The late Isaac Andres and his wife Mary are sharing their passionate faith and generosity in a legacy that continues to inspire and nurture new generations of Mennonites.
As a young man, Isaac could afford to attend Bible school for only one year due to a lack of funds, but he longed to ensure that others who wanted to study the Bible had the means to do so. As a result, in 1988 the couple established the Andres Bible School Bursary Foundation, Inc.
At that time, they determined they would award student bursaries for 25 years and then dissolve the foundation, dividing the seed money between two ministries. Thus in 2013, 70 percent of the original funding for the foundation went to Mennonite Church Canada and the other 30 percent went to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, a ministry working to end global hunger.
“We’re grateful for the Andres’ long-term vision and generous donation,” says Tim Froese, executive minister of MC Canada Witness. “Making disciples means investing in people and their faith development. Growing future leaders of the church is one of Mennonite Church Canada’s top priorities.” He notes that the Andres’ donation is being treated as a bequest that will provide a resource for Witness’s ministry for some years to come.
“They both felt that evangelism and missions were a very important part of life,” says the Andres’ son Edwin. “It isn’t enough to feed the hungry, but we need to share the gospel as well.”
Isaac Andres and Mary Enns met while attending Swift Current Bible Institute in the late 1930s. They married in 1944 and farmed near Eyebrow, Sask., attending Eyebrow Mennonite Church and raising three sons and three daughters. They retired in 1978 and moved to Herbert, Sask., where they became active members of Herbert Mennonite.
Since the Andres’ bequest was received in 2013, it has supported a number of Witness projects that will help to secure the future of the church:
- Hippolyto Tshimanga, director of Africa and Latin America Ministry, led several theological teaching events in Colombia to strengthen the Colombian Mennonite Church for ministry.
- Through the efforts of Tshimanga and Tom Roes, mission capacity builder, congregations in Colombia and Africa are learning sustainable entrepreneurial skills that will provide economic security for families and local congregations, empowering them to flourish and grow.
- High-calibre instructors like Palmer Becker are teaching Anabaptist theology in places such as Asia, Palestine, Ethiopia and Latin America.
- George and Tobia Veith, long-term MC Canada Witness workers, are preparing for a new assignment in teaching and leadership development in mainland China.
Isaac passed away on Oct. 21, 2006, at the age of 86. Mary now lives in Regency Manor in Central Butte, Sask., close to Eyebrow.