Rev. Grant Nealis '55 - 2010 A Award Recipient
Bio from 2010
Grant Nealis ’55 receives the “A” award for his work in ministry and heart for education for more than 50 years.
Grant was born in Lexington, Kentucky. As a youngster, the family moved to Indiana to be near his father’s family and tragically Grant’s father died. Returning to Lexington, his mother remarried. Grant graduated from Henry Clay High School and traveled down the road a relatively short distance to Wilmore to attend college at Asbury. During Grant’s senior year, Grant was accepted as an OMS Crusader to Japan and in 1955 he joined the team of Japanese workers in Nagoya to plant a church that is still active today.
Two years later, while attending the OMS conference in Winona Lake, Indiana, Grant met Dottie Bryan, a recent graduate of Pacific Bible College and a candidate for Brazil to teach missionary children. During the fall of 1957 they spoke at many missionary meetings together and by the time Dottie left to teach in Brazil, they had determined it was God’s will for them to marry. Grant began his studies at Asbury Theological Seminary and by the end of 1958, Dottie said goodbye to Brazil and became Grant’s wife.
Their first term was working with the Every Creature Crusade (now Every Community for Christ) to start a church, which is still active today in the industrial village of Tsuen Wan. While in Hong Kong, God birthed a vision to start a high school to provide the young people in Hong Kong a solid academic education as well as an understanding of God’s love for them. United Christian College was born in 1974 and in the ensuing years, Grant served as director, supervisor and treasurer for the student body which grew to 1,200. About 70% of the students accept Christ as their Savior while they studied there and several were called into the ministry. The Nealises also helped start the Hong Kong Evangelical Church.
By 1983 their family was now six—Jon, Nancy, Melody, Cherry and they responded to OMS’ invitation to become the director of the National Ministries Department to fund scholarships for OMS students in affiliated seminaries overseas. It was during this time that Grant and Dottie sensed a need to supply regular income to supplement the individual scholarships that donors were providing. The OMS Board of Directors approved the establishment of the Central Theological Education Endowment Fund, an umbrella fund under which the Nealises could establish an unlimited number of endowed scholarships.
During the past 25 years, scholarships have been funded in memory of several key OMS families with Asbury ties.Together, over $2million dollars have been raised from OMS constituency. Recognizing there is still a need, the Nealis have been given the opportunity to continue in retirement raising funds with a goal of $5 million.
“Whether they were in China or the USA, the Nealis family has continued to fulfill Jesus’ Great Commission for outreach to the World,” said classmate Roberta Daws. Grant sums it up by saying- “during my ministry, I have been surrounded by a great group of dreamers. People who say if God gives you a dream, He will help you do it with His power. And He has!”