Sunday, July 19, 2009

Obituary: Janet Louise Gilliam

Janet Louise Gilliam was born Nov. 8, 1940, in Washington, D.C., the only child of John Wilson Gilliam and Charlotte Oland Gilliam. She trusted Christ as her Saviour at the age of 12, during a Sunday School class. Janet's career began as a psychiatric nurse in Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, and Florida before she gave her life to missionary service at age 49.

During her nursing years, Janet was highly respected as the Clinical Coordinator of Nursing at several psychiatric hospitals, including the Dominion Psychiatric Treatment Hospital in Falls Church, VA; the Greater Laurel Beltsville Hospital in Laurel, MD; the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.; the Psychiatric Crisis Intervention Unit at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, FL; Mercy Hospital in Miami, FL; and the Park-Duvalle Neighborhood Health Center in Louisville, KY. Janet was a sought after public speaker and group therapist for her work in rape prevention and post-rape trauma, and she became an early pioneer of the play therapy movement for intervention with traumatized children.

In 1989, Janet gave her life to full time missionary service by joining New Tribes Mission. She first moved to Thailand in July, 1991 at age 50. She had a particular love for the Thai people, and was well loved by many Thai friends. During her 18 years in Thailand, she lived the essence of the Gospel by giving sacrificially to those around her. Her ministry in Thailand included that of teacher for missionaries' children at New Tribes Education Center (NTEC), supply buyer for Grace International School (GIS), and teacher's assistant in the Special Needs Department and Extension Services Department at GIS. She also had a vast impact among several homeschooling families, and made a lasting contribution to several Thai churches, including Chiang Mai Blessings Church, Abundant Grace Church of Chiang Mai , and the Glad Tidings Assembly of God in Sanpatong. Janet had a remarkable ability to make deep friendships wherever she went, in spite of language limitations.

Janet's lifelong dream was to spend several months in Israel, and God graciously granted that request just prior to her death, by allowing her to spend three months in and around Jerusalem. Her love and passion for Israel closely parallel the heart of God the Father, and she frequently spoke out, encouraging others to "Remember Israel." Janet was a woman who loved God deeply and lived a life of holiness as she served Him. She died on July 16, 2009, after a brief 48-day battle with pancreatic cancer. During her final days, she continued to be a light and testimony to those around her, as she eagerly embraced the presence of Jesus. She will be sorely missed by many friends in Thailand, as well as her maternal aunt, Shelva Jean Stuart, of Weddington, NC, and numerous cousins and American friends.

Janet will be interred at the Chiang Mai Foreign Cemetery on Chiang Mai-Lamphun Road, on Monday, July 20, 2009. In lieu of flowers, Janet has requested that memorial gifts be sent to the Extension Services Department of Grace International School, where Janet worked for many years.

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