For Louis and Rosemary Howard the quest for a Bible-teaching church led to a long-standing relationship with Dallas Seminary. More than four decades ago the couple found a place where they could grow spiritually along with their two children, Randy and Teresa. As it happened, their pastors were DTS graduates. The Howards’ Sunday school teacher was now-president emeritus, Dr. Don Campbell. And DTS Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Bible Exposition Dr. Dwight Pentecost ("Dr. P") often led Bible studies as a guest speaker.
Years later when Randy, who today serves on the DTS board, bought a home in Colorado, it was "within walking distance of Dr. P’s place." Whenever the elder Howards visited Colorado, they would have "long talks on the porch with Dr. P." Rosemary said, "It was really through talking with him that we fell in love with DTS. We had this very personal connection."
The connection continued as the Howards met DTS students at donor events. One group in particular inspired them: international students training for the pastorate. Rosemary said, "Professors would tell us of young students who came to seminary with nothing, or carrying only a suitcase."
As Randy’s work as a vice president for Exxon Mobil took him overseas on business, his parents followed his travels. And in doing so they experienced a growing awareness of the spiritual needs across the world as well as the challenges for DTS’s international students. But they also focused on ministry stateside.
About a decade ago Rosemary and Louis helped plant a new church where they were among the oldest founding members. Leaders encouraged everyone to join intergenerational life groups, so the Howards poured their lives into the young families in their group. This experience combined with their own children’s independence led Louis and Rosemary to formalize their long-term giving plans.
Randy and his wife, Betty, had already met with Foundation staff members, and they encouraged Randy’s parents to do the same. "Betty and I didn’t need them to leave us anything beyond the time and love they had already invested. And the same was true for my sister, Teresa, and her husband, Max. So my parents thought, ‘If not to the kids, then to whom?’"
While they supported DTS through the usual giving channels, the Howards wanted to do more.
"Dr. P encouraged us to do something lasting for the Lord," Rosemary said. "And DTS was the logical choice. Our entire family talked it over and decided this was what we all wanted."
"Our parents included DTS in their wills, and it was a good incentive for us," Teresa said, referring to herself and her husband.
As each couple met with representatives from the Dallas Seminary Foundation, they found that the staff listened to their desires and helped craft estate plans designed for investment in ministries beyond each couple’s own lifetimes. "The Foundation does such a great job helping the nonfinancial person," Teresa said. "Everything was explained so well. It gave us comfort to put plans in place."
"What we’ve done seems minor," Rosemary said. "But our desire is mainly to help make it possible to bring to the seminary more young people, particularly those training to be pastors."
When Louis passed away suddenly last year, the family was thankful they had all expressed their wishes to each other and formalized their desires. Teresa said, "It gave us such a peace that we didn’t have to try to figure out what my father would have wanted. We knew."
Because of their foresight, documents were already in place to assure a legacy even beyond what Louis invested in his wife, his children, their families, and the many people he led to Christ and discipled.
Rosemary said, "Having the expert counsel of the Dallas Seminary Foundation is a blessing I would recommend to anyone."
In 2 Corinthians Paul talks about how the Macedonian churches generously participated in the "privilege of sharing in this service to the saints" (2 Cor. 8:4). To learn about how you too can share in "serving the saints," contact Carrie Park, CPA and senior planned giving officer, in the Dallas Seminary Foundation office at 214-841-3546, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to dts.edu/foundation.