Weekly Portraits of Calvary Life
The Alumnus of the Year award is given annually to a Calvary graduate who has shown faithfulness in his or her service to the Lord. This year the President’s cabinet has chosen to honor one individual and one couple based on their outstanding qualifications.
The first honoree is Alice Thompson. Alice was raised in St. Louis, Missouri, and came to know the Lord through her grandmother’s influence. Alice attended Maryland Heights Gospel Center which was pastored by Roger Andrus. Reverend Andrus also taught at Midwest Bible & Missionary Institute, one of the schools which later merged to form Calvary Bible College. He was instrumental in encouraging Alice to attend Midwest, and it was there that her life took on new meaning. She learned from amazing instructors of the Word of God, had opportunities for practical service in the Lord’s work, and met many visiting missionaries at the Chapel services. As Alice searched for God’s will for her life, she soon knew without a doubt that she would be a missionary – and specifically, in Brazil.
While she was studying at Midwest, Alice became friends with Bob Thompson. They each knew that God was calling them as missionaries to Brazil. Bob graduated in 1952, and they were engaged one month later. Bob traveled to Brazil alone in late 1952, and they corresponded by letter until Alice graduated in 1953. She then went to Brazil, and they were married in December of 1953, before she even knew the Portuguese language!
As pioneer missionaries, the Thompsons founded the Brazil Inland Mission in May of 1955. They also helped found the city of Umuarama in southern Brazil in June of 1955. Umuarama was a great location for a city because of its’ strategic location at a crossroads in the middle of the jungle. The Thompsons had the first residential home in the city! They literally carved the city out of the jungles of southern Brazil with other pioneers. Bob and Alice started the first church in Umuarama, and they helped plant many other evangelical churches in southern Brazil. In 1964, Bob helped start a municipal grade school and also taught the Bible there. The school is still functioning today, while the town has grown to a population of over 100,000!
Alice worked side-by-side with her husband for their entire married lives. Both were completely dedicated to the ministry and lived out their faith in front of their five children. They involved their children in ministry as much as possible. Bob and Alice founded the Thompson Theological Bible Seminary in 1968 with the goal of placing graduates in ministries around Brazil. Alice taught many classes for women and children’s ministries. She worked full-time at the Seminary while home-schooling her own children! The Seminary is still in existence today in east-central Brazil, where their son, David and his wife serve as missionaries. David’s daughter, JoAnna, also serves as a missionary in the same location, making her a third generation missionary to Brazil!
Bob and Alice retired from the mission field in 1996. Bob’s home-going in 2009 led Alice to move to Waukon, Iowa, where she currently lives close to her daughter, Cristina Smith, and is active in the church her son-in-law pastors. She is still involved with the Brazil Inland Mission through a ministry of prayer and encouragement that continues as she approaches her 87th birthday. Alice is strong in her resolve to reach people for Christ and to serve in whatever capacity her health allows. Last June, she was able to travel to Brazil for the grand opening of the Alice Thompson Christian Grade School on the Thompson Theological Seminary property, and she helped cut the ribbon at the ceremony! She has made an eternal impact on many lives.
Three of Alice’s children attended Calvary – David Thompson, Anita Weinzierl, and Cristina Smith – as well as her granddaughter, JoAnna Thompson. Another grandson, Nathan Smith, plans on beginning his studies at Calvary this fall. We are delighted to honor Mrs. Alice Thompson as 2018 Alumna of the Year, and we thank her for the amazing example she has been and continues to be.
Alumni Relations Coordinator