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Meet Dorothy and Wayne Bondurant

"When I am able, I take out gift annuities with Garrett-Evangelical because I believe in the mission and purpose of the school; in the committed administration, faculty, and staff; and especially in the students."

Dorothy and Wayne both grew up in Christian homes, accepted Christ as their Savior at an early age, and heard a lot about missions in their local churches. They met at Dorothy’s home church, First Evangelical United Brethren (EUB) Church in Billings, Montana, when Dorothy was a senior in high school. Since Dorothy felt called to be a missionary and Wayne to be a minister, they did not see how their lives could work out together.

However, during Wayne’s second year at Cascade College, a small Christian college in Portland, Oregon, he also felt called to the mission field during a special missionary series. The next fall Dorothy transferred from Westmar College in LeMars, Iowa to Cascade. Wayne graduated in the spring of 1958, and he and Dorothy were married that August. Wayne went to seminary part-time while Dorothy finished her senior year of college, graduating in 1959. The next year, Wayne went to seminary full-time while Dorothy taught second grade.

During that year they were contacted by the director of the EUB mission work in Brazil, who badly needed a treasurer on the field in Brazil. The EUB mission board required that most male missionaries have a seminary degree from an EUB seminary. Therefore, Wayne and Dorothy moved to Naperville, Illinois in the fall of 1960, and Wayne began his studies full-time at Evangelical Theological Seminary (ETS), graduating in 1962. Dorothy once again taught second grade.

They moved to Brazil in 1962. Their son, Marcello, was born in Brazil in 1963 and their daughter, Marcy, was born in Billings, Montana in 1965, when they were home on furlough. They served with the EUB mission board until 1967, when the EUB and Methodist churches united. There was no need for two treasurers in Brazil, so they returned to the United States.

Wayne became the business manager at ETS, and Dorothy worked as a teacher/director of a preschool. When ETS planned to unite with Garrett Theological Seminary, Wayne was invited to work at the United Methodist Church’s General Board of Pensions, so they moved to Evanston, Illinois, in 1973.  In 1979, Dorothy was invited by President Merlyn Northfelt to become his administrative assistant at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. She was promoted to assistant to the president during her first year and continued in this position until his retirement. Dorothy then had the privilege of working with President Neal Fisher until she took early retirement in 1993. Wayne also retired that year after 20 years at the Board of Pensions.

Dorothy and Wayne never forgot their call to missions. Dorothy served on the missions committee in every church they attended. While still employed, they made a Volunteer in Mission (VIM) trip to Chile. After retirement the Bondurants made VIM trips to Romania and Zimbabwe and a study tour of Indonesia. They also joined a VIM group called NOMADS. Traveling in their motor home, they joined others with motor homes to do three-week work projects across the United States. The Bondurants did 43 projects and were leaders for 18 of them over 16 years. They no longer travel with NOMADS because they now care for Dorothy’s 102-year-old mother in their home. Nonetheless, Dorothy has continued her love for local and international missions by serving as president of the local United Methodist Women.

When asked to recall her most vivid memories of Garrett-Evangelical, Dorothy spoke of the commitment, talent, and leadership of both presidents she worked with; the chapel services with beautiful organ and vocal music and inspiring sermons; and working closely with a devoted and able board of trustees. And, of course, the students. “The students made a strong impression upon me, as I saw the sacrifices they made to come to seminary, how many of them struggled to make ends meet, and their deep dedication and commitment to their callings.”

Since retiring from Garrett-Evangelical, Dorothy has taken out several significant gift annuities with the Dorothy and Wayne Bondurant: Called to Be in Mission Dorothy and Wayne Bondurant seminary. When asked why, Dorothy responded, “When I am able, I take out gift annuities with Garrett-Evangelical because I believe in the mission and purpose of the school; in the committed administration, faculty, and staff; and especially in the students. I chose to establish a scholarship fund because I saw the students struggle, saw how much financial aid meant to them, and realized they were going out to make a difference in the world.”

When asked if she would encourage others to consider a gift annuity with Garrett-Evangelical, Dorothy responded immediately: “I don’t think there could be a better place for the investment of an annuity. The returns from my annuities have been highly satisfactory and have enabled our continued mission involvement. Knowing our financial gifts are being used in God’s work and in reaching others for Jesus Christ is important to us and is very rewarding.”

Reflecting on their nearly 55 years together in mission, Dorothy stated, “I thank God for the call to missions so many years ago. I am thankful for the experiences we had with the wonderful people of Brazil. I am thankful for the employment Wayne and I both experienced for the church and for the many opportunities God provided for us through the years to continue to serve both here at home and overseas. I am thankful for Jesus Christ, salvation, and grace for each day.” Garrett-Evangelical, in turn, is extremely thankful for these two faithful missionaries for Jesus Christ—and their outstanding commitment to help prepare others who will share the transformative love of Christ today and well into the future.