As Donald Watson ’54 has matured as a minister, so have the people he serves. Twenty years ago, after a three-year stint as director of Youth for Christ in Spokane, Wash., and six different pastorates, Donald and his wife, Deloris, founded Diversified Christian Ministries (DCM) to reach out to senior citizens.
“We believe that God has called us to pastor those who no longer have a pastor or a church home,” Donald explains.
As president, Donald ministers in a variety of ways through the non-profit organization. Deloris, who started playing piano at her church at the age of 13, is the pianist and organist as well as the secretary and bookkeeper.
DCM offers Bible studies for seniors at retirement residences, mobile home parks, hospitals and rest homes. Donald conducts both weddings and funerals and offers family and bereavement counseling as well as personal spiritual encouragement.
From the moment of his conversion, Donald felt called to the ministry. He got an early start during his junior and senior years at Westmont when he pastored Grace Bible Church in Summerland. He and his family actually lived in the church building. “On Sunday, Westmont students helped prepare for the service by moving our furnishings out to make room for the chairs!
“Those were wonderful days,” he says. “The Westmont College Choir was, by and large, my morning choir. Amazingly, our best financial times came during the summer when all those great kids went back home, found summer employment and sent their tithes back to our little church!”
Deloris founded WOWS, Wives of Westmont Students, to provide support and encouragement to women in their roles as wives and mothers. In the years following World War II, many male students were veterans with wives.
Donald and Deloris met at a skating rink and corresponded while he served overseas during the war. When he returned home, she agreed to date him on Saturday night only if he went to church with her on Sunday morning.
“It was a good deal,” he says. “I thought at the time that a little religion wouldn’t hurt me. I can safely say that it hasn’t!”
After 57 years of marriage, they have five children and 11 grandchildren, most of whom live near their Carlsbad , Calif., home.
“The Lord has blessed us with so much through the years,” Donald says as he reflects on his 57 years of ministry. “He has been so faithful to us, meeting our every need in miraculous ways — including an anonymous note in my mailbox at Westmont saying that my last semester had been paid for!
“I am most proud of the fact that my children are serving the Lord,” he adds. “They have been faithful to Him. That gives me great joy.”