It’s Contagious! IWU Alumni Demonstrate Love Through Selfless Acts of Kindness!

Health scares and epidemics have been in the news lately, serious flu outbreaks and Ebola to name a few. Many worry because these illnesses are contagoius! While millions have received the flu vaccine in hopes to avoid the contagious flu virus, many will also check the US MAP on the spread of influenza. If you are that person here click here!.  But that is not what I am thinking about.

As important as it is to know about influenza and Ebola today I am looking at another kind of activity that is very contagious at this time of year. It is the selfless acts of kindness that many of our alumni are involved in. I know that you may be one of those who volunteer your time to help others in or community that have needs. There is something about serving with others that gives us a good feeling inside. I know that there are many of our alumni that are apart of organizations that serve others as well. Today I want to tell you about a few World Changers that are making a difference in the lives of people. Their selfless acts of kindness are contagious!

Austin Bonds, CEO and Founder of Metro Relief

Austin Bonds, CEO and Founder of Metro Relief

One of those is alum, Austin Bonds. He is serving in an organization that seeks to mobilize, empower, restore, and satisfy the need of the oppressed. He is CEO and founder of a relief organization called; Metro Relief. It is located in The Colony, Texas.

Austin is a 2001 ministry graduate who later completed a Masters in Ministry degree in 2010. He grew up in Marion, Indiana knowing the difficulties of being poor. He shared in a recent 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.

His vision and calling for ministry began with an invitation from IWU faculty, Dr. Wilbur Williams to go to New York City on a mission trip. “Darcy, my wife and I were looking to be in missions of some sort. We looked at places that served people. I spent some time in New York City. But in 1992 Wilbur Williams took a team to New York City.” Austin shared that it was the influence of Dr. Williams that compelled him to study at IWU. In 2011 he launched Metro Relief, following his dream and calling with support from another alum, Daniel Stoltzfus. (I will share more about him later in the article.)

His ministry is unique because he goes to where the needy are. They take their ministry bus to neighborhoods of greatest need. “The bus becomes part of the relationship with the people.” He added, “We build a bridge with the people with the bus.” In a recent effort his team gathered hundreds of socks to help the hurting. View Video Here. From their website;

“Metro Relief is a not-for-profit organization based in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex. Our goal is a simple one: Go to the people, meet the people, and serve the people. At the core of our mission is Christ’s charge: “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

Austin said that the ministry motto that reads, “These things we do so that others may live” guides him and his volunteers. Austin says about the resources his team brings to people is through a bus. He says that “the bus is part of the relationship with the people in need.” He takes it to some of the roughest parts of south Houston and people welcome he and his voluneers. “The food we bring is the attraction. Once they get to the bus we try to help them. The resources we provide are what bring them to us so that we can care for them”, says Austin.

We can support Austin and his ministry through prayer. Austin told me that, “The main thing is to create a model that we can duplicate this in other cities. We want to get to other cities where there is need. We are trying to grow, so any support will be appreciated.” You can find them on Facebook.

The team leading and making a difference.

The team leading and making a difference.

Austin has a passion to help the hurting in his community. I think that this is contagious! Over the next few days I want to challenge my readers to take a look at the ministries of IWU Alumni who are being World Changers in their communities. We can learn from these example of people who are contagious! Consider Jay Height, Executive Director at Shepherd Community. Or even the work of Eric Weidman also serving at Shepherd Community. Check out his story.

You may want to consider the work that is being done at The Bowery Mission in New York City. Hear about the ministry that IWU Alumni Daniel Stoltzfus (1995 graduate) is leading. Daniel is serving as Chief Program Officer at The Bowery Mission that has been serving the poor and needy since 1879.  Check out his his story.

Isn’t is contagious?  Like a virus I hope that as these alumni demonstrate selfless acts of kindness in the lives of people that you will also join that effort this Christmas and New Year.

I realize that there are hundreds of similar stories I am not sharing at this time. So, I would like to invite you to tell me about some of those unsung IWU alumni heroes you know. Please send me their story and how they are making a difference in their community. Do you know an IWU alum that is serving the poor? Post their story on our IWU Alumni Facebook wall.

Gift Giving With A Purpose

It’s that time year when you look for that perfect gift for someone who may already have it all. Christmas is a time of giving. We are inundated every day by printed, television and radio ads trying to convince us to buy items that we really don’t need. I have another option to offer you today.

Today’s blog focuses on a more purposeful gift giving opportunity. Students at Indiana Wesleyan University are demonstrating just how gift-giving can be more purpose-filled and make a global difference. A new store under the leadership of the Division of Business provides Christmas shoppers something that helps others in developing countries around the world. The New Under the Sun store located in the Barnes Student Center will be open for two days this week (December 11 and 12) as well as after the New Year providing many gift items that were purchased through relationships of artist and small business owners from around the world. Items are purchased through a fair trade agreement that supports the local wages in communities where jobs are difficult to find because of the economic crises in those countries yet affordable for students. “We have purposefully trying to buy things that are not high-end because we know that most of the student clientèle would not be able to pay for those things,” says Division of Business chair and alumnae Dr. Harriet Rojas ’76 in a recent articles published by IWU’s student paper, IWU Sojourn. The Business’s staff consists of 30 students in Rojas’s small business management class.

Through the unique partnership between students and international artists, people can purchase Christmas gifts and know that they are also supporting international artists whose sole source of income may very well be the sale of their items. This purposeful gift-giving idea can also help “people get out of human trafficking,” says Rojas (Sojourn article). Helping international women remain free and provide a fair wage for their goods is a part of the designed purpose of the store. Rojas continues, “The ultimate objective is for us to be able to have goods in there (the store) that are helping people get out of human trafficking.” Through purchase agreements and the generous support of donors who travel abroad, we can stock the store with many items. It already has received items from India, Nepal, Peru, Ecuador, Haiti, China, Kenya, Vietnam and Mexico. Those traveling abroad should contact Dr. Rojas before simply purchase items for the store. Rojas says that “We are looking for items that have a meaningful story about the items and artists.” Alumni are getting involved with this store.

Recent grad Jacob Wheeler ’12 travels abroad as International Business Developer with PacMoore, Inc and bring back items and the story connected that can be sold through the store. “Jacob will be bringing items from Nepal in just a few days,” says Rojas. Jacob has been very conscience of his impact in the world. As a student he developed and ran the Business as Mission student organization. The student group consulted businesses on how they can make the world a better place. Through his current employment with PacMoore which is a food packaging company is a Business as Mission organization.

Another source for the New Under the Sun store is Janice Cooper Cotrone ’78 who is the connection in Haiti. She served for twenty years as a Missionary and registered nurse serving in Haiti. She makes frequent trips to Haiti. See here story here.

Lorelei Johnson Verlee is a 1972 graduate of IWU who started a business in Fort Wayne, Indiana called Creative Women of the World for the purpose of helping international artists sell their creations in the states. Her mission is “…dedicated to inspiring creative business and marketing solutions for women around the world seeking to rise out of extreme poverty, human trafficking or disaster by the power of their own creativity!”

In an article written in 2013, Business People tell her story.

“As a child of missionaries, I grew up in Japan,” says VerLee. “I came back to the United States and earned my degrees in art. But it wasn’t until I was 56 years old that I got the chance to do mission work that was integrated with art.”

VerLee was asked to volunteer as a product designer and marketing director for HAPI (pronounced “happy”), or Haitian Artisans for Peace International. Four years later, in July of 2011, she incorporated Creative Women of the World (CWoW) because she felt women’s needs circled the globe.

Lorelei is making a difference in our world in a very special way. In a 2012 radio interview by on Midday Matters a program heard on 89.1 WBOI (an NPR Radio program). Lorelei comments, “It is never too late! At 56, I finally found my ultimate life purpose.” She represents a World Changers in a creative way. But it is more than a business. Verlee says, “It’s not just a store,” says VerLee. “CWoW is a non-profit organization and part of a movement that is changing the lives of women in impoverished countries. These women are beautiful and talented, but are often made to feel as if they have nothing to offer because they are resource-deprived.”

Lorelei spoke this past fall on the Marion Campus of IWU telling her story to students during a scholarship luncheon event. “Her consultation helps us redesign the store that opened in September,” says Rojas.

It should also be noted that not only does the store support international artists but it helps IWU students develop business understanding as well. In a recent interview Rojas said, “This store teaches students management and financial skills as well as helping them learn how to be successful while developing their faith.”

Care Packages aka “Survival Kits” – 30 years later!

In 1984 the Alumni Association provided a special ministry touch to students in the form of a fruit basket – care package. In those days the baskets were sent to students in their dorm rooms.

30 years ago this small team provided Fruit Baskets for students delivered to their dorm rooms.

30 years ago this small team provided Fruit Baskets for students delivered to their dorm rooms.

A vision of then Alumni Relations/Church Relations Director Charles ‘Chuck’ McCallum, Jr.  This ministry has transformed throughout the years. It was a small band of volunteers delivering Fruit Baskets from van to the dorm room of unsuspecting students that made this act of kindness such a blessing to students. During the stress-filled week of finals this welcomed package reminded students to “hang-in-there” and finish strong on all final projects.

“I remember receiving one in 1984 when I was a student. It was a welcomed gift that partnered with my parents. It was a way to have something from home during very stressful finals week” says Rick Carder. Carder is now the Alumni Relations Director for IWU. “Traditions are celebrated especially with they span thirty years” says Carder.

Now 30 years later the ministry continues with a care package being delivered to student’s post office box. Still in partnership with parents this welcomed gift reminds students that they are cared for and loved by the school and parents.

Over 30 volunteers package the kits along with a few student helper

Over 30 volunteers package the kits along with a few student helper

“Wow! Hard to believe that this ministry that blessed me when I was a student in 1996 continues to bless current students!” says Krista Brown, Church Relations/Alumni Relations Coordinator. Krista manages the program. “Today we call them Survival Kits” adds Krista. “Students likely would survive without them but it is always fun to have a touch from home as we attach a personal note to each kit ordered by parents.”

Over 250 kits are provided free of charge to pastor, missionary, and international students. Donations are welcomed. In fact, as people make contributions of $100 the proceeds benefit the Support Our Student (SOS) Scholarship which helps students with special emergency financial needs.  Historically these funds enable additional programming to students in support of our Student Alumni Association, and Senior Send-Off Year-end Celebration to name a few.

Alan Miller, Director of University Relations attends the assembly day providing a devotional for the volunteers. He shared that words matter. Sharing from John 1:1, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”  Alan shared a few inspiring thoughts that kicked off the assembly of the kits. Alan said in his talk that;

Survival kits may not be the right title for what we do as we assemble the kits. Students will survive if they don’t get a kit. We should call them ‘care packages’ since this is an expression of care for the students.

Miller shared that “Words are wonderful tools as long as you treat them properly. Words and eggs must be handled with care. Once broken they are impossible to repair.”

Associate Vice President Lance Percy attended to thank the volunteers for their participation. He shared a few interesting facts about the assembly. He said to the volunteers;

You will assemble about 900 kits today and give about 100 hours of volunteer hours. The total number of items packaged today will be about 19,800. The recommended daily allowance of calories is about 2,000 but today you will give students a sack of goodies that will total about 3,338 calories.

The ministry of survival kits continues. As students near the end of another semester the Alumni Relations staff and volunteers hope that this effort in some way will encourage students and remind them that they are cared for.



Share This! Spoken Word by IWU Student Carlye Arden

At a recent chapel at IWU a student leader spoke at the last chapel before Thanksgiving. As we enter into the Advent season I wanted to share with you some of that chapel. It was a great time of praise and worship.  Carlye Arden shares a spoken word that she wrote at that chapel last week. I want to invite you to read it and share this.

Carlye shared with me recently a bit about the chapel she was part of.

Monday’s chapel was awesome because it was different. The monotony of life, especially on IWU’s campus, can become drudgery and I savor the opportunities where I can be utilized as a vessel to breathe vibrancy into others. Rachel Rubadiri is actually the mastermind behind this chapel event. She came to me and asked me to write some pieces that would be raw and real, something that the student body could really chew on. A band will never sound good if it doesn’t have a good conductor, no matter how good each individual player is. Rachel was an awesome Maestro, and I was so honored to play in her band. I believe that Rachel’s vision was to get the student body engaged in a way they never had been engaged before which would then force people out of their comfort zones. Rachel wanted the spoken word to be a calling out to the Lord and then the worship songs to be his response to us.

The spoken word is defined by Carlye;

Again, spoken word is a different form of worship because the audience has to be quiet and it gives the Lord a stage to speak, but the person who delivers the poetry has to be prayerful during the writing process. And that is always my intention when I am writing on a specific topic for a certain group of people. I am always prayerful in the writing process because I want to make sure that what the Lord wants said comes before what I want said.

As students turn their attentions to those final projects and finals I want to invite you to prayer for them this week.  It is a stressful time and I am sure that many students would appreciate your prayers. In fact, as you commit to pray for students, SHARE THIS post on your facebook or twitter.

Carlye Arden wrote:

All of this to say,
Do not be afraid.
No one can tell you what to do though…
So then I guess take the things I am saying with a grain of salt.
It is just my two cents worth,
Or maybe just my nonsense worth…
But If you are feeling how I am feeling,
then I know the burden of life must be heavy on you.
I want to help carry the strain of this and walk hand in hand next to the emptiness you hold
and maybe if your cup is hollow,
then please allow my tears to pour over into your glass
because sometimes, as I have learned,
we have to cry tear droplets for two
all the while praising his name through and through.
So let me love you freely.
I will give Satan a steely gaze if he ever tries to touch you
and then he will know that The Holy Spirit is going to beat the living hell out of him if he ever comes near again.
“Though I walk through The Valley of the Shadow of Death I fear no evil
because Jesus is the baddest dude in the valley
and he is going to mess some demons up if they try to come within a ten mile radius of us”
I am pretty sure that verse is in the Bible somewhere-
at least that is my interpretation.
There will be victory.
There is victory.
We will fight in the infantry
and we carry weapons of mass destruction in the
form of manifest destiny
as we daily make our way towards eternity.
Fight with Honor my beloved sisters and brothers,
and I will fight all of your battles alongside you in the form of prayer.
Receiving Strength from the throngs in the crowded streets
Shouting out a battle cry of
“We are a broken people!”
With Jesus leading the procession
For it is here
That there is freedom.
It is not given because of the way in which we come but by the way in which we are received
but freedom is only constituted by a willingness to seek it.
So I will search with a magnifying glass over every square inch of this broken land
until I unearth the secret of how to turn the safety on my rifle off
so that I can set my guns a blazin’ in the direction of those God-Forsaken demons
who haunt you in your sleep
and hide away as werewolves dressed in clothing made from the other sheep
who fell into the feint of fear that that Fiend found useful to fetter the faithful.
we are going to burn away your fears
and you will be able to finally rest in peace knowing
that our Father has bitten off more than we could ever chew just for the purpose of saving
So take heart my brothers and sisters,
for with each lonely day that has passed know that a Hope has finally come at last.
But Honestly, He has been here for awhile…
And He bursts forth with guns a blazin’
all the while raising up an army whose artillery looks a little something like love!
And when push comes to shove I am going to shovel the dirt over my grave and bury myself as a slave
for once I am raised from the dead all the
stains will be washed away
and all the chains will fall away
and all the heaviness will float away
and then not even gravity can keep my spirit grounded here on earth for very long
for my loft’s lofty thoughts belong to the heavens
because I know if I tried to mentally contain all of his mass
my brain would burst forth into a million tender pieces
because something so small as the gray matter that holds countenance in my skull
could never contain something
so perpetual,
so interminable,
so immeasurable,
so immense,
so enormous,
so infinite,
so eternal and
so boundless.
A love so bottomless that even the depths of the oceans could not surmount to the supreme sum of it.
So all of this to say,
Even when it is all quiet on the western front,
do not be afraid
and maybe now my two cents is worth more like three cents.
Even still,
all of my nonsense combined amounts to
in the grand scheme of
the uncountable debt that was paid.
And thats ok,
because one day,
I’m gonna be chillin’ with Jesus
because he has traded everything for
and therefore
can persuade me more than his love that has cascaded down
and freed me from dancing fruitlessly in a destitute masquerade.
And I would not trade His gift for
You think I’m bluffing?
Try drinking from his ferociously tender waterfall…
And then tell me if that is not the best kind of drowning.

At IWU today we can be encouraged that students are deeply interested in the things of God. We can be excited that our students are experiencing a rich chapel experience where God meets them!

This Advent, I challenge all of us to come to this Christmas season with hearts of anticipation!

Perhaps you may want to also try to steal away time alone and invite the Holy Spirit to give you a word that you may also share.  Carlye says about her role and poetry;

Everyone in the crowd is quiet (which is not normal for the culture of today) and they are watching a Father connect to his daughter in a way that is so tangible you could reach out and grab it as if it were some type of rope and then from watching my connection to the Lord, it allows them to make a connection as well. And there is the beauty of it all.

Have a wonderful Advent season!



A Spirit of Thankfulness

If you Google the word Thanksgiving you get 251,000,000 results. It is interesting to scan this web search to see the kinds of things that surface. You see of course the Wikipedia history as well as many news feeds and events that describe the activities of this Holiday but I noticed perhaps with lessor search engine results that if you search thankfulness (with only 4,330,000 results) you find inspiring expressions and even quotes. One is filled with history and current newsfeeds that informs but does not stir the heart. Thankfulness however yields results that inspire and even point to a spiritual meaning of the word. Even the word gratitude appears as part of the Wikipedia and Dictionary definitions. Today I want to surrender my thoughts about Thanksgiving and focus on thankfulness. Let me explain what I mean this way.

Every year on Thanksgiving Day and during the Dallas Cowboy Football game I would tune in to especially see the successful launching of the The Red Kettle program with the Salvation Army. Major George Hood ’87 who was then Salvation Army’s National Community Relations and Development Secretary was at the game promoting the new initiative. I would often spot him in the crowd of football fans and send him a text message. My message was always similar, “Thanks for what you do! Oh, by the way, I am envious of you!” with a wink.  Major Hood is now retired from the Salvation Army and serving as a consultant with The Timothy Group.

As Director of Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) Alumni Relation it is always a joy to maintain a connection with grads of IWU. I am excited when I can tell their story about being a student at Indiana Wesleyan University. For me, telling Major George Hood’s story is exciting because of his many years serving special families in need within communities across the country. The Salvation Army is one of those special causes that we are reminded of at the kick-off of not only a football game but also the opportunity to share thankfulness in a tangible way!

Today’s blog entry is for the purpose of sharing briefly the story of alumni that serve to make life a little easier for families by collecting tangible resources that demonstrate our thankfulness and sharing with people in my own community who have need.
Demonstrating thankfulness is a part of the ministry of IWU. IWU partners with the local Marion community Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program. They do this by helping to advertise the program over local radio and encourage people to buy gifts for children in need within our community. Lieutenants Jason Bigelow and his wife Dana are leading these efforts in our community. Jason is currently a student at IWU – soon to be alum! Their ministry is one of dedication and service. For the past several years their work has served many needs.

Another example of thankfulness is in the life of a recent grad, Major Clay Gardner ’14. His dedicated work over the years has also served as a beacon of hope for countless families. His role includes serving as instructor at the College for Officer Training with the Salvation Army, Los Angeles, CA. In a recent interview with Major Clay Gardner he said about his education with IWU.

“When I was first ordained after a two year training program that got me an undergraduate degree in Ministry (over 25 years ago) I have longed to go on and get my Master’s Degree but it never happened. When I was near a program, I lacked the support necessary and when I had the support, there wasn’t a program nearby. Thanks to the online program (through Wesley Seminary at IWU), I have finally been able to realize my dream/goal. I have learned things that I didn’t even know that I didn’t know. Through instructors like Dr. Bob Whitesel and Dr. Lenny Luchetti who pushed me to do my best, I have done just that. It was by far my best educational experience. And now, I get to take that education and pass it along as an instructor in the same college where I got my initial degree. Thanks for helping my dream come true.”

Another inspiriting story that reminds me of thankfulness is in the life of one of my own classmates. Captains Mike and Kathy Wolfe ‘89/’91 have dedicated their work for nearly ten years. They recently transferred from Salina, KS where they served for seven years to Battle Creek, MI. I remember them in college. It was evident even then that their service to people was that of love and compassionate ministry. Every time I see them at Homecoming or when they are visiting family in the area I hear and see a couple who are optimistic and seemingly always smiling even though there are challenges that confront them and their ministry. It is a tireless effort that requires such an incredible effort that can only be carried out through passion and a love that is unconditional. This is who they are.
Lives that are lived with thankfulness seem to yield results of people who are generous. Their lives are not lived for themselves but for the sake of others. People who serve like several IWU alumni demonstrate the mission of IWU by being World Changers. They are people who are compassionate and giving. So today I say thank you for those who are living a life of thankfulness. May we count our blessings and examine our heart to remove those selfish characteristics that cause us to never be satisfied and is often deceptive when we think of our needs, turning instead to our wants. May this Thanksgiving be filled with thankfulness so that we can live out one of those inspiring sayings from my Google search on thankfulness.

“Joy is thankfulness, and when we are joyful, that is the best expression of thanks we can offer the Lord, Who delivers us from sorrow and sin.” ― Thaddeus of Vitovnica, Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives: The Life and Teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

Ebola: Crisis of Nations and Hope from the IWU Community

The Community of Indiana Wesleyan University shows support and care through prayer and contributions. The call for support has been championed by The Wesleyan Church, names Dr. JoAnne Lyon, General Superintendent. At IWU the call was echoed by Dr. Jim “Umfundisi” Lo, Dean, Office of the Dean of the Chapel. The students and faculty are responding. Now it is our turn, the alumni. We are part of the IWU community!

This post encourages all of us to respond in an effort to be part of the solution. So much news has been centered on this tragedy. It is our turn to provide hope through the combined response of our community. The following is an open letter from Dr. Lo. Please respond to this need. Let’s show that the IWU community cares!


A cry for help – an open letter from Dr. Jim “Umfundisi” Lo:

Dr. JoAnne Lyon, General Superintendent of The Wesleyan Church contacted me to see if I would consider asking our academic community to donate funds to help Kamakwie Hospital in Sierra Leone purchase an ambulance. A major reason for her request stems from the spread of Ebola in this western African country. The number of individuals needing to get to the hospital for medical care has been immense. But Kamakwie only has two ambulances which are not able to keep up with the demand of going out and bringing to the hospital all those who need to get there. From what I am told, these two ambulances are getting old and soon will need to be replaced. The need for a reliable ambulance is URGENT- and the Ebola crisis has made it imperative that they get one as soon as possible.

Dr. JoAnne shared that the ambulance they would like to purchase costs in the neighborhood of $30,000 US. She shared, “Jim, the reason I am contacting you is because of the desperation of the situation. I am hoping the generosity of IWU will once again surface

As I listened to Dr. JoAnne share, I thought to myself, “I am too busy to get involved in this.” But the Lord checked my spirit very quickly. There are people dying each day due to Ebola. I hear the crisis is severe. It would be easy to say I am too busy with other things that are on my calendar for me to give much attention to this project… but the Lord impressed upon me the urgency of this need for an ambulance… it could mean life or death for someone… do I care enough?

At first I was thinking about only asking our residential students to give, but I sense God would be pleased to throw the net even further, to include asking faculty, staff, administrators and even IWU alumni. I sense God is calling our academic community to respond to this critical need during this time of crisis. It is for this reason I am approaching you with two “calls”

Call one: I am calling us to prayer. When asked what is the number one thing American Christians can do to help, those in Sierra Leone quickly answer, “Please remember us in prayer.

Call two: I am approaching you, asking if you would pray about donating to the purchase of an ambulance.  $30,000 seems like a lot. But if we all commit to giving something, I sense we can meet this goal. I was thinking, if 3,000 gave $10 we could easily meet this urgent need. Will you join me in giving to this project?

Will join me in praying and giving to this needy cause?

Rev. Dr. Jim “Umfundisi” Lo+
Dean of the chapel- professor of Religion
Indiana Wesleyan University


Steve Edmondson, Starfysh – Recording from Mission Network News

Steve Edmondson ’78 is serving in an organization that helps the people of Haiti. His ministry crosses boundaries to serve people in practical ways.

An audio recording is published by Julie Oosterhouse on November 18, 2014 Katey Hearth speaking to IWU alum Steve Edmondson ’78 of Starfysh to learn more about their work in Haiti.

Steve Edmondson, Starfysh. – Mission Network News.

Steve Edmondson, Starfysh. - Mission Network News

Contact Dr. Steve Edmondson

Mission: Motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ, and by his model of compassionate servanthood, Starfysh exists to demonstrate Christian love and compassion through alleviating physical suffering and addressing social injustice on the island of La Gonave, Haiti. Starfyshʼs singular mission is to bring holistic, sustainable transformation to an island. Period, thatʼs it. With Godʼs help, we will work along side the people of La Gonave to bring the vicious cycle of their desperate poverty to a screeching halt.

Brian Hamil, Principles Shared at Fort Wayne Regional Alumni Event

Brian Hamil is the 2014 recipient of the Alumni Community Service Award. Recently he spoke to a group at the Fort Wayne Regional Alumni Network. These are a few of the excerpts and pearls of wisdom shared at the event.

Brian wraps up his talk by reading Colossians 1:17. He reminded us that we should not give up but continue to grow. “Life is messy,” says Hamil but “allow God’s Spirit to guide you.” In Colossians 2 he reminds us that we have been given all that we need to make a difference. His comments were based on this passage of scripture.

Colossians 2:2-3 2 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Brian offered several ideas and principles that we can apply to our lives. Woven in his story as National Chair of the Biomedical Services with The Red Cross are these principles.He starts out his comments by saying that “College and life and equip you but only the Holy Spirit can empower you.” says Hamil. Check out his comments here: Check out this segment of the training.

Do something beyond yourself and your limitations.

Brian remarked that we have the abilities but often lacked the confidence. He shared why he serves in the capacity as National Chair. He shared (see video) why he does what he does. Brian shared a great story about a legacy of explorers Auguste Piccard and decedentsJacques Piccard and  Bertrand Piccard that completely reshapes how we can look at the things that we can do! He reminded us to find each day to make an intentional difference in someone’s life. (see video excerpt here)

As Brian continued his challenging principles he reminded us that we can’t just see ourselves and our activities as a category but as a Calling!

Brian shared that as he goes about his day he looks for ways to make a difference. This is what is meant by IWU’s World Changer motto. He shared this simple, yet profound principle to find a way each day to make an intentional contribution in someone’s life. Brian’s story is inspiring because of his example to make a difference in others around you!

You can see why we selected Brian Hamil as an award recipient. He demonstrates the importance of personal growth in all areas of our lives.

Alumni Community Service Award

Brian Hamil receives the Alumni Community Service Award with Rick Carder and Lance Percy

Brian has been in public accounting for over 32 years, and has extensive background in directing financial reporting, consulting, and tax compliance and planning services for small and mid-size business clients. He is also involved in the litigation support area of the firm, which addresses client needs in the areas of expert witness testimony, business valuation, and appraisal services. Brian serves as the National Chair of Biomedical Services for the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C., the Chairman of the Governing Board of Trustees for Bethel College in Mishawaka, Indiana, the Boards of Directors for Erin’s House for Grieving Children, the Jerome and Marganelle Henry Foundation for the Neighborhood Health Clinics, and the Fort Wayne Zoological Society Audit Committee.

Brian Hamil – Company Website

Alumni E-Newsletter

Indiana Wesleyan University Alumni has created an e-newsletter that brings all the social media applications into one location. This weekly newsletter provides news, stories, updates about IWU as well as information about world affairs.

To sign up is easy. Go to the newsletter and enter your email address in the box provide on the site.

Send us updated information and stories to

Student Perspective – Kaileigh McCann’s Story

Here at the Alumni House, we have been blessed to have some amazing student workers. They work behind the scenes to help us put on events, such as homecoming, and to keep the office running day-to-day. Over the next few weeks, we will be featuring the stories of each of our student workers. To start, Junior Kaileigh McCann will share her experiences at IWU and in the Alumni House.

Over 800 miles traveled, and 7 college visits in 3 days, I was finally ready to make one of the most important decisions about my future.

I could say that it was the beauty of the campus, or how impactful the chapel service was on my personal faith that made me choose to come to Indiana Wesleyan University. Those things probably added to my experience at IWU that led to my ultimate decision, but there was no way that IWU could have marketed itself to me any better that would have affected my decision. I chose to attend IWU because I had an overwhelming sense of peace and belonging as soon as I arrived on campus. (Later, I found out that my parents were also experiencing the same feeling.) It could seem cheesy to say, but I believe that God led me to come to IWU. Many of the other schools I visited seemed to be only Christian in name rather than practice. At IWU, the authentic spirit of Christian community can be felt by everyone on campus. This authentic feeling and God’s presence helped me both feel at home and at peace about my decision to come to IWU.

Fast-forward three years and one major change later, my name is Kaileigh and I am a junior Business Administration and Marketing double major at IWU. I love being a part of the Business division. There is a fantastic group of professors that genuinely care about their students and their future at IWU and in the job field.

I have worked in the Alumni/Church Relations office since freshman year. It was daunting as a freshman to be over 6 hours from home with no friends or contacts already at IWU. Thankfully, I applied for a job and met the wonderful people who work in the Church Relations and Alumni Office. Not just because I have made a lot of friends, I enjoy being a part of the Alumni Office because it is so important to connect IWU’s present to its past in order to have future success.

At the beginning of October, I had the pleasure of being able to participate in Homecoming as both a part of the Alumni Office and the Student Alumni Association (SAA). Each alumna has a unique and important story to tell not only about their time at IWU, but how IWU continues to affect them. Through the Alumni Office and SAA, I have the ability hear those stories and share them with other current students. Being able to interact with alumni and learn how they have shaped the school’s legacy inspires me to continue to pursue excellence in the hope that one day I could also affect the school and the surrounding world like they have.