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Year: Projected Graduation 2024, Doctor of Ministry

Major / Area of Study: Master’s Christian Counseling, MDiv, DMin

Hometown: Shoshone, California 

In the depths of heartbreak, Cali Anderson’s story emerges as a beacon of hope. She has faced the unimaginable pain of losing not just one, but two of her children. The grief she has carried is beyond comprehension for most. Yet, through this journey of sorrow, something incredible happened. Cali’s experience is a powerful testament that even in our darkest moments, there is the opportunity for redemption and beauty. Her story serves as a touching reminder that hope can prevail, even in the toughest of times.

Q: What led you to SAGU? 

God took me on a journey and I followed where he led. When my 21 year old son, Ben, was killed by a distracted driver as he was walking down the road to invite a friend to Christmas Eve dinner in 2008, I thought my life was over. I wanted it to be over because the pain was so great. I isolated myself in the corner of my dark bedroom and laid there for days in a fetal position. My only shimmer of hope and fleeting feeling of peace was my relationship with my Father in heaven. Three years later, I had to relive the same traumatic sting when my 32 year old was found dead. He was the father of five. I called out to God in my anguish. 

To make a long story short, I knew I needed help. So I interviewed 12 counselors who said they were “experts in grief.” I asked them: “Who have you lost?” and “How can you help me?” Only 2 had experienced loss. One the loss of a grandmother when she was nine, and another the loss of a pet. They could not help me! I cried out to God again and said: “God there are 14.8 million NEW bereaved parents each year and nobody understands us! Who is going to help them? I fell face down on the floor crying when I heard:  “You know Cali, you know, you can help them!” I had no idea what He was talking about at the time, but little by little over the years He put a passion in my heart to reach out and help those who must follow in my footsteps! 

I started blogging my pain into stories on Facebook, mainly for myself, to get the pain out. Before I knew it, I had over 12,000 bereaved parents on my Grief Bridge Facebook from all over the world! I hold seminars in every month that has a 5th Saturday, release butterflies for bereaved parents in Australia and England, and post them on Facebook each spring. I have Christmas parties for bereaved parents; we remember and honor their child. Grief Bridge is a ministry for bereaved parents. Grief Bridge is named after my oldest son, Bridger. The mission of Grief Bridge is to close the gap between grievers and the world by way of awareness, education, validation, and God’s Word.

I decided to go to school and get my Masters in Counseling to find out why the counselors could not help me. Then I decided to get my Master’s in Divinity to see what God and the Bible had to say about grieving, and God led me to SAGU. I wrote my thesis here at SAGU on The New Testament Mandate for Making Disciples as Justification for Models of Pastoral Care Dedicated to Nurture Bereaved Parents Through the Tasks of Lifelong Spiritual Formation under the directions of Professor Bruce Rosdahl, Professor Dan Langston and Professor Teresa Blakney. I am presently working on my Doctorate Project:THE IMPACT OF A DAY OF REMEMBRANCE AS PASTORAL CARE FOR BEREAVED PARENTS.

Q: What have you been involved in on campus? Remote Classes, Graduation 2020 and scholarship luncheons, three on-campus 3 day sessions.

Q: How has your experience been with your major’s department?

The professors and my cohorts have been amazing! Their leadership surpasses all I have experienced. I am very grateful to be a part of the SAGU community and proud to be a SAGU Lion.

Q: Have you had any professors who have positively influenced you during your time here? Of course, several. Professor Gilbert’s warmth and love of the Word and his students will always be a part of me. He loved his student’s deeply and it showed in his teaching. I can feel his presence in my work and today as I am writing this. I cannot deny the impact he has had on me personally.

Professor Teresa Blakney has been inspiring, caring and has had a hand in grooming my progress since 2018. I love her smile, and her warmth sets you at ease immediately.

I could go on. Each of my professors have poured into my life and given me nuggets to carry with me on my journey. 

Q: What drew you to your area of study? I could not afford to go to college when I was younger. I grew up in a rural town, and even more remote is growing up in a mining camp where we hauled our water and did our homework by candlelight. Seriously! 

I went to work for the post office in my early twenties, and worked my way up through the ranks. I was promoted to five different Postmaster positions and two Managers of Retail over the state of Oklahoma and the Dallas Metroplex. I would still be working there today, but when my son Ben was killed my priorities changed and it wasn’t about the status and the money any longer. 

I still had my youngest son who was only six years old at the time, and my mother who was battling cancer lived with me. I retired just short of thirty years and stayed home to take care of both of them. Then God led me to the beginning of this story.

Q: What professional aspirations and goals do you have for the future? 

I have written a book and am working on getting it published. Of course, I need to focus on my DMin project currently. I would like to be a consultant to pastors, helping them bridge the gap of grief within their congregations resulting in helping bereaved parents cross the bridge from heartbreak to hope!

Q: How has your faith impacted the way you view your education and in the personal goals you set for yourself? 

I follow God’s lead. That means I have the desire to please God, so I lean on Scripture to guide me. For example,  “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward, It is the Lord Christ I am serving! (Colossians 3:23-24). And, 

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. Who comforts us in all our afflictions, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

Q: What advice would you give to incoming freshmen? 

That is a tough question since I am a great-grandmother. I am probably better at giving motherly or grandmotherly advice. 😄

Do the right thing because it is the right thing to do, and shine your light wherever you go by being kind and listening before speaking. Remember God is always with you. Be grateful that you attend a school like SAGU where there is a wealth of information and ability to acquire many healthy friendships to surround yourself with. Remember the underdogs and always be ready to lift someone up; in doing so you may be showing hospitality to angels without knowing it! (Heb 13:2)


Cali  is receiving the training and support she needs to step into her God-given calling in counseling. At SAGU, we believe that God has a specific calling for each and every one of us. Through our learning community, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge and real-world experience to foster your talents and pursue your purpose, just like Cali ! Click here to apply today!

As a leading Christian university, SAGU educates and prepares individuals who want to serve Christ and others. SAGU helps students discover and develop their callings in a Spirit-empowered, learning community.

We believe in affordable tuition, made possible in part through the financial support of donors who embrace the mission of SAGU and the importance of affordable, accredited programs to train Christians for leadership in ministry, business, education, and service.

Most majors are available in-person in Waxahachie, TX, and online through a wide range of associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

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