Category: Special Updates

Eldon Pals with the Lord

Eldon H. Pals passed away on February 3rd at the age of 90. He was a graduate of OBBI (Omaha Baptist Bible Institute) and he pastored 5 churches, including 4 IARBC churches (New Hartford, Bloomfield, Forest City, & Monroe). Eldon also served on several boards including Denver Baptist Bible College, Iowa Association of Regular Baptist Churches Council of 10, Iowa Regular Baptist Camp, and as President of the ACCC (American Council of Christian Churches). He was a good friend, dear brother, and a faithful pastor. We thank the Lord for his life and ministry! Please pray for the family and those touched by his home going.

Funeral details are as follows:
Visitation-Friday, February 17 from 5:30-8:00 pm at Ankeny Baptist Church
Funeral-Saturday, February 18 at 10:30 am at Ankeny Baptist Church

A full obituary is available here.

Virgil Bunjer with the Lord

Rev. Virgil Gene Bunjer, 88, of Ankeny, formerly of Ottumwa, died at 5:10 p.m. September 2, 2022 at MercyOne Medical Center in Des Moines.

He was born September 19, 1933 in Parker, SD to Martin and Rose Meyer Bunjer. He married Dolores Ellen Wilcox June 22, 1954.

A graduate of Belmond High School, he attended Omaha Bible Institute and Parsons College. He was the assistant Pastor at North Court Baptist Church, served 5 years at Martinsdale Community Church and for 40 years as a missionary in Germany and Austria with Baptist Mid-Missions.

During his pastorate in Martinsdale, he met Warren & Dottie Pals, missionaries to Germany.  Having grown up with grandparents who had immigrated from North Germany, Virgil felt the call to go to Germany and serve him there.

The family moved back to Ottumwa, IA, where they were commissioned by North Court Baptist Church to serve with Baptist Mid-Missions.  In 1963, the Bunjer family caught a train from Ottumwa to New York City, and then took a boat across the Atlantic Ocean to Germany.

Virgil’s ministry was one of many transitions – serving in several small churches and church plants, stepping in for other missionaries needing to go on furlough, as well as overseeing the camp ministry at Camp Maranatha.  Through all of the different ministries, Virgil remained faithful to the Lord in serving Him.

Surviving is his wife, Dolores; two daughters, Nancy (Charles) Ellis of Ankeny and Karin Nelson of Bristow, VA; a son, Jeffrey (Alice) Bunjer of Ankeny; 8 grandchildren; 16 great grandchildren; and a sister, Marlene (Joe) Hanssen of Ankeny.

He was preceded in death by his parents and sister Theatta Bunjer Brandmeyer.

Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. Saturday, September 10, 2022 at North Court Baptist Church with Pastor Roger Hemmings officiating. Burial will be in Drakesville Cemetery.

Visitation will be prior to the service at the church from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

Memorials can be sent to North Court Baptist Church, 1411 North Court St. Ottumwa, IA 52501 or Baptist Mid-Missions, PO Box 308011, Cleveland, OH 44130.

An obituary may be viewed here.

Thank you for praying for the family, and in this time of loss, rejoicing that Virgil knew Christ, and served Him faithfully.

Urgent Prayer Request-Sean & Susan Kelly Family

We received word this morning about a tragic accident involving the Kelly family. Please be in prayer not only for the Kelly family, but also for the Northridge Baptist Church family.

Mrs. Sean (Susan) Kelly was on the way to the Wednesday evening gathering at Northridge along with two of her kids (1 adult child, and one younger).

Their car was t-boned by a driver. Susan died at the scene. The adult daughter was seriously injured, and is now in Iowa City for surgery.

The younger child (their youngest) seems to be OK, but is under observation at a local hospital.

Please pray for Sean Kelly and his 10 children (4 adult kids), as they rest on God as they find their way forward to a new “normal” at the loss of his wife and their mother. The family has been a huge blessing in ministry at Northridge. Sean is a graduate of FBTS and a daughter, Abigail, attends FBBC.

Pastor Lonnie Koons

Pastor Lonnie Koons (De Soto Calvary Baptist Church) went to be with the Lord on Thursday, February 3. Pastor Koons was a bi-vocation pastor, working full time at MidAmerican Energy for 33 years (finally “retiring” in August 2020) and as pastor of DeSoto Calvary Baptist Church since 1987. He was married to Roxanne and together they had 2 children and 7 grandchildren. Our hearts go out to Roxanne, the rest of the Koons family, and De Soto Calvary Baptist Church at this time of loss. Please be in prayer for them. A full obituary may be found here.

Services are as follows:
Visitation: Monday, February 7 from 4-7 pm
Funeral: Tuesday, February 8 at 10:30 am

Both will be at the church:
De Soto Calvary Baptist Church
347th Street
De Soto, IA 50069

Pastor Tony Mendoza

Anthony R. Mendoza
FEBRUARY 17, 1954 – DECEMBER 27, 2021
Anthony R. Mendoza, 67, passed away Monday, December 27, 2021. Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, January 15, 2022 at McLaren’s Chapel with visitation from 10 a.m. until service time. Burial will follow at Resthaven Cemetery.
Anthony “Tony” was born February 17, 1954 to Manuel G. Mendoza and Catherine T. (Ellenwood) Roybal on the Yakima Indian Reservation in Toppenish, WA and was a member of the Nez Perce Tribe. He graduated from Washington State School for the Deaf in 1974. Tony attended Gallaudet University in Washington DC from 1974-1975 and Temple Deaf Bible College from 1975-1979, graduating with a degree in Theology. On May 31, 1977, Tony married Debbie Sawhill, whom he met at Gallaudet University and again at the Deaf Bible College. Tony had training at Calvary Chapel in Florissant, MO from 1977-1979 and helped start Deaf Liberty Baptist Church in Kansas City, MO from 1979- 1982. He also served in the Grandview Park Baptist Church Deaf Ministry in Des Moines, Iowa from 1983 to 1997, Home Bible Church from 1998-2005, and lastly at Northridge Baptist Church Deaf Ministry from 2005 to 2021. Tony’s passion was to preach the Gospel of the good news of Jesus Christ and teach God’s Word to the Deaf everywhere he could go. He was able to preach and teach in churches and at conferences all over the United States and traveled overseas to Romania and Hungary as short-term missionary in 1995 and 1998. Tony was also employed by the United States Postal Service for 36 years and retired in May 2020.
Anthony is survived by his wife of 44 years, Debbie: three sons, Joshua, John (Becky) and grandchildren, Maddox, Paityn, Paxton, Sawyer; and son, Jacob (Lana) and grandchildren, Grace, Joanna and Nathon; siblings, Manuel Jr. (Esther) Mendoza, Philip (Joanne) Mendoza, Kathryn Perez, Pat Mendoza, Pam Reece, Diana (James) Winchester, and Robert (Michelle) Roybal, sister-in-law, Donna Rosenberger and sister and brother in law Doreen and Dick Moore, and many, many nieces and nephews.
Anthony was preceded in death by his parents, Manuel G. Mendoza and Catherine T. Roybal and stepfather, Joseph Roybal; sister, Marilyn Haddenham; brother-in-law, Dennis Rosenberger; and two grandchildren, Abigail Ruth and Providence Rain Mendoza.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Northridge Baptist Church, 3700 6th Ave, Des Moines, Iowa 50313, in memory of Anthony.


The IARBC received this email yesterday from Kevin Subra (former Pastor at Northridge Baptist Church, Des Moines). Please be in prayer for the Mendoza family, as well as the Northridge Baptist Church family.

Debbie Mendoza just contacted me, saying that she had posted this on Facebook:

Dear family and friends… I am saddened to share the news that my beloved Tony has passed away and is in the presence of his Savior Jesus Christ. He died in his sleep at 11:50pm last evening, December 27th in his hospital room. Although there were many medical interventions to try to help Tony improve, the Lord had other plans. Tony had a strong belief in the Sovereignty of God and that God will fulfill His plans for his life according to His good pleasure. Tony was honored to teach and preach God’s Word for over 44 years. We had a wonderful journey serving the Lord together. We rejoice Tony is full of joy and is perfectly whole as he now worships his Savior Jesus Christ

There is no need for you to say that you are sorry for my loss. “ To live is Christ, to die is gain”. Prayers are needed for wisdom and comfort as my sons and I learn a new path without Tony. Jesus is such a good and kind Shepherd… in Him we do trust and cling to. Thank you for your love and prayers.

Please be in prayer for Debbie, her 3 sons and their families.

Tony had faithfully served many years as a bi-vocational pastor of his deaf congregation under the Northridge Baptist Church. Though the congregations function separately for the most part, the church has lost two pastors this month.

On behalf of Debbie Mendoza and her family, thank you for your prayers,

Kevin Subra

Pastor Jim Douglass

12/28 UPDATE:
In God’s perfect time, He took my husband, Jim Douglass, home to heaven on December 24th, 2021, at the age of 76. He was born December 10, 1945, in Norristown, Pennsylvania, to John and Mildred Douglass.

Many years ago, Jim’s dear Sunday school teacher, Warren Bossert, faithfully taught the Bible to his class. One day after class, he took Jim aside to share the Gospel message with him personally. Jim loved to tell about that day when as a young teenager he bowed his knee on the basement floor of Bible Testimony Church, Norristown, PA, and received Christ as his Savior.

He went on to attend Prairie Bible Institute in Canada, where we met in the last semester of our senior year—just in time! Jim and I were married on July 13, 1968. Right after graduation Jim was called to pastor his first church, near Fairfield, Iowa. He pastored several churches during our 53+ years of marriage.

In 2011, Pastor Subra at Northridge Baptist Church asked Jim to come and help with the ministry. What a joy it’s been for Jim and I to fellowship and serve with our Northridge church family. Preaching the Word and serving others was all Jim ever wanted to do with his life, so he was always grateful God placed him into the ministry.

God gave us five really great sons—Rob, Steve, Tim, David and Mark. And then (yay!) we finally got some daughters… Rob’s Collette, Steve’s Kimberly, Tim’s Heidi, and Mark’s Missy. (David is not married.) Then God gave us 17 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. They were Jim’s great joy—and of course he teased them relentlessly, because that’s what he did so well!

Sadly, I never got to meet Jim’s parents—his mother Mildred died when Jim was 8 and his father Johnny when Jim was 18. His three siblings, Jack, Tommy and Joyce, also are no longer living. Jim has many nephews and nieces including a very special niece named Frida (Tommy’s daughter on loan to us). It was our joy to have Frida in our home for a short time as a teenager, see her come to know Christ as Savior, and grow up to make us all proud.

On December 7th Jim was hospitalized with Covid. On December 24th, Christmas Eve, my good husband stepped from earth into Glory to meet his Savior in person. So be assured, Jim is now and for eternity looking on the face of Jesus, the One who loved him and gave Himself for him—his great joy and my best comfort today.

Jim’s Homegoing Service will be at Northridge Baptist Church, 3700 6th Ave, Des Moines, IA, at 1:00 pm on Thursday (12/30) with visitation preceding the service at 11:00 am. Light refreshments/coffee during the visitation. Interment on Friday at 1:00 at Dunreath Cemetery near Red Rock Lake.

Arrangements by Grandview Park Chapel

12/25 UPDATE (from Dori Douglass): I shared on Monday how Jim was in ICU with Covid and promised to post an update when there was a significant change. That change happened yesterday around 3 o’clock in the afternoon when God took my Jim home to Himself.

So the one thing I want you to know is that Jim is today and for eternity looking on the face of his dear Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. That is my sweetest comfort and encouragement this morning. I have known and loved my Jim for 53+ years, and I can tell you he was and is a true servant and soldier of Christ who all his life wanted only to serve God by preaching the Word and by serving others – and he faithfully did so out of his big heart of love for God and the ministry entrusted to him.
Psalm 73… “Thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.”

12/23 UPDATE (from Dori Douglass): 
This afternoon, Jim’s numbers were pretty much all elevated – BP, rate, etc. The lung doctor explained a little while ago that, besides those numbers, these are the significant changes that tell her the Covid is getting worse in his lungs:
1- He is suddenly requiring considerably more oxygen support through the vent (50% at first, then 70, now 85% oxygen).
2- The pressure required to push the oxygen into his lungs has been the same since he got to ICU – now the pressure has had to be increased to give him better support/breathing.
3- He has suddenly spiked a higher fever than he’s had since he’s been there, either from the Covid worsening or a bacterial infection.

Her general assessment is that he is worsening and may not make it through the night or the next few days. (Because of all these changes, they will not do a CT scan at this time.)
Please pray for God’s will to be done and for God to be glorified. I continue to rest in the Lord, knowing He is a kind, loving Heavenly Father who today holds Jim in the palm of his hand. I know beyond any doubt that He does all things well. And I continue to thank Him for His nearness and peace and for His grace for this moment.

Thank you for praying…

12/22 UPDATE (from Dori Douglass): There is not much change in Jim’s condition. His lungs are about the same, lots of damage from Covid (fibrosis in the lung). For the past couple days his heart rate has been high and blood pressure has been staying high (175 systolic). Also started taking on fluid a couple days ago – they give him Lasix for that, but the swelling comes back pretty fast. 

ICU staff continues having trouble with the daily ventilator trial to assess the possibility of vent removal and have not been able to complete a trial since last Wednesday because of his blood pressure and heart rate going up so much when they try. To do the trial, they turn down the sedation and check to see if he obeys commands – squeeze a hand, etc. – and he is still able to do that.
On Friday he is to have a CT scan of his lungs to get a better idea of their condition than chest-xrays provide. His doctors and ICU staff will then assess his condition and meet with us on Friday morning. 


The lung doctor’s general assessment last night is that he is not improving, is holding his own, but is still very sick. 
We continue to commit Jim to God’s good care – there is of course none better – and we rest in Him tonight, trusting Him to accomplish His eternal purposes in Jim and in every life affected by his illness. Romans 12 makes it clear that God’s will is good and perfect and acceptable, and we believe that with all our hearts.
The goal as we pray is that God gets glory from all of this… Thank you again for praying for Jim and our family… We’re so thankful for how our Northridge church family and so very many others have shown their love and kindness in so many ways! 
God remains my very personal Refuge and Strength, a very present help in trouble.

12/17 UPDATE: 
Psalm 71:14 says, I will hope [trust] continually, and will yet praise Thee more and more.

The staff did two trials today to reduce Jim’s sedation and the oxygen thru the ventilator in an attempt to see if he could tolerate the ventilator being removed. He did not do well with either trial and did not “pass” them as he did the ones Tuesday and Wednesday. He was not responsive until they reduced the sedation a lot more, and then he became agitated – resulting in raising the sedation level. So as they put it, he has taken a “couple steps backwards” and is not “out of the woods.” He developed a low fever late this afternoon when I was there, and they will allow it to fight whatever infection is present until his fever gets to a certain threshold when they would give him Tylenol to lower it. 
His numbers remain stable, and we are thankful for that. They keep telling me this is a marathon, not a sprint. To me it seems a little more like a “roller-coaster” with the ups and downs. Even so, I rest in Him, knowing that before he has ever been in the care of mere human caretakers, he has been and will always be in the strong and mighty arms of the Lord Jesus, who does all things well. 
The psalmist David said in Psalm 119:75-76, I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant. That is my confidence and my prayer for Jim.
Steve and Kimberly continue to improve – Thank You, Lord. 
Rob and Tim plan to be here until their Dad’s ventilator is removed… What a blessing they are to me… They have taken care of countless little and big things for me just since they arrived on Monday…
Thank you for your faithfulness in prayer and in so many kindnesses to us. A wonderful supper was provided for us again tonight. The body of Christ continues to be our joy and rejoicing in the midst of all this…
Love you all so much,
Dori and Jim

12/15 UPDATE (from former Northridge Baptist Church Pastor Kevin Subra): 
I just talked with Dori, and she had just returned from visiting Jim in the hospital. Jim is improving, but very slowly (“baby steps”). His lungs are damaged from COVID, but it may or may not be permanent. Jim is sedated some, but can respond to commands and cooperates well with the nurse. He does not respond to family. Dori said they are hoping to remove him from the ventilator off tomorrow (Thursday). Jim will have to be in the hospital several more days. Once he does, he will likely have to be on oxygen for awhile when he is able to go home. All his numbers are looking better. Praise the Lord! Thank you for praying!

12/14 UPDATE: 
Jim is responding today! This morning they did a trial of cutting back on his meds, sedation and the oxygen thru his vent, and he “responded appropriately” and is not fighting the vent. He can move to show he understands (can’t talk with the vent in, of course). They may try taking out the vent later today or tomorrow. Our son Tim saw him right after the trial this morning, and when he walked in, he said to Jim, “This is Tim, your number 3 son,” and Jim immediately tried to sit up in the bed. He is able to understand for sure and has good color. Tim says he is not out of the woods yet but is definitely getting better. We are so encouraged. We’ve all been saying Jim is very strong, and that is so true, but it is so much more true that our God is the really strong one, and we’re so thankful He has chosen to be so gracious to Jim. “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of HIS might.” No one can match HIS might! God is sooo good and faithful to His own, and you all have been so faithful to Him and to my good husband. We both so appreciate you! Thank you again!

I was especially blessed to find Tim Capon at our door yesterday… to read the Word and to pray with me and our sons. What a special man of God He has placed in such a strategic spot in the IARBC! And Tim is only one of so many who have meant so much to us for the last couple days. I was so blessed to hear Pastor Kevin’s voice on the other end of a phone call yesterday morning – assuring us of their prayers and then contacting churches and Tim Capon for me. (It was getting harder and harder to repeat the news about Jim over and over to so many people who needed to know.) Our sons have been such a blessing that way too, because they know so many of our friends and family who needed to be contacted, and they have taken a lot of pressure off me that way…. (Then Dr. Kober called and will be here later today or tomorrow…!)

My heart overflows!!! – can you tell?! God has never been so near and so dear to me personally, to my dear husband and to our family. We are overwhelmed and so grateful.
Sorry for the length of this one, but… you already knew Jim is not the only talker in our house.
We love each and every single one of you so much!

Dori and Jim

12/13: The IARBC received this urgent prayer request earlier today. Please be in prayer for Pastor Jim Douglass and his family.

Pastor Jim Douglass, Associate Pastor of Northridge Baptist Church, is on full life support in the ICU of Iowa Lutheran Hospital. The medical staff has called in his family. All are praying for healing, but are resting in the Lord. He has had COVID for several days, and has been in the hospital for multiple days. Last night his systems shut down, and he was moved to the ER, and then to ICU. His wife, Dori, their family, and their church family would appreciate your prayers. Thank you for praying, and for sharing this request with others.

Updates will be posted above as we receive them.