Del Groen, M.A., Ed.S.
Instructor / Personal Assistant to Executive Director
Del’s pilgrimage began in Minnesota, where he was born at home and raised on a family farm, and grew up with fourteen children. By the wondrous grace of God, his parents and grandparents were very committed Christians, reformed in their perspective. His parents read from the Bible after every meal, and sent their children to Christian schools, catechized them in the reformed faith and faithfully attended a reformed church with them.
A biblical world view was cultivated in Del, bit by bit and line by line. As he matured he examined his faith more deeply and embraced Jesus more intentionally. It continues to be deepened. As a child he took this precious training for granted, but as an adult he never ceases to cherish the covenant faithfulness of Christ to His people.
Del’s education continued at Dordt College, where he earned a degree in education. Later he attended the University of Northern Colorado and earned two graduate degrees.
At Dordt College Del met Gwen, the love of his life. They were married in 1971. She is a believer. They have four children, all are believers, and married to believers. They have ten grandchildren. Gwen is a loving and faithful companion, spouse, mother and grandmother and nurse.
Del’s served in the United States Marine Corps including a tour of duty in Viet Nam. While there he was deeply moved and challenged as he volunteered daily in the Hoa Khanh Orphanage, a Christian organization located on Camp Books, the U.S. Marine Corps base near Da Nang.
God has providentially provided Del with many experiences to serve. This included being team leader at Summer Workshop in Missions and Dean of Boys at Royal Family Kids’ Camp for foster kids and abused kids. Gwen and Del served as house-parents for six developmentally-disabled children. They cared for an unrelated person with severe cerebral palsy, who needed total personal care, in their home. Del and Gwen volunteered with Kid’s Hope, mentoring at-risk kids in local public schools.
Del and Gwen have gone on mission trips together to Mexico. In the 1990s Del had the opportunity to go on three three-week trips to former Soviet Bloc nations / cities (Moscow, Volgograd, Novosibirsk, Siberia, and Romania) to work with public school teachers, collaborating on how to use the Bible in their public school classrooms.
Education has been Del’s primary career. He taught grades four and five and middle school.
Del served as a head-of-school of Christian schools for a couple decades, responsible for every aspect of school operations, including teacher supervision, long-range planning, academic leadership, personnel administration, student recruitment and retention, public relations, business, development / fund-raising and accreditation.
For seven years Gwen and Del also operated a small boarding school in the Rocky Mountains for at-risk boys who were having serious problems at home, at school, in the community or with law enforcement, usually a combination of these. They utilized individualized computer-based instructions tailored to the unique needs of each student.
Church membership and service is important to Del and Gwen. Del has served as an Elder in three churches, also serving as a deacon, Sunday school teacher and church boys club leader /counselor.
At the present time Del and Gwen operate a bed and breakfast in the spring, summer and fall seasons. They have owned and operated a few businesses, including a truck stop and, for over three decades, residential real estate rentals, in addition to rehabilitating distressed properties.
Del’s introduction to ELI came in a surprising way. Their youngest son, Ross, is a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was stationed in Stuttgart, Germany. He and his family attended a PCA church there. A fellow church member invited ELI Executive Director Chuck McArthur to his home to talk to his guests about ELI. Ross was inspired. After that talk, Ross called Del and strongly encouraged him to get in touch with Chuck. God works in marvelous ways.
Del went with Chuck McArthur to Liberia and is planning more trips. Del is hoping and planning to reduce his other responsibilities to enable more frequent trips. His training and experience in education makes equipping in education the best fit for his service with ELI. He has been so impressed with the quality of the ELI staff he has had the opportunity to meet. He considers it such a privilege to serve Christ by coming alongside ELI to equip leaders internationally.