By: Emily Neideck
Erika Todd began her Indiana Wesleyan journey like most students do – with a college visit. During her college visit, Todd and her parents had the opportunity to attend a chapel service. She said, “The chapel service really peaked my interest in Indiana Wesleyan. I was just really impressed with the spiritual atmosphere.” Todd entered into the IWU Education Department the following year.
Todd’s years at IWU were filled with relationship. She thrived in the Education Department, and even took a work/study position at the Jackson Library. She stated, “I remember having meaningful conversations with my co-workers there. They were great spiritual mentors.” Todd especially remembers her professors and said that each and every one of her professors took a personal interest in each of their students’ lives, helping them learn, grow and easily transition into life after college.
Todd said, “I feel like Indiana Wesleyan has one of the best Education programs around. I felt very prepared for what I was going to do, and I was prepared for more than just the career aspect.” Todd taught for eight years at Westview Elementary in Grant County before moving back to her hometown to teach at Prairie Heights Elementary for two years. She believes that IWU taught her how to bring a spiritual aspect to her classroom. She stated, “Since I am in the public school system, I feel like I am able to indirectly bring a spiritual aspect. I am able to view the children in my classroom as children of Christ, which helps me to see through the behavior issues that I might encounter.”
Todd’s spiritual journey does not end in the classroom, though. At the end of her tenth year of teaching, in 2016, Todd discovered she would need a double lung transplant. Born at approximately 30 weeks, Todd’s lungs were not fully developed. She was placed on a ventilator to survive. However, the pressure from the ventilator created long-term scar tissue, which led to gradual decline in lung function.
Todd’s lungs were functioning at 25% when she had a double lung transplant. She said, “I always have understood that God has plan for my life. When I found out that I was going to need a transplant, I really wasn’t afraid. I felt fairly confident that things would be OK. I prayed for God’s will to be done, and I had support from many family members and friends.” Todd said she found comfort in Scripture and music that recognized God as Sovereign. She also found peace in IWU’s recognition and emphasis on God’s plan for her life.
Todd plans to transition back into teaching in January of 2018, beginning with substitute teaching, and then return to the classroom full-time in August of 2018. She stated, “I’m looking forward to returning, but in the meantime, I’m doing different online courses, some through IWU, to keep my knowledge sharp. The Education program at IWU has given me the drive to continue learning.” Todd recommends IWU to anyone interested in pursuing the Education field.
Todd remains an inspiration to those who learn her story and continues to be a reminder of the strength it takes to trust God’s will.
Written by Emily Neideck, writer for the Alumni Center and a junior Writing major at IWU. She is active on the cross country and track teams. She is passionate about using her writing skills to share the good news of Christ with others and writes often on her personal blog at www.emilylehner.wordpress.com.