Students

Fall graduates look to the future with confidence

No Comments » Written on December 12th, 2014 by
Categories: Events, Feature, Students

Fall semester has come to a close. Last week, Multnomah students walked across the stage of Central Bible Church to receive their diplomas. Among the group of graduates were Wendy Contreras, Quincy Robinson and Ruben Alvarado — three students who have grown to embody the biblical wisdom, resilient character and infectious servants’ hearts that set our alumni apart.

wendy_thumb'This is what I was created to do'

Wendy Contreras was insecure about pursuing music until she began a private class with MU’s voice instructor, who recognized her rich potential. “She made me see that I needed to pursue singing and never give up,” says the music ministry major. “I saw how the Lord used my music to touch people. When I knew he’d given me this gift, I wanted to be responsible with it.” Now Contreras is performing at events and recording an album with her worship pastor. “God has been opening doors for me everywhere,” she says. “This is what I was created to do.” Read Contreras' full story.

quincy_main'A foundation for my future'

Quincy Robinson has mastered the skills he needs to climb the academic ladder. The Hebrew major dreams of teaching Epistemology and Math at Stanford or Oxford. “What lies ahead for me is going to be easier because I’ve been doing graduate-level work at the undergrad level,” he says. Now Robinson is enrolling at Portland State University to earn his master’s in mathematics. “A degree from MU is a foundation for my future,” he says. “This school is an amazing place to push you forward.” Read Robinson's full story.

'The professors learn right alongside you'

MU’s emphasis on strong student-faculty connections made a meaningful impression on M.Div. student Ruben Alvarado. “No matter how experienced the professors are, they’re still vulnerable enough to learn right alongside you,” he says. “They give their students opportunities to write with them, serve with them, study with them and travel with them.” ruben_mainAlvarado recently began a job as executive assistant for Rick McKinley, MU professor and lead pastor at Imago Dei Community. “I'm excited to learn from and work with Rick,” Alvarado says. “The education I received — as well as the experiences I’ve had at MU as a teacher’s assistant, tutor and student leader — have prepared me to step confidently into this new stage of my life.” Read Alvarado's full story.

Walking confidently into new stages of life is exactly what all our graduates are doing, and we couldn’t be more proud of them.

Geneva Arnold: Finding a balance in Reno-Tahoe

No Comments » Written on December 1st, 2014 by
Categories: Seminary, Students

I’m too old. I don’t like school. It’s too much money. Geneva Arnold thought 2aup several excuses when she felt a pull toward seminary. “I’d had no vision for nine months,” she says. “But one day I was praying, and God told me to get a ministerial degree.”

Arnold was appalled. She came up with every reason not to go. Finally, thinking she’d found a way out, she decided to cut a deal. “I told God, ‘If you want me to go, then my husband has to be on board,’” she says. But when she told him, he surprised her. “Of course,” he said. “What else would you do?” And that was that. Arnold was going to seminary.

After spending the next four years earning her bachelor’s degree at local colleges, the time came to look for a seminary. Arnold was struck by the polar opposites she encountered. “There were some seminaries that made me wonder if they were Christian at all, while others were rigid and patriarchal,” she says. “When I settled in at MU, I found a balance. It has a good, scholarly environment that’s challenging. At the same time, there’s openness to innovation.”

Arnold was the first woman to attend the seminary at MU’s Reno-Tahoe campus. But rather than feel intimidated, she was empowered by the academic quality and close-knit community she found. “I felt respected in all the classes,” she says. “I’m impressed by the quality of the professors; they’re knowledgeable, and they sincerely love the Lord and the spiritual formation of their students. That is meaningful to me.”

Three years deep into the M.Div. program, Arnold is appreciating the depth of study she’s investing in the Scriptures. “I’m a better student of God’s Word,” she says. “I know how to read it better, ask questions of the text, mine out what God is saying and see it as an integrated whole. I loved the Bible before, but now I have expertise, confidence and the tools to find meaning and communicate it.”

But is biblical expertise important in a world that constantly questions the value of a seminary education? Arnold, who’s been attending churches for the past 30 years, says yes. “I do see a difference,” she says. “None of the pastors at the churches I attended had seminary degrees. I grew spiritually, but there was also damage, setbacks, mishandling and misunderstandings. None of those churches remain today. Those problems would have been settled if their leaders had a well-rounded education. They had the passion — but not the knowledge and wisdom.”

Although Arnold isn’t sure where God will lead her after graduation, she plans on diving into Christian conference and seminar work so she can travel nationally and internationally for speaking engagements. Wherever she ends up going, she’s confident that her education will have thoroughly equipped her for her calling. “You have to have something of everything,” she says. “And a seminary education gives people the broad-based education that they need for ministry today.”

Ruben Alvarado: Striving to Serve

Comments Off Written on November 17th, 2014 by
Categories: Seminary, Students

Ruben Alvarado remembers when he told God “no.” The native Californian had been feeling a pull toward seminary, but he couldn’t bring himself to enroll. Higher education would demand countless hours of studying and class time, and Alvarado couldn't imagine fitting the obligation into life with his wife and son.

“I told God I couldn’t do it with my family,” he said. But he still felt God calling him. Half-heartedly, he began visiting seminaries. One in particular stood out to him. “Multnomah was the friendliest and the most inviting to families,” he says.

When Alvarado sat in on a class, he was impressed by how vulnerable the professor was. “He cared about his students beyond their grades — he cared about their spiritual wellbeing,” he says. “The faculty here really stood out to me.”

Alvarado’s family decided they would go for it. They packed their things and moved from California into campus housing. They have been thriving ever since. Both Alvarado and his wife landed part-time jobs at the university. Their home is only steps from the seminary. And they’re loving the vibrant neighborhood of believers they're a part of. “I’m living next to the people I study with,” Alvarado says. “Our kids play together. We’re all making life-long friends.”

'The professors give so much of themselves'ruben_main

Alvarado had always loved studying God’s Word, but MU’s Masters in Divinity program gave him a heightened appreciation for the Scriptures. “I’m growing more and more in love with the Bible,” he says. “And I get to learn from men and women who have dedicated their lives to studying the Word; they’re a model we all can strive to be like.”

Multnomah’s emphasis on strong student-faculty connections has meant a lot to Alvarado, who completes his M.Div. this December. “No matter how experienced the professors are, they’re still vulnerable enough to learn right alongside you,” he says. “They give their students opportunities to write with them, serve with them, study with them, travel with them. They give so much of themselves, and there’s no competition between any of them.”

Alvarado has had to wrestle with several challenges since becoming a seminary student, and the faculty’s support has helped him tremendously. “I’ve had almost all of my beliefs shaken,” he says. “I realized that many of my assumptions were ones I got because I read something or I was told something. But now I know why I believe the things I do, and I’m prepared to answer tough questions and handle hard times.”

'What we’re learning shouldn’t puff us up'

Being a full-time student, an employee, a father and a husband are significant roles for anyone, and Alvarado is committed to balancing his life in the best way possible. “It is hard to go through seminary when you have a family,” he says. “But I don’t think I’d learn as much or grow as much without coming home to my wife and son every night. I have a place where I can live out what I’m learning.”

Many seminary students have a hard time fitting their family and academic life together. Alvarado says it’s doable, but you have to be intentional.  “The key isn’t just prioritizing time with them — it’s also being 100 percent present when you’re next to them,” he says. “Don’t be with them physically, but be somewhere else in your mind.”

Alvarado used to be involved in several ministry projects outside of school, but he dropped most of them so he could be with his family more. For him, it’s just another way he’s applying his classroom lessons to real life. “I know a lot more now than I used to know, but I understand that it’s still only a fraction of what God knows,” he says. “Think about all the knowledge Jesus had and how he handled it. What we’re learning shouldn’t puff us up; it should make us want to serve more.”

And Alvarado will be serving more: He just started a job as executive assistant for Rick McKinley, MU professor and lead pastor at Imago Dei Community. “I'm excited to learn from and work with Rick,” Alvarado says. “I believe that the education I received — as well as the experiences I’ve had as a teacher’s assistant, tutor and student leader — have prepared me to step confidently into this new stage of my life.”

‘Keep going’: Sindy Larson races to nationals

Comments Off Written on November 11th, 2014 by
Categories: Athletics, Students

CrossCountry_thumbCross country is more than a sport to Sindy Larson. It’s a reflection of her spiritual journey. “Running helps me understand my walk with the Lord,” she says. “You need to be committed to it. We have to keep going through the pain.”

Larson has only been at MU a few months, but she’s positive she picked the right place to race. When the Orange County native was looking at colleges, she was impressed by Multnomah’s mission statement: equipping students to be biblically competent, academically proficient, spiritually formed and culturally engaged servant leaders. And when she visited, the campus community left a lasting impression.

“MU is Christ-centered,” says Larson. “We’re learning how to love the Lord, we’re praying in our classes and we’re seeing God’s work through our instructors. I’ve never experienced anything like this before in my life.”

‘Keeping our focus on the Lord’

For Larson, who ran competitively in high school, joining MU’s cross country team was icing on the cake. She began training with the Lions this summer and in September qualified for the NCCAA Cross Country National Championships. Larson is first woman from Multnomah to compete in the national race, which will take place in Houghton, N.Y., this Saturday. The men’s cross country team, which also qualified for nationals, will be joining her, along with Cross Country Coach David Lee.

“Coach Lee took us as we were and helped us grow from there,” says Larson. “He challenges us to be better. He’s so good at motivating us and keeping our focus on the Lord.”

‘Connecting deeply’

Concentrating on God is exactly what defines Larson’s cross country experience. She uses her lengthy runs as opportunities — quiet times — to connect with him through prayer. Her teammates only enhance the bond. “Being a part of this team has heightened my experience of the Lord,” Larson says. “Their encouragement has taught me so much about God’s love. I’m really grateful to be a part of this.”

When Larson isn’t running, she’s immersing herself in everything else MU has to offer, including thought-provoking classes and supportive friendships. “The academics are very challenging,” she says. “This community has been really good for me. Connecting deeply with other students has been a joy. And the faculty’s brotherly and sisterly love for us is so cool to see.”

‘Experiencing true life’

In the meantime, Larson is getting excited for her big race on Saturday. “I’m so grateful for this opportunity,” she says. “It’s exciting that our school gets to move up in competition, and I hope it motivates more people to come to MU and be in this Christ-centered environment.

“You experiencing true life within this community, whether it’s with your team, teachers or students. It’s helping me understand what it means to be a part of God’s kingdom.”

Seminary professor launches new book about freedom

use this headshot

Pastor Rick McKinley

Rick McKinley, MU professor and lead pastor of Imago Dei Community, has published his fifth book — "The Answer to Our Cry: Freedom to Live Fully, Love Boldly and Fear Nothing." The Multnomah Biblical Seminary alum planted Imago Dei in 2000 and travels widely to share local movements, such as Advent Conspiracy, with the broader Church.

Get a free copy

Today MU's marketing department is kicking off a book giveaway contest. Go to Twitter to share your answer to "What does freedom mean to you?" and Instagram to answer "What does freedom look like to you?" Use the hashtag #mufreedom to qualify. Three winners will be announced at noon on Friday, November 7. All winners receive a free copy of McKinley's new book.

Enjoy this excerpt from "The Answer to Our Cry":

Answer to our cryThe form that freedom takes in Scripture is relationship with God. This is the gravity that holds our lives together so that we can enjoy the life that God has given us. We call this the gospel: the Good News that God hears our cry and sent his Son to give us freedom. We might think about this saving story as a narrative that has five parts: creation, fall, redemption, restoration, and consummation. • Creation: A good God created a good world in perfection so that we could enjoy him and everything he had made. • Fall: Humankind fell away from this God, and the sin that happened in the garden led to spiritual and physical death. We all are alienated from God. • Redemption: God did not leave us to our own despair. He came after us by sending his Son to live the life we should have lived, die the death we should have died, and bring about a new creation both in us and in the world. • Restoration: This good God is currently restoring all things through Jesus and bringing about his new creation so that the world changes (and we change too). Pockets of new creation are breaking forth in the old creation, and new life is the beginning to dawn. • Consummation: One day God will bring his creation and us together into a new perfection. That is what he originally created in the Garden of Eden. All pain and suffering will be done away with because this good God is making everything new. Creation, fall, redemption, restoration and consummation. And it really is good news! However, that’s not all there is. God’s nature and being are the main text of the story, and our experience of creation, fall, redemption, restoration, and consummation are the subtext. Without the main text, the subtext doesn’t make much sense (or even exist, for that matter). I believe the reason so many followers of Jesus are still crying out for freedom and still finding themselves bound up in slavery is because the don’t understand the most important part of the story — the part where we discover who this good God really is. The reason this is so important is because our freedom is dependant on it. If our freedom is dependent on form, then the form of our freedom is relationship with the good God of the Bible. We will never be free until we experience who this God is through an actual relationship with him. Freedom comes from desiring God for who he actually is, not what he has done for us. When we focus on only what God has done for us, we don’t relate to God for who he is. When that happens, we are dragged into a whole new kind of religious slavery. Our freedom is predicted on our being in an actual relational union with the God of the gospel. This means we will have to look up from the subtext of what God has done for us and fall in love with the God who is, well, everything. Being loved and in love with this God is the form that freedom requires to be experienced. We will never be free until we love God for who he really is. Taken with permission from "The Answer to Our Cry" by Rick McKinley (p. 24-26)

Interested in buying Rick McKinley's book?

Service with a smile: Students build friendships off campus

A cloudy sky and thin veil of rain greeted more than 130 Multnomah University students as they left campus to participate in Day of Outreach on September 23.

Once every spring and fall, students volunteer at several locations in the Portland community in need of their time and energy. A volunteer site can be anywhere: a nonprofit organization, a school, a community center. Even a neighbor's home. MU cancels classes for the day so students can devote their whole morning to service.

OutreachFall2014_1"Now we get to give"

The living room at ElderPlace Laurelhurst, a care facility for seniors on Glisan Street, is a bright space filled with round tables where students talk and laugh with elderly men and women over cups of juice and coffee. Colorful flags hang from the ceiling and a giant white teddy bear looks down from an old piano.

Senior Olivia Morud is chatting with Phyllis, a curly-haired woman with blotchy hands and tiny glasses. The two have just finished playing a card game. Morud, an English major from Scappoose, Ore., says she loves being able to listen. "They have so much to say, so many stories," she says. "As students, we are given so much in the classroom. Now we get to give."

Volunteering is important, she says, because Jesus was a servant. "He would be doing this if he was here today," she says."It's close to his heart."

OutreachFall2014_2"A real picture of the Gospel"

Volunteers at Harrison Park School on 87th Avenue, their shoes caked with soil, are constructing a community garden. Some students build raised garden beds while others clear away debris and pull weeds.

Freshman Kimberly Marshburn and junior Maggi Schlosser are filling a garden bed with dirt. Marshburn, a Bible and theology major from Bakersfield, Calif., has been attending MU for only a month, but she's excited to serve the community so soon.

"I was talking to some students the other day who were concerned that we'd become secluded at MU," she says. "But this day shows me that we're living what we say we are. School is the practice zone and then we get to go out and live life together. It's a real picture of the gospel."

"A desire to serve"

OutreachFall2014_4Just a few blocks from campus, senior Cory Howatt is starting a lawnmower in front of a small pink house. Dotty, an wispy woman with hunched shoulders and worn moccasins, looks over her property.

"I've lived in this house for 66 years," she says. "My husband died 30 years ago, and this yard is too much for me to keep up." She smiles. "You guys have been coming to see me for a long time now."

Several volunteer sites, including those featured in this story, are permanent fixtures on the sign-up sheet. That way, students can nurture
friendships over time.

OutreachFall2014_3Howatt, a pastoral ministry major from Koloa, Hawaii, says the day shows people who Christ is through students' service. "Who we get to work with is the best part," he says. "I get to meet people like Dotty."

"We serve out of a desire to serve," he adds. "We may not benefit from any compensation, but we benefit from building relationships."

Students Arrive with Different Dreams, Common Purpose

Comments Off Written on August 22nd, 2014 by
Categories: Events, Students

Business owner. Teacher. Counselor. Our new students have different goals, but they all want to make the world a better place, wherever God leads them. Their first step? Multnomah University.

NSO2014_photo1Incoming students from across the U.S. — some from as far as Germany — congregated on campus August 21 to kick off MU’s four-day orientation. Director of Student Services Dr. Karen Fancher said the event’s name, Heaven’s Poetry Etched on Lives, was taken from Ephesians 2:10 — “For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago.”

“We believe God has specific things meant for you,” she told the group of new students. “Remember that you are unique. Don’t ever feel like you have to look a certain way or be a cookie-cutter Christian — be yourself, and engage with others in the way you’re created to.”

NSO2014_photo2Louie Idlett feels called to engage with others through the marketplace. The business major from Longview, Wash., hopes to start his own company one day, and he’s confident that MU’s biblical foundation will help him succeed. “As a Christian, you’re called to keep a higher standard of business,” he said. “It’s not all about the profit margin. It’s about loving God, loving your community and loving what you do — because you’re doing it for Him.”

Tara Osburn, from Hillsboro, Ore., dreams of teaching in South America. The elementary education major said she was attracted to Multnomah’s close-knit community. “I like the family feel and the small classes here,” she said. “And I like my teachers knowing who I am.” Osburn is also looking forward to being a Lion — she’ll start playing on the women’s basketball team this year. “Coach Tim is awesome,” she said. “And I’m excited to get some guidance from the more experienced players.”

NSO2014_photo3Jordan Lovell, from Medford, Ore., plans on being a counselor. The psychology major said Multnomah’s professors drew him to the university. “I thought they were great teachers,” he said.  “I’m most excited for my classes with them.” Lovell is passionate about equipping himself to help people through life — emotionally and spiritually. “The great thing about getting a psychology degree at MU is that you also get the Bible and theology degree. That way, you stay balanced and don’t go too far to one side.”

Staying balanced — and staying true to God’s unique call on your life — is what MU is all about.

Connecting Continents: Students Reach Out to Rwanda

Comments Off Written on July 24th, 2014 by
Categories: Missions, Students

This summer, a group of MU students traveled to Kigali, Rwanda, to serve alongside former MU professor, Dr. Garry Friesen, who now teaches at the Africa College of Theology. During the trip, the team visited The Dream Boys, a nonprofit program that feeds and educates homeless Rwandan children.

"Getting to spend time with these boys was one of the main highlights of our trip," says sophomore Heidi Birch. "We got to play games with them, read them Bible lessons, act out skits, and teach them how to make bracelets. I will never forget the love that radiated from their hearts. This trip has changed my life forever."

Read the full story, Impacted by Love: My Trip to Africa.

Impacted By Love: My Trip To Africa

Heidi Birch, a sophomore majoring in educational ministries, shares about her recent trip to Rwanda with a group of MU students.

The adventure of a lifetime

As I started my freshman year of college at Multnomah, I had no idea that by the end of the academic year I would be sharing God’s glory all around The Land of a Thousand Hills — that’s the nickname given to Rwanda, Africa, thanks to its beautiful, mountainous landscape.

This February, after Dr. Garry Friesen had retired from teaching at MU, he moved to Kigali, Rwanda, to teach at the African College of Theology (ACT), a newly formed Bible college. Dr. Friesen has a vision to build a bridge between the students of Multnomah University and the students of ACT, so he invited a team of six students from MU to visit Kigali in May this year.

When I first heard about this trip, I was extremely skeptical. I wasn’t sure if I could get the time off work or where God was guiding me in life. But I felt something tugging on my heart to at least interview for a spot on the team. Two short weeks later, I was signing papers and fundraising to go on the adventure of a lifetime.

heidiburch_group_main

My team and me hanging out with the Dream Boys

Dream Boys

And six months later, there I was, standing alongside five others students, breathing in the African air.

First our team visited the African College of Theology. We got to sit in on classes, meet fellow Bible majors, and pray and worship alongside ACT students.

Then for three days of our trip, we got to help out with the Dream Boys, a nonprofit program that helps feed and educate the street boys of Rwanda. Getting to spend time with these boys was one of the main highlights of our trip. We got to play games with them, teach them Bible lessons, act out skits, and teach them how to make bracelets.

Though we taught them a lot, I feel as though they taught us more. Not only did they teach us words in their language, Kinyarwanda, but they also taught us how to smile — even in tough situations. One of the boys, Providence, had lost a finger just two weeks prior, due to an infection from a cut. But he was always one of the first to greet us with a grin on his face and joy in his heart.

Florence

After spending time with the Dream Boys, we got to drive out to two schools located in Kageyo, a village close to the border of Rwanda and Tanzania. At the second school, we got to go on our first Hope Visit to see a little girl named Florence. A Hope Visit is where a child who is not yet sponsored gets visited by one of the teams.

heidiburch_main

Florence, her family and me

From the moment I saw Florence, we became instant friends. Florence is one of four children who live with their widowed mother. When we arrived at her house, her mother looked at me holding her daughter’s hand. With tear filling her eyes, she embraced me tightly. I will never forget her face. It was a face of desperation, a face of hope, and a face filled with love.

When we first went to Florence’s home, she was unsponsored. But by the time we left, I knew that I had to sponsor her. Later the next day, I signed the papers, and she became my lifetime pen pal. I never realized what it meant to a child and their family to be sponsored till I sat in the house of one. A sponsorship can change a child’s life forever. It’s more than just a direct withdrawal and a letter now and then. It’s a uniform, an education, insurance, food, and a chance to thrive in a poor community.

I will never forget the love

This trip has changed my life forever. I will never forget the faces of those I met. I will never forget the love that radiated from their hearts. I will never forget the way that they trust their Savior — even in the most trying times of their lives. I am so grateful that Multnomah gave me the chance to experience a missional lifestyle outside of the U.S., and I’m excited for future opportunities to travel abroad to share the love of our Father with others.

Koby Krikac: No Boundaries

Comments Off Written on July 1st, 2014 by
Categories: Students

koby_mainAsk Koby Krikac why he chose Multnomah and you'll get a threefold answer: "One, it has the best language programs; two, it’s a biblical university; and three, it’s in Portland, and Portland’s weather is awesome," he says.

That last reason might seem odd — especially coming from a Los Angeles native. But Krikac wouldn't have it any other way. "I love how you can watch the seasons change here," he says. "You see God's beauty everywhere."

The Greek major has big dreams, and MU is proving to be the perfect launching pad. The senior is set on one day translating the Bible into a different language and planting a church in France with his wife. Studying at MU has been the first step toward that goal.

"Multnomah gives you the opportunity to master biblical languages," he says. "I’m learning from scholars who are professionals in their fields, so I have no boundaries of how much I can learn. I can grow as much as I want to!" Krikac says he plans on being fluent in both Greek and Hebrew (his minor) by the time he graduates in December.

Studying the languages is hard work, but the opportunity has given Krikac a deeper appreciation for God’s Word. "Certain flavors and colors of the Bible come out more when you read it in a different language," he explains. "What I’ve learned has given the Word a new depth."

Living on campus has made Krikac’s experience at MU even better. "The community really is a family," he says. "You get to know people quickly, and there are opportunities to invest in others."

And when it comes to investing in his education, Krikac is happy he chose a school that values financial aid as much as he does. "MU definitely helps you where you are," he says. "The grants and scholarships really help you out, but the things you learn here are priceless."

Krikac admits that some might see Multnomah's small size as a negative. But he encourages everyone to look past the surface. "You get such a quality education here, but in an intimate setting," he says. "And you get such great one-on-one moments with your professors. Plus, MU makes it possible for you to get two majors in four years — why wouldn’t you do that? This place faithfully teaches the Word of God and prepares you for life."