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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.   


Alumni Association Award Recipient: Martha Olango

Alumni Association Award Recipient: Martha Olango

“Martha’s ministry has reached thousands of people with the gospel.” 

Martha Olango was this year’s Alumni Association Award recipient due to her outstanding ministry impact in Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) in East and Central Africa.  

Martha’s ministry journey took flight when God called her to start working for CEF. She began a job within Mombasa, Kenya, and then moved to Nairobi in 1999 to later work as an education director in 2000. When she felt the need to earn a degree in biblical education, Martha attended Calvary University. When reflecting on her biblical education, Martha states: “With Calvary’s training, I was motivated and equipped to serve effectively, prepared to lead with confidence, and ready to serve with integrity.” After graduation, Martha moved back to Kenya where she worked for a short time as an assistant to CEF’s Regional Education Director and later took on the position full-time in 2010.

In her current role as Regional Education Director for East and Central Africa, Martha has played a wildly influential role in teaching children, training teachers, and developing instructors and leaders for CEF, and has gone into very dangerous areas to do so. A specific ministry Martha has made a great impact on is CEF’s Christian Youth in Action program (CYIA), where she has faithfully trained teenagers to reach other children with the gospel. This training program began in Kenya but has now been developed in Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Burundi and DR Congo. Before Covid, nearly 500 teens were trained each year. Within her local church, Martha has served in children’s ministry as well as organized a ministry to help meet the needs of single, young women in the church, known as EPIC. She has also extended great love and care for those in her local community, helping support several disadvantaged young people and being a light of Christ to those in her neighborhood. 

Eidene Anderson, a friend of Martha and former missionary stated: “Martha’s ministry has reached thousands of people with the gospel. She has impacted people personally as well as trained godly leaders who are maturing in their faith so that they too can share the gospel.” Whether it is her impact on CYIA or reaching out to people within her community, Martha is known by those around her as a faithful servant who is continually studying, training others in ministry, and being courageous in her faith. In gratitude for her years of ministry and service to God, Calvary was beyond honored to present Martha with this year’s Alumni Association Award.


Dr. James Clark: Dealing With Conflict Biblically

Dr. James Clark: Dealing With Conflict Biblically

“Conflict is everywhere. In my book, I present Biblical solutions to conflict, whether personal, interpersonal, emotional, social, or spiritual.” 

Dr. Clark is an experienced pastor, chaplain, counselor, and educator who recently published his second book, Dealing With Conflict Biblically, through Calvary University Press. 

Dr. Clark graduated from Calvary Bible College in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science in Christian Education and a minor in Music. He then became as a Youth For Christ director in S.E. Iowa. He served six years as an associate pastor in Wilmar, Minnesota, while also being a college and Vocational-Tech Institute chaplain. Years later, he served as lead pastor in Lackland, Minnesota for five years while also serving as a prison chaplain at Stillwater, Minnesota prison. For ten years, he pastored in Waverly, Iowa and served as chaplain for the Waverly Fire Department. 

In 1993, Dr. Clark began teaching at Calvary and started the counseling department for both college and seminary. In 1993, he attended Bethel Theological Seminary and Trinity Theological College and Seminary, finishing his master’s and doctorate degrees in Biblical counseling. At Calvary, he served as an academic dean for eleven years, president for seven years, and is currently teaching as an adjunct professor. 

Dr. Clark’s journey in ministry began when he was just thirteen years old: “While attending a Youth For Christ rally in St. Louis I felt called to ministry. My church gave me opportunities to speak and I preached two summers in churches in Michigan. I was also active in our local Youth For Christ club from junior high through high school.” While a student at Calvary, Dr. Clark served for three years at Kansas City Youth For Christ as a club director, where he discovered that a career in ministry was his passion because he saw the need to counsel teens.

Dr. Clark saw the need for pastors and chaplains who truly desired to help people through continued counseling: “Being called to Calvary to teach counseling and head up a counseling center was a big step in my life; I loved assisting students in their counseling ministry.” After retiring, Dr. Clark decided to put his experiences and teachings in a Biblical Counseling book for the Christian community, Biblical Counseling for the Church and Community, published through Grace Acres. Now, he is releasing Dealing With Conflict Biblically, through Calvary University Press. 

While in ministry, Dr. Clark dealt with many different types of conflicts first-hand, which prepared him with the knowledge and experience to write Dealing With Conflict Biblically. He states: “It goes without saying that conflict is everywhere. In my book, I present Biblical solutions to conflict, whether personal, interpersonal, emotional, social, or spiritual. How to deal with conflict is clearly laid out in the Bible, which is what I expound upon with illustrations and biblical examples in Dealing With Conflict Biblically.

Dr. Clark is excited about writing several more books to inspire people to find the Bible relevant with solutions for modern society. “Calvary University Press has great potential to inform people about Biblical material to help them in their understanding, knowledge and growth in the Lord Jesus Christ!” Dr. Clark also looks forward to continuing God’s will for his life through following his callings in teaching, preaching, and writing. “I’m enjoying this phase of my retired life. As my physician said, God is not done with the Clarks yet!”


Dr. Clark is a highly respected and dearly loved alumnus of Calvary University. CU Press to honored to introduce his work.

Book Characters Come to Life!

Book Characters Come to Life!

Calvary student, Hannah Sorensen, reading “Madeline’s Rescue” to students at Blue Ridge Christian School. 

Calvary students enrolled in Teaching Elementary Literature donned costumes and presented a wax museum for the elementary students from Blue Ridge Christian School. Madeline visited from Paris, Tom Sawyer from Missouri, Jessie from Ireland and a host of others characters such as Amelia Bedelia, Nancy Drew, Miss Frizzle, and Camilla, the girl with stripes. Blue Ridge students were delighted with the presentations. According to Mrs. Rena Shaver, the 5 th grade teacher at Blue Ridge, “We are very fortunate to be able to work with you all. Your students were very well prepared and extremely professional! They only broke character when I (as the teacher) spoke to them directly.”

Calvary students enjoyed the experience as well and learned a lot about engaging with elementary students. Hopefully, the literacy connections will inspire them as they prepare to inspire the next generation of learners!

Join Calvary in the Philippines next Summer!

Join Calvary in the Philippines next Summer!

Serving orphans and “street kids” growing up in poverty

Calvary University’s Intercultural Studies, Education, and TESOL studies programs are teaming up to provide a conversational English program at Cuatro Christian Academy in the Philippines in the summer of 2020!

Cuatro is part of Kids International Ministry (KIM), a dynamic, Gospel-centered ministry that has specialized in serving orphans and “street kids” growing up in the poverty stricken areas around Manila.  Orphans, street-kids, and the children of Philippine believers study together in this unique environment nurtured by a committed Christian community.

Calvary faculty and staff recently visited KIM, stayed in their guest housing, and had the joy of interacting with Cuatro students at KIM’s orphan home.   We are EXCITED to take KIM up on this opportunity to serve.

We will be working primarily with students in the upper grades.  These students are taught in a dual-language environment, but need to have their conversation and pronunciation skills sharpened.  Your involvement could be a step in helping these students have opportunities outside of high school that can lift them out of poverty.  You will also have plenty of opportunity to interact with the children at the orphanage itself, as our group will provide devotionals and activities for these children as part of our service.

Our TESOL studies program at Calvary will be working with Cuatro to design the curriculum.   If you are willing to be trained in how to effectively lead a conversation group, and to raise the necessary support, we would love to have you apply!  Space will be limited to 12 total, with priority given to Education, TESOL studies and Intercultural Studies students.  

Calvary University’s Intercultural Studies, Education, and TESOL studies programs are teaming up to provide a conversational English program at Cuatro Christian Academy in the Philippines in the summer of 2020!

Click for Info about all the trips Calvary is offering this summer.

Dates: July 9-26, 2020
Location: Philippines
Cost: $2,500 (covers airfare, housing and meals)
Contact Tim Hange (below) to apply!

Contact Tim Hange

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Calvary’s 23rd Annual Golf Tournament

Calvary’s 23rd Annual Golf Tournament

Calvary University's 23rd Annual Calvary Classic 4-person scramble golf tournament was a great success, bringing together 114 golfers at Eagles' Landing Golf Course, located adjacent to the campus.   The winning team of the overall tournament was composed of John...