Posts Tagged ‘Dr. William Iverson’

They Fought the Fight of Faith and Finished the Race
Dr. Thomas Graham above; Dave with Dr. Richard Kaufmann

Two great men, who were heroes in the faith, spiritual fathers and amazingly wonderful mentors moved to heaven in February. Dr. Thomas Graham graduated to glory on February 17th. Dr. Richard Kaufmann left this earth on the next day February 18th.

The Lord has blessed me on my journey as a Christian leader with some outstanding spiritual fathers and mentors. Dr. Graham and Dr. Kaufmann were two of them. The other was Dr. William “Bill” Iverson. Bill is now the only one of the three who is still living. He celebrated his 95th birthday on February 19th.

It’s interesting to me that these three men who each helped me so much in so many ways are also linked by these consecutive dates in February.

Dr. William Iverson
Bill Iverson (in the middle in blue) Dave (on the bottom in red) with students from the International School of Theology. This photo was taken in 1984
Dr. Bill Iverson & Dave
Dr. William Iverson & Dave

Each of these men came into my life at pivotal moments. Bill Iverson when I was in my 20’s, as a young student in seminary. These were formative years for me. I was still a relatively young Christian when I first met Bill. The Lord used him to help me build a more solid foundation in my faith. He always used to talk to us students about theology with skin on, so I learned how to think and how to live while ministering with Bill. I also went on my first missions trip to Mexico with Dr. Iverson and a group of students. God used that trip to call me into missions. Bill is the boldest personal evangelist that I’ve ever met.

Dr. Thomas Graham
Dr. Thomas Graham

I met Dr. Tom Graham while I worked with Mission to the World (MTW) in Mexico City. I got to know him well when we left Mexico to live in Colorado Springs. Tom came into my life during a difficult transition in ministry and our family was going through a hard time as well. Tom was like a rock for me during those years in Colorado.

It’s so sad to say goodbye to people that we love who have had such a huge impact on our lives. Tom was one of the most important men, spiritual fathers in my life especially while I was in Colorado. He will surely be missed. We are thankful that we have the hope of heaven. The hope to see him again. 

I remember before we moved to Colorado Springs while we were still in Mexico City I met with my boss at the time, Jay Kyle. Jay told me that he talked to Tom and that Tom had agreed to mentor me. Jay said, “Dave, if you had to pay Tom for working with you and mentor you, you couldn’t afford him.” Tom became much more than a mentor to me. He was like a father. During our years in Colorado apart from my dad, Tom was definitely the most important man in my life. His influence and impact lives on in my life and in many others. I give thanks for him and all that he meant to my family and me.

Jayson Kyle

Jay Kyle

An interesting side note, is that Jayson Kyle, who Dawn and I worked with in Mexico had a connection with all three of these mentors. Bill Iverson introduced me to Jay when Jay was recruiting missionaries to work with him in Mexico. Then as I mentioned above Jay helped open the door for me to be able to work with Tom. The Lord also used Jay to help me to connect with Dick. When Dawn and I felt the Lord leading us on from Colorado Jay introduced me to Dick Kaufmann.

Jay was very gifted in connecting people. He was not only a boss and a friend, but the Lord used him to encourage me and I recognize I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for Jay. Sadly, Jay suffered a massive stroke and moved to heaven last year on March 19th.

Dr. Richard Kaufmann

Dave with Dr. Richard Kaufmann

Dick Kaufmann guided me and gave me some great advice as I began ministering on the San Diego-Tijuana border. One of the things that Dick told me that I always remember. He said, “Dave, you are priestly, you have a pastoral heart. That’s good, but the problem is that you want to help everyone. You need to learn to say no.” Then he spelled out, “N-O, no.” Even though that may sound like very simple advice, it’s something that has stayed with me, and I think it’s been a good filter for me.

The Lord also used Dick to help me raise the funds for the first three or four churches that we helped Pastor Daniel Nuñez and Ministerios Transformación plant. Through that experience the Lord opened many doors for planting churches in Mexico, especially along the US/Mexico border. Dick helped me to focus on the things that God has gifted me in, and he connected me to his church planting network in San Diego, which at the time was called Harbor. I used to meet with Dick once a month for the first five years or so when we moved to the border. His time and advice were invaluable.

I give thanks for each of these men, and I realize that I’ve been blessed beyond measure to have more than one Giants of the faith that were willing to pour into my life.

Tom Graham, Dick Kaufmann and Jay Kyle will be surely missed. I give thanks for how the Lord used them so powerfully in my life and in the life of so many. I like to think about our Hannah up in heaven welcoming these friends and mentors into heaven. One day we will all be together, enjoying one another and our relationship with the Father.

Thank you Jesus for your love and care for me as demonstrated by these men.

Extend Your Hands to Help!

The influence and legacy of each of these wonderful mentors and heroes lives on. Their handprint is all over the ministry that God has called Dawn and me to. We are grateful to witness the great and mighty work that God is doing in Mexico, on the Big Island and the Dominican Republic. Your prayers and your gifts play a critical role as the gospel goes forth. Extend your hands to support our church planters, our familia today!

Make a Donation Today.

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Thank you for joining us in prayer, and for considering making a gift to help our precious familia.

In His Grip, Dave

P.S. Help take the gospel to the Border, the Baja and Beyond

Reconnecting with Dr. William T. Iverson

Dave 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

Bill when he was 15 years old seated on the far right with his family. Bill’s dad, Daniel Iverson was an influential pastor in Miami, Florida. He started Shenandoah Presbyterian Church

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

Dr. Iverson (top middle in blue) & Dave (bottom right in red) with other ISOT students and professors on a retreat during the 1984/85 school year

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.

Dr. Iverson signing a book for me. He’s written 2 or 3 books (one of them is called, Jesus and the Ways of Socrates, which is available on Amazon). He always likes to give me books.

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

Ty & Terri Schenzel

Ty & Terri Schenzel

Mourning the Loss of My Friends

On Friday I was checking out some Facebook posts, and I noticed the picture of my friends, Ty & Terri Schenzel. Then when I explored further I was shocked to learn they had been involved in a fatal car accident on Thursday, August 20th.

Ty and Terri led exemplary lives and their reach in Omaha, Nebraska went far. It’s sad to see such wonderful people leave this earth. Heaven is richer for it as we mourn their loss.

See video news report and article click here…. The news report does a great job at capturing the significant impact that Ty and Terri made in their community.

It Began at Seminary in Arrowhead Springs

Ty Schenzel is second from the right with seminary roommates from left to right, Dave Diaso, Craig Collie, Ralph Elliott, Ty Schenzel and Dale Goodman

Ty Schenzel is second from the right with seminary roommates from left to right, Dave Diaso, Craig Collie, Ralph Elliott, Ty Schenzel and Dale Goodman

I first met Ty and Terri while I was attending seminary in Arrowhead Springs, San Bernardino, California at the International School of Theology (ISOT). Ty and I became friends right away as we prepared for the ministry. Our first year at school we were involved in the Core Module, led by Dr. William Iverson. The Core Module wed theology with practical ministry.

It was a great place to practice theology with skin on, as Dr. Iverson liked to call it. I have many fond memories of our time together at ISOT as those were some of the best years of my life.

Ty also met Terri at ISOT. They fell in love, and they were married while in seminary. God blessed them with a loving marriage that few couples are able to match. I admire them for that as much or more than I do for all their amazing accomplishments in ministry.

Students from ISOT in the Core Module - led by Dr. William Iverson

Students from ISOT in the Core Module – led by Dr. William Iverson

I remember that Ty knew from the beginning what he wanted to do. After he graduated from seminary his goal was to return to Omaha, Nebraska and to work with youth.

His fun-loving, energetic passionate personality made him a huge success with all the kids he ministered to.

As Ty and Terri ministered together they were a loving ball of energy that wanted to be spent pouring their lives out for Christ. I think they accomplished their goal. They lived well, and served faithfully.

God Used Them in a Powerful Way

Ty and Terri went on to accomplish many things in ministry. They touched thousands with the gospel. Their hallmark was the founding of Hope Center for at risk youth. The Lord used Ty with Terri at his side to bring hope to a place that was without hope.

I’m deeply saddened to see them depart this earth earlier than I would have liked, but what a legacy they left. Their life is an encouragement and a challenge to all of us to be ready when the Lord calls us home. It’s a reminder to make use of each moment the Lord has given us.

This picture of Ty (on the left) with Dick Elwell was taken in Mexico City on a month long summer missions project in the back of a Volkswagen Van, our main mode of transportation.

This picture of Ty (on the left) with Dick Elwell was taken in Mexico City on a month-long summer missions project in the back of a Volkswagen Van, our main mode of transportation.

My heart aches at their loss. My prayers go out to their children, and their family. They will be missed. They are leaving a big hole that someone else must step in and fill.

With Ty and Terri’s wonderful sense of humor, I’m sure that heaven is filled with more laughter. While we mourn for them, we can rejoice in their life well lived. I pray that we might follow their example to live life to the fullest, and to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind, and soul.

In His Grip, Dave

A Full House

Jon, Kiara, Chivis, Hannah & David

Jon, Kiara, Chivis, Hannah & David

This summer has been one filled with nonstop visitors, which we love. It is one of the ways we minister to others.

Last week we had a young friend, Chivis from Mexico City staying with us, and another young friend, Kiara from Oklahoma. Today Chivis’ whole family will join us.

Dr. William Iverson’s Influence

Dr. Bill Iverson & Dave

Dr. Bill Iverson & Dave

When I was in seminary the professor that had the biggest impact on my life was Dr. William Iverson. He’s been one of the most important men that God has used in my life. Bill taught me by example the importance of ministering out of the home.

Dr. Iverson wrote a book titled: Jesus and the Ways of Socrates. It’s a wonderful book that I highly recommend. In the book he discusses how Jesus interacted with people and created curiosity. Bill believes that study centers in a hospitable setting is one of the best ways to create a good learning environment. Dr. Bill and his wife traveled through Europe exploring some of the various ministries like L’Abri.

Bill has done a wonderful job of promoting and replicating these learning environments in the places where he has lived.

Ministry Through Our Home

While our home isn’t quite a study center. We do pray that it will be a place where people can come for healing. Dawn and I feel like God is equipping us to be able to minister to people in this way.

Our desire is to minister and bring healing to the pastors and leaders we work with as well as those that come into our home.

One of the biggest keys to doing this successfully is having a wife that is equally committed to ministering to people out of the home. Dawn loves to entertain. She is the one that works the hardest to prepare for our guests. Without her hard work we wouldn’t be able to love on people the way we do.

This may be somewhat of a side ministry for us, but I think it’s an important and valuable one. As I wrote in my last post and other writings one of our hopes is to be able to develop a strong internship program and to really build into the lives of young people that the Lord brings our way.

O Lord, we do pray that you will continue to increase our borders as we serve you here on the border.

In His Grip, Dave

Dave at Timonium Presbyterian Church

Dave at Timonium Presbyterian Church

Yesterday I was with some old and new friends at Timonium Presbyterian Church. I first met this church when they brought a short-term missions group down in 1992. Don Wright was one of the church members who went on that trip. It was so good to see Don and Shirley Wright as well as other friends that we’ve known for years.

It’s a reminder that we don’t do this ministry alone. Many friends stand with us in prayer. The Lord uses them to encourage us. Friends and churches partner with us giving to our ministry. We’ve been in faith missions, raising our financial support for our work for over 20 years. Wow! What an encouragement to see God’s faithfulness!

Dr. Ben Taylor preaching at Timonium

Dr. Ben Taylor preaching at Timonium

Dr. Ben Taylor is one of the pastors at Timonium. I first met Ben in the summer of 1986. I had just returned from a missions trip to Mexico City to find some stranger camping out in my room in the house we were renting. Ben says, I was trying to figure him out. We became fast friends though, and enjoyed serving together that summer under the tutelage of Dr. William (Bill) Iverson.

Bill is the grandfather of Evangelism Explosion. He’s the most gifted and boldest person evangelist I’ve ever met. He was dangerous to be around, because he was an expert in finding a new, challenging and sometimes awkward ministry opportunity for us young seminarians.

I’m grateful for such wonderful friends, and churches like Timonium that partner with us in ministry. The encouragement, the prayer and financial support are all essential to what we do.

It’s one of the reasons that we are so close to moving to the San Diego – Tijuana border. The closing on our house is August 17th. We are praying for smooth sailing through closing. Please join us in prayer for that. We have a problem with our porch, but the Lord directed us to someone who can help us. Thank you, Jesus!

We just need nine people at $100 a month to be fully funded, so we can focus on our ministry on the border. Your gift could put us over the top. If you are able to partner with us in this way, send me a note. You can also give online via the support/giving page on this website. If you aren’t able to give at this time, pray that the Lord who is faithful will provide for all our needs.

Pray with us that the Lord will bring everything together. The closing of our house, our family needs and our support. It’s an exciting albeit somewhat stressful time!

In His Grip, Dave

Bill Iverson & Dave

As Dawn and I embark on this new endeavor to see the border transformed by the gospel I must admit that often I wonder, “what am I doing?” And “what have I gotten myself into?” I’m glad we are not on our own. We have some great partners that we are working with. But in my weaker moments I still have my doubts.

I found it comforting when I read my mentor, Dr. William Iverson’s response to an article written about him in byFaith Magazine. Here are Bill’s words of wisdom, “I am grateful for the fact of Christ being the sufficiency of the call. But as in all my life in ministry, there is fear of failure, wondering if I am doing the right thing, and realizing a chilling sense that I can’t do it. When I realize ‘I can’t,’ and he says ‘I never said you could.’ And that has made all the difference.”

Dave & Dawn at San Diego Harbor

That’s a good reminder that when I fear failure, and realize I can’t do it, that He never said I could. My sufficiency is in Christ. It’s like my friends at Harbor like to say, “the gospel changes everything.” It’s not dependent on me. It never has been about me. Yet I can be confident. I can be encouraged, because Christ goes before me. He leads the way. It’s only in Him and as He works through me that I have any hope of success. With this confidence we continue to fight the good fight and to serve.

Thanks for going with us on the journey!

In His Grip, Dave

I just read about the value of giving thanks in a blog by Katya Anderson. She referred to a study that demonstrates the correlation between happiness and giving thanks.

“According to this Washington Post article, researcher Jeffrey Froh found that early adolescents who counted their blessings in a journal every day were more satisfied with their lives, and schoolchildren exposed to a gratitude curriculum reported more appreciation and happiness.”

If it works for children, I’m sure it works for adults as well!

Today I would like to give thanks for the godly mentors the Lord has given me over the years. Two of the most important men in my life apart from my dad, are Dr. Thomas Graham and Dr. William T. Iverson.

I will feature Dr. Graham in my next post, so stay tuned. Today I will focus on Dr. Iverson.

Bill Iverson & Dave

I met Bill 27 years ago when I entered seminary. It was a time when I was young, and thought I knew much more than I actually did. Bill had a knack of putting us in uncomfortable places, and letting us squirm a little. It was practical theology at it’s best. He used to call it theology with skin on.

I have many stories from my time with Bill. One of my fondest memories is from my first semester in seminary. Bill took me down into the city of San Bernardino. It was the seedy part of town. I grew up in the suburbs, so I didn’t feel entirely comfortable in the places we visited. We found ourselves in this run down coffee shop. Bill being the gregarious guy that he was just started talking with different people in the coffee shop. He noticed one of them had a book, so he asked him about it. He was friendly in the way he asked, and he showed interest in those he talked to. He always looked for ways to engage people.

I saw Dr. Bill boldly loving these people, and I was astonished. I said to him, “Bill, how are you able to talk to people so easily, I always feel afraid to engage people I don’t know.” He said something I’ll never forget. “Remember these people are scared too, and you have something they don’t have, you have the Holy Spirit.” Then he added, “Just learn to enjoy people.” Wow! what a great lesson.

I also went on my first trip to Mexico with Bill and a group of seminary students. I share this story, and how the Lord used Bill to lead me to Mexico in one of my early posts – God’s Leading to the Border

One of the philosophies that I’ve held on to in all my years in ministry is that, ministry flows out of relationships. I learned that in a very real sense in that coffee shop.

If you ever get a chance to talk to Bill he’s sure to bring up the part he played in hooking Dawn and me up. And it is true that when I first met Dawn she lived right across the street from Bill, and his wife, Ann. Bill and Ann helped foster our relationship!

God has blessed me in having two such godly figures in my life. I hope to write more about each of them in my blog in the future. Both of them are 83 years old. They are both still very involved in ministry.

Bill at 83 is planting a church in New Jersey. I think he’s still got more energy than I do! He was just featured in an article in byFaith Magazine. You can check out the article here.

In His Grip, Dave