Sandhills girl, African missionary retells her life story in new book

It is with great pride when Eva Reeves, 81 of Lewellen, Neb., speaks of her time as a missionary in Swaziland, Africa, where she served for 25 years beside her husband, Robert Cheney, who was also from Lewellen. 

 Eva has now recounted her service as a missionary, a wife and mother in a new book entitled “Treasured Memories of a Sandhills Girl.”

With her husband serving as an Emmanuel Wesleyan Church minister in Southwest Nebraska, the Cheneys were called by God to be missionaries in 1970, an opportunity they were happy to accept. Their destination was the South African country of Swaziland. 

The goal for the Cheneys, along with sharing Christ with all, was to teach local residents of Swaziland how to be ministers and church workers so they could establish their own churches. 

The book is a recounting of the many years of ups and downs Eva and Robert spent in Africa with their five children. 

The Cheneys were introduced to an entirely different culture when they stepped into the role of missionary in Africa. Adapting to a different climate, habitat, custom and language were all part of their journey to share Christ’s love and saving grace with everyone they met. 

With Robert’s sudden death in 1995, Eva returned to Lewellen, settling down and eventually remarrying childhood friend Clint Reeves. Eva continued to maintain her missionary work in the states, traveling several places to speak and minister. 

Clint and Eva had 16 years together before Clint passed away in 2012. Eva has continued to maintain her home in Lewellen, where she finished writing her book in 2017, retelling the story with the help of the many letters she sent from Swaziland to her mother over the years. 

The Cheney’s five children are all grown now, blessing Eva with 24 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. 

Eva and Robert’s youngest son, Randall, who was born in Swaziland, now serves in the same capacity that his parents did in Swaziland. Eva has been back to Swaziland three times since her husband’s passing. 

Eva maintains throughout her book God was with her family during their entire time as missionaries, although they felt much spiritual warfare during their ministry, God protected and blessed them, she said. 

Swaziland is a different country now than when the Cheneys went in 1970, she said, with many churches now built and being successfully ran by local residents. However, the work of the Emmanuel Wesleyan Bible College remains strong and needed. 

Those interested in Eva’s  book can purchase it at

Nebraska Living Times

P.O. Box 751
Grant, NE 69140