“And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” Galatians 6:9–10 (NAS)
When the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Galatia, urging them to join him in doing good, he used the Greek word agathos, an adjective that translates to upright or honorable. Throughout the centuries, many theologians, church leaders, and lay Christians have used Paul’s words to encourage believers to aid those in need, give resources to those who teach and communicate the Word, support the Church, and reflect Christ in thought and action. Henry and Betty Jo Botzbach embrace them all.
Since they married 60 years ago, doing good simply became a way of life for the couple. Physically caring for others came as a natural outgrowth of their occupations. Henry, a retired surgeon, and Betty Jo ’74, a former registered nurse, spent their careers healing patients. However, their propensity to do the right thing reaches far beyond vocation. From raising their children in a Christ-centered home to serving in their church, supporting Azusa Pacific University, and immersing themselves in the purpose and practices of Christian education, the Botzbachs exemplify Paul’s call.
They first connected with APU in 1971 when Bob Wright, Ph.D., a professor of anatomy and Henry’s colleague, invited them to Dinner Rally, the university’s annual scholarship fundraiser, to listen to a presentation by then-President Cornelius P. Haggard, Th.D. Inspired by his message and the university’s philosophy, the couple visited the campus again the following year with their college-bound daughter. Betty Jo surprised her family by enrolling in classes herself. “I was so impressed with everyone I met at APU that I ended up as a student and earned my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology,” said Betty Jo, a then-40-year-old nurse and mother of three.
“The worship during chapel, the school’s atmosphere, and the God First motto enriched my spiritual life. I also recognized the professors’ sincere interest in their students, and my husband and I were both impressed by the vibrant intellectual community and academic excellence,” said Betty Jo. “Soon, we began looking for ways to give back.” One of the most significant ways was by serving on the Board of Trustees. “It was evident as we discussed college business that God was the Overseer and Guide, determining what was best for our students,” she said. “We focused on their potential knowledge, attitudes, values, and skills, praying that each student would practice their profession by helping to spread the Gospel and Christian principles.”
It became clear to the Botzbachs that APU also embodied the essence of Paul’s message to the Galatians. “At APU, the mind, body, and spirit are given compassionate consideration, allowing students to grow in their character and deepen their faith as well as excel academically,” said Betty Jo. Beyond the gift of service and the family legacy (in addition to Betty Jo, two Botzbach grandchildren graduated from APU), the Botzbachs support the university through their generous and faithful giving. Their donations over more than 35 years have provided invaluable student scholarship support, helped build both the Segerstrom Science Center and Felix Event Center, and bolstered APU’s School of Nursing. “We believe our gifts will produce young men and women with a mindset of faith, standing strong for Christ and ministering wherever they are with Christ’s love, wisdom, and grace,” said Betty Jo, who hopes someday to see APU include a medical school that would equip Christian medical professionals. Meanwhile, the Botzbachs continue obediently joining Paul in agathopia—doing good.
Posted: February 24, 2014
Georgeann Halburian Ikuma is a freelance writer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. firstname.lastname@example.org