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Athlete Profiles

Comments Off on Athlete Profiles Written on September 2nd, 2016 by
Categories: Athletics, Newsletter, Pray For MU, Students

Meet some of our student athletes

Three students have graciously shared how they have been impacted by both Multnomah and the Athletics Department.

Katherine Edmonds (basketball)

Katherine_blogMeet Katherine Edmonds, a senior Business Administration and Bible and Theology Major AND a member of our Women’s Basketball Team.  Katherine was recruited to play ball for Multnomah, but before deciding to join, she traveled up from California to visit the campus.  “I fell in love with it,” she says. “From the beautiful campus to the friendly people… it felt like home immediately.”

“When I consider what I like most about MU, I would say it’s the genuine people: my classmates, teammates, professors and coaches,” she continues.  “My coach, Tim Bieri, is an amazing coach and individual.  Through tough personal times, Coach Tim has been a prime example for us athletes to always put God first and put our full trust and faith in him, even when it may seem difficult.  I also appreciate my Business Professor, Donald Lee Sellers.  He is very encouraging and supportive of student athletes and cares about our success in all aspects of our time here at MU.

Like other students, I had opportunities to go to other colleges, but I am SO GLAD I chose Multnomah.  Being here has been a life-changer.  It’s amazing to see what doors God opens for people, and I am thankful he opened this door for me.”

To see Katherine and her Basketball teammates in action on the court, visit for a complete schedule of games.

Manny Olivares (soccer)

Meet Manuel “Manny” Olivares, a Multnomah University Business student and member of our Men’s Soccer team.  “It was soccer that brought me to Multnomah, but it’s the support of everyone around me that has kept me here,” he says.  Manny is the first in his family to graduate high school and attend college.  “The community we have at this school is amazing,” he says.  “My coaches and professors have influenced me to be the best that I can be, pushing me physically and mentally.  Also, they have explained the Bible to me and have shown me how to become closer to God.”


Manny is grateful to his family in Las Vegas and in Mexico, to God and to his friends here at MU.  “Without their support and encouragement to never give up, I would have never been able to come to Multnomah,” he says. “It’s important to pick yourself up whenever you fall, never look back, just keep looking forward.”

Manny’s dream is to play professional soccer and go around the world teaching soccer and sharing his story about what God did for him.  Your prayer support of Manny and the MU Lions Soccer team is helping that dream come true.

Miranda Halverson (volleyball)

Miranda_blogMiranda Halverson is a Multnomah University Business/Accounting student and a member of our Women’s Volleyball team.  “Even though I was recruited to come play volleyball for MU, it was important to me to visit the campus before making a decision,” she says.  “I wanted to love the school for its professors, classes, degrees, the people and the atmosphere. After taking a tour, I was hooked.  I loved the campus!  So, volleyball lead me to the school, but God called me here.”

Currently in her sophomore year, Miranda reflects on what continues to bless her about MU:  “I love the Bible classes and the students the most.  The Bible classes challenge me and reassure my faith.  I feel stronger in my relationship with Christ.  It’s also good to know that the students around me are walking the same journey as well.  The coaches and professors help me to stay focused on my relationship with Christ and grow stronger as an individual.  I am encouraged that God alone is good and I am in His will… that makes me successful.”

Multnomah Athletics

The mission of the Department of Athletics, Physical Education, and Intramural Sports is to bring students, faculty, staff and alumni together in educational activities that promote healthy lifestyles, enhance a sense of community, foster growth in leadership and teamwork skills, and encourage the pursuit of excellence.

You, parents, are a part of that community, and we hope that you’ll be able to attend some of our sporting events to encourage your student and his or her teammates.  Visit for a complete schedule of sports.

StadiumChair_blogIn addition, if you love watching games but have a hard time sitting on the bleachers, our Athletic Department is now taking orders for individual Stadium Chairs at a purchase price of $50/chair.  Proceeds benefit the Athletic Department.

Contact Debbie Chin at or call 503-251-6400 if you want to place an order.  Allow three weeks for delivery.  A limited amount of chairs will also be available to rent for $5/game.

Connecting with Student Life

Comments Off on Connecting with Student Life Written on September 2nd, 2016 by
Categories: Financial Aid, Newsletter, Students

Watch the Student Welcome video from New Student Orientation last month!

As you and your student navigate this season of transition to college, scan the encouragement and tips below. This material was taken directly from the August 25th Parent Information Session during New Student Orientation on campus.

Tips for parents after launching their child to college:

  • Judy Glanz, MU faculty and parent of a recent MU alum, shared wisdom from her experience, including these three gold nuggets:
    • In the transition to adult relationship, let your student initiate as much as possible, and be ready to respond when they are (even if it’s a phone call at 11 p.m.)!
    • MU is academically rigorous. As adults, students need to learn to advocate for themselves.
    • In this transition, trust your parenting, trust God, trust us, and – most importantly – pray.  Students push boundaries.  It’s part of healthy growth.
  • Remember that for some parents, launching a child into college is a joyous occasion. For others, it is a time of grief. Many parents experience a combination of both emotions. What is most important is to allow each of these emotions to be okay, as they are a very natural part of this transition. You don’t need to feel guilty if you’re happy, and you don’t need to mask your sadness if you’re grieving. Acknowledging and processing both ends of this emotional spectrum will also help family members and your student know that it’s okay for them to experience a wide range of emotions too.

Adjustments for Students after being launched to College:


Your son or daughter may experience a different way of living than what they have experienced in the past. They may need to deal with:

  • Potentially losing their support system at home.
  • The complicated dynamics of older relationships changing.
  • As they anticipate new freedom and responsibilities, they may fear making errors or not knowing what to do.
  • If they live on campus, they are navigating the loss of privacy, comforts of home, or the many things you did for them which they now need to do on their own.

What Multnomah provides:

  • A balance of lots of support and challenge toward the goal of greater personal growth.
  • A safe community in which to have open conversations about how they feel and what they are learning.
  • We will remind them that they aren’t alone…they are surrounded by other students going through similar transitions who are asking similar questions.
  • We will also provide many opportunities to enjoy social activities and outings, which will cultivate a sense of belonging to the Multnomah community.

What you, as a parent, can provide:

  • Your listening skills (if they want to talk)
  • Assurance of your love and belief in them
  • Encouragement to talk to a staff member if there is a concern they need help with – we have many capable and caring personnel ready to help!
  • Care packages!


Your son or daughter may experience a different way of learning than what they have experienced in the past. They may need to deal with:

  • Balancing pride of being in college with fear that they may not be able to keep up with the academic demands
  • Thinking they are coming to summer camp and not fully appreciating the requirement for serious study and academic discipline
  • How to schedule their time and balance academic requirements with social and other responsibilities throughout the day…this is a very different pace than high school.

What Multnomah provides:

  • Academically rigorous yet very personal faculty who care about each student
  • Tutoring, time management and study skill resources provided through the Student Success Center
  • Disability services and other accommodation capabilities

What you, as a parent, can provide:

  • Encouragement, rather than nagging
  • Suggestions to utilize resources available, like setting up a meeting with a professor or scheduling a study skills session in the Student Success Center

Spiritually and Personally

Your son or daughter may experience a different way of growing than what they have experienced in the past. They may need to deal with:

  • The struggle to maintain their own spiritual disciplines as they spend time in the Word in classes, chapels and assignments.
  • They may be challenged as they evaluate their thoughts and beliefs accepted since childhood and wrestle with deep spiritual issues.
  • They may be faced with peers or faculty who have different theological perspectives that provide ways of thinking they’ve never considered.

What Multnomah provides:

  • A wide range of faculty and staff willing to mentor, disciple or even just pray with your child
  • A dynamic spiritually formative chapel program offering multiple venues for worship and growth
  • A free counseling center, providing counsel from a professional Christian counseling staff
  • An open and honest community of peers, staff and faculty, living out a shared mission

What you, as a parent, can provide:

  • Prayer for wisdom, peace, personal discipline and a deep sense of God’s presence and love.
  • Counsel, as appropriate.
  • Respect for their decisions and reminding them that their spiritual journey is their own to discover with the Lord – and that you support them in that growth!
  • Assurance that you are there for them and supportive of their good decisions. If in the process of growing they make unwise decisions, you won’t abandon or reject them.

Finally, remember:

God loves your children even more than you do. Put them back in His hands, but keep them close in your heart, and continue to reach out to them in love.

Connecting through Worship: MU Chapels

At Multnomah, we highly value worshiping God in the context of our community. As we study His Word and grow in knowledge, we also seek to grow in relationship with Him by allowing the Holy Spirit to work in and through our lives. Christian education is transformational and demands a response of the heart and will. Chapels provide intentional opportunities beyond the classroom for us to come together for encouragement and support so we may learn to live authentically and fully for Him.

If you are in the area, please join us for a Chapel service.  Here are a few we think you’d enjoy attending:

  • Thursday, September 29, 2016, 10:00 a.m. – University Chapel, Dr. G. Craig Williford, speaker
  • Thursday, October 6, 2016, 10:00 a.m. – Alumni Chapel, “Alumnus of the Year: Tim Mackie”
  • Monday, November 21, 2016, 10:00 a.m. – Thanksgiving Chapel

For a complete list of Chapel offerings, please contact Student Life at

Connecting Parent to Parent

Comments Off on Connecting Parent to Parent Written on September 2nd, 2016 by
Categories: Newsletter, Students

Dear MU Parent,

steve-cummings - office

I am extremely fortunate that I am able to enjoy not only serving at MU as Vice President of Advancement, but also as an MU parent.  Our two youngest, Jamilyn (junior Global Studies major) and Jackson (sophomore Pastoral Ministry major) attend Multnomah and live on campus.  This is their second year here at MU, and they could not be any more different in how they approach school.  One is a “planner” and gets the books bought, papers written and schedules time to study.  The other “wings it” and has discovered how to get A’s and B’s without ever buying a single book, leaves papers till the night before and manages to do well on exams with little to no studying – which drives me absolutely nuts!  But guess what?  It works for him.  (Oops… I spilled the beans on who I was talking about.)

Now, you need to know I am a recovering “control parent.”  Ask my wife Julia; she will tell you.  She is a marriage and family therapist, and I take my cues from her when it comes to raising our kids.  The single hardest thing for me, as my kids come to their college years, is letting go.  In the early years, I had to learn to not send the text message asking them about getting a job, buying their books, making sure they study for classes, and just about every other need that comes up.

I have come to discover that I can’t play the Holy Spirit in their life.  This is where the road ends for us recovering “control parents.”  If I truly have trusted my kids to the LORD, and if I truly believe they belong to Him and I am merely a steward of their lives – I have to let go and let the LORD do His work in them, even when they stumble and fall, and I see it before they do.


My two youngest kids, Jamilyn and Jackson.

Remember when they were toddlers and wobbled across the room and fell and cried?  They have to do the same thing now while they are in college.  There is a strong community of believers here at Multnomah. My kids will find their way, and I believe they’ll come out of MU with a deeper, richer meaning that they can own because they were left to experience life themselves.  In the end – they figure it out.

That brings me to the second thing I want to say.

The Multnomah campus is fertile soil for kingdom learning and the transforming power of God’s Spirit.  It’s been going on for 81 years and hasn’t stopped.  Talk to any alumni today from any decade, and they will tell you the same thing: The DNA of Multnomah is the community that is created here on these 25 acres, year in and year out.

Our kids could not be in a better place on this earth to fall deeper in love with Jesus and discover and live out their true identity as children of God in whatever discipline they are gifted to serve His world.

Early in Jackson’s first semester last year, he was struggling with doubts about his faith.  I remember taking him to the Burgerville across the street from campus one night and just listening to his heart and not trying to “fix” him and tell him why he was off.  I just sat there and listened.  When he was done talking about his doubts, which would send fear into any parent’s heart that have raised their son or daughter in the faith, I told him “I’m glad you’re struggling with owning your faith, Jack.  You could not be in a better pace on this earth to ask those questions and not feel out of place or judged.”  

He looked at me, bewildered. It was not what he was expecting me to say.  I pushed him away from me as his primary source of wisdom and encouragement toward the godly faculty at MU, who have been speaking truth into students’ lives for decades, while allowing them to ask the tough questions – all the while creating a safe environment and a “no-shame” zone to do so.

Guess what?  God showed up in Jackson’s life. And because he was given that space to doubt and question and ask – he has a much deeper understanding of who God is, his identity in Christ, and he’s more passionate about fulfilling his calling in life.  In a sense – he has owned it.  He’s God’s child first and Steve and Julia’s son second.  I have to remember that daily.

So, moms and dads – I am here to say that I understand those of you who have a hard time letting go, or who need to send a daily text to check in on your son or daughter.  Fight the urge.  They are in the best of kingdom shaping hands.  They will figure it out.  If they don’t text back, it’s not because they don’t love you.  They are getting deeply involved in the community here – and that’s a GOOD thing!

Steve Cummings
Vice President of Advancement

In each edition of the MU Parent Connection, we give the opportunity to one of you to reflect on something the LORD puts on your heart to say to other MU parents in the “Parent to Parent” section.  If you would like to contribute something in a future edition, please contact Christine Thiessen at  We’d love to hear your story!

What could God accomplish through your giving?

Comments Off on What could God accomplish through your giving? Written on September 2nd, 2016 by
Categories: Alumni, Newsletter, Pray For MU

The following is an excerpt from Chris McDaniel’s book, “Ignite Your Generosity – A 21-Day Experience in Stewardship”:

steve-cummings - officeIn the late 1800s, a young girl named Hattie May Wiatt attended a very small Pennsylvania church, which was regularly overcrowded. She heard that future plans included building a larger church and Sunday school room.

Sometime after learning this, she got very sick and died. After her funeral, her mother brought 57 cents to the pastor of their church. Hattie May Wiatt had been saving this money as her contribution toward a larger facility that could hold more children. The pastor took the gift and had it changed into pennies. Then he took the pennies to the members of the church and stated that they had received their first contribution toward a larger facility. He offered the 57 pennies for sale.

The 57 pennies sold for $250. This initial gift of 57 cents led to the formation of the Wiatt Mite Society, which went on to raise additional funds as the congregation grew to over 5,600 by 1912. This same church founded several institutions including Samaritan Hospital, now called Temple University Hospital, which has helped cure and minister to thousands, as well as Temple University, which has educated more than 80,000 young people.

The thought of such an eternal impact is mind-boggling. God used a little girl with a sacrificial heart to accomplish great things through a simple act of faith. What could he accomplish through you?

Thank you for your sacrificial giving to Multnomah University.

Steve Cummings

P.S. For a free copy of McDaniel’s book, simply email our Advancement Department at or call 800-352-4253.

Focus on the Provider. Not the problem.

Comments Off on Focus on the Provider. Not the problem. Written on September 1st, 2016 by
Categories: Alumni, Pray For MU, Students

Dear Multnomah Family Member,

You’re probably familiar with a certain miracle God did through Elijah in 1 Kings. But maybe, like me, it’s been a while since you’ve thought about the connection this story has to your life.

One day, the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food” (1 Kings 17:8-9).

Zarephath was full of wicked idolaters and worshippers of Baal. The vile King Ahab was sovereign in the land. Furthermore, King Ahab was searching for Elijah so he could kill him.

OliveOil_vertical_blogFor Elijah, God’s command was a real test of faith, and the prophet needed to learn this lesson quickly: To follow the Lord by faith is to do so without succumbing to the fear of the cost.

Elijah journeyed 100 miles to Zarephath, where he found a widow at the city gate. He asked her to bring him a little water and a piece of bread. Her response was heart-breaking: “As surely as the LORD your God lives, I don’t have any bread – only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, so that we may eat it — and die” (1 Kings 17:12).

But Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a loaf of bread for me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD sends rain on the land’” (1 Kings 17:13-14).

The widow did as Elijah said, and the miracle took place: The flour and oil didn’t run out!

How often do we focus on the problem, rather than the Provider? This narrative is a great reminder to ask myself: Have I prayed about it as much as I’ve worried about it?

The beauty of this story is the faith required of both people involved. God told Elijah that a widow would be taking care of him. This was a fearful predicament, as widows were the first to die off in times of famine or drought. The situation was not unlike relying on a homeless person to provide for you.

The widow also faced a terrifying reality: God had commanded her to give away everything she had left to a perfect stranger — a fugitive. At face value, it seems like a cold-hearted request. But when asked to deny her basic instinct of self-preservation, she responded in faith — and her faith was rewarded with bounty.


This is the place our Father desires us to be. He longs for us to trust Him fully and walk by faith despite circumstances. Where are we today? Are we in a place of full surrender where we can truly give everything when we hear Him call?

Beloved, Multnomah is indeed hitting the marks. We finished the 2016 fiscal year well thanks to the faith and generosity of our supporters. Student enrollment is up. We’re launching a biology degree this fall. And for the last 12 years, Multnomah’s students have consistently scored significantly higher in reading comprehension and critical thinking than national averages of other universities.

At the same time, we hear the groans of our society call out for the return of Christ, whether they know it or not. As we witness U.S. shootings, terrorist killings across the globe, and the false promise of politicians as saviors, we know without a doubt: People still desperately need our Savior and King Jesus. Multnomah is responding by raising up Spirit-led men and women who fight injustice, cultivate peace and share the radiant message of Christ in a world filled with violence and turmoil. That’s why your generous gifts to Multnomah are needed now more than ever. Every gift, no matter how small, makes a difference. We invite you to participate however you can.

Secondly, we ask you to pray fervently every day. Can we stand together and pray as Multnomah trains men and women who will impact the world for Jesus? Pray for God to grow our faith so our offerings to Him will be multiplied for all eternity. Pray for us all to have faith like Elijah and the widow. Let us come together and put our full trust in God.

Growing in faith,


Dr. G. Craig Williford
Multnomah University

give now

What are we raising anyway? Fanning the Flame, Spring 2016

Comments Off on What are we raising anyway? Fanning the Flame, Spring 2016 Written on May 23rd, 2016 by
Categories: Newsletter

Have you noticed that the world teaches us to handle our money a certain way? Our culture trains us to:

steve-cummings - office

Steve Cummings is Vice President of Advancement at Multnomah.

1. Enjoy our money. (Usually we over-enjoy it, which lands us in debt.)

2. Repay the debt created by overspending.

3. Save for future needs once we’re out of debt.

4. Give, if and when anything is left over.

God, on the other hand, teaches us to manage our money by inverting this order: Give first, then save, repay and enjoy. Reordering our priorities according to God’s principles results in more peace, deeper generosity and greater financial freedom.

Multnomah doesn’t do fundraising. For us, it’s all about “faith raising.” Why? Because we believe God is primarily interested in growing our faith, not getting our money. And when we grow in our faith, giving will naturally occur. We’re committed to staying connected with you and sharing stories that are both meaningful and inspiring.

Only after showing you the fruit Multnomah is producing will we invite you to exercise your faith through giving. We desire to grow your hearts to be rich toward God (Luke 12:21). We don’t want something from you — we want something for you! That’s why we encourage you to be generous no matter where God asks you to deploy His resources.

We’re asking the Lord to provide $211,445 by June 30 to complete funding for this past year’s student scholarships. You can participate with your gift online by visiting or texting the word “multnomah” to 77977.

Steve Cummings

P.S. Catch the latest news or give as God inspires you with our new MU mobile app. Download it today on the App Store or Google Play.

A tale of two forests: MU prof reflects on forest regeneration in honor of Earth Day

Comments Off on A tale of two forests: MU prof reflects on forest regeneration in honor of Earth Day Written on April 18th, 2016 by
Categories: Events, Faculty

Dr. Keith Swenson, professor of natural sciences, shares some fascinating thoughts on forest regeneration in honor of Earth Day, celebrated nationally on April 22.


There still seems to be a common understanding within some circles that Earth Day and Christians don’t mix. Is this perception flawed? Let’s consider two of our great western forests.

I remember when Mount St. Helens blew. That was 36 years ago. Our family was on the Oregon coast that beautiful Sunday morning, so we didn’t witness the initial blast. But as we drove home to Portland later in the day, we saw an eruption plume rising 60,000 feet over the volcano. Later we began to learn the full extent of that day’s eruptive activity and its effects on people, landscapes and the region as a whole.

Certainly the great forest surrounding Mount St. Helens did not escape the volcanic maelstrom. Instead of producing an upward column of ash, St. Helens’ first salvo surprisingly was sideways, directly over the forest to the north. This oven-hot “stonewind,” as it was called, spread outward, producing a fan-shaped area of destruction, later named the “blast zone.” In the space of only three minutes, 230 square miles of old-growth and plantation forest was “disturbed” (to use the language of ecology) to an extreme degree. Days later, scientists observing the monotonous gray desolation, exuded dire predictions concerning the forest’s return to life. Many called it a “sterile landscape,” predicting it would be at least decades before significant recovery occurred.

But a surprise awaited! The forest began recovering from its destruction much more rapidly than prophesied. Within three years, 90% of the forest’s plant species were back and much of the animal life as well. It appeared that the forest ecosystem was equipped with mechanisms enabling it to rapidly react to cataclysmic disturbance. In ecology, an ecosystem’s ability to respond to a disturbance is termed “resilience,” and the blast zone forest at Mount St. Helens proved itself to be highly resilient.

But is an ecosystem’s resilience bounded by limits? Can humans, for example, do whatever they wish — or think best — to a forest, assured that it will bounce back? Could a forest be highly resilient and yet somewhat fragile at the same time? Let’s consider a second forest.

In 1910, a seminal event catapulted the U.S. Forest Service into national prominence. That event was a great wildfire in the northern Rockies of Montana and Idaho, usually referred to simply as the “fire of 1910,” or the “big burn.” In the span of 48 hours, three million acres of prime western white pine forest was incinerated, along with human lives and property, including the mining town of Wallace, Idaho. The fire was so monstrous that it got the attention of the nation. Something had to be done to protect our forests from fire. That job fell to the fledgling Forest Service, which over the better part of the twentieth century attempted to prevent forest fires – with some measure of success. Fires on the public lands of the West were markedly contained, but at what cost?

Through careful scientific study, much more has been learned about forest fire in more recent years. For many forests, fire is as essential for their health as good soil and adequate rain. Periodic fires control the buildup of brush and other forest fuels, provide a needed pulse of nutrients into the soil and enables certain tree species, including Douglas-fir, to regenerate. Oregon State University forest ecologist David Perry puts it this way: “We now know that fire played a crucial ecological role in these systems, and its removal set in motion a chain of events that wrecked the health of forests throughout the region, increasing their susceptibility to insects and pathogens, and making them vulnerable to fires that are much more destructive (and difficult to control) than we fought to exclude.”

So, on this Earth Day, how should we view our relationship to our forests that are sufficiently resilient to rebound, but fragile enough to degrade from decades of fire suppression? The Bible provides some guidance.  First, it tells us that the “earth is the Lord’s” (Psalm 24:1). He created it, and He owns it. But to our first parents (and to all mankind) God gave dominion over His creation – a mandate to “rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air . . .  and over all the creatures that move along the ground” (Genesis 1:26). It’s clear now that Christians and Earth Day do mix. But how are we supposed to successfully rule over the fish of the sea (like Pacific Salmon), the birds of the air (Osprey) and creatures that move along the ground (Red-legged Frogs) today when all these creatures are dependent on healthy Northwest forests?

Dave Perry suggests the following: “Avoiding similar disasters in the future will take more than good intentions (those early foresters had the best of intentions); it will require knowledge” (emphasis mine). I see an implicit requirement in God’s dominion mandate to scientifically study the creation He’s given us (such as forest ecosystems) in order to understand it and thereby successfully manage it for His glory – and the benefit of mankind. We will never do that perfectly, but we can do it better.


  • “Mount St. Helens” is always written with an abbreviation for “saint.” The Baron of St. Helens, for whom the mountain is named, is said to have been so humble he never wanted “saint” in his title spelled out.
  • Reference on the Dave Perry quotes:  David A. Perry, Forest Ecosystems (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994), p.9

Natalie’s Story

Comments Off on Natalie’s Story Written on March 18th, 2016 by
Categories: Newsletter

Music major Natalie Correll shared her testimony with listeners at a recent event for friends of Multnomah. The following is a condensed version of her speech. 

Multnomah plays a leading role in my life story. I thought I had everything planned out perfectly, but at the last minute all my plans came to a halt. After I’d graduated high school, in summer 2009, I was traveling in Europe for a short-term mission’s leadership training. My team leader asked me why I hadn't considered Multnomah; some of his kids had attended, and he had nothing but positive comments for the MU community. I had been to a few youth events at Multnomah, but I had never considered it as a prospective university.

My 19 year-old self that summer was enduring a heap of pain and shame as I was going through the traumatic ending of a unhealthy relationship. My world was being shaken to the core, making me question who God was and how He was going to use me — a very lost girl — to change the world around me. Despite my broken heart, God had a plan that was rapidly unfolding. After talking with my leader during our trip, and through heaps of prayer, I decided to submit my application to MU while I was in Europe.


While I was still out of the country, my parents were generous enough to meet with Admissions and the Registrar’s Department to figure out the details. In the trusting relationship I had with my parents, we decided together that God was leading me to Multnomah. After such a painful year in my life, I wanted to live, breath and eat the Word. There was nothing that I wanted more than to become a woman who loved my heavenly Father more than myself. I was so tired of choosing my own path and refusing the acceptance of Christ.

After my first two weeks of classes, I realized very quickly that Multnomah was home for me. This was the start of something new. My story, once characterized by ash and death, was now being revitalized into beauty, new growth and the reality of flourishing! God, through the renewal of my mind, cast hope where darkness raged out of control. At the core of who I was, God was speaking a message of value and giving me genuine desire for unity, friendships and cause. This was all hitting me within the first two semesters at Multnomah.


Over the next three years, my perspective started to look very different. I became much more aware of the value in personal leadership, and I changed dramatically:

  • I used to think if I took what I considered to be authentic friendships and used them like networking cocktail mixers, I could really gain some life traction.
  • I used to think I had to be somebody important to accomplish things, but I started to realize Jesus uses ordinary people more.
  • I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but I started to become more afraid of succeeding at things that didn't matter.
  • I used to think Jesus motivated us with ultimatums, but I now know He pursues us in love.

I started to see that Jesus asks us to join the adventure of a sincere faith in Him so He can direct our hearts, not our self-promotion. Multnomah created an environment of accelerated growth that prompted me to start asking real questions. Would I take what I thought defined me and leave it behind, or would I let God define who I was instead?

In my second year, I became very involved with our Student Life team as a Resident Assistant, started leading a chapel worship band and jumped into a Jazz Ensemble! And as my junior year approached, my best friend and I felt lead to plan an event for the youth of this generation to become more aware of the injustices happening just one street away on 82nd Avenue. We co-founded a human-trafficking event ministry called the Isaiah Project. With the help of our student friends and Karen Fancher’s wisdom and insight, we had over 350 students packed into Central Bible's auditorium for an evening of learning and inspiration. These youth groups and their leaders not only heard ways of identify human-trafficking and insight into its reality, but they were also empowered by the Gospel Story that gave insight into why we should do something about this in the first place. We viewed the issue through a Jesus lens!


As I was finishing my third year at Multnomah and planning for the next, another surprise came around the corner: I enrolled at Hillsong International Leadership College in Sydney, Australia. Even though I knew this adventure would set me back one year from graduating with my bachelor’s degree, I knew this opportunity was from the Lord, so I went after it. I spent the entire year of 2013 in the land down under.

It was a year of studying worship music, creating stage designs for international conferences and diving into a deeper love for the Church. Multnomah had prepared me with a biblical foundation so that I could experience all that God had planned for me that year. My life was transformed eternally as my world became very big; I was able to work alongside people from France, Germany, Canada, Indonesia, South Africa, America, England, The Netherlands and Egypt!

In all honestly, there were some very hard, physically-taxing times in Australia, as I was dealing with a ruptured disk in my back. But there were so many moments where I was blown away by God’s faithfulness and provision. This was definitely a time when Jesus was teaching me (in the words of Bob Goff) that “I have an invitation every morning when I wake up to live a life of complete engagement, a life of whimsy, a life where love does.”

wedding pictureGod used every last experience at Multnomah and at Hillsong to launch me even further into His presence. Since I came back to the States in January 2014 and began my senior year at Multnomah, I have been overcome with thankfulness that God led me to MU, which ultimately led me to a life filled with Christ. The legacy has touched me and my husband (whom I also met at Multnomah), as well as some of my closest friends, who will be in my corner forever.

Because of the leaders who established Multnomah’s culture and foundations a very long time ago, so many students have been given the opportunity to answer God’s whisper to humanity: “It's your move.” I picture Heaven leaning over the rails, waiting to see what we will do with our lives in response to and for Him. Thank you for investing in Multnomah. The students here are looking to the future with the expectation that God can and will use them to make a difference. Thank you.

Transforming lives in challenging times

Comments Off on Transforming lives in challenging times Written on March 17th, 2016 by
Categories: Newsletter

Dear Alumni and Friends of Multnomah,

Dirks_Chapel_In_Spring-alt02This February we held a series of events at Multnomah to celebrate 80 years of God’s faithfulness to this beloved institution. About 250 alumni visited campus for Homecoming, and a week later we hosted another event with some friends of MU. At the latter function, Natalie Correll, who works in our Admissions Department and graduates in May, shared a powerful testimony (read it here).

Natalie’s story reminds me so much of two verses in John 8:


As God’s Word took root in Natalie’s life, the truth set her free! But her story is just the tip of the iceberg. Disciples like Natalie are constantly experiencing transformation at Multnomah. But it takes time. Jesus invested in His disciples for three years, preparing them for effective ministry. Likewise, we pray that our 762 undergraduate, graduate, degree completion and seminary students come to know truth while they continue being prepared for what God has in store for them.

This is happening today in various ways.  Let me share three examples:


Professor Jay Held, chair of the pastoral ministry department, meets with a student.

It’s happening in the classroom. Just last week, Professor Jay Held, our pastoral ministry department chair, interrupted his class with an impromptu “field trip” to call on a student who was hurting. The student had received news of the death of a friend back home and had chosen to skip class that day. Professor Held and his class located their classmate across campus, loved on him, and prayed with him. That intentional act touched this freshman deeply as he felt the truth of how much God and His people cared for him.


Students listen during a chapel session.

It’s happening in chapel. Just last month, Tasha Irwin (a senior in our MA in TESOL program) received a life-changing message from MU alum Marcus Brotherton, who shared a powerful truth in chapel. “Marcus challenged us to learn to love ourselves as our heavenly Father loves us,” she says. “That resonated with me so deeply. To love our neighbors as ourselves, I understand. But the part I often forget and struggle with is loving myself as God loves me!”


Associate Dean of Students Rich Ward hands out gift bags to students in celebration of Encouragement Week.

It’s happening in Student Life. Just last week, Associate Dean of Students Rich Ward launched a new event — Encouragement Week — because he wanted each student to feel supported amidst the stress of midterms.“When people know that they matter, they feel that they belong,” he says. Ward had surprises planned for each day of the week, and his team hung encouraging posters around campus that spoke truth to passing students: “Stay strong, “You can do it,” and “We are always praying for you. Bible and theology major Jennifer Kildal was one of the many students who loved the event. “It’s so cool to be at a school where they actually appreciate their students,” she says.


Dr. Derek Chinn, director of the Doctor of Ministry program, prays with a group of students.

I could share even more inspiring stories about our students; amazing things are happening on campus every day. But despite these wonderful testimonies, we continue to face an increasing number of challenges. Here are a few of the pressures we face on a daily basis:

1.   Attempts to prohibit or limit MU’s free practice of our biblical beliefs and standards (a recent local news story illustrates this dilemma).

2.   The addition of regulatory standards from the Department of Education and the state of Oregon that will hinder our student enrollment growth and increase costs to students (read more about these issues).

3.   Retaining students who want to continue their Multnomah education but lack the resources to do so.

4.   Growing enrollment for our online programs.  It takes time and resources.

5.   Our Student Aid Fund goal this year is $1.5 million. To date, we are relying on God’s people to help us make the final $405,000 to meet this goal. The good news? Every gift given through June 30 will be matched, dollar-for-dollar.

give now


Even though these issues are challenging to navigate, I’m so encouraged by the responses of our friends and alumni. Why? Because so many of you consistently display generous hearts toward Multnomah, even when we don’t ask for it. Yet God’s Spirit moves you, and your response is to give! I recently heard from one alum who attended our 80th Homecoming celebration: “We thoroughly enjoyed the Alumni Homecoming, Craig,” he wrote. “I noticed that a collection was absent, and I think this encouraged me to give even more, which I will do.” What a beautiful response! I was so energized by this alum’s experience.


I wrote this letter because I wanted to share with you the amazing transformations taking place on campus — and to let you know we’re facing real challenges too, so you can know how to pray for us and follow God’s lead in joining with us. We can only navigate this university with His help. Will you join our MU Prayer Warrior team? Will you participate in what God is doing at Multnomah as He directs you? Students are coming to know the truth, and it is setting them free! We invite you to invest and share in what God is doing at Multnomah.

Growing in generosity,


Rev. G. Craig Williford, Ph.D.
Multnomah University

give now

Multnomah thanks supporters with a gift from the heart: Fanning the Flame, Winter 2016

Comments Off on Multnomah thanks supporters with a gift from the heart: Fanning the Flame, Winter 2016 Written on February 22nd, 2016 by
Categories: 80th Anniversary, Alumni, Newsletter, Pray For MU
steve-cummings - office

Steve Cummings is Vice President of Advancement at Multnomah.

What a delight it is for me to serve at Multnomah amidst sold-out disciples of Jesus Christ and countless others like you who have walked this campus, studied God’s Word and grown deeper in your faith. These 25 acres have been a sacred space in Portland for 80 years and counting as God continues to transform lives in and out of the classroom. Multnomah has an amazing legacy rooted in God’s faithfulness.

We are fostering a culture of generosity that is taking root and bearing fruit in amazing ways. We are proclaiming truth, and people are responding in obedience. Here at MU, we tell our students, staff, faculty alumni and friends: “We don’t want your money.” Instead, we urge them to deploy God’s money to accomplish God’s purposes. In that light, we celebrate what we want for people — not from them. We want everyone to enjoy with us the privilege of participating in God’s work.

Bless you, dear friends of Multnomah, for your prayers and support! We could not do what the Lord has called us to do without you. We would like to say thank you in a tangible way. We have a free copy of “Ignite Your Generosity – A 21 Day Experience in Stewardship” for anyone who would like one. Request your copy by sending an email to or by leaving a message with your name and phone number at 1-877-9-ALUMNI (877-925-8664).