By Amanda Fanger, Reporter and Farmer
Whatever comes next for Nancy Porter, she knows God has got her back. She should have died a few years ago because of how sick she was, but she believes God kept her around for a purpose.
“I’m enjoying being able to do what most people take for granted,” she said. “This is the most active I’ve been in four years! I don’t know what else God has for me to do, but I’m sure He’ll give me the strength.”
Porter, 67, grew up on a farm a mile north of Lily. Her maiden name is Kruse. She attended Lily Public School until high school, when she went to Bristol and graduated from there in 1964.
At her parents’ prompting, she attended a cosmetology school in Minneapolis.
“I found the experience of college was quite different than high school,” she said. “I don’t think I understood what I was getting into.”
But despite her fear of failure, she passed all of her final exams and got her license in 1965.
“I was stunned because I did so poorly in high school,” she admitted with a laugh.
When she came home, she found out her father was sick. He had a blood disorder, and when he died, she and her younger two brothers moved with their mother to be closer to family in Denver.
While living there, she met and married Bob Porter in 1971.
They moved to Texas until the mid-80s when work became hard to find. They moved to Phoenix for a little while before moving to Washington state. They lived there for 20 years.
When Porter’s mom was put into a nursing home in Webster, she and Bob decided to move to Webster to be nearer during her mother’s remaining time.
Having grown up in northeastern South Dakota, Porter remembered the winters being harsh and worried that Bob, who had never experienced that, wouldn’t be happy here.
“I was just really scared for the both of us,” she said. “I was afraid he’d want out of here.”
But that was six years ago, and they’re still here.
While away from the area, Porter said what she missed the most was the people and friendliness. Upon returning, she found that Day County was still the same family-oriented place it always has been.
“The people here who knew me, they accepted Bob like he was part of the family,” she said. “That was nice.”
Since being back, she has been renewing friendships with people she’d known before moving away.
“The winters can be something else, but that’s it,” she said.
Sometimes she wishes there was more variety for shopping, but even that she can live without.
“I was born and raised in the right place,” she said.
When she lived in the cities, she said, “I would stay inside all the time. Wherever we lived, I tried to cope. I really am a country person at heart and I was very shy and timid coming off the farm.”
That changed after years of being forced out of her shell.
“I had to learn how to speak up,” she said. “Nancy is no longer that quiet and reserved girl. God has gifted me with the ability to discern things. He’s helped me to be more bold.”
Four years ago, Porter got sick from a mold growing in their house. When she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and her doctors told her only about 10 percent of her heart was working, she said, “It was just a shock.”
The mold had gotten into Porter’s system so badly that it affected nearly every part of her health. She became asthmatic and had to go through rehabilitation and physical therapy.
They moved out of the house and into an apartment, but she still relied on her faith during that time.
“I thought my life was over with because of my health,” she said. “God has brought me through this. I can tell my heart is getting healthier. I don’t have such shortage of breath. We’re rejoicing in this.”
Although it’s been several years since Nancy has been physically able to do anything in the community, she recently became involved with the World Impact Tour.
She first heard about it many years ago when some people she knew had been impacted by the program and she’d seen their lives transformed.
“I just thought, I’m going to get involved and I haven’t regretted it since,” she said.
She is working as a local link and works in developing lasting relationships and in helping lead people to Jesus.
“I know some kids who are in trouble who really need this,” she said. “They just need someone to listen to them, to help guide them. I feel as though God is telling me I need to be an example. That takes being concerned for people and wanting to help even when they don’t want help.”
Porter and her husband do not have any children, but she says she understands it wasn’t meant to be.