Pastor of the Week: Matt Aukerman

By: Dezaray Barr

Matt Aukerman and his family

Rev. Matthew Aukerman and his family serve with Global Partners on missions team in Durrës, Albania in a church called Kisha e Shpreses (The Church of Hope). He graduated from Indiana University in Bloomington in 1989 with a B.S. in secondary education. “Before beginning service with Global Partners, I taught seventh-grade math for 16 years,” Aukerman said. “Since beginning to serve with Global Partners in 2006, I have been ordained, having completed my coursework through the Wesleyan FLAME program.”

Although Aukerman nor his wife, Caryl, attended Indiana Wesleyan University, their son, Noah, is a freshman at IWU. “Though I did not attend a Christian university, my time at Indiana University (IU) played a vital role in moving me forward in my walk with Christ and preparing me for ministry,” Aukerman said. “It was a time in my life when my faith faced challenges that it had not directly encountered as I grew up in a Christian family that was in church every time the doors open. At IU, my faith truly had to become my own as I sorted through the challenges that popped up in the forms of Darwinism and humanism in my freshman honors seminar and through interactions I had every day with people whose perspectives on life and faith were far different from mine.”

Kisha e Shpreses

Kisha e Shpreses is structured differently than the model most North Americans are used to. “Our structure is small-group focused, with a monthly celebration service at which about 30-40 Albanians worship and discuss the Bible. That particular service is Albanian-led, and the discussion at the weekly home fellowship we facilitate is also usually led by one of two Albanian men in the group. Up until about 20 months ago, everything was directed by missionaries, so it has been exciting to watch Albanians take on more of the leadership role as the missions staff catalyzes and encourages them in ministry. Especially to our home fellowship, I function in some ways as a pastor-shepherd, and particularly to the men, with whom I also try to spend time individually each week over coffee. In the months ahead, we hope to see this group divide, move out of our home into Albanian homes and reproduce as Albanians apply the disciple-making movement principles that we are emphasizing on our field,” Aukerman explained.

In addition to overseeing this home fellowship, Aukerman’s family hosts two weekly kids clubs in Aukerman’s home (in partnership with Child Evangelism Fellowship) and currently has a weekly Bible study in another home. “I am our missions team leader, facilitating our weekly team meeting and monitoring the work, relational and spiritual life of the missionaries on our team. We also continue to spend significant time building relationships in our neighborhood for the purpose of finding others who are interested in reading God’s Word with us and/or with whom we can share the gospel. For me, this means spending quite a bit of time in the local coffee houses where men congregate and drink their morning or evening espresso. I really don’t like coffee, but I care about Albanian men, so most days will find me visiting a couple of coffee shops, steeling my taste buds to suck down a cup of espresso, and diving into conversation with the local men before tackling the rest of my day,” he said.

As missionaries, the biggest sacrifice for Aukerman and his family have been leaving their family, church family and close friends. It’s also been hard for them to accumulate to a new culture and speak a language that was not their own. “God has blessed us with great friends here, and we have done well with the language, but we still miss the facility of communicating in English, our way of life in America and regularly seeing those that are dear to us in America,” Aukerman said. “One great difficulty we find in ministry in Albania is the pervasive universal-ism that we encounter. From 1967-1991, all religious practice was outlawed in Albania, which declared itself the world’s first officially atheist nation. For all of the government’s efforts, they never succeeded in convincing people that there is no God, but Albanians came out of communism very confused spiritually and, in this land where most call themselves Muslim, about 20% claim to be Orthodox Christians and about 10% Catholic, most believe that all roads lead to God and that it doesn’t much matter in what you put your faith. There is little urgency or concern on the part of most Albanians to seek out, determine and follow the Truth. That makes it difficult to challenge Albanians to a real faith commitment.”

A fun fact about himself is that Aukerman has been on TV three times, “—for a grand total of 2 seconds!  In Albania, I was filmed once as part of a crowd at a city council meeting and another time giving blood at the hospital after a disaster. As a teacher in the US, I won (or maybe lost!) a contest in a Riley Children’s Hospital fundraiser, in which students voted with their pocket change for which teacher they would most like to see kiss a pig, which got me on the local news.”

In addition to their service in Albania, Caryl and Matt (before children) also served a year as volunteer missionaries with GP in Ryazan, Russia.



Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a junior Strategic Communication, Journalism and Honors Humanities triple major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. Visit Dez’s website at

Global Partners: Phil Gormong

By: Dezaray Barr

Phil Gormong
Phil Gormong

Phil Gormong graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2005 with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Biblical Literature. “My time at IWU was so significant, he shared. “I built strong friendships, several of which have lasted through the years.  I received a solid education, which has helped shape my thinking, philosophy and practice. I met my wife there, and God used that environment in a powerful way to shape my character and spur on life-transforming growth in Him.”

Since graduating, Gormong has obtained an Masters in Divinity from Wesley Biblical Seminary in Jackson, MS, served a two-year missionary term in Russia with his family and served as a pastor of a local Wesleyan church in Indiana for four years.

Now, Gormong works as a Mobilizer for Global Partners. “God used my time at IWU to shape my character and instill values and practices in my life which I have carried with me,” Gormong said. “Being exposed to and developing deep relationships has been so beneficial as I continue to invest in relationship building in my current capacity.”

Phil Gormong and his family

“One of the biggest factors that I was immediately exposed to at IWU was that there were people (peers) that genuinely loved Jesus and were authentic in their faith, and this reality deeply impacted me,” Gormong said. “God used that to spur me on in my own relationship with Him. God used my time there to deepen my walk with Him, as well as, prepare my heart to receive a call into ministry.”

Gormong would advise IWU students to, “Fully invest and engage in the on-campus opportunities. Be intentional about building relationships, even if it stretches you. Engage in the spiritual growth opportunities, and be open (and expect) God to meet you and work in your life. Begin to set life-long rhythms and practices that reflect God’s desire for your life.”



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


Global Partners: Phil Boardman

By: Dezaray Barr

Boardman preaching
Boardman preaching

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.

Phil & Kristy Boardman

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

Global Partners: Amber Livermore

By: Dezaray Barr

Livermore preaching at a youth camp in New Zealand

Amber Livermore graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University with a degree in Youth Ministries/Biblical Literature in 2007.

Livermore served as a long-term Global Partners missionary in New Zealand for four years. She returned to the states in February of 2016 to become the lead pastor of Grace Fellowship (Wesleyan) Church in Princeton, IN, and to continue serving with Global Partners part-time as a Youth Mobilizer. “It’s my privilege to not only to shepherd a local flock which has a huge heart for global missions, but I also get to promote the call to global mission and the incredible ministries of Global Partners among junior high and high school students as well as their leaders,” Livermore shared.

“My time at IWU as a student was one of the most formative, challenging and enjoyable seasons of my life,” Livermore said. “God used the faculty at IWU to help me become rooted and established in Christian faith, discern God’s general direction for my life and prepare me for a lifetime of vocational ministry. He brought godly mentors across my path who continue to speak powerfully over me to this day. Finally, He placed me in a tight circle of trusted Christian friends who significantly shaped my character and story; we continue to intentionally walk with Christ together, even across geographic distance.”

Livermore remembers the first time she yelled at God during her freshman year at IWU in the Williams Prayer Chapel. “I was desperate for His direction and frustrated by what seemed to be His silence. After I finished yelling in His general direction, I heard a quiet stirring urging me to walk out of the chapel. As I did, I was prompted again to walk toward the statue which stands in front of the Noggle Christian Ministries Center. I had never paid much attention to the statue, and as I drew closer, I recognized that it depicted Jesus standing between two students who were reading with His hands resting their heads. I read the plaque, ‘For you I am praying.’ I was overwhelmed with the reality that while I lashed out at what I perceived to be the negligent silence of Jesus, this glimpse into reality showed His loving intercession for me. The tears flowed that night in front of a statue which has become a memorial in my walk with Christ. Any time I can’t sense or hear His direction, I’m reminded He has not forgotten me.”

Livermore baptizing individuals this summer

Livermore choose to attend IWU after attending a youth conference at Indiana Wesleyan while she was a high school student. “We had barely parked the van as we arrived on campus for the first time when I called my parents and told them God had called me to attend IWU. Actually, my exact words when my mom answered the phone were, ‘We are here; it’s snowing; and this is where I’m going to college.'”

Livermore encourages IWU student, “Don’t settle for anything less than a group of friends at IWU who will challenge and encourage you in your walk with Christ. You will never be in a life circumstance when it will be easier to find that kind of community, and it will be a community that continues to shape you long after graduation.”

Livermore will be speaking at IWU Chapel in Marion on Friday, November 17 for Global Awareness Week.



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


Crystal Bailey Blake: Memorial and Reflections

HOPE was the theme of today’s memorial service of IWU alumnae Crystal Bailey Blake. Rev. Dennis Jackson provided perspective as he shared today at the service in Cedar Falls, Iowa. He offered words of hope and vision representing Global Partners when he shared about how Crystal often inspired and ministered to him even in her difficult time with cancer. Ultimately it is “hope” that make the difference in Crystal’s life shared Jackson. He talked about a time when most recently at a Global Missions Summit at Houghton College though she was weak, “she held up the sign that seemed most fitting to who she was. The sign read, ‘HOPE'” said Jackson.

Read Obituary at Dahl Funeral.

Hundreds have been impacted by her story and life. Even in the “small youth group at Trinity Bible Church during her teens, she would invite anyone and everyone to attend” shared former youth pastor, Rev. Kirk Statler, Pastor of Hillside Wesleyan Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He shared about her passion for Christ and love for people that drew her peers to a personal relations with Christ.

The following video talks about her struggle with cancer.


The following article was published by Global Partners.

“Forever ALIVE in him” | The Wesleyan Church

Light shines from Crystal Blake’s eyes and joy permeates her smile. If you looked at her, you’d think all was well. But Crystal knows about pain and struggle, probably better than most people.

Source: Forever ALIVE in him | The Wesleyan Church

Equip. Serve. Send. Multigenerational Missions in Cambodia

CambodiaEquip. Serve. Send. This pattern is reflective of how God has called the Los, Gallants, and Baileys to minister in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Since 1974, God has systematically moved in the hearts of three Indiana Wesleyan-affiliated couples to pursue full-time missions in this country. Each couple has brought a new passion and focus to this ministry, yet through their multigenerational presence in this country, God has demonstrated His concern for the people of Cambodia.

In 1974, current IWU Professor of Religion and IWU Campus Pastor, Umfundisi Jim Lo and his wife Roxene moved to Cambodia with the expressed purpose of equipping Christians through full-time ministry. Partnering with Campus Crusade for Christ and Global Partners, the couple entered this country with the expressed purpose of training local pastors to better share the Gospel. From 1974 until 1996 the Los worked full-time for these ministries. When they left to return to the United States, they were quickly succeeded by Tim and Tiffany Gallant a couple Dr. Lo introduced to the ministry that now serve as full-time missionaries. Over thirty years later, recent IWU alumni and former students of Dr. Lo, Chad and Jacklyn Bailey feel God has sent them to join the Gallants in their ministry.

When Dr. Lo and his wife left for Cambodia in 1974, they quickly realized the deep spiritual, physical and emotional needs of this country.

“When we first went to Cambodia, it was like stepping into the first Century church; only about one percent of the population would even claim being a Christian,” Dr. Lo commented of his initial trip to Cambodia. A country adhering exclusively to Buddhism, Cambodia is marked as being distinctly void of any Christian presence. Commenting on his year spent in full-time ministry, Dr. Lo stated that he never had been so aware of spiritual warfare.

“Cambodians believe deeply in spirits,” Dr. Lo explained. “They believe that even thunderstorms are attributed to spirits.”

Because of the mysticism and adherence to Buddhism that characterizes this culture, Dr. Lo mentioned that turning to another faith is very difficult.

Cambodia2“Buddhism is not just a religion for these people, it is a deep part of who they are,” Lo stated. Most young people in this country spend at least a portion of their lives in complete service to their faith; many youths work stints as monks simply out of religious and cultural expectations. The religion of this country asserts its prominence through many physical markers as well. Dr. Lo commented that Buddhist shrines are prolific; marking most streets throughout the cities. Often household shrines are installed into most rooms in a Cambodian home as well, with Buddhist figures prominently displayed. In the home where Dr. Lo stayed, he and his wife needed to ask special permission to remove the figures from all the rooms as they worked to assert themselves as a Christian family.

As the Lo family worked to equip Pastors and meet spiritual needs in Cambodia, they concurrently began finding ways to meet physical needs. During their time in Cambodia they began digging wells, teaching English, and working to help girls who are at-risk for sex trafficking find positive means for earning money. Sex trafficking is one of the predominate industries in this country, a painful fact the Los often observed.

“One night a soldier knocked on our door,” Dr. Lo recalls. “When I answered the door, he asked how many I wanted. At first I was confused. Then I realized he was selling girls for the night.”

Pastor Lo worked extensively in the red-light district of Cambodia, an area of the country known for high prostitution and sex slavery. While there, Dr. Lo brought several short-term missions trips to help with the ministry needs there. On one occasion, Tiffany Neuenschwander, now Tiffany Gallant joined a short-term team. Faced with the deep spiritual and physical needs of this country, Tiffany sensed God leading her back for full-time ministry.

In 1996, Dr. Lo and his wife returned to the United States to begin work at IWU. While Dr. Lo returns annually to teach and minister, the bulk of Global Partner’s ministry’s residential presence in Cambodia is facilitated by the Gallants. God called Dr. Lo and his wife to Cambodia to equip servants to spread his love. Providing a constant stream of missions-minded people prepared to equip, serve, and send others, God has demonstrated his passion for the people of Cambodia through the work of Dr. Lo and his colleagues.


Written by Katherine Arch, Story Teller for Alumni Relations. Katherine Arch is a Junior English major at Indiana Wesleyan, and a member of the Track and Cross Country teams. She is passionate about sharing people’s stories and celebrating their divine potential in written form.