November 11, 1917 – June 2, 2010
God clearly led Naomi and her husband, Rev. Philip Calkins, to apply for missionary service. Philip had served as a pastor in South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois, while Naomi taught country school. In 1948, Philip was appointed to serve as pastor of the Free Methodist Church and Friendship School in Ybor City, a Cuban section of Tampa. Weekly services were held at the mission. Naomi was active in counseling, as well as distributing food and clothing to those in need. She served as a kindergarten teacher, assistant Sunday school superintendent and Sunday school teacher. Naomi also assisted with radio work and women’s ministry. During the Calkins’ ministry, they received the first charter members into the fellowship of the church and organized Florida’s first Spanish Free Methodist Church.
Following language school in San Jose, Costa Rica, in 1955, Naomi, Philip and daughter Judy were sent to Nogales, Arizona, where they served from 1956 to 1961. Their specific appointment was to Nogales Bible School. Naomi spent her first month and a half in bed seriously ill, and at the same time, Judy had a reoccurrence of Typhoid fever. In spite of these illnesses, Naomi carried a three-hour teaching load and helped in the office.
In one of their first newsletters from Mexico, Naomi and Philip wrote, “We had not planned, or could we foresee, our appointment to this type of work. But we are happy, feeling that we are in the Lord’s will. … All our students are from Mexico. The young men are planning for the Mexican ministry and the young ladies for a missionary career among their own people.”
In addition to working at the Bible school, Naomi served in hospitality and collected clothing to distribute to those in need on both sides of the Nogales border. During their years in Mexico, the Calkins family grew with the birth of daughters, Susan and Deborah. Naomi cared for the family when Philip traveled throughout the Mexican Conference in his role as superintendent.
In 1961 Philip and Naomi were granted a leave of absence because doctors advised Philip to restrict his physical activities. After such an active life in ministry, the Calkins’ sought God’s plan. They wrote, “We have not been impatient over the uncertain future because we have seen so many evidences of the Lord’s special care and guidance.” After experiencing God’s healing touch, Philip and Naomi served four pastorates in North America.