Beth Sanders, the former Miss Austria (the latter being her maiden name), had a flourishing career in banking. She and her husband, Martin (an engineer) had started to get settled into their beautiful home on the hills in the pretty suburbs of sunny San Diego, California raising their children Leah, Bekah, and Andrew (as well as their dog, Boots). One day, Martin, told her that he felt called to serve God in the Philippines.
That’s not easy news to hear but soon after (after much prayer —and tears), Beth bade goodbye to America and came back to her roots in the Philippines for the next twenty years serving in full-time ministry by teaching Bible studies in all levels of society.
It was in 2003 while Beth Sanders taught bible study at a women’s ministry when I started attending. Beth is a fun teacher. She can laugh at herself and situations while still delivering uncompromising lessons on God’s word. For a newcomer like me just starting to learn my ABC’s in bible study, I felt at ease and encouraged even if I did not know very much and was surrounded by people who knew addresses of verses in the bible, their worship songs, and how to pray. Beth made the lessons interesting that I arranged my Wednesdays in such a way as to be able to attend the weekly sessions.
As Beth raised her kids, she was also raising us, her spiritual kids. She went through several books with us like Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life, GCF’s Book of Parables. She led us in Community Bible Study International. She challenged us to stretch ourselves, to memorise verses, put them where we could see them, do quiet time at home by ourselves everyday, learning how to hear God’s voice through His word, and most importantly, to obey what we knew God was calling us to obey. “Is there a sin to confess (or avoid), command to obey, promise to claim?” I can recall her saying.
She invited more mature Christians to share with us about their real life struggles and triumphs which inspired us on the application of God’s word.
Beth taught us the Signs of the Times just before Joel Rosenberg came to Manila!
Beth gave us opportunities to help the different ministries of Kids International (with Jeff Long), the Payatas kids (with Marivic Goloy), and other service opportunities that came along like when Typhoon Ondoy happened, she helped us get out of our comfort zones to help out.
Beth allowed us to learn practical applications of the Bible in our daily lives and becoming better wives and mothers. We had sessions on cooking for the family, exercise, finding your colour season, dressing up in a way that flatters and make up sessions, short retreats.
We had fun fellowships with a lot of food! For the body and spirit!
Beth gave us leadership training.
Beth further challenged us to serve in music, teaching, and mentoring other women
I unearthed an archive message from Beth Sanders on my phone and wanted to share that with you. I find it applies to any life challenge whether health, finances, relationship, career, or other:
If you focus on people or circumstances, you will be discouraged. Everything changes around me so I have to go back to the word of God. If I read and OBEY God’s word, it will cleanse me from putting impure thoughts in my mind. Go back to what Philippians 4:8 says, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
You have a choice to believe God, that what His word says will be your action in the midst of your circumstances. When you focus on God, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He never changes. You will be encouraged. – Beth Sanders
Beth has since moved back to the US where all her adult kids are. Still, Beth keeps in touch almost daily through our Viber group, sharing, caring, praying in humility as she trailblazes new life seasons before us.
Before I started this blog, my world got turned upside down and I felt that there was nothing for me to say to women I was mentoring because they might get scared that following the way I took might lead them to an upside down life, too. Even if I withdrew from that mentoring ministry, Beth continued to reach out to me in love, encouragement, prayer. Praise the Lord for women of God like Beth Sanders (as well as my other precious mentors) who continue to raise me up and keep me running the race, encouraging me in a family circle of prayer that exhorts me (albeit imperfectly) to fix my eyes on Jesus, trust Him, wait upon Him, live for Him. Best of all, in the waiting, I know that I can choose joy, choose Him, and choose to see things His way. T
Sometimes, when the physical world is upside down, that’s when the spiritual life gets turned right side up. Thank You Lord for Your wisdom and way that makes me appreciate even the trials and the cause of the trials because they are the very things that draw me closer to You! Thank You for mentors like Beth who plant Your word in hearts of women so that it becomes the seed that grows into a tree that produces more fruit that produce more seeds in a limitless cycle of sharing You with others for teaching, equipping, correcting, and training in Your ways that we may not be clueless weaklings but women who will seek after Your heart who know our identity in Christ, who will put on Your full armour so we can stand in Jesus’s name and by His power.
May You exceedingly abundantly bless Beth (and all godly mentors) and her family, her ministry, her health; may You provide their every need and beyond and continue to refresh them perpetually as they refresh others and serve You with their lives in Jesus’s name and for His glory amen.