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Friend with a servant’s heart G

Excerpt from tribute at Alumni & Friends Banquet.

rowing up as the middle son in a hard-working farm family in Palco, Kan., Dr. Don Eaton (’75) had no idea he was developing the perfect

pedigree for a career in advancement at MNU. Don’s parents, third-generation Nazarenes, ensured Don and his brothers were

there every time the doors were open at Caanan Chapel Church of the Nazarene. Called to ministry in high school, he set off for Mid-America Nazarene College in 1971. Working his way through MANC, Don still found time to be a class officer and sing in men’s chorus.

After earning a master’s degree from Nazarene Theological Seminary, Don and wife, Barbara (Bonham Schindler ’72), pastored in Clearwater, Kan., and at Lakeside Church of the Nazarene in Topeka, Kan. From there he returned to MNU to recruit students for the Office of Admissions.

In 1987, Don joined MNU’s advancement office where he held many posts including director of planned giving, business manager for the MNU Foundation, annual fund director, and director of the Autumn Auction.

Dr. Don Eaton (’75), with wife Barbara (Bonham Schindler ’72), accepts a bronze plaque in honor of his 26 years at MNU, from Dr. Ed Robinson. The plaque will be installed in Legacy Circle on the campus mall.

As a development officer for the University, Don traveled the educational region, meeting with donors, representing MNU, conducting planned giving seminars, and preaching in local churches. Not satisfied just to ask others for gifts to MNU, Don has always given his own money to support fundraising events and scholarships at the university.

Don’s success at

MNU can be attributed to relationships. Don never viewed a donor

as a dollar sign, but as a friend. He built relationships with some of MNU’s most faithful friends the old-fashioned way — by being genuine, available, and truly interested in people. He has driven miles of dirt roads in a pickup, sipped endless cups of coffee around a farm-house table, and preached in dozens of churches across the region. Because he invested in those relationships, he could see past the tough and silent exterior of a western Kansas farmer to a man’s tender heart for Christian students leading to gifts amounting to millions of dollars.

In 2008 a stroke resulted in Don’s early retirement. Don was honored by MNU

president, Dr. Ed Robinson, for 26 years of service to the university at the 2010 Alumni & Friends Homecoming Banquet.

Don’s Midwestern heritage, know-how, and hard work formed a remarkable ministry that leaves a significant imprint on the tapestry that is the MNU experience. ❡

[ servant profiles ] S

“God opened the door for us to go to Costa Rica,” Anne said. “We raised the money and have been here since last November.”

Recently they left

more comfortable conditions serving as voluntary missionaries at Nazarene regional

Alums Steve and Anne Sickel live with a passion to serve others.

headquarters in San Carlos, Costa Rica, to spend the first two weeks of July assisting a Denver First Church of the Nazarene work and witness team on a construction project in a rural, mountain village in Northern Nicaragua.

The missionaries joined 50 volunteers on site to continue construction of a 30- by-80- foot church building in the village of LaRioja which would be also be used for community events and gatherings. Team members also cleared land and laid foundations for three classrooms designed to provide a secondary school for the area.

According to Anne it was a great experience to work on this project in a village with no running water and no electricity because it is how so many people live in rural areas of Central America.

The team hauled water about 80 yards from the well to mix batch after batch of concrete by hand. The brush and vegetation covering the land where classrooms are being built was removed by hand. Picks and shovels were used to lay foundations.

The efforts of the volunteers were well received

by area residents including local elected officials like Somoto Mayor Wilson Pablo Montoya Rodriguez, who attended a prayer service asking God to look with favor on the project. The volunteers learned the meeting was videotaped and broadcast on local television stations demonstrating the importance of the project to locals.

“[Being a missionary] has been an incredible experience so far,” Anne says. The Sickels will continue to serve the region as full-time missionaries in 2011. ❡

Fall 2010 | Accent magazine | 17


teve (’07) and Anne (Bryant ’06) Sickel met as students at MNU. Even before they married, they planned to work as volunteer missionaries.

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