Anna B. (Ann) Classen ’52 was born on June 12, 1928, to Abe L. and Agnes (Bartel) Classen in rural Meade, Kansas. She was the 2nd oldest of 9 children. She passed into the arms of her loving Heavenly Father on January 17, 2016, at Lone Tree Retirement Center in Meade at the age of 87 years.
She attended McNulty School in Meade County for her elementary education. The family moved to DeRidder, La, in April of 1940 for a year and a half, returning back to Meade in September of 1941. Ann attended high school at Meade Bible Academy and graduated in 1948. This was the first graduating class of MBA. Ann attended Grace University in Omaha, Neb, and graduated in 1952 with a degree in Christian Education.
Ann accepted the Lord as her personal Savior at age 14. She was later baptized upon the confession of her faith by Rev. Orlando Wiebe on August 6, 1944, and joined the EMB church at Meade. Ann had a heart for missions. Ann served in Oklahoma for several summers during her high school years teaching DVBS. She also participated in children’s ministry in Poplar, Montana, and Georgia. Her interest for missions was kindled in the summer of 1948. She joined the “Go Ye Mission” in Oklahoma for a four-week summer ministry with children. She had the privilege of leading her first soul to the Lord during this period of time and her thought was, “There is no greater joy and more exciting work than this.” Her call for foreign missions came while she was attending college at Grace University.
She arrived in Japan as a missionary with SEND International on October 3, 1953. Her first four years were spent in language study and distributing literature and “church planting.” She held English classes and also was very active in participating in the children’s ministries of the churches. She served over 42 years in Japan and was instrumental in starting numerous churches during this period of time. The fruit of her ministry remains today.
Ann made a significant contribution to the spread of the gospel and had many years of faithful service to her Lord and Savior whom she loved and diligently served.
Ann left Japan on May 28, 1996, and officially retired on November 30, 1996. She made her home in Meade. She continued to be active in her local church during her retirement until her health began to decline. Her ministry consisted of children’s church, childcare for the ladies Bible study, DVBS and camps. She enjoyed visiting the lonely, hurting people and senior citizens and providing transportation as needed.
She was preceded in death by her parents, sisters, Lisbeth (stillborn), Martha (Henry) Baerg, and Esther (Ed) Ratzlaff. Ann is survived by 3 sisters, Alma (Roy) Regier of Meade, Arlene (D Junior) Stoesz of Mountain Lake, Minn., and Leona (Harold) Buller of Hillsdale, Okla.; 2 brothers, John (Rose) Classen of Topeka, Kansas, and Menno (Susanna) Classen of Aurora, Neb., and many nieces, nephews, and other relatives and friends.