Winter 2014

News and Notes

News and Notes

Ralph Poulson (’54) recently published From a Canoe to a Chevy — Brazil Ministry and Memories, a book based on his missionary service in Brazil. Ralph and his wife, Marjorie (’52), served with ABWE, an independent Baptist missionary agency, for 25 years in the Amazon and then Natal, Brazil, directing the Berean Baptist Seminary. Ralph then became the pastor of First Baptist Church in Ferndale, Wash., for 18 years before Shepherds Baptist Ministries enlisted him to represent them on the West Coast.

Gary Williams (’67, M.A. ’73) is retiring from his pastoral ministry after serving at Twin Lakes Church in Aptos, Calif., for more than 23 years. During his time of service, Gary started more than 30 ministries at the church and helped bring in 350 volunteers. Now, Gary and his wife, Susie, are retiring to Tucson, Ariz., where they look forward to being close to their grandchildren and extended family.

Melanie Vliet (’76) recently graduated cum laude from Western State College of Law. Melanie and her son, Blaise, earned their juris doctor at the same time, and both mother and son passed the California Bar Exam on their first attempts. Melanie hopes to practice public interest law in order to assist people who cannot afford to retain a private attorney. She would also like to combat human trafficking, evictions and deportations.

Myrons Steeves (’79) was elected to the Christian Legal Society’s Board of Directors. Located in more than 1,000 cities in the United States, the Christian Legal Society is a membership organization of Christian attorneys, judges, law students and other legal professionals dedicated to serving Jesus Christ through the practice of law, defense of religious freedom and provision of legal aid to the needy. Myron also continues to serve as dean for Trinity Law School in Santa Ana, Calif., where he has served as a law professor since 1997.

Robert (’81) and Barbara Fritch were married on Nov. 9, 2013, at Church for the Nations in Surprise, Ariz. The wedding was officiated by fellow Biola alumnus Jeff Merry (’82, M.A. ’84).

Brent Olstad (’84) has a new arrangement of “How Great Thou Art” for three-octave handbell choirs, published in the Brent Olstad Handbell Series by Hope Publishing Co.

Randy (M.A. ’87) and Jan (Peterson, ’76) Kent are currently in the United States after Randy was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The couple is thankful for the early detection and slow progression. However, they seek the prayers of the Biola community as they decide on treatment options.

Michael Ayulo (’89) recently published Hills, Skills, and Wills: How to Improve Your (and Others’) Performance, a book focused on business management with a self-help focus. Michael’s book is available on Amazon.

Mark and Cari (Davison, ’95) Sacaris welcomed their son Luke Leslie Sacaris on Sept. 12, 2013, in San Diego.

Beth Gayden (’99), recently published her second devotional, Be Still: 21 Days Praying the Names of Jesus, and an accompanying journal. This is her third publication following her children’s book, Caitlyn the Cat Goes Dancing in the Mud, and her first devotional, Be Still: 21 Days Praying the Names of God. Learn more at

Dave Milbrandt (M.A. ’00) recently published his first novel, Chasing Deception, about a journalist’s investigation into a small strip-mall church and its charismatic pastor, who appears to be a con man. Dave, a high school English teacher and former journalist, used some of his actual sermons from Talbot as the basis for material in the book. Dave is also currently working on two other books, one of which he is writing with his wife. Chasing Deception is currently available on Amazon.

John Hwang (’00) was recently awarded the 2013 Hospital Hero Award by the National Health Foundation. After graduating from Biola, John went on to graduate school at the University of Southern California and became an occupational therapist. John also does photography on the side, both as a hobby and for occasional projects. Many of his portraits, especially those of the homeless in downtown Los Angeles, are gaining attention. More of his work can be found on his website, www.

Jason and Sara Mya (Patterson, ’00) Keith are thrilled to announce the arrival of their first child, Silja Elizabeth Keith, born Sept. 23, 2013 in Houston, Texas. Jason and Sara are attorneys practicing in the Houston area.

Dana S. Chisholm (’02) recently published the children’s book I Love you More Than That through Trail Media, a new publishing company she founded for Christian authors. The book is available on Amazon.

Steven and Ruby (Burgan, ’03, M.A. ’05) Lin welcomed their second child, Norah Ann Lin, on Nov. 22, 2012. Ruby is currently working as a part-time adjunct professor in Biola’s School of Education and Steven is a webmaster at the University of Southern California.

Jillian McClendon (’03) recently published the book The Call to Love through Westbow Press. Jillian’s book is a practical guide to loving and serving God by loving and serving people. The book is available on Amazon.

Chris and Kristi (Van Wicklin, ’04) Sterry are happy to announce the birth of their first son, Thomas, who is an absolute joy. The Sterrys live in Bend, Ore., where Chris is an engineer and Kristi works in cancer research.

Joshua Shoemaker (’04) recently published a book titled Discover the Bible. The book is designed for the average individual or small group study. It uses commonly misinterpreted passages, such as Jeremiah 29:11 and John 8:32, to teach proper Bible interpretation. More information can be found at

Steve and Alanie (Lazaro, ’05) Atyabi were married on Aug. 17, 2013, at the Oak Canyon Nature Center in Anaheim Hills, Calif.

Michael (’05, M.A. ’06) and Abby (’05, M.A. ’06) Clark are pleased to announce the birth of their third child, Caleb Taylor, born on April 5, 2013. Caleb joins sisters Kate, 5, and Savannah, 3. Michael and Abby are enjoying trying to raise their children in the Lord and are attending Worship Generation Church in Huntington Beach, Calif. Michael works in graduate admissions at Biola.

Michael (’05) and Kimiko (Payne, ’05) Musser welcome Westin Emmitt Koyama, born on Sept. 23, 2013. Westin joins big brother Quinten, 2. The Mussers reside in Marietta, Penn., where Michael is a designer and owner of Anticipate Invitations. Kimi was working as a speech-language pathologist but is now a stay-at-home mom.

Jessica (Helton, ’06) Olekshy recently released her debut album What My Heart Is Made Up Of under her artist name “J. Lauren.” The pop singer-songwriter’s album sparkles with infectious melodies and heartfelt, inspirational lyrics. Many of her original songs have been featured on television networks such as ABC, CW and ABC Family. Jessica graduated from the radio, television and film program at Biola and now resides in Nashville, Tenn., with her husband, Mike, who is a producer and musician. Her album is available on iTunes and Amazon.

Mike and Rachel (Emerine, ’07) Hicks were married on June 15, 2013, in Carlsbad, Calif.

Heather Stapp (’08) recently published a Christian fiction book called The Narrow Path through Westbow Press. Through her book, Heather desires to help readers understand that regardless of their past, there is a promising future in Christ. The book is available on Amazon.

Kevin and Justine (Soules, ’10) Lane were married on June 2, 2013, at Holy Cross Orthodox Church in Yakima, Wash. After a honeymoon to Victoria, Canada, the couple returned to Yakima, where they are currently residing.

Danny (’11) and Aimee (Larew, ’11) Borges were married on April 21, 2013 at the Altadena Country Club. They first met in Professor McKinley’s theology class at Biola and graduated together in May 2011. Danny worked at the Biola IT Helpdesk for three years and is now putting his experience to work at MullinTBG in El Segundo, Calif. Aimee is working at a financial broker’s office in Pasadena.

James (’11) and Alexandria (Rivera, ’10) Weaver were married on Dec. 8, 2012. The couple met in high school but didn’t become close friends until James graduated from Biola and moved back home to the San Francisco Bay area.

In Memoriam

Erma Gertrude Reid (’37) passed away on Dec. 12, 2013, at the age of 97. After earning a music degree from Biola, Erma married Ransom Marvin, who was also a Biola graduate. The couple pastored many churches together. After Ransom’s death in 1960, Erma married Jesse Leise and moved to Seattle, Wash. After Jesse’s death in 1992, Erma married a former Biola classmate, Cyril Reid, and after Cyril’s death in 2000, Erma went to live in Kenmore, Wash., until she was over 94 years old. She had a great sense of humor and her love for her Savior, Jesus Christ, sustained and comforted her until the end of her life.

Nancy Woolnough (’47) went to be with the Lord on Oct. 25, 2013, at the age of 93. Nancy was involved in radio broadcasting while at Biola and even produced a live student radio program for Al Sanders, founder of Ambassador Advertising Agency. During her time at Biola, she began writing a children’s radio series, The Adventures of Raindrop, which went on to be broadcasted on the radio. After studying Spanish in Costa Rica for one year, Nancy went to Quito, Ecuador, to begin her ministry of English radio production. Nancy produced radio shows for more than 23 years in Ecuador for HCJB Global. Nancy was never married, nor did she have children, but many of her friends stayed close with her until she passed.

Burton Clark (’48) went to see his Savior at age 91 on Sept. 19, 2013. He was born in Wisconsin and served in the Navy during World War II. He and his wife, Glenna (’48), were married during their time as Biola students. They were blessed with two daughters and a son. Their younger daughter, Nanette Swick, also graduated from Biola, as did their granddaughter, Megan, and grandson-in-law, Eric Mendoza. Burt and Glenna began missionary service on the faculty of the Jamaica Bible Institute, West Indies, in 1952. They joined Wycliffe Bible Translators in 1959 and went on to serve with them for more than 40 years in the Philippines, Guatemala, California and other offices in the United States. They celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary in June 2013.

Charles G. Ramsey (’52) went home to be with the Lord on Nov. 28, 2013. After graduating from Biola, Chuck and his wife, Jean, moved to Bolivia to work among the violent Ayore people group for 23 years. Upon his return to Bolivia after furlough in 1977, Chuck pioneered the first professional Christian recording studio in Bolivia. In 1980, he co-founded the Bolivian Evangelical University and in 1984 he pioneered Christian radio for the nation. Chuck founded LATCOM mission that same year, and in 1992 he helped co-found COICOM (the Confederation of Christian Mass Media for the Spanish speaking world).

Don Fults (’55) passed into the presence of his Lord on Nov. 25, 2013 after suffering from a terminal blood disease. After graduating from Biola, Don married Shirley Schwarz in 1956, and the couple went on to participate in church ministries in Newton, Kan., and San Diego, Calif., before being called to serve with Overseas Crusades in South America for eight years. Following those years, they joined World Vision, and later returned to the mission field with Overseas Crusades in Argentina. Don and Shirley moved to the Columbia River Gorge in 1996 to be near their family, finally settling in The Dalles, Ore., where they assisted ministries at Calvary Baptist Church.

Becky Lynn Black (’76) went to her heavenly home on Nov. 2, 2013, after a four-year battle with cancer. For the past 15 years, she lived with her husband Dave (’75, M.Div. ’80) on their 123-acre farm in Southern Virginia. She was heavily involved in missionary work in Ethiopia, where her parents had also been missionaries. Her autobiography can be found at

John Taylor Adams (’78) entered the presence of his Savior on Sept. 5, 2013, at the age of 57, after a five-month bout with cancer. He is survived by Kathleen (Knox ’77), his wife of 35 years; their son Timothy; their son Stephen and his wife Lindsey; and their two grandsons, Braedyn and Asa Adams. John was, and is still, loved by his family and many friends and is greatly missed.

Steven Aanderud (’78) passed away on Dec. 8, 2013, after suffering a heart attack. Aanderud was a long-time coach for La Habra High’s boy’s soccer team. This season was his 15th season with the program. During his time at Biola, Aanderud was a standout player on the men’s soccer team. He is survived by his wife, Julie, and his four children, Heather, Jennifer, Bryan and Brittany.

Jean Nagel (’88) was called home to the Lord on July 4, 2013. Jean was born in Lincoln, Neb., but grew up in California and Missouri. She studied at Biola before finishing her schooling at Wheaton College. After college, Jean left for Ethiopia in 1951 to serve as a missionary with Sudan Interior Mission. In 1956, she married Jarel Nagel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The couple had four children before returning to the United States in 1975. Jean was active in her church, Sutter Salem Bible Church, in Hamilton, Ill.

Darcie (Frazier, ’06) Ridgeway passed away on Nov. 18, 2013, after a battle with breast cancer. Darcie attended Biola from 1995 to 1999 and then went back to complete her degree, graduating in 2006. She was a twotime All-American on the Biola volleyball team. She is survived by her husband, Jason Ridgeway (’98), and her 3-year-old daughter, Lily Rae Ridgeway.


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Issue Highlights

  • World Tour

    From Paris to Kenya, meet graduates who are putting their Biola educations to use in a broad range of careers, cultures and contexts

  • A Master Maestra

    Alumna Julie McGough’s inspiring work with Spanish speakers earns her recognition as one of Los Angeles County’s top teachers

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