Spirit in Action was founded in 1996, when founder Del Anderson was 90 years old, which means that next year will be our 25th Anniversary! When the Spirit in Action Board met on Zoom last weekend, we took time share our history and tell the stories of SIA's early days.
Marsha Johnson volunteered with Del for years before SIA was an official organization and she was the first Administrator, from 1996-2007. Marsha told the story of Del's ministry which inspired Spirit in Action:
"Even before Spirit in Action, daily, all day long, Del wrote letters to people who he had met through Camps Farthest Out International. During those years, Del nurtured many, many relationships through sending and receiving letters, sending self-help materials, seeds, scriptures, and inspirational readings. They were letters of encouragement and he often slipped in a $5 bill.
"Del realized in time that it was important to give others the opportunity to be part of this sacred ministry that he believed so much in. He also wanted this ministry to continue past his lifetime and that was how the vision of Spirit in Action was founded in 1996."
[Del is pictured above in his office with hundreds of copies of inspirational materials. Below is one of the quotes he often shared.]
Leading with His Relationships
Margaret Arner, who was a board member since before SIA was founded and is just now retiring from board service, also shared her stories.
"My involvement in Spirit in Action is 100% a result of my admiration for Del Anderson. He had worked on his own personal relationship with God daily since he was in his 20s or even earlier. He wasn’t a speaker and didn’t lead as a speaker in a typical charismatic way. Del led with his relationships. He led through his letters and in his faithful correspondence with people who he knew around the world. He affirmed what those people were saying, and listened to them. Those were his strengths.
"This was so inspirational to me, that a humble, ordinary person, who has a desire in their heart to be closer to God, can to do something with whatever their talents might be. They can do good by listening, keeping their ears open, being open to whatever job might come their way, and being open to God’s guidance."
[Del was a Scout Leader for many years. Here he is in Japan in 1956, with Bebe Anderson and a local scout troupe.]
Maggie appreciates that SIA has maintained its identity as not a typical business model. We keep our spiritual emphasis front and center. She is proud that over the years we have been comfortable with the process taking whatever time it takes to come into consensus in making decisions. It might not always be the most efficient, from a corporate standpoint, but it is heart-centered and gracious, and it concentrates on relationship-building as being of primary importance.
We ended the evening with the inspirational writing that Del wrote for Spirit in Action called God Calling. It's a powerful call to be a mustard seed of hope in the world. One part that always inspires me is the line, " A dream has no dimension, no boundaries, no limitations."
Thank you to those of you who have known SIA since the beginning, and gratitude for each of you who have joined us along the way.