By: Dezaray Barr
Phil Boardman graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in December of 1999 with a degree in Elementary Education and a minor in music. “My time as an IWU student was great – I loved my 4.5 years there!” Boardman said. “It’s the place that I grew a lot spiritually, in my personality and who I was.”
Boardman is now an English teaching missionary in the Czech Republic with Global Partners. “My time at IWU gave me a great framework for serving in the Czech Republic,” Boardman explained. “Even though I teach adults in Czech, I’m so thankful for my elementary education degree. I can live and teach here with some validity that I am a real teacher and not just a native English speaker. When I was at IWU, I wasn’t actively involved in the missions groups on campus. I went on a couple mission trips, but at that time, I didn’t know that God would take me to a foreign country a few years later.”
It was while at IWU that Boardman learned to listen to God. “Before going to IWU, I guess I kind of thought that Christians behave in such and such a way, but never do this or that – that followers of Christ fit into one specific mold,” Boardman explained. “But then I learned that this isn’t always true. It gave me a great new view of the family of God, and I’m really thankful for this. I’ve been able to see this even more, living overseas among Christians who aren’t from the US. It has been so interesting seeing people serve and worship God in so many different ways than I might have ever imagined before.”
In the Czech Republic, Phil and his wife, Kristy, serve as missionaries with the national Wesleyan Church. “A lot of our ministry here is sharing Jesus with non-Christians/atheists, who don’t have much experience at all with Christ, church or the Bible. It’s fun, exciting and a lot of responsibility to be the first person that someone has had a real talk about God with!” he said.
Boardman encourages IWU students to, “Follow God into whatever places He might be leading you. When you enter into these new places, be asking God what you might learn from it or how He might use it in your life. You never know, He might lead you to come to the Czech Republic!”
Boardman remembers thinking and hoping he’d find his wife at IWU and start a family after graduation. “That just seemed natural. But it didn’t happen at all,” Boardman said. “God led me overseas soon after college, and though I thought it would be short-term, it turns out that God wanted me in the Czech Republic long-term. And that happens to be where I met my wife. So, about 10 years after graduation, I was married. We’re still waiting on God’s plan for kids and are in the adoption process now. But we are both so happy about how God led us to the Czech Republic and even to each other and grateful for His plan for us, even though it was different than our expectations. It seems like God’s plan rarely looks like I think it will, but it really is a beautiful thing. I’m so glad that IWU was an important part of my journey.”
Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a junior Strategic Communication and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. At IWU, Dezaray runs both the JWHC Blog and her own blog. Visit Dez’s website at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.