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Rensbergers say Calvary prepared them for missionary life

Rensbergers say Calvary prepared them for missionary life

Currently serving at Ethnos360 in Arizona

Lance and Caitlin Rensberger met during their time at Calvary University. Lance graduated in 2016 and Caitlin in 2015 — both majored in Advanced Biblical Studies. The Rensbergers have been married since 2016 and they have a son named Eli (18 months old) and a baby girl on the way (due in May).  

They are serving at the Ethnos360 campus in Arizona. Lance is a Maintenance Specialist for Ethnos360 Aviation. Currently he works on their helicopters and airplanes in Arizona keeping them running, outfitting new aircraft with upgrades for the different fields, and training and learning about the aircraft that Ethnos360 Aviation uses.  

We’re planning to move overseas within the next couple of years to one of four options: Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Asia Pacific, or Brazil,” Caitlisaid. Once in country Lance would continue to maintain the mission’s aircraft and help to keep the program running smoothly. That might include keeping records for the in-country government, keeping track of parts and getting parts through customs, or buying supplies for the missionaries in the bush that are planting churches.”  

Lance said, “Caitlin doesn’t know for sure what her role will be, but we know that the Lord has her raising our family, and that there will be plenty of opportunities to join in the effort of spreading the gospel to all nations. We’re excited to see how God will line up her talents and abilities with needs on the field.” 

While Caitlin has known for most of her life that she wanted to go into missions, Lance didn’t plan on it until college. Missions was something that became more and more of a desire each year at Calvary. 

Initially he had hoped to go for a year or two and then go into engineering. But after a few years he realized he wanted to be involved with some kind of ministry and to use the gifts God had given him to further the kingdom. Maintenance and working with his hands were some of those gifts, Caitlin said. 

The couple agrees that Calvary prepared them well for the missionary life. “We both had a lot of opportunities for leadership while at Calvary,” Lance said. We grew a ton in our walks with Christ. We grew in our relationships with people and made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot about how to disciple and grow other believers.

Caitlin added, “Calvary didn’t give Lance aviation specific training, but just about every other aspect of ministry with the mission we were given plenty of opportunity to grow in those areas. For instance, there is a fairly high turnover rate for missionaries in overseas missions. The number one reason for this turnover is personnel conflict. I can’t tell you how many times we both went through training that covered personality differences and working together to use other people’s strengths to compliment others’ weaknesses. Also, a lot of our time there was focused on real life conflict resolution. We don’t claim to have all the answers and don’t want to pretend that we couldn’t end up leaving a field because of a personnel conflict, but we sincerely hope and pray what we learned at Calvary will be things we remember and are able to put those things into practice in what has proven to be so difficult for others.”

Calvary Student Reflects on Year Studying Abroad

Calvary Student Reflects on Year Studying Abroad

Calvary student Elise Godsey studied in Greece this year as part of an articulation agreement with Greek Bible College.

“My walk with God definitely grew…”

Calvary Junior Elise Godsey spent the 2019-2020 school year studying in Athens, Greece through Calvary’s articulation agreement with Greek Bible College. She attended for two semesters, studying with other students in the school’s international program (ISP). Godsey said, “This year especially, we got to have a really diverse group,” with students from Greece, America, Canada, Macedonia, South Africa, and Hong Kong.

Calvary’s articulation agreement allows students to function as transfer students, taking courses through Greek Bible College and transferring them toward their degree at Calvary. Godsey said not every course transfers, but “it’s class-by-class figuring it out.” She was enrolled full time, and audited courses of interest that wouldn’t transfer towards her degree. She said the cost of attending added up to be “about the same as a semester at Calvary” and the school environment was very similar to her experiences at Calvary, “a laid-back type of atmosphere, and the professors were very personable.”

Greek Bible College rotates through courses, and Godsey was able to take classes on Bible survey, history of missions, apostles, and the Greek language. Chapel services were held in Greek with a translator, but “all of the classes were in English; everyone knew English really well.”

The ISP students also visited several significant sites around Greece, including Nicopolis, Patmos, Meteora, Delphi, Thessaloniki, and Philippi. Godsey emphasized that, “It’s not just a trip, it’s living there. So many other [study abroad programs] that I’ve heard about were like a one month trip spent traveling… What I loved about mine was that I was living there. It wasn’t a trip.”

Godsey quickly became involved in many ministry opportunities in the community there. She said, “The thing that affected my faith more than anything else was getting to learn from the people in the different ministries I was a part of. I learned a lot of facts at the school, but my walk with God definitely grew seeing what he’s doing in the believers there in Athens.”

See also: 

Calvary Student Enjoys Semester Abroad in Greece” (October 2019 post written by Elise Godsey).

Calvary Student to Spend Semester in Greece

Calvary University has an articulation agreement with Greek Bible College. For more information, click on the image of the GBC website.

Sunrise over Pikermi

Mt. Parnitha

The Parthenon at the Acropolis.

Conference Promotes Student Engagement in Missions

Conference Promotes Student Engagement in Missions

Missions Reps answer questions from students during All-Dorm Devotions.

Students met and interfaced with missions reps during Calvary’s Conference on Global Engagement.

Last week, Calvary held its annual Conference on Global Engagement, hosting missions reps from over 20 missions agencies. Students attended chapel each day taught by representatives from Calvary’s various Synergy partners. Reps offered several other seminars throughout the week, with topics such as engaging in spiritual warfare, church revitalization, facing the dark side of ministry, and addiction and trauma recovery.  Other events like All-Dorm Devotions, a movie night, and Calvary’s Haystack meeting gave students opportunities to interface with missions reps and familiarize themselves with the many agencies represented.

Josh Paxton, Director of the Burnham Center for Global Engagement, said he was happy with how the conference went, and liked the introduction of five chapel speakers for the week. He also mentioned Monday’s dorm devos was “a highlight, and students were able to ask mission reps questions. The theme was ‘10 Reasons Why I Shouldn’t Be a Missionary.’” Students wrote down their questions, “things like, ‘I don’t feel called to missions,’ or, ‘I don’t think I could be a church planter,’ and a panel of mission reps responded to questions to start a dialogue with the students.

Calvary student Lydia Stalcup said, “It was such an encouragement to have so many missionaries come for COGE.” She said the Chapels, seminars, and other conversations provided her with “insightful information for future ministry.” Paxton said these opportunities to interface are some of the best parts of the conference. “My favorite part is just the fellowship of the conference… It’s great to just catch up and fellowship with [the missions reps] and hear what’s going on in their corner of the world.”

Paxton pointed out that the Conference on Global Engagement is the most all-encompassing event at Calvary, and “it essentially takes over the entire school for the week.” He added that, “It’s an important part of Calvary’s culture, and of reminding us that, while we have different programs and different degrees and different interests… reaching the world with the gospel—reaching the lost—is something that we are all supposed to come together around.”

Paul Mattson from Crossworld speaks in Monday’sChapel.

Jeff McIntyre, Scripture Memory Mountain Mission, gives a seminar on “Unwrapping Your Spiritual Gifts.”

Shawn Haynie from Adelphos-USA answers a question on Monday’s Q&A panel.

Calvary Preps for Global Engagement Think Tank

Calvary Preps for Global Engagement Think Tank

Josh Paxton teaching recently in an Intercultural Studies classroom.

Where is the School?

With Calvary’s Conference on Global Engagement just around the corner, Josh Paxton, Director of the Burnham Center for Global Engagement, is gearing up for the conference’s Think Tank. Scheduled for Friday the 31st, the Think Tank addresses the question of how the church, mission agency, and school work together in training missionaries for the field. Paxton said, “The conversation has generally centered around the mission agency and the church. And… as I’ve been in these conversations, the constant refrain in the back of my mind has been, where is the school?” He noted that, as Christian schools have closed over the past few years, mission agencies have turned their recruiting focus toward churches. While recognizing that “the church is God’s primary vehicle in the world today, and the local church bears responsibility for local missions,” Paxton said, “I think the school still very much has a role to play.”

Concurrent to the conversation is Calvary’s Synergy program that has already forged a stronger connection between the school and the mission agency. As the program grows and develops, leaders and students are finding ways to involve the church more in discipling the individuals preparing for the mission field. Paxton said an integral part of the Synergy program is “making sure that [the student’s] local church is behind them, and that they’re being mentored in the process.”

The Think Tank brings together local pastors, Calvary leadership, missions agency representatives, and students around the idea of, “how do we do this better together?” The format of the Think Tanks will be “Ted Talk style,” featuring 30-minute presentations followed by discussion times. Paxton is excited to bring students into these conversations, “because it strikes me it does no good for pastors and teachers and missions agency leaders to sit around and talk about students without students actually being there to give their input.”

Examining how the church, agency, and school work together to disciple and train leaders, Paxton said, “I think we need to take a real hard look at what are the roles of each: what’s the church good at? What’s the school good at? What’s the agency good at? What are our niches and how do we work better together?”

TESOL Equips Educators for Ministry

TESOL Equips Educators for Ministry

Calvary’s TESOL minor trains students for global career opportunities.

Calvary offers a minor in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), formerly titled ELL, that trains students in teaching English to non-English speakers. Calvary’s Director of International Student Support, Tim Hange, also serves as TESOL coordinator and teaches associated courses. Hange said, since the introduction of Calvary’s Warrior’s Choice program, the TESOL minor has “kind of mini exploded.” The number of students enrolled in the concentration has more than quadrupled with the innovation of interdisciplinary degrees.

Students have paired their minor in TESOL with minors in Bible and Theology, Education, and Intercultural Studies, among others. Hange said, “The idea of combining TESOL with Intercultural Studies in the Warrior’s Choice interdisciplinary degree is an excellent plan for those desiring to go overseas to serve people. [It trains them] in a way that is very practical that helps them build relationships and gives them a sphere of influence through which to share the gospel.”

Hange commented on the wide variety of options available to students trained in TESOL. “They graduate ready to go. They can teach in Thailand and the Thai government will pay them. There are so many opportunities overseas to be salt and light.” Beyond traditional public education, students have options to invest in other avenues, such as English outreach ministries and government orphanages.

Calvary’s position theologically, as well as physically at the Kansas City campus, equips them to address these education requirements with excellence. Hange said, “I think Calvary’s really uniquely positioned to offer a program that is well tailored for ministry.” Through involvement in local outreaches, such as Global FC and Refuge KC, students get experience with language learning. “Teaching somebody a language… means you’re going to have a high degree of interaction with that person… There is a closeness that develops that just gives you a very natural way to build relationships in settings where missions or Christianity might be distrusted.”

Calvary’s TESOL plan is “Rooted within a biblical worldview and is preparing [students], not just to teach, but also to minister.”

Local organizations give students experince with language learning.

TESOL students recieve educational training in demand worldwide.

Calvary Student Enjoys Semester Abroad in Greece

Calvary Student Enjoys Semester Abroad in Greece

Early last year, Calvary signed an articulation agreement with Greek Bible College in Athens. This semester, Calvary sophomore Elise Godsey is taking advantage of the program and studying abroad in Greece. Here’s an update from her!

Hello Calvary family! For those of you who don’t know me or know what I’m doing, my name is Elise Godsey and I’m a sophomore at Calvary, majoring in Intercultural Studies and TESOL. However, I’m not exactly a student at Calvary right now. I’m a student at the Greek Bible College in Athens, Greece! I am studying abroad this semester, thanks to the wonderful opportunity that Calvary provides where you get to come to this college and take some of your basic Bible classes for Calvary credit. So far I am the first CU student to do this, but I’m sure I won’t be the last!

I am actually on the island of Patmos while writing this update. That alone should tell you how awesome this program is! To clarify, I am doing what is it is called the International Student Program (ISP) here at the Greek Bible College (GRBC) and as part of our classes this semester we are taking 4 different study trips! So what class do you think this trip to Patmos is for? You guessed it…our writings of Apostle John class. It has been so neat to read the book of Revelation on the island where it was originally written. We also went on a trip to the city of Nicopolis last month, where we got to see some ancient ruins and learn more about the Roman Empire. The Apostle Paul spent time in Nicopolis, as he mentions in the book of Titus. We will go on two more study trips this semester!

The ISP is 9 students this semester, which is a nice size to travel and to get to know each other well and interact in class. Our classes are all in English. Then there is the Greek program here as well, which is 3 years long. There are about 20 students in that right now, so I’d say there’s about 30 students total enrolled here this semester. There are only 11 of us living on campus in the dorms right now. Last year there were more on campus, about 20 I’ve been told, so it fluctuates year to year.

There are 6 classes being offered here this semester for the ISP and I am taking 4 of them, because those are the ones that I need for CU. They will count at Calvary as my Bible Study Hermeneutics class, my Old Testament Survey class, my John class, and also one elective (New Testament Greek). There is also one that would be New Testament Survey, but I had already taken that class before coming here. I am still learning a lot by sitting in on it though! The office staff here have been very flexible and helpful as we work to make my time here compatible with my CU course requirements. Also, it is not super pricey to come study here. In fact, it is cheap! When you factor in the cost of airfare, a semester here ends up being about the same cost as a semester at Calvary. This is a blessing. Also, the 6th class is Engaging Orthodox Theology, which has been very eye opening as well, especially since we have gotten to visit some Orthodox churches here. Please pray for the vast majority of Greece, who think that this is true Christianity! It is sad to see people who do not know the joy of a loving relationship with Jesus Christ that is based on faith and not works. But I have also learned that there are things we can learn from Orthodoxy as well. It is important to keep an open mind and learn all we can, holding everything up to the light of the Bible.

The classes here are wonderful. The small class size makes us all feel very comfortable with having discussions in class, and the professors are full of knowledge and a desire to see us grow. I have gained so much insight into biblical principles from studying here. Being in such an ancient country really makes it feel like the Bible comes alive! It is so awesome to read the Bible and see Athens or Patmos mentioned and now be able to say “Oh, I’ve been there!” Hopefully I can visit other biblical places such as Corinth and maybe even Thessaloniki before I leave. It might be hard though, because there is so much to do right here in Athens, between school, ministry, and exploring. That is why I am thankful for the built-in study trips, to give us time to visit some awesome places.

Probably the biggest blessing for me since coming here has been the opportunity to learn from and serve alongside multiple ministries. God is doing some big things in this city. People from literally all over the world (but especially the Middle East) are being driven here due to war and persecution and corruption, seeking a better life. Athens has become a sea of multiple cultures, and it has been so encouraging to me to see how the local Greek churches have been rising to this challenge and serving those that God has brought to their city. Then the new believers who are springing up all around have started ministering to those that come from their own countries, and some of them even want to try to go back to their home countries to tell their friends about Jesus. It is amazing! I have also met plenty of missionaries who come from overseas and are serving here too, which is super awesome since that is what I want to do once I graduate! I do not know where I will go as a missionary, but I am eager to wait on the Lord and learn all I can in the meantime. He very well could end up leading me right back here to Athens, which I think would be spectacular!

Just like Calvary, the Greek Bible College has Christian ministry and church attendance requirements, so we were given lists of different churches to visit in the area. The first couple Sundays we visited churches all together as an ISP group. Also, during our second week here we met with the Christian ministry coordinator to talk about different ministry options for us each to do. There is a huge variety of different things to get plugged into, and I want to do as many as I can! Since being here I have gotten to participate in a ministry to feeding the homeless of downtown Athens, help out at an after-school ministry to Roma (gypsy) children, and I am looking to get connected to serve with a refugee safe center downtown. I have also found a wonderful church to attend, and even though I have only gone there twice, I have already gotten to participate in an outreach in their local community where we set up a table in the market and played board games with local people. It has been awesome!

I cannot say enough about how wonderful my time here has been already. I have quickly grown so close to my fellow students here and I appreciate their fellowship immensely. We hang out on campus a lot, and we also go out and about to do things sometimes too. We have chapel for a half hour every day except Wednesday, and that is also a great bonding time. Everyone here speaks at least some English, and most of them are very good at it, so it is not a struggle at alI to not know Greek. I am trying to learn a bit though, and I appreciate all the Greek students teaching me things! I also deeply appreciate Greek food. Man. How am I ever going to part from it? If you chose to come here just for the coffee, gyros, and gelato alone, it will be worth it. And there is so much more, it’s all just a short walk down the street from the school. Not to mention the delicious food that is made and served to us here in our cafeteria every day! Our cook is very talented, and we are all so blessed by the homemade Greek dishes she makes for us.

Praise God that He has kept me strong and in good health, and that He is granting me this time to learn about Him at this beautiful college and serve Him in this wonderful country! I pray you all are having a great Fall 2019! Always be open to new things that the Lord may lead you to do! 

Elise Godsey

CLICK HERE If you are interested in participating in ISP or studying abroad.