The Staff

Marion Franklin Woods

Marion Franklin Woods was born November 15, 1918 near Topeka, Kansas. As a child and youth, he grew up in the rural areas of Southwest Nebraska and Northwest Kansas, attending grammar and high schools. As a high school youth, he received his call to the ministry as he participated in the Immanuel Methodist Church, Bird City, Kansas. He was graduated in 1942 from Kansas Wesleyan University, Salina, Kansas, serving his last two years as student pastor of the Grand Avenue Methodist Church, Salina.

He married Marjory Koken of Bird City on November 22, 1942. His seminary studies were completed with four years of graduate work in Drew Seminary where he also served as a student pastor. These studies were interrupted by a term of service as a chaplain in the Army in China-Burma-India Theater of Operations. An earlier call to the China missionary task was strengthened while he served in China. Marjory's health would not permit such, but the field of service in Costa Rica beckoned unanimously. He, Marjory, and daughters Paula and Karen, went to the field in November of 1950.

During the following 58 years, he has served as an evangelistic missionary establishing congregations and constructing chapels and parsonages from the border of Panama to the border of Nicaragua. He has served as a Methodist pastor and District Superintendent in every area of the country where the Methodist church has work. He also has been Director of the Methodist School in San José, of the Methodist Seminary in Alajuela, and of the Methodist Rural Center near Ciudad Quesada where he is actively working at present. He has completed 20 years volunteer service as a retired missionary in the field, still being active. While serving there he and Mary also are coordinating 36 Volunteers in Mission teams each year, working to best utilize their multiple interests and ministries.

At present, the appointment of the first full time District Superintendent to the Northern District has renewed an opportunity to work with D. S. Efraín Bermúdez in a more complete manner in establishing new congregations and in training lay and pastoral leaders at the Rural Center. He is helping Efraín with the administrative and funding emphasis of the district, one with many opportunities for growth and accompanying needs of support. The contacts made through the years and by this very web site are very valuable.

Marjory, the mother of Paula, Karen, Stanley and Margie, entered life eternal in January 1963 after a valiant battle with lupus. Marion and his second wife, Fannie Davis, served together until her death in 1985. Mary and Marion were married on April 17, 1993 and have served as retired missionaries on the field, staying active servants until this day.

Mary Maria Russell Miller Woods

Mary's interests in missions followed her surrender to Jesus as Lord. Though she was raised in a Christian home, oldest of six, born into a pastor's family, she felt God's presence anew in a life changing way while attending a Dr. James Dobson seminar in 1978. As a member at First United Methodist Church in Wetumpka, Alabama, it was her privilege to serve as Sunday School Teacher, in United Methodist Women, as member of the Chancel Choir, and as Chairperson of Missions. She organized local mission team projects in the homes of elderly and needy people, took teams to work in Elba, Alabama, following flood damage, and worked in The Mobile Inner City Mission with youth teams.

Her commitment to the Word led her to Scripture such as James 2:14-17. She took leadership in the formation of a community wide non-profit ministry called "People That Care," which still provides a way for many churches in that community to come together to serve those in need with food, clothing, medical assistance, utility needs. In early years, a tutoring service was provided for elementary school children. The ministry was awarded Volunteer Service Recognition by the Governor of Alabama.

The Mission Program at First Church, Wetumpka, still includes international mission giving in Costa Rica. With one month's notice, she accepted an invitation to travel to Costa Rica with a Volunteer in Mission Team led by Dr. Gerald Freeman who was the Montgomery District Chairman of Missions to "see what the Church is doing in Costa Rica." It was wonderful faith-building experience, a once-in-a-lifetime experience, she thought. The next year, however, Dr. Freeman invited her to come along and lead the Bible School activities on the team. Not speaking a word of Spanish, Mary was pleased when a Spanish-speaking friend volunteered to come along to translate the lessons to the children. The following year the team purchased puppets with the Spanish programming on tape so the youth in Costa Rica helped deliver the messages to the children. Dr. Freeman was transferred to Pensacola, Florida; there was enough interest in the church and in the area that Mary began to co-lead teams with Bill Dent and Tom Edwards, members of the church. Her emphasis on the teams continued to be working with the children in Costa Rica. They co-led teams for three years, working with Marion Woods, Coordinator of Volunteer in Missions teams in the Northern District of Costa Rica. The teams worked at Santa Fe, Santa Rita, Santa Rosa de Poco Sol, Ciudad Quesada, and the Methodist Rural Center on a variety of projects.

In 1991, she went to Costa Rica to study the Spanish language. She lived with a wonderful Costa Rican family in San José and studied Spanish for one year.

Later, Marion Woods asked her to stay in Costa Rica and serve together with him, and as his wife! They were married on April 17, 1993, in Maryville, Tennessee.

Mary has two wonderful children from her first marriage. David is married to Lynda. They have three children: Haley, Harrison, and Hayden. They live near Huntsville, Alabama. Deanna is married to Toby Clarkson and they have two daughters, Samantha and Delly and two sons, Bobby and Toby Jr and now live in Alton, New Hampshire.