When Pastor Jeff Sanderson of the Federated Church in Bondurant reflects on his time in Mexico, he thinks of the Volkswagen. For 10 years, the pastor led teams of 15-20 men south on humanitarian missions, building churches and repairing leaky rooftops. Returning to Bondurant, Pastor Sanderson sought a reminder to pray for the people of Mexico.
“We get distracted so easily in our day, but we live in a perfect place,” says Sanderson. “I need reminders of how good I have it. Visual reminders.”
Sanderson’s 1973 Volkswagen Beetle is his reminder. The golden classic, coincidentally, was manufactured in Mexico, although Sanderson didn’t exactly drive it home. He bought his automotive reminder to be grateful back in Iowa.
Sanderson’s Volkswagen will spend this winter in storage, the garage space lent to him by a member of the congregation. He’s a gentle owner, sparing the body from the wintery murk of Iowa roads.
Political strife prevents Pastor Sanderson from returning to that area of the world. Nowadays, Sanderson joyrides Bondurant’s adjoining highways, the Volkswagen leaving a distinctive rumble in his wake.
“I just love cruising around town. It’s a fun little four-speed to drive,” he says.
The affable pastor has been at the same church for 17 years. Sanderson’s office is strewn with evidence of his travels. The walls are painted in a tropical theme, proud family pictures are behind his grand desk. There’s even a model car on the bookshelf, another reminder of his mission — the Volkswagen Beetle.
There are small town anecdotes that emerge from his time tooling around Bondurant in his yellow Bug, which he nicknamed “Herbie” after the Disney series.
“There was the time I ran out of gas. The gauge doesn’t work,” Sanderson says. Out of the darkness came two ladies, members of the church, who helped push the pastor home.
He was stopped once for nudging a bit over the speed limit, explaining to the good officer the speedometer didn’t work on his old car. The pastor escaped with a warning.
“I’ve always been intrigued by the Volkswagen. Maybe it’s because I’m German,” Sanderson says.
Contact Darren at 953-4822 ext. 304 or Darren@dmcityview.com to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of “What’s In Your Garage?”