December Alumni Spotlight: Don and Elly Anderson Reflect on a Life and Ministry Impacted by Faith
At the end of August, Don Anderson (BA ’73 and ThB ’74) retired from vocational Christian ministry. He and his wife Elly (McDonald, ’73) served for 41 years at Faith and at the GARBC/RBP offices. As Don and Elly look back on their years of education and ministry, they are thankful for the significant impact Faith has had on their lives and on their children. The following is a statement from Don and Elly as they reflect on Faith’s influence on their life and ministry together.
The impact Faith had on our lives actually started before we enrolled at Faith. For me (Don), this impact started in 1964 when Ron Abbas, an Omaha grad, became the pastor of my home church, North Court Baptist Church in Ottumwa, Iowa. Pastor Abbas mentored me and helped turn my heart toward ministry. Outside of my parents, Ron Abbas probably had the greatest impact on me during my high school and college years.
For Elly, her older sister Sheena went to Omaha in the middle 60s. Her life and godly character influenced her, and she was instrumental in her decision to attend Faith.
Faith’s goal is to train men and women for life and ministry, and that is exactly what happened in our lives. Elly and I both entered Faith in the fall of 1969, which was only the school’s third year on the Ankeny campus. We met each other in the fall semester through a mutual friend, and we started dating in the spring of 1970. We married after (actually, the day after) our graduation in May of 1973.
We are thankful for the fine education we received at Faith. We were privileged to sit under the ministry of great men such as Dr. David Nettleton, Dr. John L. Patten, Dr. Harry B. Gray, and Dr. Arthur Walton. These individuals, along with many others, provided us one of the finest Bible college educations possible. In addition, we are thankful for the Christian Service requirements at Faith where we put into practice what we learned in the classroom. We were involved in Sunday School, VBS, youth ministry, midweek clubs, music, and preaching. We learned how to serve the Lord while at Faith.
After four years in seminary, we began our ministry years. The education and life lessons from Faith provided a solid foundation for serving at Faith (1978–1984 and 2008–2016) and at the GARBC/Regular Baptist Press offices (1984–2007 and 2017–2019). All through those years (and continuing today), we were active in our local churches. Again, the years at Faith provided what we needed for local church ministry.
Faith has also had a big impact on our children. Our son James and our daughter Becky studied at Faith with both graduating in 2001. Our son met his wife Marisa (Veth) while at Faith. The influence of Faith continues in our family as our children raise their children.
As we look back on our years, we can see clearly the large role Faith has played in our lives and in our family. The standards, the culture, and the education at Faith prepared us well for life and for ministry. We are truly thankful for Faith Baptist Bible College.