Judy Sirmon's Story

By: Edi Seals

February 27, 2024

A mother of eight and her 8-year-old daughter Marylin formed the duo that God used to give Judy, their youngest family member, the belief that she was born for a specific purpose. Judy Sirmons, Global Faith Mission Agency missionary to France for 53 years, was a direct answer to prayer for Marylin. When Marylin--already a believer at 8--learned that Santa Claus was not real, she wondered if perhaps Jesus didn’t really exist either. In childlike faith and unbeknownst to anyone, she asked God to send her a baby sister if He really did exist. The “obstacle” to this request was that Marylin’s mother had been warned not to have more children as it would endanger both her and the baby’s life. 

One day this mother, having more time because her children were no longer very  young, dreamed of having opportunity to “live her own life”—such as enjoying activities like flower gardening. But then Matthew 16:25 came to mind. 

“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”

She felt a strong urge that despite medical warning, God meant for her to have one more child for a specific purpose. She had no idea of her daughter’s prayer, but she deliberately planned a ninth child. That child was Judy—the requested baby sister!  Marylin’s faith was strengthened, and God later used her to lead Judy to Christ at age 5. Judy states, “My birth was an answer to my sister’s prayer. Through my early years as I heard the story of my birth, I realized I was created for a reason. This was the greatest influence in my desire and belief that God must want me to be a missionary.”  

God used other influences such as missionary conferences, Pioneer Girls, evangelistic tract distribution every Sunday afternoon, child evangelism training, teaching younger children at church, and three years attending a Christian school to prepare Judy for service while cementing her call to missions. 

Judy felt a strong urgency to become a missionary as soon as possible. When the opportunity to join a Student Missionary Program was presented during her senior year of high school with the option of finishing her last credits by correspondence, she signed up and flew to Toulouse, France where she joined a team in April,1971. This team consisted of both French and American young people. They completed their 3-year Bible Institute training under the direction of three veteran missionaries while assisting in church plants and numerous evangelistic campaigns. The American students were totally immersed in the language and culture, but they also had a structured program to learn French. During her first year in France, Judy began working with team members in Montauban, a city of 50,000 people. When she discovered there were only 6 Christians in the one Baptist church in that city, it was as if God was telling her, “Judy, you’re on the mission field.” There she realized that France was a country that desperately needed more workers to evangelize and to disciple new believers. 

Seven years after Judy arrived in France, she experienced another life change. Greg Sirmons, who had completed his college training in the States and knew that God had called him to be a missionary in France, arrived in 1978 to learn the French language. As he progressed, he assisted with the church in Montauban. Judy and Greg fell in love and married two years later in Judy’s home church in Kansas. They returned to Montauban and served there for 20 years before moving to Lille, France where they now serve.

When asked what advice she would give to a new missionary, Judy replied, “As much as possible, immerse yourself in the language. And persevere! If the Lord calls you, He is faithful to accomplish His will in your life as I Thessalonians 5:24 states.”

Among Judy’s different ministries, one that she finds very rewarding is teaching ladies’ Bible studies. But sharing the gospel message at length and in depth with as many as possible is her greatest desire and joy.

The answer to 8-year-old Marylin’s prayer has resulted in a missionary career of over 50 years in the country of France!