MaDora Ratliff, Mission Support Assistant
MaDora grew up in the “gypsy” lifestyle of a military (U.S. Navy) family – she was born in Norfolk, VA, lived in Connecticut, Georgia, Iceland and Maryland before moving to Texas when her father retired from the Navy. Texas is where she has planted her roots. She is an active member of the First United Methodist Church of Kennedale, vigorously working with the Kennedale Children and Youth Ministries. MaDora is passionate about worshipping through music and song. In fact, she is pretty much simply in love with music in general. “Music is a very important part of my life,” MaDora says, “I was taught by my parents to give all music a chance. I love Celtic music most of all, but enjoy Country, Western Swing, Classic Rock, Christian, Classical, 60’s & 70’s Soul, Big Band, etc.”
Family is very important to MaDora and she receives a lot of her strength and energy from her family. When asked to describe her family, MaDora said, “They include my handsome husband/best friend Jeff (we cut up and laugh like idiots together ALL THE TIME which helps keeps our marriage strong!). My kids are Bryan, an energetic and hilariously funny young man who LOVES his Rangers, Cowboys, Mavs, and Stars; Geoff, a brilliant musician who plays like 6-7 instruments and is engaged to the daughter-of-my-heart, Diana; Bethany, a recent graduate of Lon Morris College and a talented musician as well with a beautiful spirit and an amazing faith for one so young; and Melody, she is 10 and the only one still in school. Her patience and compassion are unique in one her age and she loves spending time with my mother who lives in an assisted living center and has become good buddies with other of the folks living there. Her current project is growing her hair to donate to Locks of Love, and counting the days until her next week at Glen Lake Camp. My family seems ‘eccentric’ when you first meet them, and then you realize they really ARE eccentric. They are all witty and intelligent, with great personalities. Our house is owned by two cats, Molly & Buffy, and two dogs, Deanna & Redford – all shelter rescues – who graciously allow us to live there. I am also blessed to have my sister and two brothers living close by as well.”
Besides spending time with her family, MaDora also enjoys reading. One of her favorite quotes is credited to Erasmus: "When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes." She is always in the mood to swap good books with friends. I especially love Science Fiction (beginning with Star Trek, but also including Firefly, Star Wars, Warehouse 13, Eureka, etc.), History and yes, Romances. MaDora credits her love of old movies and musicals to her mother, and her devotion to westerns to her father. She also loves digging in the dirt and planting pretty flowers.
MaDora’s professional ambitions did not always lie in the field of non-profit and/or religious service. At the tender age of 4, she mortified her mother by announcing to a group of her friends that she wanted to be a go-go dancer. “[My mother] was delighted when I changed that focus to teaching and/or writing,” laughs MaDora. “Although I did not end up a teacher, I do write as a hobby.” When asked how an aspiring teacher, writer and (ahem) dancer found her way to work for the Central Texas Conference, MaDora commented, “I wanted to be part of something special, to be somewhere I could ‘make a difference.’ Our connectional system is awesome, and continues to amaze me. And I have the added bonus of working alongside colleagues who give glory to God daily.”
So what does MaDora think of the role she is filling on the Missions Support team? “I LOVE my job!” she exclaims. “As the support person for our director of Missions and our Mission Experience coordinator, I am privileged to be part of an incredible team. I get to be part of the development of every summer’s CTCYM trip and am currently learning to navigate the impressive HUGE network of missions, disaster relief and emergency response.”
MaDora is inspired by the evidence she finds in everyday life God is always present! “Everything in this life fits together, like threads in a tapestry,” she says. “I love those moments when I recognize the hand of God moving, and I can declare with confidence ‘It’s a God thing!’”
If you’d like to join MaDora on her perfect day, you’d find yourself enjoying an early-morning cup of tea in a country garden setting, while reading an excellent book, of course, followed by a boisterous lunch with my her entire family. Then you’d be off for an afternoon tramp around some fascinating historical site, and then top off the day with a Gaelic Storm concert (front row seats of course!). “Throw in some macaroni and cheese and Twizzlers, and I’d be a happy lady,”