Reconnecting with Dr. William T. Iverson
I’m writing this as I’m on my way back from a trip to the Philly area. While here I was in a few places in New Jersey, as well as Lancaster, Pennsylvania and Annapolis, Maryland. It was a fruitful trip that gave me the opportunity to tell of the wonders of the Lord and all he is doing on the Border, the Baja and Beyond!
One of the highlights of the trip was visiting my 91-year-old professor, mentor, spiritual father and friend, Dr. William “Bill” Iverson. I first met Bill when I was a 24-year-old seminary student at the International School of Theology (ISOT). ISOT is affiliated with Cru. At the time the school was at Arrowhead Springs in San Bernardino, California.
A Spiritual Father & Mentor during My Formative Years
I came to Christ while I was in college at Fresno State. I believe I was 20 years old at the time, so when I went to seminary I was still a relatively young believer. I needed a lot of guidance. I remember I had my share of insecurities as I was growing in my faith and learning to lead.
Bill became an important father in my life during that time. He was a unique combination of being a bold intellect. He pushed me to study and learn from the church Father’s while I was in school. He’s also the boldest personal evangelist that I’ve ever met. We would often go into a restaurant and he would begin a conversation with someone and then he would open the door for me to step in and share the gospel. At that time I was timid and wet behind the ears, so I would stumble my way through sharing the gospel.
Today I share the gospel with strangers on a regular basis, and Dawn is even bolder than me in sharing her faith. That all had its beginnings with Dr. Bill.
I remember one specific conversation we had in an old greasy spoon in the downtown area of San Bernardino. Bill started up conversations that led to opportunities to share the gospel with two or three people while we were there.
After these conversations I told Bill that I felt timid or fearful to just talk to strangers like that. He told me something that has stuck with me to this day. He said, “remember that these people are afraid as well, but the difference is that you have the Holy Spirit to guide and lead you.”
Wow! That was a game-changer!
I can’t say that I all of the sudden became a bold evangelist, but it did set in motion my growth to becoming bolder and more committed to sharing the good news of the gospel.
The Beginnings of My Call to Mexico
Another huge way that Bill influenced me is that he led a group of 16 students from ISOT to Cuernavaca and Mexico City for six weeks in the summer of 1985. It was on this trip that the Lord gripped my heart and gave me a love for Mexico.
Dr. Iverson taught us, students, the importance of reading broadly to learn from other disciplines and to help us to engage with them and the world around us. He and the students I studied with made my seminary experience an excellent one!
Dawn used to live across the street from Bill before she moved into the city and became one of my neighbors. Bill likes to claim responsibility for Dawn and my relationship, which may be slightly exaggerated! Yet, he did know both of us when we were single and he definitely encouraged us in our relationship.
I give thanks to the Lord for Dr. Iverson, and for how the Lord used Bill in our lives! I wouldn’t be who I am today without the influence of my mentor and spiritual father. Thankfully the Lord brought other mentors into my life over the years, like Dr. Thomas Graham. I see God’s goodness and love in how he gave me such good men to influence my life.
For all these reasons and more it was so good to be reunited with my gregarious, intellectual, ironic and bold professor.
One of my prayers is that I can be a spiritual father and mentor to the men and women that the Lord privileges us to work with. I believe that is taking place through the church planters and leaders that we work within Mexico, Cuba, and other countries. Thank you, Jesus!
In His Grip, Dave