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A Family Affair

Andrea G. Schwartz
  • Andrea G. Schwartz,
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Mark and Twyla Anderson of Oxbow, North Dakota, were in Bedminster, New Jersey this past July watching their children Amy (17) and Nathan (18) gain public attention as the winning golfer and caddy respectively at the 61st U.S. Girls' Junior Championship.

Five years into their twenty-two-year marriage, Mark and Twyla decided to homeschool their children after witnessing the God-honoring family dynamics and communication skills of his brother’s family. Thus, Nathan and Amy, who will start their first year in college on full scholarships at the University of North Dakota, have always been homeschooled.

Winning a USGA national championship is a big deal, but Amy’s victory was even more remarkable. The golf world of 2009 is filled with junior players whose families spend thousands of dollars a year in golf association memberships, lessons, tournaments, travel, personal coaches, sports psychologists, and equipment—all to achieve national ranking in the hope of receiving college scholarships and eventually sponsorship so that their child can turn pro. The Anderson family always made it a point to live within their means. As a result, Amy hardly ever ventured out of her home state, so she had little national experience. Her two-day qualifying total earned her low-round honors, and the junior golf world was caught by surprise as she systematically advanced through six rounds of match play with the final match going 36 holes. People were scratching their heads asking, “Who is this girl?”

Mark acknowledged that the family had no idea what God had in store for them at this national championship. As they saw it, this was just another opportunity to compete and leave the results in God’s hands. As Amy continued to advance in the tournament, Mark said the passage in 1 Corinthians 1:27 about God using the foolish things of the world to confound the wise kept running through his mind. He felt that the work ethic and standard for excellence he and his wife had instilled in their children were being given a world stage.

At the time of my interview with the Andersons, they were in St. Louis, Missouri so Amy could compete in the USGA Women’s Amateur Championship. She had gained automatic entry as a result of wining the Girls’ Junior Championship. Nathan (an excellent golfer in his own right) caddied for his sister through two rounds of qualifying, but she was eliminated in her first match.

Like thousands of Christian homeschooling families around the country, the Andersons have answered God’s call to steward their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. With an entrepreneurial spirit instilled by their dad, a pursuit for excellence derived from their mom, and the camaraderie between Nathan and Amy as brother and sister and good friends, I am sure this is not the last the world has seen or heard of of them.

To God be the glory!