Eighteen years ago I moved onto the campus of Kentucky Christian University in Grayson, Kentucky. I was almost 5 hours from home, knowing no one. It wasn’t long, however, before my neighbor in the dorm invited me over to the home of Bill and Donnette Bondurant for Sunday evening dinner. Much to my amazement, I entered their home to find somewhere between 20-30 college students eating a homemade dinner (chicken and noodles, if I recall correctly). I soon found out that Bill and Donnette were not only feeding this many college students, but had six children of their own ranging from Kindergarten – High School. Not only was this a regular occurrence, but they served as Sunday School teachers, bringing homemade goodies for the college students in their class, Bill served as an Elder in his home church, and, to top it off, his actual job was overseeing the finances of the university.
I got to know Bill, Donnette, and their family over time and came to understand that their investment in college students went above and beyond a career. You couldn’t be around them without seeing the source of their love of students. Their love was rooted in their deep love for their Savior, Jesus Christ. You could feel their passion for the Word. They loved, not out of obligation, but out of the overflow of their hearts. There was always a hug, and a smile, a listening ear, an open home, and words of wisdom.
Bill passed away suddenly this past weekend. This morning I made my way to my alma mater to pay my respects to a man who has shaped my life, my ministry, and my parenting more than he or Donnette will ever know. While driving home today I was reminded of the Apostle Paul’s words to Timothy found in 1 Timothy 4:16, NIV:
“Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
Bill and Donnette lived this out. I know, because I watched them closely. I watched their interactions with students they didn’t know. I watched them learn the names of so many students. I watched them play with, love, and discipline their children. I listened to their story of God at work throughout their lives. I listened as they taught God’s Word as well as any Bible professor. Their servant leadership is unparalleled.
Their ministry on and off campus has impacted more people than they could possibly imagine. I imagine Bill in heaven now, barely able to keep his head up straight because of all the jewels in his crown. Bill and Donnette’s legacy will reverberate for years and years to come, to the very ends of the earth as they have invested in business leaders, teachers, ministers, and missionaries who are taking that investment and pouring it out into the lives of those in their own circle of influence. The Bondurant’s legacy will live on because, at their core, they understand something that I often fail to remember:
Your greatest investment in this world will not be what you do, but who you pour your life into.
Well done Bill, good and faithful servant. I will be forever grateful of your investment in me.