Finishing Well and Growing in Faith to the End
My name is Mary Ann Anderson, and I am receiving my continued ministry education at Christian Leaders Institute (Learn more about online Bible classes, Click Here). I am married to Jeff Anderson. We have been global workers (sent ones) with Action International Ministries since 1984. After over 33 years of ministry in foreign fields, we are now residing in the USA. We have two children and four grandchildren.
Childhood and Conversion
When I was born, my father was a Baptist pastor in rural Wisconsin. I am the middle of five children. My godly parents raised our family to love the Lord and to love people from all over the world. When I was around three, my parents moved to Minnesota and joined the Navigators Ministry. Our home became a center for discipling several young people. Discipleship was a theme my Dad taught in our home and still encourages me to be engaged in this ministry today. We had people in our home from other ethnicities, and this fascinated me. It helped prepare me for God’s calling on my life.
When I was around 5 years old, I learned that I needed to trust Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. This was a decision I had to make on my own. Having godly parents was not enough for me to become a child of God. John 1:12 tells us that all who receive Jesus Christ, “who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” My mother guided me in praying to receive Jesus Christ as my Savior. Later at the age of 12, I was baptized by immersion as a public confession that I was dedicating myself to follow Jesus Christ all my life.
Even though I was active in church growing up, my High School years were turbulent. In 8th grade, I was extremely depressed and discouraged. One cold winter day, I went out to pray and walk around a nearby lake. When I was halfway around the lake, an evil man tried to persuade me to follow him. I ran away as fast as I could. When I couldn’t run anymore, I crossed the middle of the frozen lake where I thought I’d be safe.
With tears streaming down my face, I cried out to God. I begged Him to open up the ice so I could fall in and be with Him. I felt so alone, but I began to feel God’s presence filling me as I kept walking. When I got home, I went to my room and continued to pray. “Lord, I am still alive. That must mean that You have a plan for my life. Now You have to do something with me.”
Calling to Ministry
Several months later, I attended a mission conference at my church. The speaker gave a powerful message from Exodus 3 about the life of Moses. When God called him from the burning bush, He told Moses what His plan was for him. Even though Moses felt terribly inadequate for what God was calling him to do, nonetheless, God called him and sent him.
At the end of the message, the pastor asked if there was anyone God was speaking to about giving his/her life in service to the Lord. I knew in my heart that God was calling. I went forward, stood at the altar, and dedicated my life to serve the Lord wherever He would lead me. It was amazing and totally unplanned. But at the end of the service, most people came forward to affirm that they saw God had His hand on me to serve Him. Several former Sunday school teachers and mentors took it upon themselves to track with me, encourage me, and offer any training or assistance they could. This experience embedded in my heart that this was a work of God. I finally had a purpose, and I never looked back.
Marriage and Family
After taking secretarial courses in college, my ministry began as a resident manager in a Christian women’s program for recovering substance abusers. I met my husband-to-be, Jeff Anderson, there. He served as the manager of the men’s program. We became good friends, but we were not dating at that time. Two years later, the Lord opened an opportunity to serve in missions for 9 months with Sudan Interior Missions (today, SIM). I served as a secretary in Niger, West Africa. When I returned home, Jeff and I recognized our mutual calling to missions and our desire to serve the Lord together. We married later that year, and in the following few years, our two children joined our family.
Jeff and I both knew God called us to serve as global workers wherever He sent us. We joined Action International Ministries. Through our agency, I became a Licensed Minister. Our sending church put us through a rigorous internship program. At the end of 1985, we left for the Philippines. After language school, we resided and worked in Metro Manila, a massive city of over 20 million people. Our primary focus was ministry to street children and squatter-dwelling children along with their families. In addition, because the Philippines has many natural and man-made disasters, we engaged in disaster response several times every year.
In my early years in the field, I served in publishing and new global worker development. I observed many new workers arrive on the field and struggle through their first term as I did. The Lord put it on my heart to come alongside them and mentor them. With that, they could survive and, more importantly, thrive through their adjustment period. This passion led to being appointed to serve as the International Coordinator for Training and Development in March 2016. Now, Jeff and I share this role of developing and mentoring pre-field and first-term workers worldwide. In May 2019, we turned over all our Philippine ministries to those we trained over the years, concluding our 33 years of residential service.
My education includes a Bible Certificate through Moody Bible Institute and certification as a CliftonStrengths coach.
In September 2021, we will have been in full-time ministry for 44 years. We currently reside in the Midwest USA and continue to work for our mission agency. Living in a large city has brought opportunities for ministry in the inner city, where many people have been traumatized by riots, racial tension, and vandalism. We partner with an inner-city church where we have been able to help and encourage their ministry.
We are committed to raising the awareness of churches to the needs of children-in-crisis and their families. Also, we serve ACTION in mobilizing, training, and developing new workers worldwide. Along with raising awareness, we offer to assist churches and “called-ones” through equipping, developing, and networking. We often speak in churches or other groups to raise awareness of what God is doing in missions and share our passion for sending out well-equipped workers to the ripe harvest fields of the world. We also travel to other countries (in person or virtually) to help train global workers for service.
Currently, I mentor women through a ministry called Weight Loss, God’s Way. I have lost 70 pounds in the past three years and am close to reaching my goal. It has been hard work but spiritually rewarding in many ways. As God continues to lead me, I offer encouragement and support for other women on this journey.
We are blessed to be actively involved in ministry to our children and their families, as well as my elderly parents.
My Spiritual Dream and Continued Ministry Education at CLI/CLC
My spiritual dream is to finish well and keep growing in my faith and relationship with the Lord to the end. After serving many years in foreign missions, I want to use my God-given gifts and life lessons to guide new workers going out to the field so they can be well equipped for the rigors of mission life. I desire to become better equipped for this task and all areas of my walk with God and ministry through Christian Leaders Institute.
Further, my dream is to finish my Bachelor’s Degree through Christian Leaders College. My husband and I trust the Lord for our finances, so receiving my continued ministry education through CLI is a real blessing. I am grateful to discover CLI and the other programs. Now I see a way to achieve my goals. My interests are in courses on Spiritual Fitness, Life Coaching, and Women’s Ministry. Thank you for this program, which makes my ongoing education possible.