In memoriam: Emeritus missionary Jaletta Sanders, 89

Jaletta Sanders

Jaletta Sanders

Jaletta Joyce Sanders, an emeritus International Mission Board missionary who shared the gospel among Southeast Asian people in Indonesia, died July 19, 2019. She was 89.

Born May 7, 1930, in Newcastle, Okla., to Herschell and Ethel Davis. She earned a bachelor of science degree from Oklahoma Baptist University, Shawnee, and also attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas.

She married Edward Owen Sanders on March 23, 1951. They were appointed as IMB missionaries to Indonesia March 12, 1959, and served there 35 years.

“When I was a junior in high school,” Sanders wrote when seeking missionary appointment, “I had surrendered to the mission call and had placed it in the back of my mind as the years passed.” There it stayed until years later when her husband, then a pastor, told her he felt called to mission service.

“When he talked with me about it, the first thought to run through my mind was, ‘The Lord has worked it out,’” she wrote.

After language study in Bandung, Indonesia, Sanders served as a church and home worker as her husband did evangelism in Yogyakarta and then in the capital, Jakarta. In 1972, he was selected to lead Southern Baptist missionary work in the country.

According to a Baptist Press article June 21, 2001, by Mark Kelly, during Ed’s 20-year tenure coordinating Southern Baptist mission efforts in Indonesia, revival swept through the country. More than 2 million people were baptized in churches of all denominations, and Baptists quadrupled in number.

During her service, Jaletta Sanders at various times homeschooled her children, served as her husband’s administrative assistant, taught classes and helped other missionaries improve their language skills. All three of their children followed in their parents’ footsteps serving in Southeast Asia.

Ed died June 17, 2001.

She is survived by two daughters, Jennifer Townsend (Charles) and Jana Seaborn (Neal); son, Stephen Sanders (Joy); nine grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and her siblings, TeAta Judkins, Danny Davis, and DeLisa Anderson.

In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Jaletta Sanders may be made for the ministry of Steve and Joy Sanders, E214453, to IMB, 3806 Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA 23230.

Read an obituary here.