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.

Nathanael and Nicole Sommers’ Ministry – World Gospel Mission

While Nathanael was single and attending Indiana Wesleyan University, he had made contact with WGM because he had felt God calling him to do soccer ministry. Not foreseeing he would find the most amazing and perfect girl, he continued to pursue WGM, while also keeping in mind this incredible girl. When he realized she too loved soccer, wanted to work in cross-cultural ministry outside the US, and had incredible compassion, he couldn’t let her go. Less than a year after graduation, they got married. Nicole manages an adult soccer league in Carmel, Indiana, and Nathanael is the women’s soccer coach at Oak Hill High School near Converse, Indiana.

As they pursued missions, God took them on a crazy ride as they were led to Spain to do soccer ministry. Amidst the fundraising, God has now led them to do ministry in McAllen, Texas, on the U.S./Mexico border.

Read more: Nathanael and Nicole Sommers’ Ministry – World Gospel Mission.

A Large Rock Installed at Fairmount Family Camp Commemorates the Beginning of Indiana Wesleyan University.

Installment of the Commemorative Stone

Installment of the Commemorative Stone

On Sunday, July 19 during the opening evening Camp Meeting service of Fairmount Family Camp an historical recognition was unveiled. During the opening session of a 120-year celebration a rock was unveiled. The large four-foot by 6-foot rock commemorates the legacy and origin of Indiana Wesleyan University by the action of the Wesleyan Methodist Church General Conference in 1919 and beginning days for Indiana Wesleyan University. The rock has been inscribed and located on the grounds of Fairmount Family Camp that reads; Indiana Wesleyan University Birthplace

On this site, June 25, 1919, the delegates of the Wesleyan Methodist General Conference elected to establish Marion College. The college opened in 1920, with the Fairmount Bible School (circa 1906) forming “The School of Theology.” In 1988, Marion College became Indiana Wesleyan University.Historical image 2

Dr. David Wright, President of Indiana Wesleyan University offered an historical perspective in his opening remarks. He spoke of the legacy of generations over the years. Wright offered comments referring to generations of people who have attended Camp Meetings over the years and many who attended the opening service that are alumni of IWU. Wright asked those who attended IWU (then Marion College for many) to stand. The majority of the nearly 800 in attendance stood to be recognized.

The commemorative historical rock was an idea birthed by members of the Camp board. Mr. Tom Sloan ’76 and Mr. Elvin Weinmann ’82 (both alumni of IWU and Family Camp) led this effort with the support of all who serve in leadership of the Camp. “We hope that this rock reminds generations of descendants of the faithfulness of God,” says Tom Sloan. Sloan chose the inscription and rock and saw this as a ministry that will outlive even his generation. “This rock represents the vision of our forefathers who met as a General Church to establish a furtherance of a Christian Education academy and college,” says Weinmann. “In 1920 the Marion Normal College began under the leadership of The Wesleyan Methodist Church,” says Weinmann, “to further train Christian ministers and teachers.” What started as a high school academy and college later grew the college by adding other Liberal Arts training degrees at what was called “The Triangle” campus on Washington Street in Marion, Indiana.

generations past“There are generations of alumni who benefited by Christian education,” offers Rick Carder, Director of Alumni and Church Engagement at Indiana Wesleyan University. Carder reflects, “Familiar names of IWU alumni who are also alumni of Fairmount Camp include Wilbur & Ardelia Williams, Millie Jacobs Troyer, Coach Terry Porter, Marge Elder, Margaret Vardaman, Ray Welch, Dr. Lee Haines (pictured above) and Jean Sloan. These are only a few of the legacy alumni.” Robert Vardaman, Jr. remembers that having Rev. John Ott speak during family camp helps to instill historical connectedness and is a legacy alum of Family Camp and IWU alum.

The commemorative stone is located next to a newly build dining hall. Tom Sloan says, “We hope that Fairmount Camp attendees will help further commemorative this celebrated history by helping to build a patio area by donating paving bricks inscribing their name and the names of their children.” He added, “Legacy Bricks to include an opportunity to do bricks for our fore-fathers. We are doing three generations of Sloan’s that have passed away. This (representation)  is for Past, Present, and future.” They are expecting a grandchild any day in which they will add a Legacy Brick.

Historical image 1The Camp Meeting continues to grow each year. The centerpiece of this idyllic setting is the historic Bethel Tabernacle. This structure, with a seating capacity of approximately 1500, has housed worshipers for over one hundred years. In 1999, Bethel Tabernacle was featured in the Gaither Gospel Series’ Grammy nominated Down by the Tabernacle video.

For more information go to Fairmount Camp.

Wilber Awarded Prestigious Milken

Every year, the Milken Family Foundation honors exemplary educators with $25,000 cash prizes “to attract, retain and motivate outstanding talent to the teaching profession.” This money is unrestricted, left entirely to teachers’ discretion in improving their classrooms and schools. The foundation’s website states, “Not an accolade for ‘lifetime achievement’ or the proverbial gold watch at the exit door, the Milken Educator Awards target early-to-mid career education professionals for their already impressive achievements and, more significantly, for the promise of what they will accomplish in the future.” Sometimes referred to as the “Oscars of Education,” the Milken Awards provide both publicity and resources, allowing the work of outstanding teachers to be recognized, furthered, and emulated.


On January 27, 2015, Glenda Ritz, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, presented Kelly Wilber (’10) with the prestigious Milken. Wilber, who teaches fifth grade at Southport Elementary in Indianapolis, joins 36 other educators, including Laurie Davies from Avon, Indiana, in the 2014-15 Milken cohort. Wilber earned her Master of Education from the Adult and Professional Studies Indianapolis branch in 2010, and her Principal’s License the following year. At Southport, Wilber is a TAP mentor who coaches colleagues, and beyond Southport, she “serves on the [district] High Ability team, volunteers for the district Title I Science Night, organizes community fundraisers, and has been instrumental in helping to plan the district’s summer school program, investing her own time in the effort.” As she accepted the award, Wilber credited her students: “We know you love to learn, and because of you, we love to teach.”
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.

Alum and Wife Build Thriving Non-Profit that Wheels Books into Hospitals

KatesKart1This past June, Fort Wayne non-profit Kate’s Kart turned seven years old. Founded in 2008 by Krista and Andrew (BS, ’92, MEd, ’99) Layman, Kate’s Kart collects and distributes books at children’s hospitals to “provide a comforting diversion to hospitalized children and their families, and to foster a love of books, and ultimately literacy, by encouraging children to read and parents to read to their children.” Katherine Anne Layman, the namesake of Kate’s Kart, was born to Krista and Andrew in the summer of 2006. Days after Kate was born, doctors responded to her low oxygen levels and discovered that a genetic disorder called DiGeorge, VCFS, or 22q (a deletion in her 22nd chromosome) had caused structural and functional problems in her heart. Kate’s diagnosis led to several open-heart surgeries and months spent in hospitals in Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, and even Ann Arbor, Michigan. In January 2008, when doctors could do no more for Kate, she passed peacefully in her mother’s arms. Because Kate had loved to be read to, the Laymans soon organized a book drive called “Fill a U-Haul,” and launched the first Kate’s Kart at Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne. Volunteers would push the Kart door-to-door so that children and parents could select books to read and keep, making their stays in the hospital a little more bearable.

The Fill a U-Haul event in 2008 drew 5,500 books, $3,000 in donations, and 27 volunteers, 9 of whom quickly became the Board of Directors in response to the flood of donations. A year and six Karts later, Kate’s Kart was granted non-profit status by the state of Indiana. Today, while Andrew teaches seventh grade social studies at Whitko Community Schools, Krista is the director of Kate’s Kart, Inc., which operates 18 Karts in 16 hospitals solely from donations and grants. Through the years, communities have rallied to stock more Karts in more hospitals: the students, staff, and PTO of Ryan Park Elementary in Fort Wayne funded Kart #12 at St. Joseph Hospital, and Kart #13 at DeKalb Memorial Hospital in Auburn was donated by the cheer squad at Lakewood Park Christian School. In addition to Karts donated by school communities, bereaved parents seeking memorials for their children have chosen to fund Karts in their children’s names. Zach and Meghann Powers funded Kart #16 at Bluffton Memorial Hospital in honor of their son Xander, who passed away in July 2011. KatesKart2Zach and Meghann had received books from the Kart at Lutheran Hospital, and wanted to provide the joy of books to other parents and children in similar circumstances.  Since June 2008, Kate’s Kart has given over 102,000 books to children in hospitals in northeastern Indiana. An up-to-date count is available on their website.

KatesKart3Kate’s Kart accepts monetary donations as well as donations of books. Donated books must be brand new—never read—to cut down on the risk of contamination for children with compromised immune systems and to ensure that children feel that these books are uniquely theirs. Kate’s Kart requests books that will be popular among children and young adults: specifically, soft cloth books that babies can play with, classics like Goodnight Moon and The Very Hungry Caterpillar, books that have recently been made into movies like The Hunger Games series, and books by well-known authors such as Dr. Seuss (The Lorax, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish) and John Green (The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns). Those who wish to volunteer with Kate’s Kart can fill out an application online; volunteers can push the Kart door-to-door at certain hospitals (must adhere to hospital protocol, including background check, TB test, etc.), or label, sort, and accept donations at the Kate’s Kart office and storage. Donations may be made at 10376 Leo Road, Suite A in Fort Wayne, or at Canterbury Middle School, 5601 Covington Road in Fort Wayne. The Alumni Office encourages those in the Fort Wayne area to get involved with this non-profit that has provided countless children and parents with the joy of reading and literacy.


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.

Wesleyan Life Magazine – All-Star Alumni


Wesleyan Life Magazine report on All-Star Alumni featuring IWU Graduates in this month’s summer edition. Wesleyan Colleges and Universities from across the U.S. and Canada boast many grads that are making a difference and they have highlighted two of our grads. Read Wesleyan Life Magazine for the articles that look at the lives of Ausin Bonds (’01, ’10) and Francis Mustapha (’72). Francis was recognizes at the 2015 Alumni World Changer inductee.

Austin Bonds Austin Bonds was featured in the IWU Alumni Blog for his ministry to needy family through Metro Relief reported in the IWU Alumni Blog. He shared in the IWU interview that while his parents loved him, “We were poor because of their choices that were addiction related.” His early life was difficult. In fact, his mother was murdered in 1997. Yet, in spite of this hardship, he was able to attend and graduate from college and launch a ministry that he runs today. He is the CEO and Founder of Metro Relief.


Francis Mustapha shared in his interview in the IWU Alumni Blog that in order to save Sierra Leone, education is key. He shared that “In the current generation, corruption is all they know… They’re not going to hear. So what do you do? You focus on the future. The children.” Francis’s lifelong dream was to return to Madina and build a school. In the 1990s, he planned to turn that dream into reality. Read a related article on the IWU Alumni Blog.

We are seeing many alumni of IWU work to make a difference in this world. Their commitment is what demonstrates our mission of to be Christ-like to make this world a better place.

*images used by permission of Wesleyan Life Magazine.


Work of Genius: IWU Alumnus Competes on a Reality Show for Fine Artists

“It was kind of surreal,” Tim Petrinec (’03) says of his appearance on the reality show/docu-series Work of Genius. In 2009, Petrinec responded to a casting call for visual artists, and was soon invited to New York to audition for the show. “I grabbed three pieces of art and drove up from Charlotte [NC],” Petrinec recalls. He soon received word that he had made the top 50, and that he would be flown to Miami for the filming of the show. “They told me to pack for either three days or three months,” Petrinec laughs, “so I packed for a week.” On his first day in Miami, Petrinec was told that he had made the top 12. “It was exciting news, but as time went by, I wished more and more that I had packed for more than one week.”

Work of Genius is “a 13 – episode reality show that exposes and challenges twelve of the most talented, yet previously undiscovered international artists, to live, create, and compete together for the chance of having their life and career transformed.” The top twelve artists live at a hotel in South Beach for three months, traveling around the greater Miami area to “compete in a series of mini-challenges from crayons to chalk, pencils to watercolor, sketching to sand castles.” Work of Genius operates differently from other reality shows in that no one is eliminated during the filming. Instead, viewers can evaluate the original paintings that the artists produce for each show and vote for their favorite artist online. Should Petrinec win the distinction of “Top Artist,” he will receive “a cash prize, representation in a top gallery, and a publisher for 1 year.” Work of Genius airs on Saturdays at 3 PM on NewsmaxTV. At the writing of this article, Petrinec was in second place for Top Artist.

Both Petrinec and his twin brother Nathan graduated from Indiana Wesleyan, though from vastly different departments. While Nathan studied business administration, economics, and political science, Petrinec says his brother is also an artist and inspired him to study art in college. At Indiana Wesleyan, Petrinec studied painting, illustration, and printmaking under Rod Crossman and Ron Mazellan, both of whom still teach in the Division of Art. After graduation, Petrinec moved to Brooklyn to begin a career as an artist, but did not anticipate the hardships of ‘making it’ in the art scene. “I thought, I make art, and people buy art,” says Petrinec, who was soon forced to look for a job apart from his commissions. When a ski accident forced Petrinec to move in with his parents, he began to read the Bible more frequently, as well as The Purpose Driven Life. Bedridden with a broken leg for two months, Petrinec began to realize that “I am not the protagonist in my story, and my success is about how I glorify God.”

When he recovered, Petrinec found a job at a radio station in Charlotte, North Carolina, but was soon laid off because of budget cuts. “[The lay off] wrecked me,” Petrinec recalls. “I was trying to figure out what God wanted from me, praying, working on artwork and trying to figure stuff out,” yet doors seemed to be closing in every direction. It was at this low point that he heard about the Work of Genius casting call. Calling the show “a symbol of answered prayer and hard work,” Petrinec says that the six-year waiting period for the show to air was difficult to understand. As networks dropped the show, Petrinec says that Work of Genius turned into a symbol of disappointment, yet believes that God used this time to refine him so that he could give back to others.

Tim PetrinecToday, Petrinec is a financial advisor with Edward Jones in Charlotte, and continues to paint on commission. Petrinec’s Portfolio includes many works of “music based art,” or “two dimensional music.” Petrinec believes that “this art captures two things: the essence of the musician and the visual representation of their music.” In this collection is “Rolling Stones,” a commission for the Presidential Suite at the Hard Rock Resort in Singapore, as well as “The Lumineers,” a commission for Wesley Schultz of The Lumineers. Petrinec’s paintings echo the surreal qualities of rock music: the watercolor “Electric Blues” shows Jimi Hendrix awash in negative space, while in “Oceanic Journey,” Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin points off the canvas.

“I don’t know if a painting of Keith Richards is necessarily portraying God,” says Petrinec, “but music speaks to me. God created us to be able to create, and when I make art, I’m using what God gave me, creating something beautiful that hopefully speaks to somebody.” Petrinec views art as an expression of divine creativity, and is grateful for the opportunities that God has given him to see beauty in the world.


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.

Forty Years of Nursing at IWU

When Marilyn Pieper Simons and Brenda McVean Sloan came to Marion College as students in 1974 and 1975 respectively, there was a School of Nursing in its infancy at Marion College. The first class of 33 students graduated in 1975.  Since then, over 2,000 students have graduated from the Division of Pre-licensure Nursing at Indiana Wesleyan University. Overall, over 10,000 students have graduated from the School of Nursing as a whole.

Brenda McVean Sloan (’76) returned in 1978 and Marilyn Pieper Simons (’77) in 1980 to teach. The program consisted of one division, approximately 200 students, and seven faculty members. In the past 40 years, the one division has evolved into a School of Nursing with the Division of Pre-licensure Nursing, the Division of Post-licensure Nursing, and the Division of Graduate Nursing which includes six Masters Degrees and a degree in the Doctor of Nursing Practice. There are currently approximately 500 students in the Pre-licensure program including freshman to senior, approximately 1,000 students in the Post-licensure program, and approximately 900 in the graduate programs. The first DNP class graduated with seven students in April of 2015. There are currently 61 faculty teaching in the School of Nursing and 22 staff members.

In the early years, we taught nursing in one classroom in the Burns Hall and maybe a classroom in an old house purchased by the school to eventually be raised. The lab was in one small room and the faculty starred in their own homemade training videos. There was one mannequin, usually in a bed in the classroom, with a really bad wig. Faculty offices were in one room with partitions in between so privacy was unheard of. There were 11 faculty members, a division chair, and one secretary. There was one key to enter every building and office on campus. The Division of Nursing moved multiple times while renovations were completed for our offices. When the graduate program was added in 1981, it was housed in the Burns Hall. The graduate program and undergraduate programs grew so that there was not room for both to be together in one building. The undergraduate program was housed on the 42 Street campus and the graduate program was moved to the 51st Street campus.

By 2004, the nursing programs had grown into several divisions; the pre-licensure division, the post-licensure division, and the graduate program and the School of Nursing became into being. It was difficult to conduct business within the School of Nursing with the divisions being held on two different campuses. Plans were put into place to expand Burns Hall and in the spring of 2014, the School of  Nursing moved into one building—the Ott Hall of Sciences and Nursing. The new offices are spacious, private, bright, and much appreciated (especially for the ones who started in the early years). Now there are no keys to enter the buildings, just I.D. cards. The current lab is state of the art with multiple classrooms, multiple high-fidelity simulation mannequins, and the homemade videos have been mostly replaced with interactive, online simulations. The quality of the lab is often a deciding factor for prospective nursing when comparing the SON at IWU with any other nursing program across the country.

The mission of Marion College in the early 1970’s was to “…search for truth by study in the liberal arts and in professional education within the framework of Christian faith and philosophy so the person is developed for service to God and man, to the church and to society.”  The current mission of Indiana Wesleyan University is “…a Christ-Centered academic community committed to changing the world by developing students in character, scholarship and leadership.”  Although physical facilities are important, the reason that Brenda McVean Sloan (’76) and Marilyn Pieper Simons (’77) are teaching in the School of Nursing at Indiana Wesleyan University is because God has called them to be where they are. The physical campus has changed but the mission has never wavered. Dr. Lois Ellis used to say, “The sun never sets on the Indiana Wesleyan University nursing graduate.” There are graduates in every corner of the world serving others and carrying on the mission of the University. All the glory goes to God. May he continue to bless those involved in the School of Nursing at Indiana Wesleyan University.

Graduates of the School of Nursing are invited to attend a reception event at the Ott Hall Sciences and Nursing on Saturday, October 3. Watch for more information in the upcoming Triangle Magazine and the SON Magazine.

Used by permission - School of Nursing.