By David Nordby
The Brillion News
BRILLION – Getting Rosetta Stone to learn Spanish would be enough of a project for most 80-year olds, but for Clarence Harms that was just a precursor to a much bigger adventure: doing missionary work in Guatemala for nearly six months.
Harms was preparing to embark on missionary journeys and realized he needed to speak the same language the citizens of the area he’d be traveling to did.
“If most of the places are in Spanish speaking countries, I’ll try to learn some Spanish,” Harms said.
After traveling on his first mission trip to Latvia from March to July 2013, Harms returned wanting to do more.
“It was a good experience … I did some other volunteering when I came back,” Harms said.
Harms had been married for nearly 60 years and took care of his wife until her passing in July 2012.
“After she died I got to thinking, ‘Well gee, I need to do something, I can’t just sit around at home’ so I started looking into the possibility of missions,” Harms said.
Harms is originally from Nebraska and got his mechanical engineering degree from the University of Nebraska.
After working in various places, including Mansfield, Ohio, Harms moved to Brillion and was a mechanical engineer at Ariens from 1976 until retirement in 2000.
Harms is well traveled. While working for Ariens he traveled to Japan for work. Traveling was a pastime for him and his wife as well; they went to Hawaii, London and other locations.
They traveled as long as they could including spending their 55th wedding anniversary in Alaska.
After her passing Harms got involved with mission work through Faith United Methodist Church of Brillion before the Board of Global Ministries for the United Methodist Church helped Harms get his start.
Harms traveled to Biloxi, Miss. for a three-day course for individual volunteers before his four-month stay in Latvia.
“The one thing I needed in Latvia was to speak Latvian and of course I didn’t,” Harms said laughing.
The idea of speaking Spanish led Harms to quickly try to find another place to do work and through a string of connections, starting with someone who also went to Latvia, Harms found his place in Magdalena, a town of nearly 15,000 people.
Please see the complete story in the July 7, 2016 edition of The Brillion News.