Encourager. Wife. Mentor. Mother. Photographer. Gardener. Hostess. Counselor. Volunteer. These are just a few words that describe Carol Feil. “My life is a mixed bag,” she shared.
Carol is a woman with many talents. She worked as a freelance photographer for 20 years. She has served in the political arena through Republican Women, co-chairing the Lincoln Day Dinner, and she and her husband were delegates to the State Convention for Shannon Grove. She is also a talented gardener who happily received a small rototiller as a Christmas gift. She is an amazing hostess who loves to have people in her home. In one weekend, she hosted 40 people on a Friday night and had a baby shower for 40 the next day!
Born in Portland, Oregon, the youngest of five children, Carol describes herself as an Air Force brat. She moved to Bakersfield at the age of nineteen to work for Youth for Christ. Coincidentally, a young man named Darrell Feil was spending his last week in Bakersfield before returning to his senior year of college at Fresno Pacific the week Carol came to Bakersfield. He asked her out. They will be married for 33 years this June.
Their early-married life took them and their not yet year old son to Portland, Oregon, where Darrell attended Western Seminary for three years. During that time, their daughter, Bethany, was born. In 1990, after Darrell completed seminary, the family moved to England for a nine-month internship. “We lived in the middle of a Pakistani Muslim neighborhood,” Carol related. They enjoyed relationship building and rudimentary language learning. After the internship ended, they returned to Bakersfield with great desire to go back to England soon as missionaries.
An opportunity presented itself for Darrell at Abate-a-Weed. Darrell stepped in to help out for what they thought would be a short time. They both continued to seek avenues to serve as full-time missionaries, but God seemed to close the doors. Carol was frustrated. “I lived life at that time wanting to know what the next thing would be in our lives and not realizing I was living it,” she related.
They welcomed daughter, Mikayla, to their family in 1993. Carol was focused on raising her children and homeschooling them. “I was doing day to day life, but I didn’t feel content. I didn’t have anyone to mentor me or to walk alongside me and speak truth to me. I think I thought, “This is as good as it gets.” Satan uses interesting methods to give us wrong expectations,” Carol said.
She began to reach out to neighbors and to find her place at church. Being a people pleaser, she had always struggled with wanting a title, getting a pat on the back, or receiving some kind of recognition. “I learned that I am a little ‘out of the box’. I am not traditional and I didn’t fit into a particular mold,” Carol related. The Lord began to teach her to accept herself and that it is His approval she should be seeking. “I only need His approval and God’s satisfaction is much more fulfilling than the things I chased after,” she shared. Carol says she has learned to stop comparing herself to other “church ladies” and instead is being the “church lady” God made her to be. “I am also so thankful for a husband who appreciates how I am wired and tells me it’s okay to be me,” she said.
Struggling with various health issues off and on since the early 90’s didn’t help her outlook. It can be hard to see clearly when your body is weakened. The Lord was continually teaching her to trust.
Still having a heart for foreign missions, Carol and her husband have both enjoyed many service trips. Carol’s trips include Tanzania, Japan, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico. Having a willing heart she says, “have passport, will travel.”
Today, they are parents to three adult children and one daughter-in-law. Carol and Darrell serve together as People Encouraging People (PEP) counselors at RiverLakes. “The training for PEP is incredible. It teaches you that you have to learn something about yourself to be able to pour into someone else,” Carol related. She studies theology through the RiverLakes Biblical Institute and God has placed three young women into her life to whom she mentors. “It is an interesting place to be in life and I have learned to be content in whatever season the Lord places me in. The Lord has taken my passion for foreign missions and turned it into service to my community. A willing heart finds a place, even if it’s a little out of the box!”