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Leah Grady’s Journey of Growth: Dr. Vickie Grooms Denny Award

Leah Grady’s Journey of Growth: Dr. Vickie Grooms Denny Award

“Pursue growth, not perfection.”

Captain of the women’s volleyball team, Leah Grady, was awarded the Dr. Vickie Grooms Denny Award, which is given annually to one volleyball player within the NCCAA member institutions who demonstrates outstanding character on and off the court. Director of Calvary’s Athletic Department, Jeannette Regier, states: “Leah has pursued leadership, athletic, academic, and spiritual goals as others have poured into her life. This award allows us to celebrate with her what God has done in and through her.”

When Josh Johnson, head coach of Calvary’s women’s volleyball team, was asked about his thoughts on his experience with Leah, he said a particular experience came to mind. An early “battle” he fought with her was over missing practices and matches in September each year: “Every coach has to set a standard and her missing these team events ran in opposition to the standard I put in place.” Yet, he said that Leah’s reason for missing the practices was a beautiful one: “She wanted to miss these events so she could be at a kid’s club outreach and discipleship event in her hometown. The Lord allowed her to go back most years (sometimes against my will) and yet, when I filled out the nomination form for the Dr. Vickie Grooms Denny award, her commitment to that club was near the top of the list for why she should be chosen. Leah loved that ministry because she loved the children, and that was beautiful to witness.” He added, “Leah has led our team for two years now as captain. Even during her sophomore year, she was one of our leaders. She has led our girls to committing scripture to memory, shown up in a timely manner to 6 a.m. workouts on a weekly basis, and has even led small group devotions in the dorms her junior and senior year.”

When asked to reflect on her own growth, Leah stated that as a freshman she only cared about what was best for herself, and after tearing her ACL, considered giving up volleyball completely. Yet, after 10 months of intense physical therapy and much encouragement from her previous coach, Tressa Barnes, Leah decided to play another year: “My sophomore year was a challenging year, coming back from my ACL injury, trying to be present, loving the girls on my team well, and not getting inside my head.” She opened up about a particular experience that helped change her perspective: “There was a challenging practice when Coach Josh called me into his office. He read Ephesians 1 and talked me through where my identity in Christ is truly found. I sat there sobbing, wanting so desperately to receive that truth. That conversation and countless others began a process of growth in my life (not perfection). Through the good moments and the bad, Coach Josh didn’t give up on me and instead pointed me to the truth.” She states: “Knowing that Coach Josh wouldn’t give up on me helped me receive the truth that God is also for me and is never giving up on me.”

When receiving the award, Leah stated she was incredibly humbled and wished her team had been around her because they had also been through her journey: “All I could think was ‘But God’! He has done so much work in my life, and He is the reason I was able to receive the Dr. Vickie Grooms Denny award! All glory goes to Him! I have learned so many lessons through my experience; to receive help from God and my community, to accept failure as an opportunity to learn, and to pursue growth, not perfection.”

 

Allen Pierschbacher (1954-2022): A Passionate Seeker of Truth

Allen Pierschbacher (1954-2022): A Passionate Seeker of Truth

“Allen was passionate about training the next generation and was a seeker of truth.”

Calvary is saddened to hear of beloved alumnus and professor Allen Pierschbacher, (also known as Big Al) recently going home to be with the Lord on November 1, 2022. A preacher and teacher of God’s Word, he passionately lived a life that shared the hope of the Gospel with those around him through both evangelism and discipleship. Allen was a key missionary member of Brazil Gospel Fellowship Missions, served as professor and Missionary in Residence at Calvary University in the 1990-91 school year, and was a beloved husband to Nadine and father of three children, Marvin, Lance, and Alisa. Allen received a BA in Biblical Studies from Calvary Bible College, and enjoyed mechanics, music, and speaking Portuguese. He was heavily involved in many church-planting ministries throughout his lifetime, served at SIBIMA Seminary in Fortaleza as Academic Dean and Dean of Students, and was active in Home Bible Studies in Fortaleza and Pacoti.

When reflecting on Allen’s teaching at Calvary, a student and long-time friend of Allen, Dan Anderson, shared that “Al was incredibly wise but also sincerely humble.” His introduction to Allen was at Calvary when he taught a number of his classes, stating that Allen had humbly but directly confronted him about wrong attitudes in his life, which resulted in a deep friendship enduring between them. Al provided premarital counseling for Dan and his wife and “played a continuous role” in their growth as a couple until his last days: “Allen counseled from God’s Word with the wisdom to drive others to discover the truth for themselves through asking great questions and prompting to read Scripture rather than just telling me what to do. Al helped me with relationships, home and auto repairs, and financial counsel from our meeting in 1990 until just days before he passed away. I called Al about ten days before he was promoted to Glory and the conversation turned to counsel for my life even as he was fighting for his own—that was Al, a selfless servant.” Dr. Granados, President of Calvary University, perhaps encapsulated Allen’s character best when he stated: “Allen never met someone he didn’t befriend or try to have a conversation to share the gospel with; he was passionate about training the next generation and was a seeker of truth. He was a lover of God, a lover of the Word, a lover of the church, and a lover of people.”

For more information on Allen’s life in ministry, please visit here: https://www.bgfmission.com/al-nadine

 

 

Hanna Sims’ Ministry: NETworkers TEC

Hanna Sims’ Ministry: NETworkers TEC

“This is God’s ministry, and I am merely a servant in it.”

Hanna Sims graduated from Calvary University with a Bachelor of Science in Ministry Studies-Children (CU16); she says that the call God placed on her heart to evangelize and disciple children came to her when she was a teenager, and she has been able to grow in areas of service to Christ throughout the years through ministries like Child Evangelism Fellowship/Christian Youth in Action, Good News Club, and In the Gap. Today, Hanna is heavily involved in her personal ministry, NETworkers TEC, which seeks to provide the body of Christ with a network of resources to assist believers in their Biblical ministries to the next generation: “What makes my ministry different is that instead of focusing on promoting one ministry, I connect believers with various resources for various ministry needs.” 

Hanna says that she has had the blessing of reaching many audiences through NETworkers TEC, providing character lessons at elementary school chapels, workshops at AWANA clubs on memorizing Scripture, and has led neighborhood Bible clubs for kids. For teens, she has developed an apologetics seminar (online and in-person) and has spoken at the national IFCA youth conference for two years. She has also trained teens to prepare for mission trips and working with children, and has partnered with many churches to have workshops available for their Sunday school workers and parents. The work that Hanna is currently most excited about is a newly published children’s apologetics curriculum for elementary students that she co-authored with Dr. Frank Turek called “Yes, God is Real!”.

On her ministry journey, Hanna faced personal obstacles and learned some powerful life lessons. One particularly difficult trial she faced was her health. She was very sick for the first two years of establishing her ministry, yet she says that “The Lord gave me strength and healing during this time, and I learned how to trust God for my daily needs (Matthew 6:11) and to thank Him for the gift of health.” A spiritual lesson that Hanna gained was looking at ministries from a biblical perspective: “God has taught me that when I am tempted to compare myself to my peers that are in corporate jobs, I must remember that God calls each of us in different directions and that when we are faithful to him with our talents, that is what success truly is (Matthew 25:20-21).”

Clearly, Hanna is a servant of God, actively living out her ministry calling. Today, she is especially excited to continue to disciple children, teens, and adults, make more workshops available to churches and Christian organizations, and spread the word about her children’s apologetics curriculum. For years to come, Hanna seeks to continue to minister to children, teens, and adults, as well as develop resources to impact areas of evangelism, apologetics, and spiritual growth. Currently, Hanna is working on a couple other curriculum and writing projects that she expects, Lord willing, to be published in the future: “God has opened the doors of partnership for me through NETworkers TEC, and he has helped me to have boldness (Psalm 138:3). This is God’s ministry and I am merely a servant in it.”

 

Career vs Calling: Matt Brewer

Career vs Calling: Matt Brewer

“Success is found in the stewardship of where God has placed me.” 

Today, there are many beliefs about careers and callings. Should we wait for a calling from God before choosing a career path? Matt Brewer is a faithful servant of God who has held different positions in his professional career. He’s been a educator, a businessman, and a missionary. He states: “I believe God’s plan for my life is for me to walk in obedience each day.  God has given me the opportunity to do a lot of different things, but the joy I’ve found in my careers has abounded when I faithfully steward the responsibilities of whatever position I have served in.” Matt’s focus is not on his 401k, but rather his “401 Kingdom.” 

Matt Brewer graduated from Calvary Bible College with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education in Bible and Mathematics, and received a Master of Science in Educational Administration from Clark Summit University. Although his career path began in education, Matt is currently Director of Talent Development at Equity Bank. When reflecting on if he felt called to his career path, Matt stated: “I’ve never believed that the will of God for my life was some mystic thing I hoped I didn’t miss. God’s plan for my life is to walk in obedience and fellowship with Him each day. For me, success is found in the stewardship of where God has placed me.” 

As stated earlier, Matt has led a diverse career life. He grew up in Christian schooling and was deeply impacted by Christian teachers, so he pursued a career in education. His first professional job was as a mathematics instructor and coach at Blue Ridge Christian School (1986-1991), where he learned the important lessons of setting an example and being intentional in his work, family, and spiritual life. After a few years of working as a supervisor for his father’s construction business, Matt delved deeper into business when he accepted a sales and marketing position at Tomkins Industries (1993-1998) and eventually a position as Operations Manager (1998-2000).

Tomkins was where Matt transformed into a proactive leader through volunteering to do difficult tasks no one else wanted to do, and going out of his way to challenge himself, even when he had to learn new skills. After helping Tomkins expand greatly, Matt returned to the field of education, where he worked at Kansas City Christian School (2000-2005) as the high school principal. There, Matt applied newly acquired skills from his previous job at Tomkins, taking part in financial responsibilities as well as thriving in his position of leadership where he put his relational competency and passion for coaching to great use.

Then in 2005, Matt and his wife, Mary, made a huge career shift. After deciding they wanted to enter a ministry role, they sold everything they owned and began raising support for a ministry career at Ethnos 360’s Faith Academy in the Philippines. Within six months, they raised their supports, “stepped out in faith”, and moved to the Philippines with their three children. After three years on the mission field, where Matt faithfully served as an educator, advisor, and leader, he and his family moved back to the states in 2007. When Trinity Academy offered him a position as principal of the school (2007-2017), he accepted.

During his ten years at Trinity, Matt held many positions of leadership in the school, including administration, development, academics, and student life. While there, he discovered his passion for “building” organizations, as well as people. When he resigned from Christian Education in 2017, he started building a training program at Equity Bank, where he coached employees for five years until he was promoted to his current position as Director of Talent Development. Now, he handles executive coaching and leadership development, where he uses his God-given abilities everyday to build up employees into strong and effective leaders.

So far as the future is concerned, Matt believes the best years of his service to God through his career are not behind him, but ahead of him: “My wife and I are turning sixty next year. When I was young, this sounded old, but I believe my opportunities for the Kingdom are great. In our culture we hear things like ‘slowing down’ and ‘retirement’. Yet, I’ve gotten more involved in service in the last five years than I have my entire life.” No matter what career path Matt continues or what opportunities come his way next, he affirms: “Every day, no matter what I am doing, it’s my purpose to live a life of integrity.” 

 

Calvary’s New CFO: Dr. Tom Stolberg

Calvary’s New CFO: Dr. Tom Stolberg

“I believe in Christian education. Calvary University is uniquely positioned to accomplish that mission, and it thrills me to be a part of it.” 

Dr. Tom Stolberg has led a diverse, enriching career journey. Having had field experience in music, education, and working for Merrill Lynch, he is thrilled to begin his new position as Calvary University’s Chief Financial Officer.

Tom came from a humble background, yet was driven to pursue excellence. Born and raised in a small town in northern Illinois, he was the second oldest of his three siblings. Growing up in a “typical” midwestern family, his father sold insurance and his mother sewed on the side to help pay the bills. Originally, Tom was interested in pursuing a career in science, and he was the first child in his family to attend college. However, despite the fact that Tom had already taken his first steps in his career journey, God cut out an entirely new path for him.

During Tom’s pursuit of earning a degree in physics, he began to greatly miss music. Growing up, he was a “band kid”, and was heavily involved in choir and singing. When his passion to pursue music kept growing, Tom finally switched career paths altogether, and transferred to Illinois State University. While there, he met his future wife, Rosie, earned a Music Education Degree in 1981, and married that same year. They moved to Las Cruces, where Tom began teaching a junior high school choir for the Las Cruces Public Schools. Later, he earned a double master’s degree in Vocal Music Performance and Choral Conducting at New Mexico State University in 1984.

Huge life changes occurred during Tom’s final year at NMSU. Both he and Rosie received Christ as their Lord and Savior, and they were soon preparing to move locations: “My voice studies were going well and Rosie and I had decided to move to New York to allow me to pursue a career in classical music. I applied to Cornell University in Ithaca, and was accepted into the studio of Barbara Troxell. She had led an amazing career, singing at the Met and other places. However, God had other plans for us. Barbara died three days before I was to start lessons with her.” Once again, Tom’s direction in life was altered. Despite this, Tom chose to do what was best for his family.

After fostering an interest in investing, he connected with an investment company that was opening up where he lived: “At the time, my wife was pregnant with the first of our six kids. I needed a job, and Merrill Lynch hired me.” He worked there for fifteen years. In 2010, Tom accepted his position as Music Department Chair at Calvary University. Having earned his doctorate in Musical Arts in 2005, Tom delved deep into the field of music and education once again. During his years of teaching at Calvary, he states that he enjoyed helping students “grow spiritually and professionally, conducting, and working with great colleagues” until he retired in 2021.

Although Tom did not always know where he would be led to by walking through “open doors” from God, he states: “After I became a Christian, my outlook on life changed and my expectations did too. Matthew 6:25-33 makes it clear that God is in charge; He’s not a God of confusion. He has my best interest at heart, and He is utterly faithful and good.” Tom states that his positions at Calvary, including his new position as the Chief Financial Officer, were opportunities he said yes to because God “opened the door”, and he walked through it.

Today, Tom believes there is potential for CU to reach an ever-expanding group of students, and he is excited to help advance Calvary University’s mission: “I believe in Christian education. CU is uniquely positioned to accomplish that mission, and it thrills me to be part of it.”