A life of service to others. It’s often said that a church is only as strong as its pastor. That is certainly the case with St. Andrew Missionary Baptist Church in Shelby as their gifted Pastor Eugene Anderson has been shepherding that congregation for the past 20 years. Anderson has been a great blessing not only to St. Andrew, but also to the many he has met and touched all throughout his life. When Anderson was a child, his mother told him he was going to be a preacher. The day he was born, a priest came into her room and gave her scripture from Isaiah 61:1, The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. “The priest told her she had delivered a preacher and she never let me forget that,” said Anderson. The day after he wed his wife, Judy, at 19, he accepted that call into the ministry and has never looked back. His representation of the Holy Spirit is clearly evident the moment you meet him. However, that didn’t just take place over night. It took many years during his teens and several challenges before Anderson accepted God into his life. Born in 1959, Anderson was raised west of Indianola on the Heathman Plantation. His first job was chopping cotton at the age of 13 and although his parents did not advance their education beyond the third grade, they were adamant he would. But, obtaining a college education was a ways off before he fulfilled their dream. After graduating from high school, Anderson served in the U.S. Army, but an injury cut that short. He held down various jobs, however he was completely dedicated to studying scripture at night. During the early part of his adult life, he studied alone and then under two different Bishops. He became a youth pastor, and after awhile he started pastoring at other churches and worked as a Hospice Chaplain. As his knowledge and training of the gospel grew, so did his ministry. In 1985 he took a job at Parchman Penitentiary where he worked as a Drill Instructor with the prison bootcamp program and eventually rose to the position of Lieutenant. His wife also worked at Parchman and they lived on the grounds. Then, after 18 years at Parchman, Anderson left to pursue the ministry full-time.
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