We are the Anderson family – Doug, Beulah, Beverly & David. We live in Mississauga (Ontario, Canada) near Toronto, an amazing city filled with people from all over the world.
We (Doug & Beulah) have been happily married for 27 years. Bev & Dave currently live with us – Bev studies at Tyndale University, and is engaged to be married next August. Dave studies at Toronto Film School. Beulah is a nurse in a nearby Long-Term Care Facility.
Doug’s Spiritual Journey
At the request of the International Council, Doug recently recorded a summary of his experience with God and His calling to service…
From the beginning, born and raised in Montreal, I have enjoyed God’s blessings… as a citizen of a prosperous country, as part of a wonderful Christian family, and as a member of a great little church. I began my personal walk with God when, as a 10-year-old, I sincerely trusted in Jesus Christ for my salvation. Even at that young age, I understood my sinful state and the wonderful meaning of His death on the cross. Thus began a real relationship with Him, though it was another 5 years before I began to experience it to the full.
My life was transformed on a weekend retreat in 1972, when I was 15 years old. From that time forward, the Lord became the center of my life, and I sought to serve Him in the church and among my peers. This sense of calling to service led me to train for 5 years at Ontario Bible College. I felt drawn to pastoral ministry, and took this opportunity to deepen my understanding of His Word and develop my gifts.
During the final semester, in early 1978, God laid a clear call on my heart in a surprisingly new direction. I was strongly impressed that after graduation, I should seek opportunity to serve among the neediest people on earth. My life theme reflected Jesus’ challenge to His disciples in Matt. 10:8 - “Freely you have received, freely give.” And to “spend myself on behalf of the hungry” (Is. 58:10) become my burning passion.
Providential circumstances led me to Stouffville, where an embryo organization called Emmanuel International was mobilizing groups to serve in Third World communities. I joined in 1978, and lived for the next 2 years in a Nigerian village. What a life-changing experience! The sense of oneness with the Lord was unforgettable, and I came to deeply appreciate the people and churches of Africa.
At the end of that assignment, a year serving as pastor in Montreal confirmed that my calling was not to Canada. Though the Lord blessed this time of ministry in my home church, my heart was with the Third World churches who struggled to reach their needy communities with God’s love and truth. So for the next 10 years, I was privileged to serve again with Emmanuel International in a leadership role, organizing the overseas ministries, liaising with church leaders in our program countries, and mobilizing teams and resources.
Along the way, I met Beulah (a nurse from the Philippines), and we married in Stouffville in 1984. Traveling continued, 2 children arrived, and by the early 90′s, we felt it was time to settle down and focus on one place. We chose Beulah’s home island in the Philippines, where we have lived for most of the past 20 years. This was an opportunity to live and serve not as foreign missionaries on assignment, but as local residents who freely chose to be there. Financial realities required some “tentmaking,” initially through local business; and later, through international online business.
Those years in the Philippines, raising our bicultural family, participating in a wide range of ministries, and acquiring business experience, were full of the Lord’s blessing. Through thick and thin, we were always conscious of His abundant grace. And being a channel of His love and truth was always our goal and joy. We particularly relished opportunities to train and encourage the Lord’s servants.
A few years ago, we sensed as a family that our Philippines sojourn was coming to an end, and that it was time to re-establish life in Canada. We settled back here for good in early 2008, and this year we moved into our own newly-bought home. Also this year, I deliberately cleared my life of time obligations, and sought a fresh “assignment” from the Lord. I am 53 years old… and it is time to draw upon all of the experiences He has given me, place my life and gifts at His disposal, and pour myself into a ministry where, by His grace, I can make an enduring difference.
As I have searched my heart and sought His guidance, it is now clear to which ministry He wants me to wholeheartedly commit myself: It is right back where I began this journey in 1978, with Emmanuel International, assisting developing world churches to help needy people. My best contribution is not on the “front lines,” but behind the scenes – coordinating people, building the organization, and mobilizing support. And if I can thus empower churches, leaders and Christians to be His “salt and light”, I know I have fulfilled His purpose for me.
Like Paul in Colossians 1:29, I want to “labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.” To devote my best effort – in collaboration with the rest of the Emmanuel family – will be an outstanding joy and privilege.
— Doug Anderson, September 2010