Gladys Dobson gave her life to the Lord Jesus Christ as a young person. She came from a distinguished Hobart family (who were committed Christians) and this allowed her to travel the world. She visited the MECO community in Asmara the capital of Eritrea on a tourist visa and was so interested in this, she offered herself to the Lord's service "in her heart".
Back in Hobart, where she had undertaken a course in office management in order to work for the local Shipping Agent's Committee which oversaw the fruit market, she believed the Lord's Spirit spoke into her heart one evening when she was on her way home from work. The question poised was: why wasn't she endeavouring to fulfil her promise. At that time Gladys was 48 years old.
Gladys applied for a working visa, and the authorities noticed that the certification of her short administration course had been issued on the letterhead of the University of Tasmania. So her visa was stamped, although she really had no formal University qualifications!
On her arrived in Asmara, Eritrea Gladys found that her task was to oversee the management of the extensive compound which included a huge kitchen and dining hall that provided for everyone's meals. There were always international visitors passing through, and her eight years with MECO was a very wonderful and fulfilling time.
In 1975 when she returned to Hobart on annual leave, the compound manager's wife took over her duties; however when Gladys returned to Eritrea, there was a sigh of relief that good-order was to be restored.
Soon after this the war broke out with Sudan and the compound was closed. Although it never re-opened in the same format, the indigenous church grew and the Gospel of Jesus Christ spread throughout the nation of Eritrea.
Back in Hobart permanently, Gladys Dobson found work baking cakes at home for a restaurant before her official retirement. She was always interested in Christian sports people and when she learned in 1982 of my wife Delma and I were initiating the Sports and Leisure Ministry, Gladys contacted us.
One of the things I realised when kicking off this faith financed ministry was that without a spiritual power base of prayer, our ministry would stall.
Gladys immediately became one of our five elderly praying ladies who have prayed every day for our marriage, our children and our ministry for 28 years. When we were in Hobart last weekend for the Australasian Religious Press Association annual conference, Delma and I visited Gladys Dobson over a morning tea 'of rejoicing in the Lord'.