He joined the Army in 1973, during the Vietnam War. Looking back he knows he was running from home, but God was still working. He met Tom Leedom and Larry White, who had attended Dakota Bible College. They began taking him to church and he started to feel a bit of what he was searching for.
When they were sent to an Army base near Frankfurt, Germany, the three friends continued attending church together and Al met the preacher, Ozark Christian College grad Sid Allsbury, who helped further his journey to Christ. A year later, he was sent to Stuttgart, where he met Rick Deighton (BA’65), who held a weekly Bible study on base. Rick was his first Bible teacher. Missionaries Harold Fowler, Guy Mayfield, and Chuck Troyer also invested in Al. He was baptized on August 2, 1975, in a glacier-fed mountain stream during a missionary conference in Lugano, Switzerland. When his Army days ended, he enrolled at Dakota Bible College in 1977.
There he met his wife of now 42 years, Val, a native of Huron, SD, and an active member of Huron Christian Church, where she was led to Christ. They married in 1978 and both of their kids were born in Huron. Jeremiah is now a helicopter mechanic in Aurora, OR and Crystal is a wife and mother of two in Springfield, OR.
Al’s 12 years of ministry after DBC gave him a huge heart for unity in the church. He says there was a time when this was very difficult to achieve, as denominations saw each other as adversaries, not partners. He was even fired from a church for his attempts to unify the churches in town. In the meantime, he had met Danny Harrod (BA’79) who became an encouraging friend, and Charles Crane, who was preaching in Eugene, OR. A few years later he again ran into Charles, who was now president of Boise Bible College. He said, “Come to BBC on a scholarship this fall.” Al decided to complete another Bachelor’s degree. Val worked hard to support him and he graduated in 1992 with a BA.
All the professors influenced Al positively, showing him the character of Christian men, and he was impressed with their care and concern for students. Three in particular – Chuck Faber, Dale Cornett, and Carl Anderson – stood out. He has friends from BBC to this day, like Scott Riggan (BA’92), with whom he briefly shared a home when he moved to Boise, Kenny Beckman (HD ‘95), and Leon Rothauge (AS’98).
Life after Boise Bible College
Al’s heart for people and especially for uniting churches continued after BBC and he found his place to live it out in Emmett, ID. While serving eight years as the youth minister at Emmett Christian Church, he began to approach area pastors (from many different churches) with a novel idea – to teach the Bible at the high school! He’d noticed the Mormon seminary building next to the high school and asked, “Why can’t we do the same thing?”
Support began coming in and classes opened in a home 2 blocks away. Then the LDS stake president offered him a third of an acre for $2000. With community support, a building was built 65 yards from the front door of the high school and they moved in on April 1, 1996. After a fire set by some wayward teens, the building was rebuilt, this time with a kitchen, making ministry possible to many more students. April 1, 1997, they moved back in, debt-free, thanks to community support. More than 600 students went through this ministry called CERT (Christian Education Release Time), with hundreds more coming in to talk or cry when needed.
Al’s friend Kenny Keene, Cruiserweight World Champion boxer (the “Emmett Eliminator”), audited some classes from professor Kenny Beckman and was inspired to personally support a scholarship for CERT students to attend a Bible college of their choice. For over 20 years, CERT students were helped to attend Boise Bible College, Northwest Nazarene University, and Colorado Christian College. Al retired from CERT in 2019.
For over 13 years, Al has preached once a month at Ola Community Church a few miles down the road and since 2010 he pastors Heritage Christian Church in Emmett. He gets out on the golf course more these days and enjoys cooking (and eating others’ cooking).
Al shares that the values taught at BBC have been a blessing of biblical truth. He eagerly recommends students attend to learn these values to help them navigate the many issues of our world.
In 2019 after 25 years of teaching and serving Emmett High School students, Boise Bible College awarded Al with the Distinguished Alumni Service Award, for a lifetime of tirelessly sharing the Gospel with youth in the CERT program and his commitment to the church.
If you ever receive a letter from Al, you’ll see that he closes it with AFC, which he has done since his baptism in 1975. His initials, yes, but what he is truly saying is that he is All For Christ. His life and ministry show it to be true.