Aster Derry Prentice

October 13, 1919 – July 1, 2014

Aster-Prntice-271x350Former Free Methodist missionary Aster Prentice, 94, of Winona Lake, IN, passed away Tuesday, July 1, 2014. Her memorial service was held July 5 at the Winona Lake Free Methodist Church in Warsaw, IN.

Aster was a Free Methodist “preacher’s kid,” growing up in the home of Rev. and Mrs. O.W. Derry. She decided at the age of eight that she wanted to be a missionary to Africa. She recounted, “It all started from my reading a junior missionary book which told of the customs and habits of the children in Africa and there came within my heart a desire and urge to tell them about Jesus.”

Belgium Congo missionaries 1948: Holton,  Van Sickle, Orcutt, Beckwith, and Derry

Belgium Congo missionaries 1948: Holton,
Van Sickle, Orcutt, Beckwith, and Derry

As an adult, Aster taught several years in rural Illinois schools, then three years at Oakdale Christian School in Kentucky. While at Oakdale she traveled by horse or mule every weekend to a outpost where she preached twice a month.

Applying to the General Missionary Board, Aster was appointed as an educational missionary to Congo-Nile (now known as Burundi) in 1947. She sailed with other newly-appointed missionaries Rev. and Mrs. Paul Orcutt to Brussels, Belgium, for a year’s language study.

Aster Derry and class at Kibuye

Aster Derry and class at Kibuye

Aster spent two terms on the field, supervising a school at the Kibuye station and engaging in women’s work there as well as Usumbura. Over several months in 1954, she and two national women set out from Kibuye to hold four-day conventions at outstations, reaching out primarily to women. As a result of these conventions, Miss Derry felt there had been a definitedeepening of the spiritual life of the women as a whole. Many who had not been Christians before were saved during these meetings, including a girl who had been demon possessed.

Aster returned from the field in 1961. She taught school and operated a sewing business until marrying Rev. Paul Prentice in 1966. She returned to Africa where she and Paul served as missionaries in Liberia through West African Gospel Mission.