The Experience Spring 2019_WEB


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A letter from Don Lough, Jr.

I s s u e 7

There is nothing like discerning and doing God’s will. Daily living for God leads us to greater things as we are faithful and obedient in what He has given us to do. One of my favorite Bible passages is Acts 8:26-40 where we read about an angel who suddenly visited Philip and told him to “Arise and go”. Out of obedience, Philip did exactly what God wanted him to do. How can you know what God wants from you today? It’s not complicated…consider these three things: 1. Pursue His Way….There is no substitute for doing the things we know God wants us to do. 2. Perceive God’s Work…Be sensitive to what He is doing and how you can get involved. 3. Proclaim God’s Word…Speak up and share the hope that’s within you. Our Missions Conference theme this year at Word of Life Bible Institute was – Forward. God’s Plan in Motion. As an alumnus and/or friend of Word of Life, it is our prayer that you will say to God, “Here’s my life; I am ready”. Then make the choice to be obedient and intentionally share the Good News. God is at work in people’s lives, and His Word can change the hardest hearts. As you move forward in this way, you will be a part of . . . Holding Forth the Word of Life! With a grateful heart,



Missions Conference Recap


Campus updates


Pressing forward


Grace Island


Impacted Lives, Especially Mine!


Alumni Scholarships


Where are they now?


A place of Refuge

DON LOUGH, JR. (‘84) Executive Director


alumni news

PS: Below is my speaking schedule. If I’m in your area, I would enjoy connecting with you and hearing how you’ve taken the next step.

major contributors

Writers – Chad Johnson, Dave Wyrtzen, Mark Hall, Ken Hayden, Paul Schmucker, Mike Bush 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.

New York Founder’s Bible Conference Florida Bible Institute Chapel Word of Life Dominican Republic Conference North Coast Christian Fellowship, North East, Pennsylvania Wednesday Bible Hour at The Lodge and The Pines

March 29-31

April 3

April 17-21

May 5

June – August


EVENTS & Summer CAMP 2019


JUNE 28 - 29 Worship in the Adirondacks is an outdoor music festival featuring some of the top names in Christian music, such as Kari Jobe and Danny Gokey . This incredible weekend is packed with live worship, camping, and community that you do not want to miss. With music, games, and activities for all ages, there is something for the entire family on our property. Get all the details and tickets online at:

Summer Camp Alumni discounts The lodge: 40% OFF Any full week stay, both program fee and room fee*

Lakeside: 25% Off Program fees & room/duplex rates** Youth camps: 25% Off Base program fee***

The Pines: 25% Off Program fee, site & cabin rates**

Use code WOLBIGRAD when registering online at or call 518.494.6000 , option 1.

Discount applies to full week only, excluding Norman’s Nest. Week 5 is 25% off. Any stay less than a full week is 25% off. Program fee discount applies to alumni & alumni children under 18 only. Does not apply to add-ons. * ** ***



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Missions Conference Recap

Mission Initiative Word of Life appointed a young family to launch into one of the restricted countries in North Africa. We had the opportunity to hear from them about the future work in that location at this year’s Missions Conference! The student body in the two locations raised or pledged special gifts in the amount of $4800 to help them get started. A number of staff and students also joined their support team as monthly partners in the amount of $450 per month. In addition to this opportunity, we hosted Helping Hands Foreign Missions and partnered with them to send over 425 water bottles filled with special gifts for children in both Uganda and Brazil. Mission boards This year we hosted 15 mission boards in Florida and 17 in New York, to allow our students to learn about the opportunities to be involved in global outreach all over the world with various ministry focuses. This two-year opportunity to serve the Lord while finishing your studies continues to grow at Word of Life. After our Missions Conference, we sent out 66 first and second-year interns to 20 different fields and graduated 27 interns who completed their time on the field. Currently our interns are serving in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bermuda, Bolivia, Belem-Brazil, Sao Paulo-Brazil, Quebec-Canada, Czech Republic, Honduras, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, and Uganda. Dedication To world Evangelism There were more than 200 dedication decisions at the end of our conferences in Florida and New York. Please pray for these students from our Florida, New York, Ontario and Quebec campuses who are seeking the Lord’s direction regarding their involvement in reaching this world for Jesus Christ. Cross Cultural Internship Countries


T O D D Ah r e n d International Director of The Traveling Team

K r i s S t o u t Vice President of Word of Life International & Local Church Ministries

D o n L o u g h , J r . Executive Director of Word of Life


Campus Updates


NEW YORK • Fieldhouse was newly renovated and renamed “Huskies Den and Recreation Center.” The kitchen section has been removed; there’s brand new bathrooms; the dining area will become a lobby; and the annex will serve as a meeting space and lounge. • Nairobi cabin has been remodeled and renamed “Schroon River Cottage”. This is a place set aside for Alumni or families of prospective students to stay while visiting the campus. • Asia dorm was completely remodeled and includes a laundry area and a second-floor lounge. FLORIDA • The basketball court is now covered by a roof which gives shade from the hot sun and allows campers to stay outdoors during inclement weather. • Walls are going up on two new cabins…each can accommodate up to 24 campers.








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Pressing Forward


I f you’re a short, undersized ex- football player like me, then the only redeeming factor in one of the most boring Super Bowls ever was to see Julian Edelman become Super Bowl LIII’s MVP. Using whip routes, double moves and pivots, option ins and outs, and seam routes from either the right or left side, Edelman gave the best quarterback in history a foot of clearance. His performance took his career stats past Michael Irvin and right behind Jerry Rice in all-time receiving yards. The guy is only 5’10”, weighs under 200, wasn’t drafted until the 7th round, and then spent his first four seasons in Boston as a backup. Now many are predicting he’s headed for the Hall of Fame. But it’s not the way he plants his foot and then goes 180 degrees in the opposite direction in the twinkling of an eye or the fact that he returned to play in the playoffs after breaking his left foot in November. It’s how after he catches the ball, knowing that he’s going to get clobbered, he lowers his head and with all of his might presses forward. I don’t know whether the Apostle Paul was small in stature, but I do know that, like Edelman, he knew what it meant to keep pressing forward. Near the end of his life, enduring a Roman imprisonment, he still writes these words to the Philippian believers. “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14 Earlier in the chapter, Paul warned the Philippians against the legalists of his

day, Jewish religious opponents who were attacking his spiritual children. They insisted that in order to be called God’s chosen people, one had to be physically circumcised and then had to obey the Jewish regulations (Philippians 3:2). Paul gets passionate when he encounters these enemies seeking to destroy the spiritual lives of his Philippian church family. He makes the counter claim that if anyone wants to start comparing Jewish credentials and the right to be called one of God’s chosen people, he has boasting rights (Philippians 3:4). He starts out with the fact that he was a blue-blood Jew, born an Israelite of Hebrew parents and circumcised the eighth day. He knew he was from the tribe of Benjamin and that he was a member of the party in Judaism, the Pharisees, who practically lived out all the ceremonial laws of the Torah in every aspect of their daily lives. He didn’t just live his convictions in pious solitude, isolated from the pressing issues of his day. As a young man he zealously sought to stamp out those whom he believed were blaspheming the God of Israel by proclaiming that Jesus of Nazareth was the Jewish Messiah (Acts 9:1-3). Pride of birth, scrupulous religious observance, intelligence, and engaged activism—Paul had all these in his early life, but he called it all “excrement,” “garbage”, and he gladly lost it all (Philippians 3:8). IT’S FOOLISH TO PRESS THE IMPORTANCE OF YOUR NAME, EVEN IF IT’S A GOOD NAME. I need to allow the Holy Spirit to expose how all my prideful dependence upon human credentials, acceptance in my in- group, and pride in my achievements can infect my daily life. As the son of Jack Wyrtzen, I had blue-blood evangelical


worldview, or a new social cause. He met Jesus, the Son of God, who sits at the right hand of God and is coming back for us. This explains why when he wrote the book of Philippians near the end of his life, he stressed what he was pressing to do: “That I might intimately know him and the power of his resurrection, the sharing in his sufferings—that is to enter into his death, and so, somehow, to arrive at the resurrection of the dead.” Philippians 3:10 Paul was not doubtful about his eternal destiny. He knew that one day he would see Jesus again face to face, but in prison in Rome he’s still motivated to experience all the closeness with Jesus he can have in the daily joy and pain of this life. This intimacy with Christ is far more than a worldview. It’s a dynamic, real, authentic relationship with Jesus, and his Spirit lives in our hearts to give us the power to keep pressing forward toward greater closeness with our Savior. At the conclusion of the Super Bowl, Joe Namath was the last NFL Hall of Famer to carry the Vince Lombardi trophy to give to the Patriots. His knees were so banged up that he could hardly walk. As Julian Edelman held the trophy high, his legs were strong and powerful, but one day, he will shuffle just like Namath. That’s why I’m pressing forward today to get even closer to the only One who can give me new legs that will be strong and powerful forever, and we will be able to walk together. Let’s press on in 2019 to know Him.

credentials. It opened doors of privilege for me, but Paul was right. It’s foolish to press the importance of your name, even if it’s a good name. My dad, the founder of Word of Life, has now been Home with the Lord for 24 years, and when we called to register our family to spend a few days at the Word of Life Lodge last August, my wife had to spell out “Wyrtzen.” Paul also boasts that he was a Pharisee, trained under Gamaliel, the leading rabbi of his day (Acts 22:3). The Lord gave me the opportunity at Dallas Seminary to study with Dr. Bruce Waltke, one of the foremost Hebrew scholars in the world. In our first doctoral class, he warned us, “I’m afraid for each of you. We’re going to stretch and challenge your minds. We’re going to give you knowledge, but knowledge puffs up. Remember, it’s not about academic prowess. It’s all about intimate closeness with our Savior.” "...IT’S NOT ABOUT ACADEMIC PROWESS. IT’S Some of the most brilliant scholars I’ve known are now no longer able to teach. Their aging mind doesn’t remember like it used to, and it doesn’t have the razor sharp ability to critique, analyze, and synthesize like it used to. Paul was right. We can’t just press to gain more and more knowledge, even if it’s knowledge of God’s Holy Word. Paul not only exposed the fallacy of living for bloodlines and recognition by our peers in academics or other careers. He also exposed the foolishness of pressing hard as a zealot in a cause where we will even use force to get others to submit to our views. Paul got the right legal papers, gathered together a gang of warriors, and then after persecuting the Jews in Jerusalem who had believed in Jesus, he headed north to Damascus. But on the road that day he didn’t encounter a new philosophy, a new ALL ABOUT INTIMATE CLOSENESS WITH OUR SAVIOR."

Dave Wyrtzen, BS, ThM, ThD, has filled roles of Founding Pastor, Teacher, Author, and Adjunct Professor at locations including: • Southern Bible Institute • Dallas Theological Seminary • Truth Encounter • Word of Life Bible Institute • Midlothian Bible Church Dave + Mary Wyrtzen

Connect with Dave by visiting: TRUTHENCOUNTER.COM Dave Wyrtzen with his father, Jack Wyrtzen


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Grace Island

I graduated from high school back in the ‘dark ages’ (June 1980) having just rededicated my life to Jesus Christ that January. I gave my heart to Christ when I was 12 years old but tried running my teen years myself. At 17 years old, I was tired of failed resolutions, and I realized I needed the Lord to help me live for Him. I really had no long-term ambition for a career, but I knew I needed a little better grip on God’s Word and thought Word of Life Bible Institute would be a good move for one year. I had no idea what was ahead, and my $90 taxi ride from Albany Airport to Pottersville was proof I wasn’t prepared for how far outside my comfort zone God was taking me. Jack Wyrtzen and Word of Life Bible Institute blew my mind that first year. I was listening to God’s Word and surprised by how much I was learning. Class after class, I was overwhelmed by how much God’s Word was making practical sense.







around me saw God’s work in my life so much better than I did in those years. In 2001, Word of Life Bermuda grew to be a national field ministry, and we started a teen camp ministry after running Bible Clubs and Club events for 12 years. We started with just one week of teen camp each summer trying to capture much of The Island feel and spiritual intensity in our little program. Today we run four weeks of summer camp and one weekend of ‘Battlezone Camp’ (spiritual disciplines) each year. Almost none of our ideas are original but observed elsewhere and adapted to reach our local island communities effectively. Each year we see about 200-300 decisions for Christ in our Olympian and Teen events and Camps. I’ve come to believe a consistent ministry over 30 years and still seeing the creative blessing of God is as powerful a testimony to God’s grace as a huge stadium crusade with 5,000 decisions in one night. God’s miraculous power is at work in both situations. This Christmas Eve, Grace Island, the camp we’ve rented for 17 years, was gifted to Word of Life Bermuda by The Perry family. The 5.87-acre island is just big enough to solidify our camping and will open new kinds of ministry for outreach. Property is a blessing which can quickly become a distraction. Land and fun amenities don’t lead people to Christ; only people can evangelize. Don Lough and our Bermuda Board are helping us to plan creatively to fund the property upgrades while keeping our passion for precious lives as our focus. Did I see this coming back in 1980 when I was at the Bible Institute? No! God is serious when He saves us. He has a full plan called ‘His workmanship in Christ’ (Ephesians 2:10) that you don’t have to struggle to actualize. You just have to ‘trust’ and ‘obey today’, and He unfolds His plan for your marriage, ministry, mistakes, mission, kids, and community as you walk with Him. YOU JUST HAVE TO ‘TRUST’ AND ‘OBEY TODAY.’

BY MARK HALL ('81 & '82)

I REALIZED I NEEDED THE LORD TO HELP ME LIVE FOR HIM. I think I learned so much in my Bible Institute year, it took me the next 10 years to unpack, understand and appreciate all that was given to me that year. By August 1981, I had learned a lot about the Christian life but was still a ‘babe’ in how to ‘live’ all this new truth. You remember? Just enough Bible knowledge to be ‘dangerous’. I came back to the Bible Institute the next year for the first-ever School of Youth Ministries, 1981-82, (now Second- Year program). That was a fantastic year of ‘Bubar-leadership’ and vision and experiential learning with Bible Club principles brought into the classroom. I think much of the vision instilled in me that year has become my foundation for Word of Life ministry today. I interned in the Bronx with John Cousins, hoping to observe youth ministry in the inner city. When we arrived, there was no youth ministry, and the pastor thought we were coming to pioneer a youth ministry in the Bronx. What John and I had to learn that winter was to see what God was already doing and then adjust our approach to make ministry more effective. That is what I still do for Word of Life and Local Church Ministries now as Director of Word of Life Bermuda and a zone leader in The Caribbean Region today. For five years as youth pastor in Bermuda, I was using the Word of Life Local Church Ministries program. I was mentored by the gracious Howie Bowen. He was my coach, example and greatest cheerleader as I became a Word of Life missionary in 1991. Pamela Swan and I were married that same year, and God was taking this once ambitionless young man into new ministry and marriage all at once. The gracious men

Mark Hall

National Director, Word of Life Bermuda MHALL@WOL.ORG


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Impacted Lives, Especially Mine! BY CHAD JOHNSON ('95)


I was headed out in two weeks to go on a backpacking adventure when I sat down with my uncle for what I thought was our normal breakfast. I thought he’d be excited to hear that I’d planned another solo hike, this time in Costa Rica. The words and the wisdom of my uncle that morning fell profoundly on my heart. His words, “With all that schooling and Bible training, how are you going to use it in your travels?” That struck me, and I was convicted to the core that I needed to do more on my trip than just ‘see the world and explore.’ I needed to take my resources and training that I was profoundly blessed with and use them to share Christ with others. Yes, I wanted to make a difference. I NEEDED TO DO MORE ON MY TRIP THAN JUST ‘SEE THE WORLD AND EXPLORE.’ That weighed on my heart throughout the day. When I got home that evening, I immediately began researching short-term mission trips for professionals and singles. The odds were certainly stacked against me. I was leaving in two weeks, and I specifically needed to join an organization in Costa Rica. Not easy! Well, I learned with God all things are possible! Combing through various Bible-based organizations, I found many that are ‘doing good’ in the world. My desire was not only to work with a Bible-based organization but also to work with one where I could physically contribute and have a visible impact. And, there it was, a site for ‘Word of Life International Ministries’. I’m a 1995 graduate of the Bible Institute! I read about their short-term missions and scrolled to see the name of Ron Morton. Ron is the Short-Term Missions Work Trip Adventures Coordinator. Quickly, I looked up his phone number and within five minutes I was talking with him. Twenty-four hours later I was scheduled to serve on a mission trip in Word of Life Costa Rica building an entrance to their gorgeous summer camping facilities and outreach campus.


God was working, and I knew His hand had orchestrated this timely and amazing missions opportunity. I have been able to serve on two exciting work trips with Word of Life Short-Term Missions. In the summer of 2016 I spent two weeks at Word of Life Costa Rica, and the following summer I served with Word of Life Chile for two weeks in Santiago. Both of these trips were labor-intensive, Christ-centered and life-changing. Where I thought I was setting out to hopefully change someone’s life, it was mine that has been changed! Great lifelong friendships were made in a short time. Short-Term Missions truly has impacted my life and has allowed me to show compassion on others as Jesus has done for me. I am forever grateful for the impact Word of Life and the Bible Institute has had on my life. If God has placed a burden on your heart to help reach the lost in other parts of the world, then ‘go and make disciples of all nations’ as Jesus said in Matthew 28:19. Word of Life has some amazing and unique short-term missions opportunities already lined up for the next several years. Do you have a desire to do more, to serve others and to share Christ’s love with the lost? I hope and pray you will consider one of these trips in the near future. Come join us. Visit MISSIONS.WOL.ORG for your next adventure!

Chad Johnson

Chad is a Field Trainer and Support Specialist

- Marketing at RTI Surgical® - Richmond, Virginia. • Word of Life

Island STC 1993

• Word of Life

Bible Institute 1995

• Word of Life Ranch STC

Counselor 1995

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Save the date

June 1, 2019

Alumni Family Gathering at Hersheypark, Hershey, Pennsylvania

The cost includes all of the rides and coasters, the waterpark, ZooAmerica and dinner! AGES 0-2 ARE FREE AND AGES 3 TO ADULT ARE $35.00 PER PERSON. MUST BE PURCHASED BY MAY 22.

Enjoy a fun day at Hersheypark with other WOLBI Alumni and their families. Please reserve your tickets at . Tickets will be picked up at Hersheypark at the Word of Life designated ticket booth.

Alumni Weekend During the Fall Family Retreat at Word of Life Lodge OCTOBER 11-13, 2019 Class of 1989 - 30th Reunion | Class of 1979 - 40th Reunion Alumni discount of 25% off applies Plus your kids (17 and under) stay FREE ! To make reservations, call Customer Service at 518.494.6000 , option 1.


Alumni Scholarships BY KEN HAYDEN ('86) W henever I get to interact with current students or prospective students visiting campus, I like to ask them how they came to know about Word of Life. Almost always their answer includes a relationship with an alumnus of the Bible Institute. Either a youth leader, school teacher, pastor, family friend, relative or some other person in their life was once a student at Word of Life Bible Institute. It has long been known that our alumni are the greatest source for prospective students. Here are some ways and tools you can use to encourage a prospective student to consider attending Word of Life Bible Institute:

Ken Hayden

Word of Life Bible Institute Alumni Relations Assistant Volunteer/National Volunteer Program

Share your Word of Life Story We all have one. Some good and some bad. Some fun and some sad. In one way or another our lives were impacted from our time studying and serving at Word of Life Bible Institute. I hear from alumni from the very beginning days all the way through to the most recent graduates. The resounding theme from every year of the Bible Institute is that it was the best year of their life… often followed up with them saying it was also the hardest year of their life. If you are one of these alumni and your time at Word of Life made a lasting impact on your life, then share your story and encourage others to come and experience the same life-changing teaching and ministry that is still happening to this day. The Alumni Encouragement Award Through the generous donations of our ministry friends, Word of Life is able to provide you with this tool that allows you to encourage a prospective student to start the process and apply to attend Word of Life Bible Institute. This is a $500 scholarship that will be applied to their school bill, and all you have to do is fill in your information,and the name of the prospective student and give it to them.

Campus Preview Days New York and Florida Campus Preview Days is a 3-day, 2-night campus-wide event that is absolutely free. Students stay in one of our beautiful dorms and get to join other students for a weekend full of planned activities to give them an exciting glimpse of life at Word of Life Bible Institute. Each weekend features opportunities to meet staff and students, and to go on campus tours, and we’ll even reimburse up to $250 of your travel costs! Register for your visit at WOLBINY.EVENTBRITE.COM or WOLBIFL.EVENTBRITE.COM Life Change Student Fund Remember when you were a student at the Bible Institute and were wondering how God would provide for your financial needs? I’m guessing you were amazed as God provided...perhaps through a scholarship. Are you able to be a blessing in the life of a current or future student? For more information on the Alumni Encouragement Award and Alumni Giving, visit WORDOFLIFE.EDU/ALUMNI

Alumni Encouragement Award

Give a $500 scholarship to a student you know!

Your student will experience life on campus - we'll cover up to $250 of the travel costs. Campus Preview Days

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where are they now? BY MIKE BUSH (‘81)

Academic Administrative Assistant. In this role I realized how much I had missed working with students and enjoy ministering with and to them, only this time with men and women. Describe highlights from your time on staff… I loved going on tours and working behind the scenes doing makeup and coordinating housing. I got to know the students in different ways and also saw other alumni along the way. Of course, traveling with Harry Bollback was an education and an experience all on its own. I frequently told the students I had x-ray vision and that it helped in my role as the Dean. What a joy it has been to see growth and to hear from students even now. Word of Life has an RV Park on the Florida campus. Many of the guests/residents sent their children and grandchildren to the Bible Institute, and I often refer to their young people as wonderful and perfect students! Words of encouragement for our alumni… Alumni will say to me, “You probably don’t want to hear from me since I had so many demerits or were a problem”. My usual response is, “What are you doing now for the Lord?” That is the important thing. Continue to be an instrument for Him. Actively serve and encourage young people you come in contact with to be used by Him.

An interview with Virginia (Ginny) Newton ‘73 Ginny Newton has lived a life of influence through her various ministry responsibilities at Word of Life. As a discipler, encourager, admonisher, disciplinarian, friend, and sister, she always had the end goal of growth and maturity. How did you get connected to Word of Life? I went to a meeting where Robbie Robertson was the speaker. Afterwards, I saw a brochure for the Bible Institute on the display table. What areas of ministry did you serve in? I was working with girls in a Pioneer Group and the youth in my church in Maryland. I knew young people were looking for Biblical answers, and I felt I needed some training. I came to the Bible Institute in 1972. In doing this I took a year’s leave of absence from my job in Nuclear Medicine at a hospital. They graciously gave me the time off even though my studies did not involve medical training. The Bible Institute had a tremendous influence in my life … so much so that I resigned from my job and headed in a different direction. Dr. Paul Brownback was my mentor and recommended that I go to Cedarville College to work on their staff. I was there for one year before Word of Life asked me to return to Schroon Lake as Assistant Dean of Women in the summer of 1974. I served in that capacity for a year and then became Dean of Women for the next 21 years. In 1996 I resigned to be near family. I returned to Word of Life in 1998 and worked at Headquarters in the financial area. I was there until 2010 and then came to the Florida campus to work with Dr. Marshall Wicks as the

Ginny lives at Word of Life Florida RV Park and serves at the Florida Bible Institute campus. Take a moment to send a note to Ginny. She would love to hear from you. GINNYN@WOL.ORG Ginny Newton 1973 2019


A Place of Refuge AN ALUMNI STORY

have already built one feeding center, and now we are in the process of building the second one. Today God is moving. I have seen the evidence of God's provision as we reach out to the people of Yarumela. Yarumela is in one of the poorest areas of Honduras. This is the place where God led us to build our second feeding center. When entering into Yarumela the first time, I prayed asking God to show me a community leader who would be able to introduce me to the people. God did just that. As I drove up to the entrance of Yarumela, there in front of me stood the community leader. Having no idea who I was, God was preparing the way. We then launched to build a feeding center. Purchasing land was the first priority. Through much prayer and sharing this need, God made provision. Land was purchased and we are in the process of building a multi-purpose building. This building will provide clean water, food, a place for missions teams to stay and classrooms to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. GOD'S GRACE IS FULL; IT NEVER RUNS OUT God's grace is full; it never runs out. It's what makes His salvation so secure, and He will never let us go. I am thankful for that. Life has been a trail of joys, sadness, achievements, and let-downs, but we have a God who is always there for us. His love exceeds all our expectations. We are the voice and the messenger of His grace. He uses our weaknesses that we may be strong in Him. He receives the glory in all we do. It's He who gives us the ability to do what we do.

BY PAUL SCHMUCKER (‘00 & '01) M y childhood memories of entering the Word of Life Camp bring warm thoughts. The smell of the pine trees and the amazing atmosphere of learning God’s Word have shadowed my life. My parents would bring me andmy brothers every summer to camp. Each summer made a special impact on my life with memories I will cherish forever. It was during my 17th year, while on The Island, I made a decision to trust Christ as my Savior and to dedicate my life to Him. I had a clear vision to follow God with my life and give Him my all. In 1999 I entered the Bible Institute ready and eager to learn God's Word, absorbing all God's teachings through men who taught with conviction and passion. I became convicted to serve in full-time missions. Word of Life taught me valuable lessons such as discipline, integrity, hard work, being a student of God's Word and missions, which prepared me to serve as a missionary. In 2000 I had the privilege of joining missionary, David Kelly, on a short-term missions trip to the Island of Curacao, north of South America. It was during this time that God was leading me to serve in full-time international ministry. I continued my education at Clear Creek Baptist Bible College and for 10 years I served with CBM, Children's Bible Ministries, of East Tennessee. During that time God was preparing me for the mission field of Honduras. In 2014, arrivingwith suitcases and a dream, International Leadership Ministries was born. Honduras being such a poor country, turning a shoulder was not an option. Our ministry is about meeting the physical and spiritual needs through missions teams, feeding centers, churches and schools. We

Paul Schmucker

Founder and President of International Leadership Ministries ILMHONDURAS.COM

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1970’S Betsi (Phillips) Calhoun ‘72 and her husband, Mike, live in North Carolina where Mike is the Pastor of Ministry Training at The Summit Church following retirement from Word of Life in August of 2017. Betsi works alongside Mike in discipling and serving Summit interns and apprentices who are training for the mission field and church planting. They have three adult children (including one in heaven) and one grandchild. (See photo) 1980’s Paul Bonney ‘80 and his wife, Betty, live in Virginia. Paul is a computer programmer for the United States Air Force. Ruth (Nazarian) Zaharek ‘83 & ‘84 and her husband, Stuart, live in Cedarville, Ohio, where they own and operate an inn/hotel. They have three children who are also Bible Institute alumni: Kristyna ‘11 (27), Michelle ‘13 & ‘14 (24), and Jonathan ‘16 (21). Juleen (Warne) Busike ‘84 and her husband, Jim, live in California where Alumni News Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter. FRANCIS CHAN


she works in the accounting department for a lighting distributor. They have two daughters: Rachel (21) and Katie (17). Judith (Harris) Ahlquist ‘85 and her husband, Carl, live in Maine. Judy is a customer service representative/ dispatcher for a fuel company. They have two adult children: Carl III and Elizabeth. Michelle (Small) Wheeler ‘86 and her husband, David, live in New Hampshire. They have a special needs daughter, Michaela (21). Michelle recently received her bachelor's degree and is looking for work in the information technology field. Jeff ‘87 and Christine (Cleveland) ‘86 Covel live in New York and have two adult children: Ashley (24) and Alec (23). Christine is a Certified Nurse Midwife. Angela (Weidman) Nelson ‘87 and her husband, Marty, live in Wisconsin. They have two children: Anthony (27) and Nicholas (26) and one grandchild. Angela works as an office manager for a nonprofit.





Gary Armstrong ‘88 is the Youth and Young Adult Pastor at New Braunfels Bible Church in Texas. He and his wife, Chela, have three children: Zach (26), Keaton (22), and Garrett (18). Prior to this position, Gary had served as a senior pastor for about 14 years. Gary says of his time at Word of Life, “I had a fantastic experience! I grew so much in the Lord and was directed into my future there.” (See photo) Ellis '88 and Beth (Stout) Lowe ‘88 live in Georgia. They have eight children: Megan (23), Amanda (22), Shannon (20), Jonathan (19), Jameson (19), Lauren (15), Sophia (10), and Olivia (7). Penny (Crabb) Laterza ‘88 and her husband, Sam, are missionaries with Gospel Fellowship Association and are serving in Southeast Asia. They have three adult children: Bethany, Anthony, and Valerie. Penny shares, "Missions Conference 1988 was when 'my plans' changed to 'His plans!' (See photo) 1990’s Kelly (Poyser) Babb ‘90 lives in Indiana where she is an obstetrics nurse for a midwife. She has three children: Kyle (21), Lauren (18), and Holden (15). Kelly says of her time at Word of Life, “I loved sitting at the picnic table down by the lake and talking to God. A big turning point in my life happened at the Bible Institute.” (See photo) Julie (Schwartz) Mahoney ‘90 & ‘91 is living in Pennsylvania with her two sons: Samuel (18) and Benjamin (14). She works for Rite Aid as a pharmacy technician. Peter Dearing ‘90 & ‘92 lives in Massachusetts where he works as a computer technician. Matthew Work ‘92 and his wife, Tina, live in Nebraska. Matthew is an inventory manager. Sherri (Payne) Hendrix ‘93 and her husband, Erik, live in North Carolina. Sherri works as a Deputy Clerk at Alamance County Clerk of Court. Reflecting on her time at Word of Life, Sherri says, “It was a great year of growth in the Lord. I had tons

of adventures with Open Air Evangelism. The best part was I got to share Christ with more people than I could ever count! I got to see many saved as well!” Jason Frederick ‘94 lives in Ohio where he is in full-time ministry as a missionary/ church planter. He also works as a contract chef. He and his wife, Sarah, have four children: Jonas (11), Lillian (9), Josephine (4), and Evelyn (2). Amy (Bush) Stillman ‘95 and her husband, Ernie, live in Maine. They have seven children: Mikayla (18), Tyler (13), Kaitlyn (11), Peyton (10), Abryanna (7), Ely (6), and Delaney (4). Amy is a stay-at-home mom. Melinda (Brawner) Litchford ‘95 and her husband, Mitch, live in Virginia. They have three children: Dakota (18), Micah (16), and Ryan (13). Melinda is a teacher's assistant at Lynchburg City School. Tammy (Brom) Frey ‘96 and her husband, Justin, live in Pennsylvania. They have three children: Trevor (15), Toby (13), and Joshua (7). Tammy is a wife, mother, and licensed manicurist. J. Aaron ’96 and Heather (Brentlinger) Dunham ‘96 live in Ohio. They have three children ages 15,13, and 11. Heather homeschools the youngest and has an essential oils home business. (See photo) Barbara Dakin ‘97 has retired to the coast of Maine after serving many years as the church secretary at Mountainside Bible Chapel in Schroon Lake, New York. Jamie Linstra ‘96 & ‘97 lives in Ohio. He is a financial manager for a group of privately-owned nursing homes. Mary (Lehr) Ashby ‘98 and her husband, Kenneth, live in Pennsylvania. They have four children: Abigail (7), Amanda (5), Taylor (4), and Kaitlyn (2). Mary is a 3rd grade teacher in a Christian school. Jonathan ‘99 & ‘00 and Laura (Irons) ‘99 Jones live in Maine where Jonathan is the pastor at Lisbon Falls Baptist Church. They have three children: Alivia (13), Felicity (11), and Caroline (8).



DAN WEBSTER ('00 & '01)



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2000’s Elizabeth (Chayka) Evans ‘00 and her husband, William, live in Pennsylvania where she works as an executive chef. They have a daughter: Abigail May (5). Dan ‘00 & '01 and Joni (Westfall) Webster ‘00 live in North Carolina where Dan is an Associate Pastor at Harvest Baptist Church. They have three children: Gracie (15), Dean (13), and Nick (12). (See photo) Christi (Solderberg) Newman ‘00 & ‘01 and her husband, Chris, live in Virginia. Christi is a corporate project manager. Michaela (Donatova) Pisova ‘01 and her husband, Milan, live in the Czech Republic and serve on staff at Biblical Theological Seminary. They have two children: Tadeas (11) and Benjamin (8). Michaela is involved in their church with a ladies craft night, a Bible club for children, basketball and English camps, and a museum of the Bible {in Czech Republic}. “We have been here 8 years so everyday contact with people here is a ministry. Most people in our town don’t know about Christ and the Bible. It’s a great privilege to see God working and changing hearts.” Kyle Franklin ‘02 and his wife, Carla, live in New York where Kyle is Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Belfast. One of his memories of his time at Word of Life was “Definitely the people…so many teachers investing in my life and friendships that still are going strong to this day!” (See photo) Isaac ‘03 and Amanda (Bohrer) ‘02 & ‘03 Coburn live in West Virginia. They have four children: Aaron (10), Micah (7), Claire (6), and Gabriel (3). Amanda is a stay-at-home mom and works for a health and wellness company from home. Seth '03 and Rachel (Micka) Nuzum ‘03 live in Connecticut. Seth is the Student Ministries and Worship Pastor at Valley Bible Church. Their memory of the Bible Institute was “getting engaged.” Sarah Goff ‘05 lives in Wisconsin where she is a United States Postal Service contractor.

Elizabeth (Haughey) Edmonson ‘06 & ‘07 is married to Ron. They live in New York where Elizabeth is a home care nurse. Katie (Hoeft) Paredes ‘07 lives in Oregon with her husband, David (also a BI grad - Instituto Biblico Palabra de Vida Argentina). Katie works as a branch office administrator for Edward Jones. They have two children: Eleanor (7) and Samuel (2). David ‘07 and Britta (Dykeman) ‘07 Meadows live in Kansas where David works as a public works utilities operator. Britta is a freelance editor/typesetter and homeschools their three children. (See photo) Andrew Taylor ‘07 and his wife, Jordan, live in Kentucky where Andrew is a student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and works as a designer. Joshua ‘06 & ’07 and Cortney (Palmer) Filler ‘08 live in Ohio. In addition to raising their kids, Jackson (4) and Carter (2), Cortney runs a small business from home making/painting wood signs. She also coaches high school soccer and track at a small Christian school. Daniel ‘09 and Janeane (Latzko) ‘08 & ‘09 Dalton live in Connecticut. They have three children: Alyssa, Lewis, and Riley. Janeane is a homeschooling and homemaking mom and an independent consultant for Young Living and Usborne Books. Jim ‘08 & ‘09 and Alyssa (Milian) ‘09 Clifford live in New York where Alyssa works as a graphic designer. Phillip ‘08 and Kayla (Clements) ‘09 Beasley live in Ohio. Kayla is a public school teacher. Heidi (Madsen) Terry ‘09 and her husband, Benjamin, live in Florida. Heidi is a music conductor and teacher. 2010’s Tamara Davidson ‘10 and her husband, Brian, are living in Florida. Melissa Carmer ‘10 & ‘11 lives in Michigan where she works as a preschool teacher.



HANNAH JACKSON (‘15 & ‘16)

MICAH STOUDT ('12 & '13)

KATHRYN WRIGHT ('12 & '13)


Connect with us!

Amber Ruhstorfer ‘10 & ‘11 lives in Michigan where she works at Appletree Christian Learning Center. Dimitri Stevanus ‘11 lives in Virginia where he works in the financial aid office at Liberty University. Micah Stoudt ‘12 & ‘13 and his wife, Vilma, live in Watertown, New York, where Micah is the Associate Pastor of Music Ministries at New Hope Baptist Church. Micah also works in the Electronics Department at Walmart. (See photo) Kathryn Wright ‘12 & ‘13 is currently serving in Uganda during her second year in the Word of Life Cross Cultural Internship program. She graduated from Bryan College in May 2017 with a liberal arts degree. (see pic) Hannah Jackson ‘15 & ‘16 lives in Florida and is attending community college and working at Bell Shoals Baptist Academy. (See photo)

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Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. HEBREWS 12:2 NASB

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