The Experience Summer 2019_WEB


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A letter from Don Lough, Jr.

I s s u e 8

One of the realities we all face are the seasons of life. In Ecclesiastes 3:1 we read, To everything there is a season, a time and purpose under heaven. We experience this every year here at Word of Life. Fall ushers in new students at the Bible Institute, winter brings holiday breaks and Snowcamp, spring intitiates practical ministry experience with Open Air Evangelism and short-term mission trips, and summer launches the camping season when we host thousands of young people and families and witness hundreds of stories of life change. God has orchestrated our lives to revolve around times and seasons. There are times of planning and dreaming and times of exhaustion and sadness. Robert Morgan, a frequent speaker at Word of Life, shares in his book, The Red Sea Rules , “Realize that God means for you to be where you are.” Yes, God intended for the Israelites to be trapped at the Red Sea... it was all part of His good plan. Although it’s not an easy topic to discuss or experience, God wants us to understand how to walk through tough seasons of life. In this edition of The Experience , we explore stories of Bible Institute alumni who have experienced difficult times and have persevered. Personally, I still remember the moment when I heard the news of my father’s unexpected death. It was a very challenging time and yet it was during this season that I sensed the Lord’s presence and grace in a fresh way. God taught me much about what it really means to trust Him. Our God is fully aware of the ups and downs of our lives and wants us to completely yield to Him through every season of life. Difficult times are also a reminder that our lives on this earth are brief and that we have a responsibility to... Hold Forth the Word of Life to those who have not heard the Good News about Jesus Christ.



Founder's bible conference


Dealing with the heartache of loss


an interview with Randy & Kylie curtis


God's unfailing love in the midst of tragedy


Where are they now?


Israel Study Tour


Beautiful Feet


Hersheypark review


alumni news


Remembering dr. Renald Showers

major contributors

Writers – Don Lough, Jr., Roger Peace, Fran Welch, Mike Bush, Karen Smith, Ron Wyrtzen, Deb Frey, Ryan Jasper, Ken Hayden Designer – Teresa Stursberg Editor – Beth Black Director of Alumni Relations – Mike Bush The Experience is a publication of Word of Life. We want to build a community where you can find longtime friends, share testimonies of what God has been doing, encourage others with stories of change, and learn how you, too, can be involved with the mission of Word of Life. ©Copyright 2019 — Word of Life Fellowship. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission.

With a grateful heart, DON LOUGH, JR. (‘84) Executive Director



A l u m n i W e e k e n d During the Fall Family Retreat October 11-13, 2019


Alumni discount of 25% off, children of alumni (17 and under) stay free! To make reservations, call Customer Service at 518-494-6000, option 1


Come to Word of Life Lodge for a weekend of worship, growth, and activities for alumni and families. With musical guests, Brothers McClurg, speaker Mark Strout, and a special home soccer game, you can relax and enjoy the weekend surrounded by friends and family from Word of Life Bible Institute!

Class of 1989 - 30th Reunion | Class of 1979 - 40th Reunion


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Founder’s Bible Conference On the weekend of March 29th, we hosted our annual Founder’s Bible Conference. This conference is held at the New York Campus of Word of Life Bible Institute to help students catch the vision, to see the hearts of the generations before them, and to provide valuable insight into our history as a youth ministry. Our founder, Jack Wyrtzen, said, “It is the responsibility of each generation to reach their generation for Christ”. Word of Life is still centered on that principle, and we want to continue to pass that focus on to each class. When students hear directly from alumni, from co-founder, Harry Bollback, along with Don Lough, Jr., Executive Director, and Roger Peace, President of the Bible Institute, they have an opportunity to see the hearts of those who continually pour out their time and effort to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The speakers for Founder’s Bible Con- ference were Chris Goeppner and Jarrod Jones. Each highlighted the conference theme, “Forward”. The students especially connected with Friday night’s message, which focused on taking a step forward in victory when your faith is weak. They were encouraged to trust the Lord and to listen for His still, small voice as they fought to go forth through trials. Each message, however, provided a unique challenge and encouragement as students’ hearts were opened through worship, nourished through the Word, and even gently prodded ROGER PEACE (‘94)

through prayer. Each of the messages was recorded and posted on our YouTube page: YOUTUBE.COM/C/WORDOFLIFEBIBLEINSTITUTE . If you were unable to attend Founder’s Conference, we would like to encourage you to listen to the messages and see what God will do in your heart! We were also pleased to hold the dedi- cation of the Huskies Den and Recreation Center on Saturday night. “The Den”, as the students call it, is a space on campus for them to gather together, relax, and share what God is doing in their lives. With ping pong tables, arcade-style games, pool table, air hockey table, and foosball table, the space will become a hub for disciple- ship, growth, and fun.

jarrod jones

Jarrod is the Senior Pastor of Grace Community Church. He is a visionary leader, author, and gifted speaker. Jarrod is pas- sionate about bringing the glorious truth of the Gospel to all people and often uses humor and real-life experiences as he shares from God’s Word and its practical application for daily living. He, his wife, Christie, and their four children live in Sugar Loaf, New York.


Chris Goeppner – 2019 Alumnus of the Year DON LOUGH, JR. ('84)

Word of Life Bible Institute alumni all over the world have embraced the challenge of reaching this generation with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As a ministry, we take great joy in seeing students launched from our campuses who, regardless of where they serve, are committed to fulfill their primary role as ambassadors for Jesus Christ. Each year, we single out an alumnus to honor and, more importantly, to present to you as a prime example of what God can do in and through a life who is yielded to Him. Chris Goeppner, this year’s Alumnus of the Year, graduated from Word of Life Bible Institute in 1991 and later attended Palm Beach Atlantic University. He married Penny, the love of his life, in 1999. In 2008, he and Penny adopted their two sons, Roman and Jadon, from Siberia. After serving for 20 years in sunny Florida, he and his family responded to God’s call to reach people for Christ in New England. What began in their living room with eight people has emerged today as the vibrant Riverbank Church meeting in two loca- tions…White River Junction, Vermont and Claremont, New Hampshire, with another location coming soon in St. Johnsbury,



Vermont. He and his church family con- tinue to dream about expanding their reach throughout New England and around the world. The intent is for Riverbank to be a 21st century church reaching 21st century people. Our 2019 Alumnus of the Year has embraced the challenge of our Founder, Jack Wyrtzen, to reach his generation for Jesus Christ. CG@RIVERBANKCHURCH.COM RIVERBANKCHURCH.COM


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Dealing with the Heartache of Loss


This morning’s news was filled with dis- turbing images of an overnight tornado resulting in a horrific loss of life and prop- erty. In the next moment the news com- mentator shared about another shocking terrorist attack. While pondering these dreadful losses, my thoughts were inter- rupted by a phone call from one of our church members whose husband had just died. From the world scene, to the national scene and then within my own community, loss was prevalent. The loss of the world and national scene seemed distant. The new widow’s loss brought home the reality of pain and suffering right where I live life every day. Throughout life we all will experience loss. Some of our losses are traumatic, such as the death of a loved one. Some deal with the heartache of a shattered marriage, perhaps the loss of productive employ- ment, and even misinterpreted occurrences that break off friendships. Sometimes we can experience a tempo- ral loss such as, “Where did I put my car keys?”. But, usually, within a brief period of time, we find lost keys, and life unconcern- edly moves on. Then there are those tumul- tuous times of permanent loss. As we try to understand or comprehend the sudden death of our loved one, we find ourselves on an emotional roller coaster of distress. In the immediacy of this news, nothing makes sense. We are sure the traumatic informa- tion shared is wrong, and we find ourselves asking the question, “Why?”. As our minds and thoughts reel over our loss, everything we had planned for the next few hours and days comes to an abrupt halt. Traumatic events create distressing life changes. How, in the midst of our gut-wrench- ing loss, do we even begin to find some glimmer of hope and courage? Throughout the Bible we find numerous individuals who went through heart-breaking experiences

including Bathsheba and the death of her son (2 Samuel 12:18), the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7:60), the untimely death of Dorcas (Acts 9:39), and the first person murdered, Abel (Genesis 4:8). How do we begin to relate to Job who experienced the horrendous news of the death of his ten children and the loss of all his earthly pos- sessions (Job 1:13-22)? Like Job, we may have those in our lives who further deepen our pain by suggesting we have not lived for the Lord, or even worse, the words, “curse God and die” (Job 2:9). When traumatic loss floods our soul, we ask the age-old question, “Why God?”. Secondary to questioning God, we begin the circle of questions such as “What if?” and “If only”. In the aftermath of tragedy, we want to blame someone or something... perhaps a medical team, the DUI driver, the one who committed the crime, faulty roadways or weather-related incidences. Unfortunately, we can even try to blame ourselves. We allow ourselves to emotion- ally travel in circles, asking never-ending questions without any earthly answers. We might ask, “What if my loved one left fifteen minutes earlier?”, “What if I sought better medical advice?” or “If only they were not there at that precise time”. The questions revolve in a circle that we seemingly cannot escape. A friend of ours, Nancy Self of Grief Care Fellowship, shares her testimony of the traumatic death of two husbands. Her first husband died as a result of another driver and her second husband through suicide. In her capacity as Director of Women’s Ministries of Grief Care Fellowship and a conference speaker, she shares three crucial spiritual truths: “You will make it; you will survive, and there is hope beyond today!” The Lord allowed the deaths. We do not know the ultimate answer to “Why?”. Nancy shares her powerful testi- mony of how the Lord brought her through


gut-wrenching pain to a ministry that reaches out to hurting people in different journeys of loss and pain. Nancy’s full tes- timony can be seen in the new DVD series by Grief Care Fellowship entitled, “Why? – What If – If Only”. So, where are you in your journey of loss? Have you allowed your pain to stifle your encouraging emotions? Are you caught in that circle of “why” questions? It is so vital to realize that even in the Bible God does not always answer the “why” ques- tions. However, what He does provide is the promise of hope beyond today. WHAT HE DOES PROVIDE IS THE PROMISE OF HOPE BEYOND TODAY. You and I may never understand the reason for an expected or unexpected loss. We live in an imperfect world with imperfect people and imperfect circumstances. We are reminded by our Lord in Matthew 5:45 that the “rain falls on the just and the unjust”. We live in a world where living life means a full spectrum of emotions from the very best to the very worst. As believers we have one powerful truth to cling to that a nonbeliever does not have... we know God knows all the questions, and He has all the answers! He may choose not to reveal His sovereign purposes to us, but He does not leave us with the daunting questions of “why”, “what if” and “if only”. What He does give to us is His peace and comfort in the midst of turmoil. We have the promise of the Holy Spirit, our Comforter (John 14:16, 26), and in John 14:27 He says, “Peace I leave you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid”. When we don’t understand, when we fear the unknown, or we question

the goodness of God, we can know finding our ultimate peace is drawing near and trusting in Him to get us through. One of the great encouragements I love to share in tragic circumstances, when there seemingly are no reasonable answers to the pain, is from 2 Peter 2:11. We are reminded here and in the Old Testament that as believers we are just “sojourners” here on this earth; we are just passing through. The Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:1-16 said that this world is not our home. In our pain and heartache we need to remember that living life here on this earth is not the final “home” we have. Ours is a Heavenly Home, one our Lord has pre- pared for us, and it is awaiting us. We know that the troubles, heartache and pain of this life are but temporal. A second great encouragement is the truth that if your loved one was a believer, we will one day be reunited in glory. The Apostle Paul further shares in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 that we do not grieve as others who have no hope... for we shall see our loved one again... and we shall forever be with our Lord. When we realize the pain of this life is temporal, we can catch a glimpse of glory and of heaven. Yes, it hurts. Yes, it is real. But as believers we have the greater hope beyond today, a living and lasting hope – the assurance of living with our loved one in glory. One final thought and encouragement is that for you as you walk this journey called grief, Grief Care Fellowship has developed several DVD series and some other mate- rials that are available online. Please do not hesitate to connect with us; we would like the opportunity to minister to you. Additionally, we have a Facebook page – Grief Care Fellowship - where we post a daily thought of encouragement to get you

Fran Welch

Fran ('78) is the author/teacher of Journey in Grief Care and the curriculum consultant for Grief Care Fellowship. He has a degree in Biblical Counseling and has been the Minister of Care at a large Baptist church for over 10 years. He has helped thousands of grieving people and held over 250 funerals. He is an instructor of grief teams and grief seminars. Pat ('78), his wife, helps to edit the grief material and is an author and writer of ladies' Bible studies.

through one day at a time. GRIEFCAREFELLOWSHIP.ORG


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An interview with Randy & Kylie Curtis MIKE BUSH ('81) WH AT I S YOUR S T ORY ? RANDY: In April of 2013, Kylie and I found out we were going to have a baby... only eight months after we were married. This was a joyful, and over- whelming, surprise for us! In early June we discovered through a routine ultra- sound there was a possibility the baby could have some health problems. We were sent to a specialist for additional care, but in early October the doctor told us they no longer saw any signs of potential risk. As you can imagine, this was a tremendous sigh of relief, and, as a result, we thought we were in the clear. Then, in late October, Kylie unexpect- edly began to experience a lot of dis- comfort which grew worse every day over a two-week period due to the rapid growth of the baby and extra fluids. We didn’t know what was going on. Early Wednesday morning, on November 6, I had just arrived at work when Kylie called me after going in for a checkup. She said they were admit- ting her into the hospital immediately for preterm labor, and I needed to meet her there right away. When I arrived, Kylie was undergoing preliminary tests that determined the baby had a condition called hydrops, which basically meant that his body was full of excess fluid. Initially they tried to stop labor but then decided the baby might have a better chance of survival outside the womb where they easily could operate on him. Labor was induced on Friday, November 8. Ezra Michael was born without a heartbeat around2:00AMonSaturday,November 9, and was immediately resuscitated by a team of neonatologists.

RANDY ('07, '08) & KYLIE ('08, '10)

Randy and Kylie live in Schroon Lake, New York with their two children: Alivianna (age 3) and Luke (10 months). Randy serves as Missions Mobilizer with Word of Life International Ministries, and Kylie is a full-time mom. A meaningful verse to them is Genesis 18:25: “ …shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? ” Email Randy at: RANDYCURTIS@WOL.ORG

His underdeveloped and damaged lungs (from the pockets of fluid) were not processing oxygen well enough. After only ten hours it became clear that Ezra was not going to live. They disconnected him from all the wires and, already lifeless, gave him to us to hold and cuddle for the first time in a private room for the next four hours. Ezra and Kylie had many tests done to figure out what caused the hydrops, but they were inconclusive at best. Eventually, we realized that it was no longer helpful to try and pursue a definitive answer. The LORD knows, and that is enough! WH E N D I D YOU F I R S T KNOW T H I S WA S NO T GO I NG T O E ND A S YOU E X P E C T E D ? RANDY: When Ezra was born, he didn’t cry, he didn’t open his eyes, and he didn’t move at all. And, he was way too big for that stage of the

pregnancy because of the excess fluid. He was just lying there, seemingly life- less, being attended to by a team of doctors, not making any sounds or showing any signs of life. At that point, it became clear what was happening. WH AT WE R E YOUR T HOUGH T S A BOU T GOD ? KYLIE: I was very angry. God being sovereign means that nothing happens without Him allowing it to happen. He actively permitted this tragedy to happen to us, and I could not reconcile that in my heart and mind for a long time. I had felt entitled to life looking a certain way for Randy and me. RANDY: I wasn’t angry as much as I was in disbelief God would allow this to happen. We had recently moved and were adjusting to living in a new place, finding new jobs, finding a church, being newly married, etc. The reality of


no longer working in full-time ministry was hitting me way harder than I antic- ipated, and then all of this happened! WH AT T RU T H D I D GOD U S E T O S P E A K T O YOU ? KYLIE: I spent hours staring at, crying over and wrestling with Jesus’ words in John 6. At the end of that chapter, many of the disciples walked away from Jesus because His words were hard to hear and obey. Then Jesus asked the twelve if they wanted to walk away also. Peter responded in verse 68, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” It was a reminder that entertaining my temp- tation of walking away from God was completely foolish. Where else would I find truth? Who else has answers for life’s toughest questions? Only Jesus can bring life out of death. WH AT GAV E YOU HOP E ? RANDY: The Gospel hit me in a brand-new way. We know Jesus was born to die the death we all deserve. I remember being struck one day with the reality that in a sense God can relate with exactly what we were going

through. God knows what it’s like to lose a Son. It hit me more than ever that God was not apathetic to our pain! And, more than that, the main reason we have hope of seeing Ezra again, and the reason we have hope of rising from the dead ourselves one day, is because Jesus defeated death when He walked out of the grave. HOW D I D YOU CON T I NU E T O M I N I S T E R T O O T H E R S I N T H E M I D S T O F YOUR PA I N ? KYLIE: For a season, we didn’t. At least we didn’t try to. We were trying to survive and think on truth despite our raw emotions and the lies of the Enemy. We felt like we had nothing to give. But eventually our paths crossed with individuals who had similar stories or perhaps a similar struggle such as anger towards God because of a life circumstance. I’d always try to be transparent about my own strug- gles and by God’s grace would be refreshed in the midst of my grief, so I could encourage another soul to turn towards the words of truth.

GOD’S UNFAILING LOVE IN THE MIDST OF TRAGEDY Someone once said… each of us are either going into, in the middle of, or coming out of a trial. No one wants to think about the hard things God allows in our lives. But we know all our days are ordained by Him before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16). Each day is an opportunity to take faith steps. Faith builds faith. filled her life since she knew He was in control and He was her Redeemer. FAITH BUILDS FAITH

Listen to Karen’s full story featured on Word of Life’s podcast. Hear how her foundation of faith supported her and how God used a tragedy to draw her closer to Himself. You, too, can be filled with “… all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 Podcast Title: A Testimony of God’s Unfailing Love in the Midst of Tragedy – listen to the whole story at: WOL.ORG/RESOURCES/PODCAST

Karen can take herself back to the day when everything changed. New York State Troopers were in her home asking questions and then delivering news that her husband, Kevin, had taken his own life. It was like ground zero and as if everything was instantly stripped away. Her walk with the Lord was tested, and she chose to trust Him in the days ahead. Soon peace

Karen Smith ('79) is the Dean of Women at Word of Life Bible Institute Email Karen at: KARENSMITH@WOL.ORG Karen Smith


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where are they

This exposure to comprehensive maintenance of a large organization like Word of Life prepared me for the future in ways I would appreciate down the road. Career In 1986, I accepted a position as General Manager of Mid-Atlantic Correct Craft. I loved my job working with competition ski boats, especially because Correct Craft had a reputation for building boats for the glory of God. Four years later, they re-structured their organization, and my division was blended into a larger territory. It was time to move elsewhere, and God led me to work at Wright Patterson Air Force Base for a Christian operations and maintenance contractor. I am still with that company, Four Seasons Environmental, representing Jesus in the marketplace. In 2000, they asked me to become a project manager for several of their government contracts in the South. Presently, our entire family lives in Athens, Georgia. Both of our children are married, and we have two grandsons. I get asked quite often how I live out my faith in the workplace. My answer is simply, Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven . (Matthew 5:16) I ask God to help me know the right thing to do in every situation related to business ethics and the handling of people. If I do what is right and also expect it of others under my watch, God gets the glory and He blesses abundantly. I have grown to become far less concerned about what others say about me and more committed to do what enables me to say with the Apostle Paul, I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith . (2 Timothy 4:7)

now? RON WYRTZEN (‘71)

Growing up Having grown up as the son of an evangelist, I was constantly exposed to the Gospel. I joined my family many Saturday nights in New York City to attend my dad’s evangelistic rallies. I watched waves of people come forward to receive Christ and saw more of the same every summer at Word of Life. But my parents’ faith would not save me. The defining moment of decision came in March of 1961. Our family was staying in Journey’s End, the only heated building at Word of Life Inn back then. I was nine years old and after reading a book about heaven with my mother, I realized I needed to accept Jesus as my personal Savior. That decision was real, and it defined the I went to high school at Hampden DuBose Academy, a boarding school in Zellwood, Florida. There, my spiritual life was greatly challenged, and I grew strong in my faith. I heard some of the spiritual giants of our day speak on a regular basis. God shaped my future, one that was unique to my gifts and passions. Young Adult After high school, I enrolled in the first class of the Bible Institute. Again, there was more exposure to great Bible teachers along with hands-on ministry training. This required me to apply what I was learning. After graduation, I transferred to LeTourneau College where I was a Bible major and Aviation minor. I received my pilot’s license and a number of aircraft and instrument ratings and then went on to be a pilot for Word of Life. I married Christine in 1973, and we enjoyed flying my dad and other speakers during the winter months and directing the Word of Life Ranger Camp in the summertime. We added two children to our family, Jaime and Ryan, and during this time I also worked in the maintenance department at Word of Life. direction of my life. High school

Ron Wyrtzen (‘71) and his wife, Christine, live in Georgia where he is Vice President at Four Seasons Environmental. Ron Wyrtzen


Israel Study tour

DEB FREY (‘81)


Are you looking for something that will transform your appreciation for God’s Word? Would you like your senses to awaken as you walk through the same locations you have read about in the Bible or heard about from your pastor, Sunday School teacher or parents? Do you desire a closer walk with the God of the Bible and the Lord Jesus? If your answer is, ”Yes”, then you should take a trip to the Holy Land. It’s the land where the personages of the Bible... patriarchs, prophets, priests, kings and other people, including our Lord Jesus, lived. You will feel a kinship with them as you see the same mountains (Mount Carmel and Mount of Olives), valleys (Jezreel Valley and Valley of Armageddon), and seas (Mediterranean, Dead, and Sea of Galilee) they saw to name a few. Even the travel routes are the same as they have been for a mil- lennia. You can see the remains of the cities where they lived and the palaces that King Herod built. It’s amazing! It is life changing! It may be just what you have been looking for as you go with Mark and Laurie Strout, who have led many tours throughout Israel. Their passion for teaching the Bible in the land where it was written will invigorate your walk of faith. There is no better way to see the Holy Land!

Israel Study Tour

ISrael Study Tour

• March 13-25, 2020 • Trip is limited to 50 participants: Word of Life Bible Institute students, alumni and staff • Visit places where Jesus taught, take a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, tour Jerusalem and the City of David, see Calvary and the empty tomb and so much more! For more information visit: WORDOFLIFE.EDU/ACADEMICS/PROGRAMS/ISRAEL-STUDY-TOUR

Deb (’81) lives in New Milford, Pennsylvania. She and her late husband, Paul, were influenced by Tom Davis’ class to tour the Holy Land and has been there four times with family, friends, and fellow alumni. Deb & Paul Frey (‘81) Levi Frey (’14)

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My story of becoming a missionary is one that started by my stepping out in faith to go to Word of Life Bible Institute. It is where I first understood what international missions was all about. I then signed up for my first missions trip with Word of Life to the Philippines and Korea. I was new to the ministry world, and for weeks I saw things that broke my heart. That experience with Word of Life rocked my faith and opened my eyes to a physical and spiritual world. The Philippines was the first place I saw people seven stories high living in the dumps, and it seemed like the darkest place on earth. In that season God began placing the burden of global mis- sions on my heart, and it continues to be a special place I look back on. After my experience with Word of Life, I felt empowered and had this sense of responsibility that I needed to do something greater than just having a good

a 9-year-old boy being carried out with a huge rusty nail sticking out of the bottom of his foot. Or the kids, as young as seven, were recycling metal by burning the rubber off tires, and little girls were being prostituted for a better pick of the trash. At night, I would go to sleep haunted and frus- trated knowing what these kids were up against. I felt they were not being given a chance in life because of their cir- cumstances. So I began praying that God would show me a way to help them. It was during this time God gave me the verse found in Romans 10:15, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the Gospel of good things." And so the ministry, Beautiful Feet, came to life. I’LL NEVER FORGET SEEING A 9-YEAR- OLD BOY BEING CARRIED OUT WITH A HUGE RUSTY NAIL STICKING OUT OF THE BOTTOM OF HIS FOOT. I was not sure how God was going to provide the framework and structure to help the families in the dumps of Managua, but I felt I could use my experience in student ministry and building surf shops to share the Gospel. I started contact- ing friends in the surf industry and in churches all over the United States. Everyone was excited to get behind the vision God had given to me. Today, Beautiful Feet has distributed over 2.9 million dollars in resources and over 450,000 pairs of shoes and sandals. We recently shipped a 40-foot container full of supplies and about 10,000 pairs of shoes to an impoverished community in India. With every pair of shoes we give away, we wash the feet of the person receiving them, and we have seen over 500,000 people hear the Gospel. In the beginning our ministry-model was simple, and we had student-led teams each year from small churches all over the United States join us to put on events like Vacation Bible School and surf camps for the children in the dumps. As I frequented back to the slums, our ministry organically

career. I began to wonder how God might use me in a mighty way. Ten years ago I traveled to Nicaragua on an epic trip to surf and serve. I was with some pro surfers, and we were hunting the acclaimed 15-foot waves of a point break called the Popoyo Outer Reef. At the time, I was the chief executive officer of

a multi million dollar surf shop franchise throughout the state of Florida. I was living the dream, working and traveling the world, but something still felt missing in my life. When we were not searching for the perfect barrels, we spent our time at a local feeding center in the dumps of Managua. While Nicaragua is a surfer’s dream, it is the poorest country in Latin America. Many of its residents live in dire conditions, and my short time in the dumps reminded me of my first missions trip with Word of Life to the Philippines. When I returned to Florida, I couldn’t stop thinking of the barefoot children in Managua walking over trash, dodging bloody needles and shards of glass. I’ll never forget seeing


developed great relationships with the beautiful people living there. Over time these relationships evolved into a like-minded responsibility that, together, we could build a better future for the children in the dumps. Conversations of

difficult moments, I always have to remember the calling God placed in my heart at Word of Life and on that surf and serve trip so many years ago. I press on knowing that it is God who saves and provides for me, for Beautiful Feet

sustainability for the future began to unfold. We began partneringwith a local Nicaraguan pastor to develop a program for children to receive an education. The child-sponsor- ship program started with just 20 kids. We wanted to start small to be sure we could get a jumpstart. Two years later we have seen as many as 160 kids in our program. Some of the older students are finishing secondary school which is equivalent to high school in the United States. Seeing as the average Nicaraguan has a third grade reading level, this is a big deal! When the government consolidatedmultiple dumps into one called Cristo Rey, it opened the door to buy land to build a school and

and for each individual living in the dumps of Cristo Rey. That is God’s heart. He sees the one, and He pursues them. GOD’S HEART IS TRULY FOR THE LOST AND BROKEN. God’s heart is truly for the lost and broken. As believers we cannot stop until every soul on this earth has been given the chance to experience His love. For some of us, our ministry field and calling may be our work- place, and for others it may be to the ends of the earth. God continues to call me back time and time again to Nicaragua. Though Beautiful Feet’s work is not finished in the slums and Nicaragua is currently in com-

missions center. This opportunity changed our mission to a fight against spiritual and physical poverty through local economical, educational and spiritual development. Cristo Rey and the surrounding slums was our ministry field. This new area that the Nicaraguan government created is made up of 13 districts and is home to around 30,000 families. Shelter, food, water and any future for the kids growing up in these districts is scarce. Looking back to that first surf trip, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I felt I had a responsibility to the spiritually lost and physically poor. I felt God calling me to be light in this dark place. Over the years, I have stepped away from the lifestyle I once held onto so tightly to become a full-time missionary. I am passionate about leveraging all God has given me, to point others to Jesus and to help the body of Christ give back. Real talk...missionary life is downright the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. When I come across

plete chaos, I have this hope that, together, we can end physical and spiritual poverty in Cristo Rey, Nicaragua and the world. Romans 10:15 How can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring Good News!

Ryan Jasper

Ryan ('95) is the President and Founder of Beautiful Feet Call Ryan at: 941.780.7809 To learn more, visit: BEAUTIFULFEET.ORG. PO Box 61215 Fort Myers, FL 33966

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HersheyPark review On Saturday, June 1, under sunny skies and balmy tem- peratures, over 230 Word of Life Bible Institute alumni and their families descended on Hersheypark® for a day of fun. There was a good representation from each class beginning with 1972 and including some current students who were home for summer break. KEN HAYDEN ('86)

The Alumni Association hosts one big annual event. In recent years we have been to the Creation Museum, The Ark Encounter, The Museum of the Bible, and this year Hersheypark®. Follow us on Facebook (search Word of Life Bible Institute Alumni) and watch your mailbox and email for information about our next big event coming in 2020! If you are going to be in the Schroon Lake area this summer, you still have time to join us at the Bible Institute for a free luncheon and tour. Whether you are staying at one of Word of Life’s Family Camps or just in the area, you are welcome to join us for updates and a tour of the New York campus each Tuesday at 1 PM through August 13th. Please RSVP to Mike Bush with your name and the number of people attending: MIKEBUSH@WOL.ORG or text 518.586.2612.

Alumni were greeted at the park ticket area by Word of Life staff and were given alumni shirts, drawstring bags, name tags and lanyards to wear so they could be iden- tified by fellow alumni during the day. They enjoyed a picnic dinner and a wonderful time of fellowship around the tables under an air-conditioned tent as Don Lough, Jr., Mike Bush, and Deb Nightingale shared updates about what is happening at the Bible Institute, camps, local church and international min- istries. It was great to catch up with so many of our graduates and to hear how God is using them in their communities as they live out and share the Gospel.



My family sure appreciated the alumni reunion at Hersheypark as it gave us a great day enjoying each other, the park, and a very encouraging update on Word of Life's ministries. Without the Alumni invitation we would have missed such a wonderful day! Brad Schmidt (‘95) It always feels like the family is back together when we attend alumni events. Despite the crowds and the torrential storm to end the day, we had an awesome time, and it was a great deal! Becky Fanus (‘13) Our day at Hersheypark was filled with the reminder that God is working. There were so many opportunities to connect with different alumni and to hear what God is doing. It also gave my wife and me a chance to share more of our Bible Institute experiences with our own children. Thank you for a great day! Aaron Benner (‘99) It was such a blessing to talk in person to so many of the people I see on Facebook! I loved hearing about the continued growing outreach of Word of Life, particularly into some "resistant" countries. Susan Kirby (‘89 & ‘90)

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1970’s Stuart Page (‘71) and Bette live in Texas near their oldest son, Timothy (‘84). They spend the winters at the RV Park at Word of Life Florida. Their other two children are also alumni: Sharon Sprague (‘79) and John Mark (‘88 & ‘89). Beverlee (West) Hays ('75) and her husband, Jack, live in Florida where she works as a Fine Arts Director/Christian Studies Coordinator. They have three children and two grandchildren. Linda (Klump ‘76) Moser and her husband, Jeff, live in Indiana. They have five adult children: Dan, Kellie, James, Diane, and Jeffrey (‘10). She works as the assistant manager of food service in a public school and teaches Sunday School. Gary (‘76) and Charlene (Capron ‘76) Loomis live in Connecticut. Gary volunteers at their church, and Charlene is a customer service administrator for an insurance company. Kris (‘79) and Ellen (Gray ‘79) Skjerli live in Massachusetts where Kris serves as Senior Pastor at Calvary Baptist Church. Edward Bardes (‘79 & ‘82) lives in North Carolina with his wife, Priscilla. Edward works as a licensed auctioneer, a volleyball official, and a substitute teacher. Alumni News He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. PSALMS 91:1 NASB


1980’s John Plasterer (‘80) lives in Maryland and has been serving for 18 years as chaplain at Baltimore City Detention Center. John is an instructor at Baltimore School of the Bible, a guest speaker in various churches, and he has also written a book about Abraham and God’s promises. He and his wife, Catherine, have five children. Martin (‘84) and Ruth (Ricker ‘84) Fisher live in Virginia where Martin works at the Christian Action Network, and Ruth is a nurse and also homeschools their seven children. They have cared for many children through fostering and as houseparents at Joy Ranch Home for Children in Virginia. Martin has a 15-year journalism career, working as the city-beat, crimes and courts reporter at several community and daily newspapers in Virginia and North Carolina. CarlosHidalgo(‘84) andMarthaliveinMichigan. Carlos is the CEO of a strategic marketing and research firm in Grand Rapids. They have six adult children and 23 grandchildren. Bryan Emmerson (‘84) lives in Ontario, Canada where he works as a business coach. He and his wife, Darcy, have two adult children: Alexandria and David. Bryan is involved at church as an elder and adult Sunday School teacher.





Julie (Lawson ‘85) Dillon and her husband, Dwight, live in Kentucky. Julie retired from 30 years of teaching and is now working for Martin Tours. They have two adult children. Rebekah (Becky) (Bailey ‘86) Schuring and her husband, Russ, are missionaries in Brazil to the Javae Indians on the world’s largest river island! They have nine children including four who are also alumni: Garrett, Janessa Borja (‘11 & ‘12), Jaalah (‘11 & ‘12), Jacinda Davis (‘15 & ‘16), Janaiza, Jesse (‘16 & ‘17), Jedidiah, Jared, and Jayme. Janessa and Jacinda are also married to alumni: RJ (‘14 & ‘15) and Austin (‘14 & ‘15). Jodi Davis (‘87) is a missionary with Word of Life in Japan. Since 2006 she has served as the Dean of English in the SYME program - an ESL program for high school graduates to attend Word of Life Bible Institute. Since the beginning of the ESL program, over 100 Japanese students have attended Word of Life Bible Institute in New York, Florida, South Korea, or Hungary. Michelle Hidalgo (‘87) lives in Michigan where she is working as a preschool teacher. 1990’s Ian (‘92) and Merideth (Goddard ‘92) Kille live in Indianapolis where Ian works as a corporate chef, and Merideth is a registered nurse. Ian serves in their church as an elder, Merideth is in the worship ministry, and they both serve as Celebrate Recovery leaders. They have a 15-year-old daughter, Morgan. Daniel Garrison (‘93) lives in Virginia with his wife, Victoria, and their daughter, Abigail. Daniel is the Director of Online Education and an engineering professor at George Mason University. He is also a lay pastor at McLean Bible Church. Scott Canion (‘93) is a studio manager for an architectural and interior design firm in New York City. He and his wife, Christine, live in New Jersey and have a son, Zach. Tim (‘94 & ‘95) and Kim (Dame ‘90 & ‘92) Carter are missionaries with Word of Life in Chile. They have three teenage children: Timmy, Nicole, and Austin. Timmy is planning on attending the Bible Institute in New York this fall. Richard “Grandpa” Clark (‘96) is a retired chaplain and is currently involved in ministry as a visitation pastor. Landon (‘98 & ‘99) and Sarah (Smith ‘99) Clouse started Restore Church in Goffstown, New Hampshire where Landon is the pastor. They have five children: Jasper, Brielle, Ezra, Oliver, and Owen.

Lisa (Tucker ‘99) Moore and her husband, Tony, live in Virginia. Lisa works in sales in the family business. She says she has a ministry of “sharing Christ with others through my own experience of His daily guidance and provisions as I live with an incurable genetic disorder that causes multiple brain tumors and spine

tumors”. 2000’s


Brian Dregits ('00 & ‘01) is a missionary with Eight Days of Hope and serves in the Air Force Reserves in Indiana. Alan Keith (‘02) and his wife, Matasha, live in New York. Alan is a lineman for a municipal electric company. They are hobby farmers and foster parents. They have seven children. Rachel (Peterson ‘06 Argentina) Knafel and her husband, Chris, live in Indiana. They have two children. Rachel is a nurse practitioner. Jeffrey (‘10 & ‘12) and Jennifer (Crago ‘06 & ‘09) Stappenbeck live in New York with their three children: Judah, Janelle, and Joel. Jeff is the Discipleship/Care Pastor at New Hope Community Church in Queensbury. Alicia (Wulf ‘08 & ‘09) Terwilliger and her husband live in Oklahoma with their daughter, Avery. She is a play and learn leader at the YMCA. Alicia says, “My time at the Bible Institute really shaped my core beliefs and just everyday decisions. I’m so thankful that I decided to devote two years to the Bible and learning under some great teachers.” Mark (‘11) and Amanda (Libby ‘08 & ‘09) Joubert live in Kentucky. In addition to pursuing a Master’s Degree at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Mark is working for Sayers Classical Academy, and Amanda works for a caregiving agency. Daniel Bacon (‘09 & ‘10) and his wife, Sonya (Johnston ‘08) , live in Northern Ireland. Daniel works as a baker, a tour guide, and a cook. He also runs a chapter of Disciple the Nations. Jaime (Peterson ‘09 & ‘10) Budzynski and her husband, Justin, live in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jaime is a stay-at-home mom to their two children: Alice and Elijah. 2010’s Nathan Deck (‘10 & ‘11) and his wife, Jessica (Hudy ‘11) , live in North Carolina. Nathan is a youth pastor and Jessica is a stay-at-home mom to daughters, Hannah and Laura. In September 2018, Nathan represented Team





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Connect with us!

USA by participating in the long course at the Duathlon World Championships in Switzerland. Emily Peterson (‘12 Argentina) is the Girls’ Club Director at Lifeline Youth Ministries in Elkhart, Indiana. Julia Fernandez (‘15 & ‘16) is currently serving in Word of Life’s Cross Cultural Internship Program (CCI) in Mexico. Julia has this to say about the Bible Institute, “Word of Life was the best years of my life. {I am} so thankful for how the Lord changed my life studying at the Bible Institute.” Nasir Newton (‘16) lives in Pennsylvania where he works for the United States Postal Service and is a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard. Nasir says, “My favorite memories were getting together with my RA every week, TC. He always made sure I was feeding myself spiritually outside of my studies and asked how I was doing in my prayer life. I appreciate God placing him as my RA and the relationship we had.” Jon Wieder (‘18) lives in Indiana where he is going to school to be an EMT/firefighter.

To update your information, visit .

If the Lord had not been my help, my soul would soon have dwelt in the abode of silence. If I should say, "My Foot slipped," your lovingkindness, O Lord, will hold me up. When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, your consolations delight my soul. But the Lord has beenmy stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge. PSALMS 94:17-19, 22 NASB


remembering dr. renald Showers ROGER PEACE (‘94)

Throughout the history of Word of Life Bible Institute, our students have been blessed with some of the world’s leading theologians and Bible teachers. Dr. Renald Showers was one such professor. On April 4, 2019, Dr. Showers went Home to be with the Lord after a long fight against Alzheimer’s disease. He lived a life that reflected the teaching and commitment to “holding forth the Word of Life” (Philippians 2:16). The team at Word of Life Bible Institute is praying for his family and friends as we remember the legacy he’s left for future generations. If you have a memory of Dr. Showers from your time at Word of Life Bible Institute, we would love to hear about it on the Alumni Facebook group. We are honored to have known Dr. Showers and rejoice that he is in Heaven, without pain, worshipping the God he served so faithfully with the time he was given on earth. Dr. Renald (Rennie) Showers is a gradu- ate of Philadelphia College of Bible (1956), Wheaton College (1958), Dallas Theological Seminary (1962) and earned his Doctorate at Grace Theological Seminary (1975). In addition to pastoral experience in New Jersey (1963-64) and Pennsylvania (1964- 67), he has been on the faculty of Lancaster Bible College (1962-63), Philadelphia College of Bible (1967-77; 1980-89),

Moody Bible Institute (1977-1980) and the Friends of Israel Institute of Jewish Studies (1989-2016). For many years Dr. Showers was a visiting professor at Baptist Bible Seminary in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania and at Word of Life Bible Institute (1974- 2012) and was a frequent speaker at Word of Life Conference Centers in New York and Florida. In recent years he has been a conference speaker for the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry and a contributing editor for their monthly publication, Israel My Glory . He and his wife, Ellie, have two daughters (Renee Showers Raupp and Marbeth Showers Golden) and four grandchildren. Dr. Showers’ primary course at Word of Life Bible Institute was the portion of Church History known as “What on Earth is God Doing?” (also the title of a book he wrote and used in class). The course is an overview of the various ways God has interacted with man through human history culminating with the 1,000-year reign of Christ on the earth. Dr. Showers taught at Word of Life Bible Institute over a span of 39 school years (1974-2012). The following are some of the books used over the years in the classroom at Word of Life Bible Institute written by Dr. Showers:

Showers study Skills center

The Showers Study Skills Center is a comfortable, academic location that provides a space for students to study. Along with providing a space to study, it is currently used for administering quizzes and exams.

• Maranatha Our Lord, Come! • There Really Is A Difference • The Most High God • What On Earth Is God Doing?

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