After becoming engaged her senior year and creating her own wedding invitations, Megan (Knight, ’08) Gonzalez saw an opportunity to make money designing for other Biolans’ weddings as well. Fast forward five years and her company, MaeMae Paperie, is getting national exposure. The company has been featured in several prestigious wedding magazines, including Martha Stewart Weddings and Your Wedding Day, and recently won a Brides Editor’s Choice award for 2011. On the heels of her success, Gonzalez also launched her new line of wedding stationery, now being sold in more than 35 stores nationally and internationally. “I was really excited. The company has been growing and it’s affirming that it’s something real,” Gonzalez said. “I think that’s something people with small businesses struggle with, and it’s affirming that I’m starting to become the kind of business I aspired to be.” Gonzalez credits Biola’s art professors for teaching her how to work well with clients, and she credits the university for instilling in her the desire to make integrity an important part of her career. “It’s hard when you’re the boss to be accountable to yourself, but I learned you have to take full responsibility and treat people in a Christ-like way,” Gonzalez said. Recently Gonzalez and her husband, Jason Gonzalez (’07), whom she met while working on staff at The Chimes, moved from Los Angeles to Minneapolis, Minn., so he could work as a sports reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Gonzalez said she is excited to bring MaeMae Paperie to a new area and to be able to work with women in her industry.
During one of her graduate apologetics classes at Biola, Mary Jo Sharp (M.A.,’08) built an apologetics blog as a homework assignment. Seven years later, that homework assignment has evolved into Confident Christianity, Sharp’s ministry dedicated to providing resources and equipping believers to answer difficult questions about their faith. Within the past year, Sharp also published her first book, Defending the Faith: Apologetics in Women’s Ministry, and released Why Do You Believe That? A Faith Conversation, a video-driven women’s Bible study. “I’m hoping women will see that they have really good answers to life’s toughest questions here,” she said. “The point is that we should be confident about what we believe in. I want to get women to be more natural in discussing their faith with people and to be able to answer the tough questions that are coming their way.” In addition to being the founder and administrator at Confident Christianity, Sharp is also an assistant professor of apologetics at Houston Baptist University, where she is helping launch HBU’s first apologetics major, and a visiting professor at Oklahoma Baptist University. She is also the first woman to become a certified apologetics instructor through the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. When she’s not busy defending the Christian faith, Sharp enjoys playing the saxophone. Music is a deeply woven aspect of Sharp’s life, she said. In fact, a high school band teacher played an important role in her conversion. Growing up in an agnostic home, Sharp said she never knew there was a necessity for a savior. But after reading through a Bible her band director gave her, Sharp felt the desire for more concrete answers about Christianity.
When Danny Yamashiro (’91, M.A. ’92) was 18 he fell 400 feet while rock climbing in Honolulu. After the devastating fall, Yamashiro wasn’t expected to survive, let alone go on to start a successful evangelical ministry spanning four continents. Immediately after graduating from Biola with a biblical studies degree and a master’s degree in Bible exposition, Yamashiro became a shoe salesman for Nordstrom in Honolulu. “As an evangelist, I’ve thought about selling shoes and was reminded that the great D.L. Moody was also a shoe salesman before embarking on his expansive campaigns,” Yamashiro said. “Perhaps there were some supplemental lessons I needed to learn in that environment that was necessary for ministry.” In 1993, Yamashiro and his wife, Jamie (’91), launched Jesus Christ is Calling You, Inc., an evangelistic organization geared toward partnering with local churches to spread the gospel. The organization held evangelistic tent meetings in Waikiki and throughout Hawaii before expanding to Asia, Africa and South America. Later, Yamashiro began hosting “A Slice of the Good Life,” a daily talk show intended to help and connect people through stories and testimonies. “I was looking for a way to produce a show that brought hope and inspiration to our listeners — to the point where they would literally feel God’s love and be drawn by the Holy Spirit to Jesus,” Yamashiro said. Now the radio show is heard on 36 radio outlets in nine states. Yamashiro was awarded the Biola University Young Alumni Award in 2000 and recently published his eighth book, Winner’s Edge, in 2012.