Donald Vesey

October 6, 1926 – February 2, 2013

2012Donald M. Vesey, 86, went home to be with the Lord Jesus February 2, 2013, in Hughson, California. Donald and Claris Rohrer were married in 1947. Both graduated from Los Angeles Pacific College.

Appointed to Latin America in 1951, Donald and Claris arrived in Paraguay in 1952. After learning the language, education and evangelism became their primary ministries. Don supervised the entire evangelistic program in Paraguay, along with pastoring the mission church one year. He also started two preaching points, supervised the establishment of a church in Asuncion, taught in the Bible school, served as mission treasurer and did some construction work.

The Vesey family witnessed the country’s revolution during May 1954; the mission station was located in the midst of fighting.

By September 1955, Don, Claris and their three sons moved to Wilmore, Kentucky, to enable Don to attend seminary. He received his Masters of Divinity degree in August 1956. Unable to return to the damp climate in Paraguay, the Veseys were then appointed to serve the Mexican Mission in Nogales, Arizona. They wrote in a December 1956 letter, “The last year has had many trials, but has also been victorious. It is very difficult for a missionary to realize that he cannot return to his beloved field of labor, but we have found that God surely knows what is best for us. Through it all, He led the way and sent us here. How we do love the Mexican people and can truly say that we are happier here than we have ever been.” Don was teacher and dean at Nogales Bible School until 1959. He then served as a teacher in the Seminary of Instituto Evangelico for one year.

Family 2By October 1959, the Vesey family, which had grown to include another son, transferred to ministry in Santiago, Dominican Republic. Don’s primary role was conference evangelist; however, as he did in Paraguay and Mexico, Don also served as mission treasurer. Many of the evangelistic services were held in the open air with a loud-speaker connected to his jeep. “It is hard to know just how many are reached with the blessed message for God’s Son.” Don also travelled by donkey, horse and rowboat, and waded streams to pray with many.

Many of the churches Don served as evangelist were part of a circuit. Some pastors had as many as 20 preaching points. Each point had a layman in charge of services, and the pastor would visit when he could. Normally Don would start a campaign on a Tuesday night, closing on Sunday night. Sometimes he’d drive home Sunday night, if not, early Monday morning “in time to get my clothes in the washing machine so that I can leave again on Tuesday!” he wrote.

Reflecting on his role, he wrote, “I am enjoying the evangelistic work. It certainly keeps one in contact with the circuits and the pastors, their problems and their aspirations, as well as their successes. Many times I feel woefully inadequate for the task, but I trust that I can do my part to help some needy soul find Him in whom is life eternal.”

Don developed a correspondence course for laymen who could not attend seminary. He also established a traveling bookstore with Bibles, hymnals and other Christian literature to sell to people who would never have an opportunity to enter a Christian bookstore.

In addition, Don oversaw the design, layout and complete connection of a sewer line that connected all 10 acres of the Instituto Evangelico, the first coeducational boarding school in the Dominican Republic, to the city’s main sewer line.

In May 1963, Don returned to pastoral ministry in the U.S., serving several churches in California.