Alum Walks Over 1,000 Miles for Fellow Alum’s Treatment

“Everyone has a comfort zone,” says Josh Bonner (’02), who has spent the last two and a half months walking from Central High School in Brooksville, Florida, to Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion. “If you allow God to get you out of your comfort zone, he will give you opportunities to love people.” Bonner’s Never Give Up Walk is dedicated to raising money for fellow alum, Jason Helm (’02), a missionary in Mozambique and South Africa who is facing pancreatic cancer and limited options to fund his treatment. Bonner and Helm had been merely acquaintances at Indiana Wesleyan, but when in February, Bonner learned that Helm needed $75,000 for the next round of treatment, he felt like he needed to help. “I had just started renting out a house,” says Bonner, “and I had just gotten my first rent check when my church took up an offering for Jason.” Bonner gave the whole check, but felt like he needed to do more. He then began to conceive of the walk. Bonner, an elementary P. E. teacher, spent the rest of the school year planning his route, gear, and contacts along the way.

Josh holds picture of Jason Helm with his family.

Josh holds picture of Jason Helm with his family.

When Helm was diagnosed in 2012, he could have come back to the States full-time to receive treatment, but decided to stay in Mozambique to continue his work there, traveling to South Africa and occasionally to Indianapolis for doctor’s visits. Helm, whose family is from Marion, lives with his wife and three children, teaches at a Bible college in Xai Xai, Mozambique, and farms in the community where they live. In the months leading up to the walk, Bonner and Helm began to communicate more frequently through an international messaging app called What’s App. “Jason has this big beard that’s almost completely gray now, and he’s only in his thirties,” says Bonner, who says that he and Helm now message each other almost every day. “He was having to sell his personal possessions to get treatment.” Within the past few months, Helm’s insurance provider decided to drop his coverage, leaving Helm and his family with staggering medical bills and little means to pay them.

Josh completes his 1,100 mile walk at IWU's Marion Campus.

Josh completes his 1,100 mile walk at IWU’s Marion Campus.

Bonner’s walk, which lasted for 55 days and stretched over 1,100 miles, has raised over $13,000 for Helm’s treatment. Bonner met many unlikely people along the way: people who had been on mission trips to Mozambique who knew Jason, people who were on their own cross-country walks, people who prayed with Bonner and people who gave money to Helm’s treatment. Bonner began the walk on June 13 with a send-off ceremony at his high school. A couple of hours in, he wanted to quit, struggling under a pack that weighed 90 pounds in the Florida heat and humidity, but instead called his brother to help him unload everything that he wouldn’t need. “This walk was called the ‘Never Give Up Walk,’ and there I was on the first day, wanting to give up,” laughs Bonner, who says that the Indiana climate has been a relief from the heat of the South. Each day, Bonner listened to audiobooks and music, prayed, and enjoyed the countryside. He says the walk has been “an emotional and mental detox,” as he has been away from most technology and the comforts of home for several months. When he arrived at IWU on Friday, August 7, Bonner was welcomed by a group of 40 people clustered around the John Wesley statue. The next day, he was invited to meet with President Wright and other administrators, who were moved by his and Helm’s story. “I am the last person people would expect to do something like this,” Bonner laughs, holding up the latest edition of The Triangle, IWU’s alumni magazine, which features a small blurb about his walk. “I was shy and kept to myself in college, but God drew me out of my comfort zone.” While Helm had originally planned to meet Bonner on the last leg of the walk, Bonner will instead be flying to South Africa with a backpack full of chemo to give to Helm. In the fall, Bonner will not return to teaching, but will be pursuing a career in the ministry. “God called me to the ministry two weeks before he called me to this walk,” he says, not sure what this next season has in store for him. The GoFundMe page will be open indefinitely, and the Alumni Office encourages the alumni network to donate to Helm’s treatment.

Josh meets with Rick Carder, Director of Alumni and Church Engagement at the end of the 1,100 mile walk.

This article is written by Hannah Combs who is a student writer for the Alumni Office. She is a senior student of Writing and Humanities through the John Wesley Honors College.

Dr. John Bray Chosen as Interim Dean of the Chapel

In his introduction to Rev. John A. Bray’s commencement speech this past April, IWU President Dr. David Wright called the veteran pastor a “creative communicator with a passion for helping people find a faith that works in the real world.” IWU is pleased to announce that Rev. Bray will be the Interim Dean of the Chapel until the search committee can make a permanent selection in early 2016.


After graduating from Indiana Wesleyan in 1973, Bray immediately began serving as senior pastor at Heritage Wesleyan Church in Rock Island, Illinois. He has been a member of the IWU board of trustees since 1999, and in 2007, earned his Master of Arts degree in Ministry and Leadership from College of Graduate Studies (forerunner of of Wesley Seminary at IWU). In 2014, Rev. Bray retired from Heritage Wesleyan, where he had been senior pastor for 41 years. Last year, he served as Senior Pastor Emeritus at Heritage and Interim Pastor at First Wesleyan Church in Battle Creek, Michigan. Dr. Wright talks of Bray’s entrepreneurial spirit, citing the growth of Heritage Wesleyan from 24 members to over 3,000 during Bray’s tenure. “Reverend Bray is one of those people to whom I look up, and admire, and whose counsel and guidance I value tremendously as a friend and as a member of our board,” says Wright.

“I’m very excited about the breadth of experience and perspective [Bray] will bring to campus for this year,” says Dr. Keith Newman, CEO for Residential Education at IWU’s Marion campus. “In addition, his wife, Patty, will be a wonderful partner in ministry with him. Students will love his sense of humor, his practical approach, and his winsome manner.”

Dr. Jim “Umfundisi” Lo served as Dean of the Chapel until the end of the Spring semester. He is now serving as IWU’s Campus Pastor and Professor of Religion stated, “I was so glad to hear that Rev John Bray is going to serve as The interim Dean of the chapel.  He has a big heart for God, is a superb preacher-teacher, is a humble and passionate leader, is an encourager of others and has the anointing of the Almighty upon him.” Offering full support in this decision Lo encourages people to life him in prayer saying, “I will be lifting him up in prayers and supporting him as he ministers at IWU. thanking the Lord.”

In his April commencement address where Rev. John Bray received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree, John BrayBray was short and simple, joking that the only thing he remembers from his commencement was that he almost tripped getting onto the stage, and that “it was sunny.” After reading from Ecclesiastes 12 and elaborating on a few key steps to post-graduate life, Bray concluded: “How do you measure success? No matter what your dream, honor God. Keep his commands. And live every day with integrity.” After a short pause, Bray quipped, “And some of you are thinking, eight months? He’s had eight months to work on this, and that’s all he’s got?” While his self-deprecating humor won over the commencement crowd, Rev. Bray has had far more than eight months to prepare for this new role as Interim DoC—he and his wife have been in ministry for over 40 years, and will have many opportunities these next few months to use that experience through speaking and ministering to the student body. Indiana Wesleyan is excited to have Rev. Bray on board until a new Dean of the Chapel is selected.


This article is written by Hannah Combs who is a student writer for the Alumni Office. She is a senior student of Writing and Humanities through the John Wesley Honors College.


Orr Fellowship and Opportunities for IWU Grads in Indy

Every year, the Orr Entrepreneurial Fellowship selects top seniors from universities in Indiana and Ohio for a two-year fellowship and career placement at a host of growing companies in Indianapolis. Orr’s website states, “In addition to each Fellow’s Host Company commitment, fellows develop business and entrepreneurial skills through the Orr Fellowship curriculum,” which includes workshops, civic engagement through volunteering in the Indianapolis region, and opportunities to network with top business leaders in Indianapolis. Founded in 2000, the Orr Fellowship has been the catalyst to countless Indiana graduates’ careers in high-impact fields of business and technology.

Indiana Wesleyan has seen eight alumni accepted into the Orr Fellowship, including three from the class of ’15: Jake Smith at SupplyKick, Dylan Bronkema at Roche, and Kenny Hall at KAR Auction Services. Past IWU Orr Fellows include Jordan Easley (’13) at TinderBox, Mitch Causey (’11) at DigitalRelevance, Corey Kime (’10) at Compendium, Amber Mohling (’09) at Compendium, and Teresa Becker (’09) at ExactTarget.

Jordan Easley, who was recently promoted from Business Intelligence Analyst to Sales Operations Manager at TinderBox, is “responsible for continuously improving the efficiency of our sales organization. I customize and administer the software our sales team uses, analyze key performance indicators, run weekly, monthly, and quarterly team competitions to drive top performance, and much more.” Easley claims that he “knew nothing about software prior to working for TinderBox,” but that his experience at the company has helped him grow as an entrepreneur. He enjoys living in Indianapolis, Indiana’s cultural hub, and has been able to find affordable housing “seven minutes from our office on Monument Circle.” Despite all the coffee shops in Indianapolis, which Easley frequents, he takes pride in brewing coffee from the Abbey, a reminder from his time at IWU and Marion.

Easley will be speaking at the IWU Indy North Regional Alumni and Friends Luncheon Seminar on Tuesday, August 18. The event will be held from 11:30-3:00 at 3925 River Crossing Parkway – #300 in
Indianapolis. Easley’s talk, titled, “Why the World’s Coolest Companies Don’t Sell to You,” will focus on “selling smarter” and “closing deals faster.” For more information and to RSVP, please visit the EventBrite page.

This article is written by Hannah Combs who is a student writer for the Alumni Office. She is a senior student of Writing and Humanities through the John Wesley Honors College.

Second Annual McConn Staff Reunion: Homecoming 2015

McConn group

On October 3, McConn Coffee Co. (Check out their facebook page.) and the Alumni Office are hosting the second annual McConn Staff Reunion to reconnect McConn alumni with their former coworkers. The social center of campus, McConn is the universal meeting place for students and professors alike, and those who work for McConn often form close bonds. “Last year, we didn’t have as many people at the reunion because there were two McConn weddings that weekend,” says Seth Harshman, co-manager and former Batista.

McConn mexico Many former students who would have been on campus for homecoming were instead celebrating with the friends they made during their time as McConn baristas, having their own reunion. “I don’t think there are any weddings this year, that I know of,” Harshman says, hoping.McConn

The agenda for this year’s reunion is almost identical to last year’s. The event will be split into two parts: the barista reunion and the Young Alumni practical demonstration of how to live “post-McConn,” in which former baristas will give tips for making and enjoying good coffee at home. “The first part is largely unplanned, so that we’re giving people space to come together and hang out,” says Harshman, “and the second part is so that people have something to take home.”

McConn serves

McConn Staff Reunion will be held on Oct. 3, 10:30 AM at the newly renovated space where the old Daily Planet area. Check out the new space completed by IWU Grad Mark Brand.

Join other former Baristas as you meet to reconnect with college friends who shared your unique student job, McConn. Check out pictures from the very beginning of the “Common Grounds” to the current McConn experiences. Current Baristas will be present as well to network with experienced alumni on career advice and hear from current students as they realize their dreams.  Make a friend and even become a mentor as students transition to becoming alumni. Please RSVP to

Share memories and update your friends on what you are doing today!

McConn Friends


We will also have McConn alumni share in a very exciting addition to the Homecoming events especially designed for young alumni. A taste and see event - “Techniques for Enjoying McConn at Home” will be held on Saturday, Oct. 3, 11:00 AM in the Century Dining Room.

Come hear former McConn Baristas coffee brewing advice. Alumni will speak on topics like brewing the perfect French press and pour-over, choosing a home espresso machine, picking coffee beans and hear current Baristas speak on the latest drink trends on campus. Please RSVP to

These events are free but please RSVP.

This article is written by Hannah Combs who is a student writer for the Alumni Office. She is a senior student of Writing and Humanities through the John Wesley Honors College.


Eight young, powerful execs show what’s next for Indy tech | 2015-07-18 | Indianapolis Business Journal |

Eight young, powerful execs show what’s next for Indy tech | 2015-07-18 | Indianapolis Business Journal |

One of those featured in Santiago Jaramillo. He is a 2012 graduate of IWU. From the article; Jaramillo, who grew up in South America and Florida, said he was pleasantly surprised at how generous Hoosiers were with their time and connections. “I had people who … I questioned why they were spending time with me, giving me time for coffee, when [Bluebridge] was just an idea.”

What to Expect When Buying Your First Car

A message from Liberty Mutual Insurance
From Dennis Goebel, Vice President, Liberty Mutual Insurance

When it comes to buying a new car, you can prepare, but you don’t really know what you’re doing until you do it. Here are some of the realities that face first-time car buyers.

Negotiations can be tricky. Many people are intimidated by the process of finding the best price. Research prices on similar makes and models beforehand, and know the fair value of the car you’re interested in.

Visit the DMV. Another gritty reality of buying a car is visiting your local DMV office to get your registration in order. Check your local DMV website before you go to ensure you bring all necessary paperwork, identification, or forms.

Get under the hood. When you first get your new car, flip through the manual and learn the ins and outs of the car. Get acquainted with everything from pre-setting your radio stations to understanding where your windshield wiper switch is. Knowing how your car operates will help you in the long run.

Organized paperwork isn’t optional. Keep the title, insurance info, registration, or other important paperwork organized and in a safe place—you’ll need them in the future for inspections, registration, and other requirements.

Your car needs a home. If you don’t have a designated driveway or garage, check with your local town ordinances to determine if you need a street parking permit.

Listen to the weatherman. Seasonal maintenance is important. In colder areas, you should think about snow tires, and be prepared with shovels and ice scrapers. In warm-weather locations, you may want to take measures to prevent engine or cooling system issues.

Spend a little time planning for all of these considerations and you’ll be ready to enjoy your new set of wheels.

To learn more about Liberty Mutual Auto and Home Insurance or get a free, no-obligation quote, call 800-531-4954 or visit Liberty Mutual.

Alumni and Students Head to Ecuador for Medical Missions

 The summer before her junior year of high school, Marin Young (’17) traveled to El Salvador with Dr. Stacy Johnson and a team of medical professionals, medical students, and members of the congregation at Johnson’s church, Grace Assembly of God in Greenwood. Johnson and Marin’s father, Dr. Randy Young, practice dentistry at Stacy D. Johnson & Associates in Greenwood, and travel to Latin America at least once a year for medical missions trips. “I can’t imagine not doing medical missions at some point in my career,” says Marin (’17), who is studying pre-med biology. Marin will be leaving for Ecuador on August 1 with Dr. Johnson and his team for her second medical missions trip. 

Johnson was in the midst of packing when I called to ask about his trips. His wife, Jeanine (’84), who will also be traveling to Ecuador with the team, was about to run to the store to buy extension cords and other last-minute items for the trip. Team members pack all the supplies for the clinic they will be setting up, including medicine, glasses, arm and leg braces, dental and surgical tools, and vitamins. “[In El Salvador] we had to use lawn chairs and flashlights,” Marin says. “But God always provides what we need.” Clinics, which are often set up near churches, are composed of three areas: dental, medical, and optical, as well as a pharmacy that disseminates antibiotics and pain medicine, and a spiritual counseling area. “Six months after we leave, our patients may get a toothache again,” says Johnson. “We want them to have something eternal. 
 Johnson went on his first medical missions trip in 1995, to Haiti, where his mentor taught him how to lead trips. “Growing up, I had the mentality that we have enough problems here [in the U. S.],” he says, but when he began to get involved with medical missions, he broadened the scope of his practice to include those in third-world regions. Johnson now leads at least one medical trip per year, and may go on several others that focus on construction or evangelism. Johnson’s son, Jon (’17), has gone on several trips to Latin America, and will also be traveling to Ecuador on August 1. Like Marin, Jon is studying pre-med biology, and says that these trips have changed his perspective on life in America. “You’ll never complain about being hungry or hot after you visit a third world country,” he says.

From her El Salvador trip, Marin recalls a girl who couldn’t hear because of blockage in her ears, and many people who couldn’t see because they didn’t have glasses. Jon talks about the lack of preventative care and medical education in many areas of Latin America. “A lot of people have fragments for teeth from sucking on sugar cane and just don’t know that their teeth can be taken care of,” he says, “so we do a lot of extractions and hand out toothpaste and toothbrushes.” Johnson also does cleanings, which he was initially reluctant to perform because of the demand for more drastic procedures. Yet after a couple of trips, he felt convicted for his attitude toward his Latin American patients: “If people can walk into my office in Indiana for a cleaning, I should offer the same service to people wherever I’m at.”  

  While Johnson earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from Indiana Wesleyan and his DDS from Indiana University, not everyone on his medical missions teams has a medical background or goes home to a career in the medical field. “About a third of the team is non-professionals,” Johnson says. Students like Marin and Jon can take vitals, help with blood tests, sterilize medical instruments, and pray for patients, many of whom must walk several miles to the clinic. Johnson says that spiritual support is vital to the trip’s success, and asks for prayer for the team and for the patients they will be serving. The Alumni Office encourages the alumni network to pray throughout Johnson’s Ecuador trip, which will run from August 1st to the 9th.

“Everyone should go on a missions trip,” says Jon, who has been able to return to several locations in Latin America on medical, construction, and evangelism trips. “You’ll realize how much you take for granted.”

This article is written by Hannah Combs who is a student writer for the Alumni Office. She is a senior student of Writing and Humanities through the John Wesley Honors College.

Newest Grads Are Confident, But Predecessors Feel Underemployed – TheStreet

IWU grad consults IWU alumni over Linked-In and is part of the IWU Alumni LinkedIn Group.  We invite you to join our group and connect.

The following is a quote from a recent article he is featured in from “The Streets” online Magazine. Excerpt from the article:

Todd Rhoad, managing director of BT Consulting, an Atlanta-based career consulting firm, said college graduates always are confident their career outcomes will improve with education, and it’s not until two to three years after graduation young eager professionals begin to understand the challenges in growing their career.

“Are they ready for the real world?” he said. “In my view, no. But, who is? Even seasoned professionals are struggling to keep up with the pace of change.”

Rhoad said while graduates continue to be optimistic in their abilities, companies also have transitioned from training and developing employees to a desire for employees who make a huge impact from day one.

Read More: Newest Grads Are Confident, But Predecessors Feel Underemployed – TheStreet.