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Ethnos 360: Equipping Students for International Missions

Ethnos 360: Equipping Students for International Missions

Last fall, Calvary University and Ethnos360 teamed up to help equip college-aged missionaries-in-training to reach the unreached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The partnership on this project started when Jim Passetti, linguistics teacher in Ethnos360’s training center in Roach MO, contacted Joshua Paxton to ask if Calvary would host two linguistics teachers and four of their students from October through November. After graduating from the program, three of these students are pursuing missions work in Brazil, India, and Mexico, and one is still deciding where to serve. This coming September, Calvary expects to host twelve students, three children, and two linguistics teachers for two months. 

The program is designed for Ethnos360 students who show a particular aptitude for linguistics. Over the course of the program, they are trained to analyze and translate scripture into a tribal language and teach others to read the language—all for the goal of planting churches. 

Similar to last fall, this year’s group from Ethnos360 will be living in the dorms where they will have the opportunity to engage in community with Calvary students and influence them to potentially get involved in similar ministry work. They will also meet up with language partners to receive specialized training in their language of choice in downtown Kansas City.

Ultimately, Calvary University is blessed to partner with a mission outreach organization like Ethnos360 and aid them in their pursuit of equipping missionaries to spread the Gospel to every tribe, tongue, and nation. 


Laura VanderWoude receives 2024 Elementary Education Award

Laura VanderWoude receives 2024 Elementary Education Award

Laura VanderWoude (CU’ 2018), has recently won the Elementary Educator award for 2024 from the Missouri American String Teachers Association. Laura graduated from Calvary University with a Bachelor of Science in Music Education: Instrumental, with an emphasis in violin. She received her Master of Music Education in 2022 from Kansas State University.  

Laura grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and has been involved in orchestra and playing violin since she was seven years old. She chose Calvary as her university so that she could get a biblical education and an accredited degree in music education.  

“Calvary was a great fit for me because I was able to get involved in a community where I grew spiritually and academically.”

From a professional standpoint, Laura’s experiences at Calvary inspired her to connect with more musicians, take up opportunities to get hands-on experience in student teaching, and ultimately become a trained, confident educator.   

Laura’s award was given to her by the Missouri chapter of the American String Teacher’s Association. As a six-year member of this professional organization, she often volunteers and is the head chaperone of the all-state orchestra students at their state conference every year.

The Elementary Education Award is usually given to someone who teaches beginner student-musicians. Laura teaches in Independence, Missouri, where she has two hundred students that she teaches every day. She said it has been a privilege to focus on beginners and first year instrument players. When reflecting on how she felt about receiving her award, she said:  

“I was not quite sure how to feel at first because there are so many other amazing string educators that also deserve this award. I am humbled, but also feel honored that people see the hard work I do in my area of expertise. Truly, all the glory goes to the Lord. He has strengthened me and taught me personally about His compassion and patience, and He has shown me how much my students are made in His image.” 

Laura is ultimately grateful to have a positive impact on her students’ lives. She feels privileged to help them excel in their musicianship and develop skills they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.   


Carolyn Asher’s Journey to Becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor

Carolyn Asher’s Journey to Becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor

“Passing my Missouri Licensing Exam opened up a world of opportunity in my counseling career.” 

In addition to earning her Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling from Calvary in 2023, Carolyn Asher recently passed her Missouri Licensing Examination (NCE)—making her the first graduate from Calvary’s updated program to receive licensure!

Carolyn grew up in church her whole life but did not believe in Christ until she was in her late teens, after which she felt God was leading her to go to Criswell College in Dallas, Texas, where she studied Bible and counseling. Two years later, she moved to Missouri to earn her BA in Biblical Counseling at Calvary University. When she became a wife and mother, Carolyn took a break from her studies to focus on her family. In 2019, she returned to Calvary to finish her bachelor’s degree and earn her MA in Biblical Counseling.

“What I love about the professors at Calvary is that they take the Word of God as their cornerstone as well as explore man’s theories and observations.” 

Carolyn said she chose Calvary because she appreciated the Biblical Counseling Department’s mission to raise counselors with a holistic view that accounts for the four pillars of God’s creation: the spiritual, the physical, the emotional, and relational connections. She also stated that getting hours in for hands-on experience was made easy through Calvary’s connections to Abundant Life Counseling Center, and while earning her master’s degree, she was able to participate in a suicide-prevention ministry called Choose to Live.

When Carolyn took her exam, she felt well prepared to pass it because of the comprehensive experience, classes, and materials Calvary had supplied her with.

When Carolyn passed her NCE exam, she felt both elated and relieved to have reached this milestone in her career. Since then, she has used therapy tools from her classes with several of her counselees. As she has counseled young girls, Carolyn has taken note of the need for better communication within parent-child relationships, which has inspired her to write a devotional on the issue:

“I have found that there is a huge gap between parents and their children that needs to be filled with better communication, listening skills, and having a better understanding of each other’s emotions.”  

Her devotional will have short devotions and exercises based on the Word of God that parents can complete in just five to ten minutes. Carolyn’s goal with her simple devotional is for parents to have a closer relationship with their children by becoming more aware of their emotions and how they work.

Carolyn’s greatest joy as a counselor thus far has been witnessing the personal growth and progress of her counselees.

Helping people cope with their trauma through developing skills and understanding why they think and feel the way they do has been a very rewarding experience for Carolyn. Ultimately, she desires to use the biblical and practical knowledge she has gained to help her counselees find lasting peace.

Paul Wright’s The Hand at the Helm: A Guidebook for Seminary Board members

Paul Wright’s The Hand at the Helm: A Guidebook for Seminary Board members

This book meets a definite need for theological education in Latin America.”

Paul Wright is a missionary, an educator, and a recent contributor to a book that he hopes will make a far-reaching impact on theological education in Latin America. The title of the book, translated to English, is The Hand at the Helm: A Guidebook for Seminary Board Members.  

Paul graduated from Calvary in 1977 with a BA in Pastoral Ministries and later went on to earn a Master of Arts in Theological Education (‘CU 1981) and a PhD in Theological Education from the Central American Theological Seminary. Paul stated that much of what he learned from his education at Calvary prepared him for pastoral ministry:  

Calvary was a major milestone in my ministerial and personal formation. What I learned at Calvary University I am still to this day putting into practice in my own ministry!” 

After Paul married his wife, Beth, they moved to Argentina in 1983 and began church planting in several locations. Avant Ministries’ first mission for Paul was to restore a dying church. By God’s grace, this mission was fulfilled, and after several years, he was able to leave the church in the hands of Argentine pastoral leadership. Paul has been heavily involved in theological education ever since. 

In 1997, Paul and three other pastors in Mendoza, Argentina, decided to take on the enormous task of establishing a Bible Institute: 

We founded the institution to equip people for ministerial leadership, and we’ve been building it for twenty-six years.” 

Paul admitted that he and his team did not know what they were getting into when they decided to start a Bible Institute. It proved to be a more complicated process than they had ever imagined—but rewarding, nonetheless. During Paul’s years of service as both a teacher and an administrative leader, he has been focused on equipping his students for leadership and academic teaching.  

One of Paul and his team’s recent missions for their Bible Institute was to publish The Hand at the Helm; interestingly, Paul stated that the impetus of the book was largely based on his own experience: 

“Many times, those who come from seminaries or Bible Institutes have some experience serving at a church or working in business, but they often have no experience in theological education. A seminary or a Bible Institute is its own class. Its structure is similar to that of a church, school, and business. It takes someone who knows how to fuse all of these together to get a Bible Institute off the ground.” 

Paul and his team collaborated with a group of graduates of the PhD program at Central American Theological Seminary to start writing the book. There are nine contributors in all. The knowledge Paul and his team gained from their doctoral programs combined with the years of hands-on experience they acquired in theological education helped them put together a book that serves as a manual for seminary and institute board members. 

Paul went on to make a point that in the U.S., there are several books accessible for church planting. However, The Hand at the Helm is the only available source he knows of for those in Latin America: 

This meets a tremendous need in Latin America, and we are in the process of getting our book into the hands of people who need it, like seminary participants, deans, board members, or those who have leadership roles to fill in theological education. There are a great many institutes and seminaries all over Latin America that can use this book.”  

As chairman of the editorial committee, Paul and his team are busy coming up with new ideas to help minister to Latin America. They have already started another writing project centered on servant leadership and discipleship. They were able to undertake this project because God blessed them with donations that far exceeded what they asked for to publish The Hand at the Helm.  

If you are interested in learning more about Paul and Beth’s ministry, click here!  





Calvary ranked in top 3% of Christian colleges and universities according to Christian Higher Education: An Empirical Guide.

Calvary ranked in top 3% of Christian colleges and universities according to Christian Higher Education: An Empirical Guide.

Christian Higher Education: An Empirical Guide (2023) explores the question of how to find a university that truly aligns with its Christian identity, providing a helpful evaluation guide that students and their parents can use in their decision-making process. Created and researched by experts in the field of Christian higher education, the guide serves two purposes.

First, it evaluates the crucial ways colleges and universities express (or do not express) their Christian identities when making marketing, curricular, co-curricular decisions.1 Secondly, it scores Christian institutions based on how effectively they operationalize their Christian identity through their administrative policies.2

In the authors’ evaluation of Calvary University, they ranked it in the top 3% of U.S. and Canadian Christian colleges and universities—indicating high levels of performance when collectively ranking its use of Christian language, its membership requirements to attend, teach, or work at the university, and its curricular, and co curricular decisions.

“The way to learn what an institution truly loves is to look at its goals, its rationale for meeting those goals, the policies and incentive systems created to reach those goals, and accountability structures for reporting results.” 

Calvary is honored to be recognized as a university that is Christ-centered in its endeavors. For those interested in learning more about the relationship between the Christian identity and institutional policies of today’s Christian colleges and universities, Christian Higher Education: An Empirical Guide is a must read!

 Sources Used: 

1-2 Glanzer, Perry (2023). What is a Christian University? A New Book That Answers This Question.