Chuck and Betty Selander
Biographical Sketch

Posted: 7/27/99


Missionary Information

Chuck Selander

Birthplace: St. Paul, Minnesota
Member: Minnetonka Baptist Church, Minnetonka, Minnesota
Birthday: August 27
Age at conversion: 17
Field: Mexico

Chuck enjoyed a good home life while growing upon the east side of St. Paul, Minnesota. He attended the Lutheran church regularly and knew that God existed. But in 1961 he went to a Billy Graham Crusade at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds and finally understood his need to repent and accept Jesus Christ as his own personal Savior. At the University of Minnesota, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship provided him with basic training in the Christian life.

In 1964 he attended the Urbana Student Missionary convention sponsored by IVCF and committed himself to a pursuit of God's will concerning overseas service. Betty Warkentin, a young woman from Mankato State College, also committed herself to follow Christ in overseas service at that same convention. On September 11, 1965, Chuck and Betty were married. A year later Chuck completed his studies in Forest Land Management. He and Betty were soon off to Chile with the Peace Corps. It was an experiment in service abroad without being committed to a specific mission board.

Results of the experiment were positive. The Selanders wanted to continue work overseas and went to Multnomah School of the Bible to prepare. But after one semester, Chuck was drafted into the Army. After his term of service for Uncle Sam, Chuck's missionary purpose--though still alive--was put on the back burner.

By 1972 they had two children, Carlisa and Daniel, and Chuck was beginning his career as a forest ranger, eventually taking him to several National Forest districts in Northern Michigan and Wisconsin. While in Hayward, Wisconsin, during the mid-1970s, Chuck and Betty helped establish Bethel Baptist Church. The spirit of missions was working in their lives.

The call to overseas service never left. In 1983 the Selanders sold their home in Upper Michigan, Chuck quit his position with Burns Forestry Consultants, and the family moved to Columbia, South Carolina, so Chuck could study at Columbia Graduate School of Bible and Missions, receiving a one-year certificate in Bible and Missions in 1984.

In 1985, the Selanders were appointed to career missionary service by the Baptist General Conference, designated to Mexico. Chuck, Betty and their three children (including Joseph, born in 1980) arrived in Mexico City a year later. During their first term they started a church in the Los Reyes community. The pollution in Mexico City took its toll on Chuck's health, and his colleagues felt it would be best for the family to move to another location. When the Selanders returned to Mexico in 1992, they became church planters in Monterrey.

The educational needs of one of their children in the States caused Chuck and Betty to consider alternatives for service. In the fall of 1993 they returned to Minnesota--to minister to Mexicans who were migrating to central and western Minnesota. This is a two-year joint venture between BGC world missions and the Minnesota district. They are holding Bible studies in several cities with large Mexican populations and are seeking to integrate their work with the BGC churches in the area.

Betty Selander

Birthplace: Mountain Lake, Minnesota
Member: Minnetonka Baptist Church, Minnetonka, Minnesota
Birthday: October 31
Age at conversion: 22
Field: Mexico

Betty Selander's life story seems typical as missionaries go. She grew up in a Christian home with much of her family life centered around church and its activities. Through third grade she attended a Christian school where she memorized Scripture and learned much about the Bible. As a child she often heard the gospel message of salvation in Jesus Christ and responded to the invitation to receive Christ. At 14 years of age she was baptized and following high school she chose to go to a Christian college. She even committed herself to follow Christ wherever He would lead her.

But all these "typical" things weren't enough to prepare Betty for missionary service. God had to take her far from her home--to Chile--to speak to her soul. Betty finally saw that she was lost in sin and that only Jesus Christ could save her. For the first time in her life she had assurance of salvation.

Betty, the fourth in a family of six, was born in Mountain Lake, Minnesota, a German Mennonite town. Church, home and school were all centered around the Mennonite way of living. Betty spoke German at home and remembers worship and praying in German. When she was only 11 her mother died of cancer. Betty felt the loss deeply, but her father's strong presence gave stability to the family. Henry Warkentin was a dad who believed in guidelines but also taught his children to think for themselves.

Betty started college at Bethel in St. Paul, Minnesota, but transferred to Mankato State. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship was a big part of her life. She attended IVCF's Urbana Student Missionary Convention in 1964 and there, along with her husband-to-be Chuck Selander, committed herself to follow Christ in missions. She and Chuck were married in 1965, and by June 1966 they had volunteered for the Peace Corps in Chile. This experiment in overseas service went beyond all expectations, for it was in Chile that Betty came to know Jesus personally.

The Selanders returned to the United States in 1968 to prepare for mission service at Multnomah Bible School. Uncle Sam interrupted, drafting Chuck. After two years in the military, the Selanders had started their family and decided to follow God's calling here at home. Chuck began work as a forest ranger, eventually taking his family to several National Forest districts in Northern Michigan and Wisconsin. While in Hayward, Wisconsin, they helped establish Bethel Baptist Church.

But the cross-cultural call revived. In 1983 they moved to South Carolina where Chuck studied at Columbia Graduate School of Bible and Missions and Betty taught elementary school. In 1984 the Selanders applied to the Baptist General Conference for missionary service, and in June 1985 they were appointed to serve God in Mexico.

By August 1986, Betty and Chuck had arrived in Mexico City for language study. Then they started a church in the city's Los Reyes community. They returned to the U.S. early in 1991 for health reasons. After medical clearance to return, it was decided it would be best not to live in Mexico City, so in December of 1992 they started church planting in Monterrey. Betty was happy in her role as missionary, wife, mother, hostess, encourager and discipler.

Less than a year later, they found themselves back in Minnesota because of the educational needs of one of their children. Currently they are ministering to Mexicans living there--a two-year joint venture between BGC world missions and the Minnesota Baptist District.

Produced by the Communications Department,
Baptist General Conference.
2002 S. Arlington Heights Road
Arlington Heights, IL 60005-4193
Please address comments or questions to