1979 to do short term missions and on her second trip to teach in Papua New Guinea she met her husband Don Vander Ploeg. They got to know each other, fell in love and were married shortly thereafter on June 20, 1981.
In December of 1982 they moved back to Judy’s hometown of Tampa, FL where Judy taught as a substitute teacher at Seminole Christian School for a short time until their son Charles was born in September of 1983. Judy stayed home caring for Charles and then in February of 1985 she had their daughter Kylie. Shortly after that Don and Judy officially joined Wycliffe Bible Translators as full time missionaries and headed out to their first assignment in Papua New Guinea in January of 1987.
They served in PNG for four years where Judy taught school before returning to Waxhaw and the JAARS center for furlough. From 1992-1995 they returned to the mission field this time heading to Zaire, Africa where Judy homeschooled the kids and managed a guest house.
Upon returning from Zaire they went to the JAARS center in Waxhaw, NC for their furlough. In 1997 they went overseas again this time to Kenya, Africa where Judy taught the 6th grade for three years before returning to Waxhaw, NC for the kids to finish out high school.
While at the JAARS center Judy worked in several different departments. One thing she loved doing while at JAARS was giving tours, she thoroughly enjoyed showing people the different departments on the JAARS campus and telling people about mission work and Bible translation.
After the kids were finished with high school and Kylie had gotten married, Judy and Don felt the call to return to serve overseas. In December of 2007 they headed back to Papua New Guinea where they helped with the Pacific Orientation Course and at the mission center in Ukarumpa. They were overseas for three years before returning to the JAARS center in Waxhaw for a one year furlough. In 2011 they headed overseas to Papua New Guinea again this time to manage a center in Kokopo East New Britain.
In August of 2014 they returned to Waxhaw and the JAARS center for a home assignment. Judy went back to giving tours as well as traveling around to various Missions At The Airport events and local schools to give demonstrations about JAARS and Bible translation.
In all of her travels she has impacted and touched countless lives. She was a wonderful wife, mother, sister, daughter and friend and exemplified what it was to be a godly woman. She will be greatly missed but her love of the Lord and her passion for bible translation will live on in the rich legacy she has left behind.