Sunday, April 18, 2010

Jarod Osborne--soon to be pastor in Vancouver Washington

Jarod was one of those strong-silent-type students. He always seemed so strong to me—even before I knew him well. I later discovered why he came across this way—it was a mind set of a man with a black belt in martial arts and he was restrained in letting that power out. That’s how Jarod was intellectually too in my classes—he often knew the answers to questions and had deep thoughts yet he often kept them to himself while others filled up class discussion with shallower thoughts.

I got to know Jarod best after he spent his junior year overseas. Facing radical culture shock, other flourishing religions and personal grief he experienced a major crisis of faith. When he returned to IWU he was trying to find his way again and we met often. I admired Jarod deeply as I saw him work through recovering his faith again. He is one of my models for how to face and recover from such a faith crisis. His strength and perseverance makes him the go-to guy in my opinion for young men and woman facing such a collapse of faith.

Jarod worked as a youth outreach coordinator for the Salvation Army in Mansfield, Ohio, and has served in youth work for a United Methodist church in New Jersey and even served as a missionary to Uganda where he found his wife Esther. The last time I ran into Jarod was after hiking the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming with the Kinds. Sharon and I stopped by Yellowstone for chuch Sunday morning and Jarod was the summer park chaplain there—he preached a great sermon. (His pictiure that morning is above).

Jarod is about to graduate from seminary. In a month or so he’ll graduate from Princeton Theological seminary, my own alma mater. I found out this week that he has just accepted a call to be the solo-senior pastor of the Vancouver Wesleyan church, in Washington. District Superintendent Karl Westfall is building up quite a cadre of pastors in that district and Jarod will be a great addition. Jarod, I’m proud of you—you’ll make a great pastor!

For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 1 Thessalonians 2:19 (NIV)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I'm proud of Chelo & Laura!

Marcelo Santana came to IWU from Puerto Rico but I didn’t get to really know him until Paul Kind invited Marcelo along for a month of hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail.

What a wonderful guy he turned out to be. How I came to love and admire Marcelo! He was an intrepid hiker who never seemed to have a bad day--even though he often fell into rivers and streams while attempting too-long jumps across the rocks. He sang lustily on the trail so that I could hear him a half mile away, he remembered stories and jokes from his teen years and from campus and told (and retold) these stories until our sides split with laughter. (Picture of Marcelo and me below)

On the IWU campus he was a whirlwind of energy, riding his skateboard into right into the classroom or publishing a book of ideas for “Cheap Dates in Marion” which he sold to other students who had less creativity. His papers were always different from everyone else’s since he could dream up a dozen different way to do the assignment that the professor had never even never thought of.

I watched Marcelo flip for Laura Warner (who happened to be one of my favorite Christian Education students). Laura graduated in 2002 and Marcelo (AKA "Chelo") graduated in youth ministry a year later. When these two got married they moved to Ohio, Laura’s home state, where Laura taught at Head Start and Marcelo worked on a farm then later at a factory making electrical parts. But hat was not thei goal--they were praying together that God would lead them to a church.

In October 2003, a year after Chelo’s graduation they were called to work at Grant Wesleyan Church in Michigan. Ever since they have been at that same church—a great church with a great senior pastor. Laura substitute taught until their daughter Elena was born and they have recently added a scond child, Antonio, who is now about 6 months old. I think they bought a house there too.

Laura mentors youth and young adults in the Grant church and is a youth leader working with Marcelo who is the youth pastor/assistant pastor. Chelo is the consummate “connecter” with people—he is virtually "omnipresent" in the community. He coaches soccer, plays indoor soccer after school, hangs out at the skate parks, and even runs dodge ball tournaments in the high school gym to provide a safe place for kids on Friday nights.

Lately Chelo is really into training interns for service and ministry—mostly high school seniors. His high school interns speak at children’s rallies, help the elderly, do home repair projects, learn to play instruments, and help out with local church ministries. It is an incredible thing--he runs a program for high schoolers that rivals some post-college internship prgrams. In fact Chelo sends some students to IWU who have more ministerial experience when they get here than most other students have when they leave!

To connect with the Mexican community the Grant church runs a summer soccer league--getting the idea that Chelo likes soccer? Chelo is also a translator in the court system along with helping the volunteers learn Spanish. Can a Puerto Rican kid who married an Ohio girl be happy in northern Michigan? You betcha! They love their work and the people at Grant Wesleyan and their Senior Pastor loves them right back. I’m proud of you Chelo & Laura!

For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 1 Thessalonians 2:19 (NIV)

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Dave Mierau --Pastor in Goshen

Dave Mierau graduated from IWU in 2005 and is now pastor at LifeSpring Community Church, in Goshen, Indiana. It is a very relational, laid back church packed with mature leaders and a lot of diversity in age and occupations including quite a few students from Goshen college who attend. Dave’s church runs about a hundred people but he has five people on staff. How does he pull this off? There are five staffers each at about ten hours a week—most of them of course are bi-vocational. The staff is pretty diverse too in terms of people's ages. Dave feels this intergenerational-part-timers staff model has worked pretty well. He’s energized!

I recall that Dave had a series of solid practicum experiences in college and some great internship experiences after college before he returned to Indiana to pastor this church. About a year ago he got married (to Kim) and they are partners in ministry. I admire Dave’s creativity and leadership! I’m proud of you Dave!

For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 1 Thessalonians 2:19 (NIV)