Sunday, September 3, 2017
By the time you read this article my dear friend, Oliver Anderson, will have celebrated the 90th anniversary of his birth. I know of no man living today for whom I have greater respect than “brother Oliver.” Brother Oliver wasn’t a Christian when he and Ila Mae were married; but after attending worship with her for a few years, he was baptized into Christ, and has been a faithful Christian since that day. Ila Mae has been his faithful companion and worker in the kingdom all of these years. Just a few days ago, they celebrated 69 years of marriage, setting an excellent example for their family and friends. I told her last Wednesday night that if she had never done anything except lead brother Oliver to Christ, she would have accomplished great things for the world, and the church. In the words of his daughter, Linda, “He never looked back. He believes fervently and wholeheartedly in the Bible. He fully accepts it as God’s word and tries to live his life by what it says.”
From the beginning he wanted to work in the church. He has been a song leader, Bible school teacher, and an elder for many years. He has served as an usher, led countless prayers, read the Scriptures in the assembly, served the Lord’s Supper. He has always been willing to do whatever was needed, including cleaning the church building for many years. For most of my time at Northeast, brother Oliver did the counting and rang the bell for classes. He has been a faithful elder at Northeast almost from its beginning.
There are a lot of things you can say about brother Oliver. But when I think of the life that he has lived, and continues to live, I see him as perfect example of a Christian gentleman. He is loved and respected by all at Northeast for his near 40 years of service. He also reminds me of my own dad. There was never a question of whether they were going to worship and Bible Study. They never missed a service, and also attended many Gospel Meetings at other congregations on a regular basis. He reared his family to love and respect the brotherhood, taught them that they should love and respect their family; he taught them both by word and example, to respect and obey God’s Word, and to respect their parents, grandparents, and treat everyone as they would want to be treated.
I have been privileged to work under brother Oliver (as well as a number of other godly elders) for the past 33-plus years. He has always been a great encourager to me personally. This is not only true of me, but of others as well. On behalf of the whole church at Northeast, we say “Thank you, brother Oliver for your many years of service, and your dedication and loyalty to the cause of Christ, for being the great example to all of us, and for the way you have led and encouraged us all to honor God, respect His Word, and live the best life we can.”
Our prayer is that God will grant you more years to lead and serve at Northeast, that they will be happy, peaceful years. When the angels come for brother Oliver to carry him home, the world will have lost a great man. May God bless and keep you always in His care!
Paul M. Wilmoth