Ben Lippen Stories

Staff Story: Donna Branney

Title: Lower School Administrative Assistant, MR Campus

I am married to Jack Branney, Ben Lippen’s Middle School Art Teacher.  We have been married for 36 years.  One of the things people don’t know is that I met my husband in Alaska doing missions work.  I was serving the Lord in Alaska with SEND International when I met Jack. Jack came up on a summer missions adventure and we worked together on a team that went into the villages having VBS and Bible camps.  Three years later, we were married in Pennsylvania. After our first year of marriage, we moved to Columbia for Jack to go to Columbia Bible College, now known as Columbia International University.  He received his Master’s Degree in Bible and we were headed to Japan to serve the Lord at a Christian school.  While raising support, we moved back north and Jack taught in a Christian school in Pennsylvania. In 1992, we received a call from the secretary of then High School Principal Les Lehman saying they needed an art teacher and would Jack consider applying. Six weeks later we moved to Columbia. In Jack’s first of week teaching, he found himself sitting at lunch with some Japanese students living in the boarding program.

We have two daughters, Sarah and Anna, who had the privilege of going to Ben Lippen Pre-K4 through 12th grade. They also went on to graduate from Columbia International University. We are proud to be the grandparents of Sarah’s two precious boys – Nathan (6 ½ years old) and Caden (3 years old).  Sarah and her husband, Ryan, live in Greenville.

The two most important things to me in life are God and people.  I love hospitality and encouraging people and making them feel loved.  God so loved me and I want to love others.  In my spare time, I love to spend time with my family, love to entertain, go camping, and spend time at the beach.

My favorite verse in the Bible is Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.” He has been faithful to lead me and guide me as I put my trust in Him.

One of the things I love the most about Ben Lippen is that they teach Bible.  I remember when I went to the Pre-K orientation for parents when we put our daughter at Ben Lippen. The teachers were talking about what they would teach the students. One of the topics, of course, was Bible.  I sat there with tears in my eyes thanking the Lord that my girls could go to a school where they were being taught the same Biblical principles that we were teaching at home. We are thankful for the teachers who loved on our girls and poured into their lives.

I love my job because I get to serve people.  I consider my “job” a ministry and love to serve faculty, staff, students, and parents. It is a joy to work in the lower school and serve our families.

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