ACU Honors Woman Who Served Missionaries While Working Abroad

for immediate release Feb. 26, 1998

An Abilene woman described as "a missionary to missionaries" received the second annual Barney Morehead Missions Service Award Tuesday at the Missions Luncheon during Abilene Christian University's 80th annual Lectureship.

Vina R. Hall, 71, worked as a communications officer with top secret clearance for the U.S. Department of State from 1963-89, serving in the United States, Laos, Philippines, Taiwan, Brazil, Ivory Coast, Uruguay, and Pakistan. Some of the assignments were dangerous, hardship posts such as her tour in Laos during the Viet Nam War.

"During all those years and assignments in various countries around the world, Vina dedicated herself to teaching God's Word and spreading the borders of His Kingdom at every opportunity," said Hall's sister, Loreitta Black. "Today, she continues to offer her moral and spiritual support to all those around her: Asian students attending ACU, missionaries all over the world, her many friends and family members."

In letters collected for the award presentation, friends described how Hall opened her home to missionaries and whole churches wherever she lived; offered encouragement or spoke her mind whenever it was needed; and helped others celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and the Fourth of July abroad.

"Wherever you have gone, you never sat by and waited for someone to begin a church," wrote Dick and Maudine Ady, former missionaries to Taiwan. "You've always known 'the church' was the people and it just needs a place to meet. More often than not if there was no building, it was in your home."

"If asked what your job has been the answer should be 'missionary'," the Adys continued. "Foreign service was only a means to enable you to serve God in many more places than you could have otherwise."

While abroad, Hall adopted four orphans - two in Laos and two in Taiwan. In Laos, she adopted Mei Lian Hall Hoza, who is now married to a U.S. deputy ambassador to Swaziland, and Lei Lani Hall Suzara, who is now married to a U.S. Air Force technical sergeant in Okinawa, Japan. In Taiwan, her family grew to include daughters, Sheree and Sydnee Hall.

The daughter of a cotton farmer, Hall attended ACU in the mid-1940s. When family finances kept her from continuing her education, Hall went to work for Western Union. In 1948, she and three college friends decided to move to Oregon to work in their professions and help with smaller churches in Northwest. In 1954, she went to work for West Coast Airlines in Seattle and Anchorage until she went into the foreign service in 1963.

After taking medical retirement, Hall moved to Abilene. In spite of health problems and deteriorating eye sight, she worked for World Christian Broadcasting as long as her sight held up. Daughters Sheree and Sydnee graduated from Abilene High School and ACU. Vina Hall was the first member of her family to attend ACU, but she started a family tradition. At present, 21 members have attended ACU.

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Barney Morehead was a missionary for a short time, but he spent many more years travelling all over the United States promoting mission work among churches of Christ, helping raise money and supplies for missionaries overseas. Named in his honor, the award honors people who may not have been church-supported missionaries themselves, but who have give "vital service to missionaries" in other ways.

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Last update: February 26, 1998