Clarissa Barton's first working relationship with BI was in 1987, when she joined Henry and Anne Osborn to work on a literacy project in Thailand. The Osborns headed up the translation and literacy departments at BI and were impressed with Clarissa's ability.
Clarissa came to BI permanently in 1988. She came in her 50s, an age when many people begin to consider retirement. Preceding her time at BI, Clarissa served the Lord in Africa with Baptist Mid-Missions. Her time in the Congo was cut short when she was evacuated due to civil war there. Shortly thereafter, she began serving in Central African Republic (CAR).
In CAR, Clarissa was troubled by the fact that many women there were unable to read. She began teaching women not only how to read, but how to teach others to read as well. This is what prepared her for her work at BI. From 1988 until her retirement in 2008, Clarissa served faithfully, teaching people to teach others to read.