The Experience Fall 2019_WEB

A Letter From Don Lough, Jr.

I s s u e 9



graduation review


How To Be Joyful All The Time


Summer Camp Review


The Joy of Discovery


Campus Updates


word of life Florida 30th ANniversary

What motivates us – achievements, relation- ships, status, money? As a follower of Jesus Christ, our highest motivation should be to live a life pleasing to Him. Why? Because of the deep and amazing love God has for us. When we turn our thoughts towards His love, it will give us joy in our service and will motivate us to do all things for His glory. Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 5:9-20 what drives his relationship with the Lord: To be well-pleasing to Him (verse 9), to be ready for his required appointment at the Judgment Seat (verse 10), and to be an ambassador (verse 20). Verses 14-15 are the heart of the message, “For the love of Christ compels us... that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” The Bible says each of us will someday stand before the Lord and will give an account of our works and that which motivated us in life. As Jack Wyrtzen used to say, “Only one life will soon be passed. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” So, keep fighting the good fight, running the race, and sharing the Good News! True joy is found when we can say, “God, here’s my life; I am Yours.”


where are they now?


Alumni Updates


Save the Date

major contributors

Writers – Don Lough, Jr., Roger Peace, Paul Weaver, Ken Ramey, Jason Headlee, Matt McLain, Rich Andrews, Will Campbell, 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 joyful heart,

DON LOUGH, JR. (‘84) Executive Director



Baccalaureate services and Graduation ceremonies were held at the Florida Campus August 2nd and 3rd and at the New York Campus August 17th and 18th. Diplomas were given to 108 Freshman in Florida, 208 Freshman in New York, and 104 Sophomores in New York. Each year a number of awards are given at Graduation. Students are selected from the current class by the staff and faculty as they meet the qualifications for the various awards. The award description and recipients are listed as follows: AWARD RECIPIENT Dean of Women : Female student showing the most outstanding balance of Christian character. Florida: Jordan So Ling Snapp (Freshman) New York: Julia Scheftic (Sophomore) 2019 graduation review PAUL WEAVER '96, '97

Dean of Men : Male student showing the most outstanding balance of Christian character. Ministry Excellence : Student who has demonstrated an admirable combination of zeal, compassion, and productivity in ministry during the school year. Musical Vocal Group : Student who has shown the greatest musical proficiency while ministering as part of a vocal group combined with a balance of humility, service and commendable Christian character. The Musical Accompaniment : Student who has shown the greatest musical proficiency while ministering as part of a musical accompaniment team combined with a balance of humility, service and commendable Christian character. Musical Vocalist : Student who has used his or her singing ability and ministry position to worship God and serve others with consistency, sincerity, and humility. Musical Instrumentalist : Student who has used his or her instrumental ability and ministry position to worship God and serve others with consistency, sincerity, and humility. Personal Evangelism : Student who shows interest in the area of personal evangelism. Daren Shilton : Student who is going into the Second- Year Program with the intent of pursuing youth work and has demonstrated earnest effort toward that goal. Drama : Student who has demonstrated the creative use of drama talents combined with a balance of humility, service, and Christian character. Academic Excellence : Student who has shown the greatest scholastic ability in his or her studies. Board of Director’s Christian Leadership : Student who demonstrated outstanding Christian commitment and testimony in leadership, organization, personal walk and work through involvement in sharing Christ with others and in bringing forth the Word of Life.

Florida: Nathan Alexander Rodriguez ( Freshman) New York: Braydon Hoover (Sophomore) Florida: Traecelyn Sogatar Albright (Freshman) New York: Alex Ford (Sophomore)

Paul Weaver

Florida: Katherine S. Cress (Freshman)

Paul Weaver is the Academic Dean of Word of Life Bible Institute. Paul is a graduate of Word of Life Bible Institute. Prior to this, he was a professor of Bible and Theology for 13 years at the Word of Life Hungary Bible Institute. He also earned a BA in Theology, a Master of Theology and Ph.D. in Bible Exposition. Paul and his wife, Jill, love the opportunity to prepare future missionaries, pastors, teachers, and lay-leaders to serve the church of Jesus Christ. Paul is passionate about providing high-quality Bible study resources that are affordable within the reach of anyone serious about studying God's Word.

Florida: Raymond Hunter Elliott (Freshman)

New York: Gabi Russo (Sophomore)

New York: Ben Lamberton (Freshman)

Florida: Julianna C. Hurley (Freshman) New York: Madeleine Brown (Sophomore)

New York: Josue Ibanez (Freshman)

Florida: Brady Alan Rising (Freshman) New York: Bryden Deardorff (Freshman)

Florida: Anna Brooke Powell (Freshman) New York: Erica Nichols (Freshman) and Mikayla Kupe (Sophomore)

Florida: Toby Edward Paul Heimbach (Freshman) New York: Abby Radcliff (Freshman) and Michiah Maxwell (Sophomore)


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How To Be Joyful All The Time


John Henry Jowett, one of the most admired preachers of the early 20th century who pastored churches on both sides of the pond, wrote the following: “Christian joy has no relationship to the transient setting of life, and, therefore, it is not the victim of the passing day... One day I am at the wedding; the next day I stand by an open grave. One day, in my ministry, I win ten converts for the Lord, and then, for a long stretch of days, I never win one. Yes, the days are as changeable as the weather, and yet ... Christian joy can be persistent. Where lies the secret of its glorious per- sistency?” The answer to this question posed by that godly minister is found in the last chapter of Paul’s letter to the believers in Philippi. CHRISTIAN JOY CAN BE PERSISTENT. WHERE LIES THE SECRET OF ITS GLORIOUS PERSISTENCY? In Philippians 4:4, Paul said, Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Rejoicing, or being joyful, is one of the main themes of the book (1:18, 2:17-18; 3:1). As he concluded his thoughts, Paul repeated his favorite exhortation, “rejoice in the Lord”, twice for greater emphasis. He was literally saying, “keep on rejoicing.” In other words, “Be joyful or be cheerful not some of the time, or even most of time, but all the time.” It is easy to rejoice when our health is good and our marriage is good and our kids are doing good and our career is going good and our bank account is looking good. But it is much more difficult to rejoice when things aren’t going good.

Trials and sorrows and setbacks and dis- appointments and broken expectations in life make it hard to be joyful. Nevertheless, God commands us throughout His Word to maintain a joyful attitude no matter what happens to us (1 Thess. 5:16; James 1:2; Mt. 5:11-12; Lk. 6:22-23; Acts 5:41; 1 Pet. 4:12-13). Our joy should remain constant in the ups and downs of life. Paul himself was a great example of what it looks like to rejoice no matter what. He remained joyful when persecuted, slandered, falsely accused, mistreated, arrested, imprisoned, and even when he was facing the threat of martyrdom for the cause of Christ. Nothing could steal his joy because he was convinced that all the difficult circumstances he experienced ultimately served to advance the cause of Christ (Col. 1:24). Paul singing with Silas in the Philippian jail epitomized the joy he expressed in all his letters and served as a microcosm of his life and ministry (cf. Acts 16:23-34). What we learn from Paul is that joy is not a mood or an emotion that is based on our feelings, circumstances, or surroundings. Biblical joy is based on what we know to be true about God regardless of how we are feeling or what we are facing. BIBLICAL JOY IS BASED ON WHAT WE KNOW TO BE TRUE ABOUT GOD You might be wrestling with how it is possi- ble to be joyful when you are facing circum- stances and situations that aren’t enjoyable (i.e. death, illness, divorce, layoff, rebellious child, etc.). Notice Paul didn’t exhort us to rejoice in our circumstances, but to rejoice


“in the Lord.” This simple phrase holds the secret to maintaining a joyful atti- tude at all times. There are times when we experience sorrow, grief, and pain, like when someone we love dies. But at those times we can say with Paul that we are “sorrowful yet always rejoic- ing” (2 Cor. 6:10). Why? Because even though our heart may be breaking, God is still good, faithful, wise, loving and sovereign. In other words, no matter how awful things may be, there is always something wonderful about God to cause us to rejoice in. If nothing else, we can rejoice that He has mer- cifully saved us (1 Sam. 2:1; Ps. 13:5; 35:9; 40:16; Isa. 61:10; Hab. 3:17-18; Lk. 10:20). But beyond our salvation, we should also rejoice in all God has revealed about Himself in His Word. We can rejoice in the Lord’s faithful- ness (Lam. 3:22-23). We can rejoice in the Lord’s love (Rom. 8:38-39). We can rejoice in the Lord’s sovereign control over all things (Ps. 103:19). We can rejoice in the Lord’s wisdom (Rom. 11:33). Those who know a lot about the character and attributes of God find it much easier to rejoice in the midst of hard times; whereas, those with little knowledge of God find it much harder to maintain a joyful attitude. We can’t trust someone we don’t know. This should motivate us to develop a deeper understanding of God by studying who He said He is and what He said He can do. Read books on the character of God (e.g. Knowing God by J.I. Packer, Attributes of God by A.W. Pink, Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer, Trusting God by Jerry Bridges). Spending time in helpful resources like these will enable you to have true joy which can be defined as a perma- nent, deep-down sense of peace and well-being based on your confidence that no matter how bad things may appear, you know God loves you and is in complete control of every detail of your life. He is wisely and providentially working behind the scenes to bring Himself glory and make you more like Christ (Rom. 8:28-29).

Again, take Paul for example. His imprisonment was God’s providen- tial way of getting much of the New Testament written. It was during those long, lonely hours in prison when the Holy Spirit inspired him to write many of his letters, including Philippians, which is categorized as one of the Prison Epistles. Through his letters, Paul impacted more people than he could have ever visited in person, and they continue to impact people’s lives today. WE SHOULD SEE OUR CIRCUMSTANCES AS GOD-ORDAINED OPPORTUNITIES TO FURTHER THE GOSPEL. So instead of complaining about what is or isn’t happening in our lives, we should see our circumstances as God- ordained opportunities to further the Gospel, and in that we can rejoice. Furthermore, if our joy is in the Lord rather than in what happens to us, then our attitude should never change even when our circumstances do, because the Lord never changes. The Psalmist modeled joy in the Lord and demon- strated that the secret to always being joyful is always being in the presence of the Lord (Ps. 16:11; 21:6; 43:4). And if we are joyful all the time, that will set us apart from most people in the

world. Nothing is more needed today than for those of us who call ourselves Christians to live consistently joyful lives in this uncertain, ever-changing age which will make us bright lights and cause people to be drawn to God and the truth of His Word (Phil. 2:14-16). In the foreword to his classic book, Spiritual Depression , Martyn Lloyd- Jones stated, “There can be little doubt but that the exuberant joy of the early Christians was one of the most potent factors in the spread of Christianity. As we face the modern world with all its trouble and turmoil and with all its dif- ficulties and sadness, nothing is more important than that we, who claim the Name of Christ, should be representing our faith in such a way before others as to give them the impression that here is the solution, and here is the answer. In a world where everything has gone so sadly astray, we should be standing out as people characterized by a fun- damental joy and certainty in spite of conditions, and of adversity. That is the picture which is given of God’s people everywhere in the Scriptures. Those men of God stood out in that way, and whatever their circumstances and conditions, they seemed to possess a secret which enabled them to live tri- umphantly and to be more than con- querors.” May that be the testimony of our lives as well, on both the good days and the bad days, and whether the wedding bells are ringing or the funeral bells are tolling.

RAMEY@LAKESIDEBIBLECHURCH.ORG Ken Ramey serves as the pastor-teacher of Lakeside Bible Church in Montgomery, Texas. Ken attended Word of Life Bible Institute and School of Youth Ministries and then transferred to The Master’s College where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Youth Ministry. He received his M. Div. from The Master’s Seminary and later completed his D. Min. in Expository Preaching and authored Expository Listening . Ken and his wife, Kelli, were married in 1990 and have three children: Zachariah, Hannah, and Jacob. Ken Ramey


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Stories shared by Camp Directors… A Unit Leader who was engaging with a camper about Ephesians 2, explained that before salvation we are “dead in our transgressions and sins.” She illustrated it by saying before Christ, we were at the bottom of the lake, lifeless, until Christ saved us. Another camper, overhearing the discussion, said, “I think I’m still at the bottom of the lake.” The Unit Leader was able to explain the Gospel, and she accepted Christ! A Youth Leader shared how often they see their teens arriving at camp with apprehen- sion and, with their struggles back home, “carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders.” But only a few days into camp, they are laughing, communicating, making friends, and sharing what they are learning. A camper told her counselor that although she was saved, she didn't go forward because she was dealing with a lot of sin. Her counselor shared Biblical truth, and it gave her hope. In the weeks since going home, the camper has stayed in contact with the coun- selor and reports a desire to please the Lord with her life. She is consistently doing a Quiet Time, attending youth group, and has been reconciling with her parents. God’s presence was evident at each of our camps during the summer of 2019. The theme, Renegade , was about turning away from the world and living like Jesus, for Jesus, and with Jesus. Total attendance at the New York and Florida camps was 12,601 . We rejoice that 1,068 campers trusted Jesus Christ as their Savior and 6,204 made dedication deci- sions. We had the joy of giving scholarships to 1,920 young people through the Life Change Camper fund. JASON HEADLEE '01 Summer Camp Review

Jason Headlee

Jason Headlee serves as the Dean of Ministries/Director of Camps and Events at Word of Life Bible Institute. He graduated from Word of Life Bible Institute in 2001, then Cedarville University in 2003. He returned to work at the Bible Institute in 2004 where he met his wife, Jen. They have two sons, Lucas and Connor, and love serving together as a family.


As I enjoyed getting deeper and deeper into God’s Word, I realized I wanted to be in the ministry. This realization, however, also created a problem. I now had two very different career goals: Was I going to be a pastor or a sci- entist? I spent many days and nights praying over these conflicting desires before I finally realized they did not need to conflict. They only conflicted because I was limiting in my mind what God could do based on what I could imagine. As a result, I determined to pursue both science and ministry wholeheartedly and then see where God would lead me. I reasoned that if both of those desires were good desires, then it only made sense to eagerly pursue them and leave it up to God to use me as He saw fit. I NOW HAD TWO VERY DIFFERENT CAREER GOALS: WAS I GOING TO BE A PASTOR OR A SCIENTIST? I transferred to Cedarville University in 2009 to study geology under John Whitmore. After I graduated, Jessica and I got married and moved out to southern California to study paleon- tology at Loma Linda University for my PhD. While working on my PhD, we had our two sons (Alaric and Cody), and I had the opportunity to dig up dinosaur bones at a field site in eastern Wyoming with a group from Southwestern Adventist University. While in California, we found a home at The Anchor Bible Church of Redlands, where I served as the youth leader, a family group shepherd, and as the ministry coordinator for the church. Working on a family, a PhD, and in the church kept Jessica and me very busy, but we loved it because it’s what God prepared beforehand for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). As I completed my PhD, I was con- tacted by Joe Francis at The Master’s University (TMU) to see if I would be interested in a job. I was very interested,

The Joy of Discovery


Although I was raised in a Christian home, saved at a young age, active in my church, and had a parent working at Word of Life, it was not my intention to attend Word of Life Bible Institute. I wanted to become a paleontologist – a dream I had since I was a young child. I recognized it would be difficult becoming a paleontologist as a Bible- believing, young-earth creationist, so I knew I would need a good Biblical foundation in my science at college. I had heard that Cedarville University was starting up a geology major, which seemed like an excellent fit. The only issue was, when I was ready for college in 2008, the major hadn’t started yet. I could go to Cedarville and run the risk the major wouldn’t start, or I could spend less money by going to Word of Life for a year and get some Bible courses out of the way for when I transferred to Cedarville later. I decided the latter option was more reasonable. I wouldn’t say I was thrilled to go to Word of Life Bible Institute; in fact, I foolishly saw it as a step down from what I wanted. Thankfully, the Lord used the Bible Institute to humble me, teach me, and prepare me to serve Him despite my initial unwise arrogance.


fossils are a sobering reminder of the destructiveness of sin: the creation is under a curse and it desires to be set free (Romans 8:19-22). I take great joy both in seeing God’s glory in these evidences of long-gone animals and in exposing His glory to my students through teaching and research. WE HAVE NO REASON TO BE SCARED OF SCIENCE. If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a Christian paleontologist, it’s this: we have no reason to be scared of science. I meet Christians who are afraid to go to museums or watch documentaries or encourage their kids’ love of dino- saurs because they don’t know what to do about evolution. But here’s the thing, we know the truth (Hebrews 11:3). We can be confident that nature will agree with what God’s Word says because God’s Word is true on every topic it discusses. This foundation of truth gives us the boldness we need to learn and explore. My beliefs don’t stop me from doing science, in fact, they encourage it! A Christian doesn’t need to fear the next fossil discovery because nothing can ever refute God’s inerrant and infallible Word. Instead of fearing the next fossil discovery, Christians should be enthralled by it! Everything God made shows His glory in its intricacies and beauty. That’s what gets me excited even though I don’t have all the answers. Not having all the answers also keeps us humble. Being honest about what we don’t

know allows us to figure out what to explore, and it stops us from getting prideful and arrogant. WE CAN BE CONFIDENT


especially because they wanted me to teach paleontology and geology courses and start a geoscience program. I was hired in the summer of 2016 and have been teaching there ever since. Teaching at TMU has allowed me to continue my research and even involve students in paleon- tology research projects. Through this change, the Lord demonstrated His goodness to us in giving us a daughter (Iris) and bringing us to Santa Clarita Baptist Church where I now serve as the youth pastor. I can testify to the joy that we have experienced during this busy time through the Lord’s provision and faithfulness. IT’S EXCITING TO BE ABLE TO DISCOVER A FOSSIL AND REALIZE IT GIVES US A GLIMPSE INTO A CREATURE WHICH GOD MADE TO PUT HIS GLORY ON DISPLAY. I praise the Lord that He allows me to study His creation. It’s exciting to be able to discover a fossil and realize it gives us a glimpse into a creature which God made to put His glory on display in a way we haven’t experienced in our modern world. At the same time,

BECAUSE GOD’S WORD IS TRUE ON EVERY TOPIC IT DISCUSSES. When I look at my life now, I can’t help but be thankful to the Lord who has been so gracious to me. I can look back and see how He orchestrated my life so that I would be used for His glory. He has been faithful to grow me and continually conform me to the image of His Son, sanctifying me in the truth; His Word is truth (John 17:17).

Matt Mclain

Dr. Matthew McLain graduated from Word of Life Bible Institute in 2009. He attended Cedarville University, where he received his B.S. in geology. He then moved to Southern California to pursue his Ph.D. in earth sciences from Loma Linda University. He is a member of the Geological Society of America and the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. His research interests include vertebrate paleontology, specifically projects involving dinosaurs and pterosaurs, and he has authored and coauthored several publications in peer- reviewed journals. He and his wife, Jessica, have three children, Alaric, Cody, and Iris.

Email: MMCLAIN@MASTERS.EDU. Office Phone: (661) 362-2359


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Campus Updates ROGER PEACE '94 This has been a year of dramatic, positive change and transition for the Bible Institute! It’s been my pleasure and my passion to lead the growth of an institution dear to many of our hearts.

RECONSTRUCTION AND RENOVATION This academic year on our New York campus, we built a new women’s dorm, Adirondack Hall, totally renovated Hungary Dorm, andwe are anticipating the completion of a brand-new sports complex in July of 2020. These changes, in addition to the Bollback Student Life Center and the recently reno- vated and repurposed Field House, transformed and mod- ernized the campus. In Florida, we introduced new chairs and lighting in the Harry Bollback Performing Arts Center, built new cabins to house more female students, installed a new dock, and transformed the youth camp dining room into a new student lounge called the Lyon’s Den. We plan to construct more cabins for student housing and a recre- ation center with a pool and snack shack for students and campers. We pray that God will continue to provide funding for the ongoing construction on both campuses! Walk with Roger Peace, President of the New York Bible Institute, as he takes you on a tour through the building site of the Institute's newest dorm, Adirondack Hall: WOL.IS/ADKHALL Check out a recap of the Adirondack Hall ribbon cutting ceremony here: WOL.IS/DORMRIBBONCUTTING STUDENT LIFE On both the New York and Florida campuses, classes are well into the first semester, and many students have already been on Open Air Evangelism and involved in other min- istries. One hundred and twenty-five New York students

requested our staff to disciple them one-on-one, and Student Life also chose to introduce discipleship groups to campus. We hope the option of group discipleship allows for us to meet a greater range of needs and decrease any perceived awkwardness. In Florida, many students chose disciplers, and every student has been welcomed and hosted in a faculty or staff member’s home. It seems as our campus grows, the desire for discipleship and community grows right along with it. The sincerity and enthusiasm of our students inspires and blesses us every day. ENROLLMENT Between Florida and New York, we received 531 students in first and second year, which increased overall enrollment by 7.5%! Statistically, this is an enormous answer to prayer. This number places us close to the highest growth of all Christian colleges in the country! This is largely due to our wonderful alumni... a majority of students cite encourage- ment from Word of Life alumni as their reason for choosing the Bible Institute. Additionally, our admissions counselors will also go on tour to attend a series of North American Coalition for Christian Admission Professionals (NACCAP) college fairs, and they are thrilled to meet prospective students! GUEST LECTURERS We’ve added a few new scholars to our guest lecturer list: Stephen Bramer, Nicolas Ellen, Wayne Slusser, Corey Abney, Todd Ahrend, and Rhome Van Dyck will teach our


New York Bible Institute students; Christopher Cone will teach in both New York and Florida, and Mark McGinnis will teach in Florida. These speakers round out a roster of returning lecturers, such as Ray Pritchard, Larry Moyer, Mike Calhoun, and Wendell Calder, among many others. DAVIS COLLEGE Finally, the biggest update to our campus is our shared ser- vices agreement with Davis College! Though the college retains a small campus property in Johnson City, Davis recently transplanted a satellite campus onto our property. Davis College shares buildings, services, and resources with the Bible Institute but keeps its academic programs separate. Currently, there are six students enrolled in the program; they are relishing the close contact with Davis pro- fessors and the advantages and opportunities open to them by remaining on Word of Life’s campus. One student stated, “Being a Davis student is awesome. The classes are nicely spread out, and there is a good mix of free time and time to focus on homework.” Additionally, Word of Life alumni are eligible for discounts for Davis College online classes so please contact our admissions team if you are interested. Thank you for your continued support. We cherish the kind words and faithful prayers of our beloved alumni – the Word of Life legacy could not continue on without you! As our ministry grows and we look to the future, we are determined to honor our past legacy.

Roger Peace, ('94), Executive Vice President Bible Institute and Camps Roger Peace

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word of life Florida 30 th ANniversary


Word of Life Florida opened in 1990 on a 450-acre parcel donated by Jack and Marcia Lyon. Their son, Michael, died at age 20 but made some very significant spiritual decisions at youth camp. Jack and Marcia sought out a ministry that would begin a youth camp on the property that had been reserved for him. After offering the property to several different organizations with no success, a friend recommended they contact Word of Life. Jack Wyrtzen and Harry Bollback traveled to Florida to see the prop- erty. After looking around, Jack said to Harry, “Well, I don’t think we should take the property; it is just a big jungle”. To which Harry replied, “Jack, we have built camps in the jungle all over South America, why not in Florida?” The property was donated to Word of Life in 1985, and an aggressive construction program began to build a Conference Center and Youth Camp. The Conference Center opened in January of 1990. The first meeting and concert featured Chuck Colson and The Gaither Vocal Band. The Gospel was shared and Jack Lyon’s brother was one of those who responded. The Youth Camp began that summer, and the campers stayed in the upstairs guest rooms in the Conference Center. They had their meetings on the stage of the Harry Bollback Performing Arts Center. There were 400 campers during the eight weeks of camp. The following summer the first Youth Camp cabins were completed, and over 800 campers attended camp. Summer camp enrollment has increased each summer to over 3,200 campers in 2019. SINCE THE YOUTH CAMP OPENED, OVER 53,000 CAMPERS HAVE ATTENDED WITH THOUSANDS ACCEPTING CHRIST AS SAVIOR!


Rich Andrews

Rich Andrews serves as the Director of Word of Life Florida. He leads the Bible Institute, as well as the Florida Youth Camp and RV Park. He is a dedicated servant-leader, and a gifted speaker. Rich has a passion to connect with teens and young adults, and to encourage them to reach their generation with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


the southern states. In 2018 a new Christmas Production called “All Is Bright” began. In the 20 years Gospel Productions has been at Word of Life Florida, there have been over 600 performances with 360,000 people in attendance. There have been over 86,000 people who have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior. By 2006 , the Bible Institute began occupying the Jack Wyrtzen Center which was formerly called the Conference Center. Many of the guest rooms in that building are now being used as dorm rooms, and the Bible Institute offices are also located in that building. In 2016/17 the women were housed in the Jack Wyrtzen Center and the men in cabins at the Youth Camp. Presently the Youth Camp occupies 21 cabins with three more cabins being added this year. The Youth Camp can accommodate approximately 480 campers per week. Rich Andrews began his new assign- ment as the Director of Word of Life Florida Ministries in the summer of 2013 . Under his leadership, all areas of the ministry in Florida - Bible Institute, Youth Camp, Gospel Productions, RV Park and Ministry Retreats - have seen growth, and many lives are being changed for eternity. In 2020 , join us for our 30th anniver- sary celebration on March 20 at 7PM in the Harry Bollback Performing Arts Center.

In 1995 , the Word of Life Florida RV Park opened with 53 sites, and the RV Park has since expanded to its present capacity of 246 lots. The RV Park com- munity is a vibrant community of very active retirees who relocate to Florida for the winter to fellowship around the Word of God and the ministry of Word of Life. Over 85% of them get involved somewhere in the ministry as a volun- teer. Each year the RV Park community raises money through donations and various fundraisers for Youth Camp scholarships. This year they raised more than $105,000! The Florida Extension Campus of Word of Life Bible Institute opened in 1997 with 75 students due to the growth of the student body at the New York campus. The current student body of 123 students is from 20 states and nine foreign countries. In the 21 years the Bible Institute Florida Campus has been operating, 2,441 students have attended. The Theis Assembly Center opened in 1999 and is used as the Bible Institute classroom and Summer Camp activities room. As camp numbers continued to increase, Summer Camp meetings were moved to the Harry Bollback Performing Arts Center. In 1998 , Gospel Productions began in the Harry Bollback Performing Arts Center with the “Sights and Sounds of Christmas.” The “Passion Play” was added in 1999, and in later years “Jesus Behold The Man” replaced the “Passion Play”. In 2013, “Magi”, a Christmas production, was introduced and was presented in churches around







Want to share a ministry memory? Email it to: MIKEBUSH@WOL.ORG



where are they now? WILL CAMPBELL '92

How did a guy from North Philadelphia end up as a superintendent of a school system in Minnesota? I believe my journey as a Bible Institute student in Schroon Lake, New York, gave me a foundation that has kept me “steadfast, immovable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that my labor is not in vain”.

During my time at Word of Life is where I learned the importance of scripture memory, Bible study, Christian fellowship, and worship of the Lord. I also met lifelong friends who are serving the Lord all around the world. After nearly completing my one-year study at the Bible Institute, I was a camp counselor at The Ranch. One of my campers wrote me a letter, thanking me for being a part of leading him to the Lord and telling me how much he’d miss us. He closed his letter with that powerful verse from I Corinthians 15:58. It was during that time that I knew the Lord was calling me to a life of working with our youth. Following my time at Word of Life Bible Institute, I enrolled in Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The following three summers, I continued to work at youth camps as a camp counselor and camp director. I majored in elementary education and graduated from Tennessee Temple. Upon graduation, I started to work in the public schools of Chattanooga, teaching 3rd and 7th grade. I then moved my career across the border to Georgia where I taught 5th grade. Feeling the calling to leadership, as I had an opportunity to do in camp years ago, I accepted a position in Gainesville, Georgia, where I worked for 13 years as an assistant principal and then principal. In 2017, my wife of 20 years showed me a text about a superintendent’s position that came open near her hometown in Minnesota. Initially, I had no desire to apply for the job nor move to Minnesota. However, as the Lord would have it, we moved from the South in June 2018, heading over 1,200 miles northward with our three children to start a new chapter in our lives. I am now serving as Superintendent of Rush City Public Schools in Rush City, Minnesota. Simplistically, it’s amazing how I have put 28 years of my journey in a few paragraphs. However, I know that my year at the Bible Institute was the most impactful year of my life. It put me on the path to my calling, my wife, children, ministry, and family. I look forward to visiting the campus in the near future to see the changes that have occurred in the years since I attended.

Campbell Family Get in touch with Will Campbell: Email | Office Phone | 320.358.4855 Twitter | @rush_campbell

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Alumni Updates


During each week of the summer camping season, the Alumni Association hosted lunches for alumni and their families. Alumni staying at one of Word of Life’s Camps in New York and any other alumni living or vacationing in the area were invited to join us. It was exciting to host the luncheon in the newly-renovated Huskies Den (formerly the dining room and annex). Each week there were between 40 and 80 in atten- dance representing every decade of the Bible Institute. We connected with alumni from the very first graduating class in 1971 right up to current students and several prospective students. Roger Peace and Mike Bush shared updates on what is happening on campus and some things that are in the works for the future of the Bible Institute. Exciting updates were shared in the areas of Study, Student Life, and Ministry! After the lunch, any who wanted to could go on a walking tour and see up close some of the changes on campus. Be sure to include a stop at the New York campus of Word of Life Bible Institute in your vacation plans next summer and see all that is happening! Even if you were here this summer - you won’t believe all that has been accomplished since then!


Updates 1970’s

Jan (Redclay ‘74) Reimer and her husband, Kent, have been missionaries for over 40 years. They served with Avant Ministries for 26 years and have since been with World Venture as church planters, recruiters, and church mission coaches. They have two adult children: Joshua and Kara. Howard “Howie” ‘75 and Claudia (Roach ‘76) Williams have been church planters among Turkish-speaking people for 40 years. They served 16 years in Turkey and 24 in Metro New York City. They reside in New Jersey, and they have two adult children: Keith and Mark. Robert “Bob” ‘78 and Carla Jacobsma ‘74 Gray live in Schroon Lake, New York. Bob is working in the Advancement Department at Word of Life after serving in various roles for many years at the Bible Institute. Carla recently retired from Word of Life after serving 13 years in the Student Life Department at the Bible Institute. They have three adult daughters (all Bible Institute grads), Cherith ‘01 , Karalie ‘03 , and Britney ‘07 , and several grandchildren. Brian ‘75 and Donna (Montgomery ‘76) Sergeant currently live in the Greater Albany, New York, area after living in the Long Island area for many years. Brian works as an estimator for Belfor Property Restoration, and Donna enjoys gardening. They have two adult children: Rachel ‘97 and Breanne ‘03 .


For alumni events and updates, visit WORDOFLIFE.EDU/ALUMNI .

My brethren, count it all JOY when you fall into various trials, knowing that the


testing of your faith produces patience.

JAMES 1:2-3 | NKJV


Gary and Charlene (Capron) Loomis ‘76 live in Connecticut where Gary works at Macy’s logistics, and Charlene works in insurance. They are also involved in ministry at their church. Linda (Gross ‘79) Stiansen and her husband, Gregg, live in Pennsylvania. Linda is a substitute teacher, and they have two adult children: Kari and Erik. Ian Grinyer (‘79) and his wife, Nancy, live in New Jersey. Ian is an artist and did the artwork his year for the Word of Life drama, “The Passion Play”. They have three adult children: Breann, Bethany, and Rosie. 1980’s Paul Austin ‘80 is now living in Florida where he is, in his words, “slinging hotdogs.” He has two adult children and seven grands. Larry Tarbox ‘80 and his wife, Judy, live in Pennsylvania. Larry is retired, and they have two adult children: Joy and Scott. Dave Lundin ‘81 and his wife, Sheryl, live in Delaware. Dave is the Pastor of Family Ministries & Administration at Faith Baptist of Wilmington. He and Sheryl have five adult children all married and all Word of Life Bible Institute grads. Sam ‘80 and Sherry (Siler ‘82) Frey live in Pottersville, New York. Sam is an Open Air Evangelist with Word of Life, and Sherry is an artist and does Open Air as a ministry. They have three adult children: Sara Manfry ‘05 , Shawn (Argentina BI) , and Steve ‘07 & ‘08 . Marc Oden ‘82 and his wife, Germaine, live in Delaware. Marc is Founder and Senior Pastor of Faith Bible Fellowship Baptist and Founder and Executive Director of Youth Spectacular. They have four adult children: Marcus, Marice, Jasmine, and Charmaine. Rick ‘83 and Eileen (Tyler ‘84) Craige live in Pennsylvania. Rick is a photographer, and Eileen is an RN. They have three adult children who are also Bible Institute grads: Jessica Sheridan ‘10 who is married to Greg ‘08 & ‘10 , Tyler ‘12 who is married to Chloe (Hossann ‘12) , and Spencer ‘15 . Suzanne (Hess ‘84 & ‘85) Brennan and her husband, Paul, live in Connecticut. Suzanne works in New York City for a retirement/pension company. They have three sons: David ‘14 , Daniel ‘17 , and Matthew. Kimberly (Stratton ‘85) Simonds is married to Ralph, and they live in New Hampshire. She has four adult children: Rachel ‘08 & ‘09 , Stephen

‘10 & ‘11 who is married to MaryLou (Price ‘10 & ‘11) , Andrew ‘14 , and Sarah. Kim is involved in a prison/jail ministry and is going back to school to become an addiction counselor. Bruce Wagner ‘86 and his wife, Margaret, live in Florida where Bruce is a Librarian and Adjunct Professor at South Florida Bible College and Seminary. They have five adult daughters: Sherry Toonder ‘90 , Rebekah Hoskins ‘95 , Leah Gabler ‘97 , Margaret Wright ‘00 , and Sarah Boyce ‘12 . Glenn Haury ‘86 works in real estate management in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. He also serves as an instructor with the Walk Thru the Bible ministry. Gary Rogers ‘89 and his wife, Beth, live in Ohio where Gary works in law enforcement and is involved at church in the youth and music ministries. They have four adult children: Rachel Tanedo ‘11 , Caleb ‘15 , Joshua ‘17 & ‘18 , and Noah. 1990’s Marion Kessler ‘90 and his wife, Sheri, live in Ohio where he works as a Financial Analyst and serves as President of the General Council of the Christian Union of Churches. They have two children: Timothy ‘17 and Sadie. Jennifer (Horton ‘91) Davidson lives in Lynchburg, Virginia, where she is the Aftercare Director at Liberty Christian Academy. She and her husband, Jason ’99 , have three children: Jason, Josiah, and Jeremy. Jodi (Rhoads ‘92) Rabquer and her husband, Bill, live in Ohio. After homeschooling for 16 years, Jodi is now working as an accountant. Two of their children are also Word of Life Bible Institute graduates: Will ’15 & ‘16 and Asher ’15 & ’16 . Nicole (Raimondi ‘92 & ‘93) Shanton and her husband, Dave, live in Virginia. She is a substitute teacher at the local public high school and works with teens at church. They have three children: Andrew ‘18 , Sarah, and Emma. Julie (Brooks ‘94) Hancik and her husband, Marek, are church planting missionaries with Titus International in the Czech Republic. They have three children: Ruby, Henry, and Luke. Scott ‘94 & ‘96 and Rachel (Rindal ‘95 & ‘96) Foreman live in New Jersey where Scott serves as the Executive Pastor at Fellowship Bible Sherry (Wagner ‘90) Toonder lives in Michigan and has two children: Abigail and Samuel.





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Church in Sewell. They have four children: David ‘20 (currently a student at the Bible Institute in New York), Dawson, Lucas, and Ryan. Gino ‘95 and Amelie (Savard ‘95) Rodier are graduates of the Bible Institute in Sherbrooke, Quebec, where they now serve as missionaries with Parole de Vie (Word of Life). They have four children: Eliakim ‘18 & ‘19 , Angelia, Edward, and Malika. Rachel (Sergeant ‘97) Ezelius and her husband, Matt, live in the Greater Albany New York area where she works in private practice as a dietician/nutritionist. They have four children: Peyton, Maddox, Trevor, and Phoebe. 2000’s Tammy (Fields ‘00 & ‘01) Izon lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Phil, and their three children: Kendra, Audrey, and Owen. She is a stay-at-home mom and is working on her MA in Literature through Clarks Summit University with an anticipated completion in 2020. Bethany (Gray ‘01 & ‘02) Brohinsky and her husband, Isaac ’01 & ‘02 , live in Florida where she works as a travel consultant with Wilcox Travel specializing in vacations and missions trips. They have two boys: Elijah and Benjamin. Bethany also homeschools their children and is the treasurer at her church. Jessica (Moody ‘02) Sheets and her husband, Tony, live in Virginia where she worked as an RN for 12 years before being a stay-at-home mom and a Mary Kay consultant. They have three children: Allison, Lukas, and Daniel. Jeremy Gower ‘03 lives in South Carolina where he is a General Contractor and owns GB Building Company. He and his wife, Candice, have three children: Addison, Keegan, and Ellory. Jillian (Huizing ‘04 & ‘05) Kemmerer and her husband, Jeremy, live in Pennsylvania where she is a realtor. They have three children: Eden, Bransen, and Asher. Jenna (Bivens ‘04) Halder and her husband, Justin, live in Indiana. Jenna is a pastor’s wife and mom of three girls: Joylin, Jiliana, and Joella. Tom ‘05 & ‘08 and Elaina (Hinckley ‘05) Fisher live in New Hampshire. Tom is a Content Specialist at GOBI Library Solutions and served seven years with the US Marine Corps Reserves. Elaina is a Reference Librarian at Southern New Hampshire University. They have four children: Constance, Ada, Thomas, and Sylvia.

Manager for Honesdale National Bank, dad, husband, drummer in a praise band, youth leader, and disciple maker. Jessica is a wife and mother to their two children: Aurora and Joshua. She is also a worship leader at church. They are in the process of an international adoption through India and request your prayers. Blaise Chrzastek ‘08 & ‘09 and his wife, Melissa, are living in Missouri where he is a youth pastor. They have two children: Blaise and Kenna. They desire to plant a church on Long Island in the next few years and would appreciate your prayers to that end. 2010’s Todd ‘10 and Lea (Bartolo ‘10) Hollenbach live in Massachusetts. Todd works in client services for an investment management firm, is a deacon and teaches Sunday School. Lea is working as a child life specialist in early intervention and pediatric hospice and palliative care. She serves at church in the youth group and as a deacon’s wife. Branden Brown ‘11 and his wife, Danielle, live in the Greater Albany, New York area. Branden is a Campus and Worship Director at Grace Community Church. Stephanie (Morin ‘11) Martinez and her husband, Malachi, live in Maine. She is a stay-at- home homeschooling mom to their four children: William, Jaxon, Mackenzie, and Ezekiel. Carolyn (Winkler ‘11) Noss and her husband, Ryan, live in Pennsylvania. She is a part-time nanny and a full-time mom to Piper. Drew ‘11 & ‘12 and Brittany (Burke ‘11) Burtis live in the Syracuse, New York area where Drew is the Student Ministries Pastor at Grace Chapel. Brittany ministers alongside Drew in the youth ministry and is a stay-at-home mom to their two children: Adeline and Judah. Tyler '11 & ‘12 and Chloe (Hossann ‘12) Craige live in the Rochester, New York area where Tyler works in IT. They have a daughter: Lola. Jason ‘13 & ‘14 and Mary Jo (Homoelle ‘13 & ‘14) Deardorff live in Ohio where Jason is working on his MDiv at Cedarville University and working part time as the Middle School Director at Linworth Baptist Church. Mary Jo volunteers with the middle school youth at church and leads a Bible study fellowship group. Ben ‘14 and Emily (Alkema ‘14 & ‘15) Cradduck live in Florida where Ben works as an electrician/ CSR for an air conditioning company. They have a daughter: Clara.

GREG '08, '10 & JESSICA (CRAIGE '09, '10) SHERIDAN




Greg ‘08 & ‘10 and Jessica (Craige ‘09 & ‘10) Sheridan live in Pennsylvania. Greg is a Branch


SAVE THE DATE 50 TH When: March26-28, 2021 / speakers: BenGutierrez&RayPritchard ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION Word of Life Bible Institute

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Eric Garland '06, '07 January 4, 2019

Ryan Wyrtzen '01 June 16, 2019

Cody “Free Hugs” Atcheson ’11, ’12 September 7, 2019

Franklin Shatney ’16 September 10, 2019

Elwood “Woody” Ditchfeld ’76 September 25, 2019

Mark Rindal '76 October 3, 2019

David Welch '83 October 18, 2019

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