Dr. LaVerne Miley and his wife Lorene have already retired four times, and there’s no end in sight. The bright-eyed couple retired the first time in 1979 after returning from Ivory Coast, West Africa, where they served for 17 years as medical missionaries with Free Will Baptist International Missions.
Dr. Miley retired a second time in 1996 after teaching 17 years at Free Will Baptist Bible College. Lorene’s second retirement came in 1993 when she completed 14 years as editor of CoLaborer magazine with Women Nationally Active for Christ.
Life Beyond Retirement
The Mileys’ ministry has always reached out to hurting people both physically and spiritually. That did not stop after their fourth retirement. At age 69 when many couples prefer a rocking chair, the Mileys again answered the call to Christian service.
In 1997 they volunteered to assist the Christian Discipleship Center (CDC) in Cortez, Colorado. The CDC outreach focuses on Native Americans, specifically the Navajo and Hopi tribes. The Mileys loaded books, clothes, and a few personal items, and surprised all their older friends by relocating to the great American West.
Dr. Miley taught Bible for two years while Lorene demonstrated another of her skills by cooking for students and faculty members. They returned to their Nashville, Tennessee, home in 1999.
But when the call came from CDC personnel in mid-2004 for LaVerne and Lorene to continue their work with Navajo and Hopi tribesmen, the 76-year-old Mileys reloaded, repacked, and returned to the Four Corners region of Colorado for a three-month teaching stint.
Retirement Plan Benefits
The Mileys have participated in the Free Will Baptist retirement plan since its origin. And it’s a good thing they did, because they needed a source of income in order to serve with CDC in Colorado. Dr. and Mrs. Miley both have annuities with the Board of Retirement. “Income from our annuities allowed us to volunteer with CDC,” said Lorene. “Without the annuities, we would have experienced financial hardship.”
The Mileys have several streams of revenue for their retirement years. “We both draw Social Security benefits,” Dr. Miley said. “Plus, I have retirement funds from my teaching days at Free Will Baptist Bible College. There’s no question that our Board of Retirement annuities play an important role in allowing us to do volunteer work.”
Continuing Local Outreach
For the first time in 45 years, Dr. Miley did not renew his medical license in 2004 after the privilege fee to practice medicine doubled. However, the respected husband and wife team remains active in their local church (Cofer’s Chapel FWB Church) and in community outreach.
Lorene has gone to prison for 12 years! LaVerne stepped into prison ministry four years ago. They also speak frequently at retreats. Both are widely published writers whose journalistic efforts attract readers. They continue counseling ministries as well.
On the eve of their interview for this article, an urgent call forced the Mileys to reschedule in order to help a former prison inmate whom Lorene had been counseling. They rushed 50 miles away to do again their trademark ministry—apply prayer to the hurts of society, speak a kind word, offer counsel, and do it all in Jesus’ name.
Just after the first issue of ONE Magazine went to press, Dr. LaVerne Miley retired for the fifth and final time. He died on Tuesday, March 15, 2005, leaving behind an amazing legacy. It seems fitting that he spoke at a missions conference just hours before he died.