Nancy Dianne Stewart was taken to her home in Heaven on June 29, 2018. She was in the home of her sister, Carol and brother-in-law, Tim during her final 7 weeks, and they were blessed to be singing and praying beside her as she went to be with the Lord. God also granted her request to be well enough to take part in the big family celebrations at both her niece's and her nephew's weddings during her last 5 weeks here.
Nancy was Born October 29, 1958 in New Kensington, Pennsylvania. She and big sister Carol were the two children of William (Bill) and Frances Stewart. The following year the family moved to Wyoming, where they lived until Nancy was seven. Bill and Frances loved and lived for Jesus, and during the years in Wyoming, Nancy chose to trust in Jesus to be her Savior and her Lord. That decision was pivotal and shaped the rest of her life.
In 1965, the family left the prairies of Wyoming for their house in bustling Houston where they've been ever since. During her years at Johnston Junior High School, Nancy had her first taste of librarian work when she was a student assistant in the school library. Graduating from Westbury High School in 1977, Nancy headed to the University of Texas in Austin where she got a BA in History as a stepping stone into her Masters of Library Science, also earned at UT. While in college, Nancy was very involved in Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship, just as her parents had been in their college days. She also her signed up for her first summer missions trip, and was surprised to be assigned to the jungles of Los Angeles!
In 1984, Nancy began her first job as the children's librarian at the new library in Cypress, Texas. That's when she began attending Cypress Bible Church, where she was involved in choir and the missions committee. She went to Papua New Guinea for 6 weeks during that time "to see if she could handle mission life". Then she moved to Arlington in 1991 to work in the public library there. While in Arlington, Nancy got her first ideas about how to tie her librarian work with missions, as she cataloged books evenings and weekends on her computer for a small mission school in Turkey. She was able to travel to Turkey for an extended trip to wrap up the work she had done from a distance.
When a need arose for a librarian to set up a library at a New Tribes Mission school in Papua New Guinea, Nancy quit her job and took off in 1994 to spend a year by the jungles and rivers there. Then a similar need came up in Cote d'Ivoire in West Africa, and Nancy spent the following year there in the intense heat and dryness. Her professional training and experience were much-needed assets in many places, she discovered!
In July 1997, she accepted the call to be the librarian at Murree Christian School in the Himalayan foothills of Pakistan. Christar was her sending organization while she worked there. This was a long-term job and Nancy settled in and acquired gloves, coats, thermal underwear and space heaters. Concerns grew for workers in those areas after 9/11, and on August 5, 2002, MCS was attacked by armed terrorists. God protected the students, but 6 Pakistanis were killed. Nancy had all the students in the library get on the floor between shelves of books, where they quietly sang and whispered encouragement from Scripture. The school closed for 2 years following the attack, but Nancy was back as soon as they reopened. She told her family that the safest place to be is in the center of God's will.
In 2005, a 7.6-magnitude earthquake centered about 40 miles north of Murree caused widespread devastation in Pakistan and neighboring countries, but the school suffered little damage! When her mother's poor health became difficult to manage in 2008, Nancy fulfilled the commitment she had made years earlier to move back home and help with care giving. She assisted her dad in caring for her mother until Frances died in 2010, and then she continued to care for him in his failing health until he, too, went to heaven in September of 2014. Doctors appointments kept her busy, but she had the time and desire to continue working in her missionary librarian work.
Wycliffe Associates gladly took her on to work from home in Houston, gathering books for the children of workers in East Asia, which she boxed and shipped to them. She was able to make a trip to see where the books were going and teach the workers there how to operate their small library.
Not long after her father's death, Nancy started asking her doctor about a lump on her abdomen. She asked about it a number of times over 6 months before she was finally sent to MD Anderson in May 2015 and was told she had stage 4 primary peritoneal cancer, a form of ovarian cancer. Nancy took the news calmly, trusting God was still in control, still loved her, and would bring her safely to heaven whenever He knew best. She bravely endured many chemotherapy treatments, with her sister by her side and her friends praying for her, and entered into clinical trials until the time came recently when MD Anderson said they had done all they could. Nancy's faith and peace through this period was possibly her greatest testimony. She knew with certainty that her sins were paid for by Jesus, and that when she trusted in Him, He gave her His eternal life. She had no fear of death, knowing with confidence that it would be the threshold to the joys of life in Heaven – not because of her "good life", but because she had humbly accepted God's gift of life through Jesus' death and resurrection.
Nancy is survived by her sister, Carol; her brother-in-law, Tim, and their 7 children and their spouses, (Amie Mulvahill, Daniel and Rebekah Mulvahill, Jessica Mulvahill, Brian and Josmery Mulvahill, Stephen and Ana Locke Mulvahill, Natalie and Nate LaValley, and Jonathan Mulvahill) and 5 grandchildren, (Elijah, Shalom, Enoch, Spring, and Steady). Carol and Tim's family was like Nancy's adopted family and she was very much a part of their lives.
Graveside service will be Saturday, July 7 , 2018 at 2:00 pm at Meade Chapel, 10193 Knox Dale Rd., Brookville, Pennsylvania 15825. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Furlong Funeral Home, 50 Broad Street, Summerville, PA. "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the LORD always, for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock."~Isaiah 26:3-4~
Friends and family may leave online condolences, light a memorial candle, order flowers, and obtain additional information at www.furlongfuneralhome.com.