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Alumni Feature: Kayla Bowman

KISSIMMEE— Kayla Bowman works as Choir Director and Elementary Music Teacher at Mountain Missions School (MMS) in Virginia.

Bowman graduated from Johnson University Florida May 2017 with a Musical Arts degree. She and her husband, Eddy Bowman, married shortly after graduation and started working at Mountain Missions school. Eddy serves as a Bible teacher and campus minister.

Mountain Missions School is located in Grundy, Virginia. Founded by Sam Hurley in 1921, MMS is a private, residential school whose mission is to provide care and refuge for children in need. Their story is one of sacrifice and compassion. Over 200,000 children have attended the school with nearly 95% of them continuing their education through college.

The Bowmans were unsure of their future when God provided this unique opportunity. Bowman’s great aunt had worked at MMS for several years when she informed her about the choir director’s resignation. Bowman always wanted to teach music but her imagination had not featured ministry in this way.

According to Bowman, working at MMS has been a unique experience. “The big defining word [for MSS]”, Bowman said, “is different.” Children from different cultures and worship traditions attend to gain an education and a better future.

As Bowman became more involved in leading songs during chapel, she quickly realized the difference. Children are energetic and participative, but not in the same ways.

“The beauty of MMS is being able to connect with students individually,” She said. “Everything is communal here.”

One memorable moment for the couple was when an 8th grader approached Eddy after Bible class concerning baptism. Her guardians had continually removed her from school when she tried to be baptized. She no longer knew what to do. Eddy has been counseling her through this struggle.

When asked who or what from her time at Johnson was most influential in preparing her, Bowman had her answer right away.

The music program faculty,” Bowman said. “They prepared me for everything I needed for this job.”

As Bowman has reflected on her education at Johnson, her main message to current students is “everything you do now matters; it’s all useful even if you don’t see it right now.” She wants students to trust in their professors and build healthy habits before leaving. She has seen all of her studies help her in her full-time job.

FeaturesFloridaHomeNewsStaff

Staff Feature: Katherine Barnhart

KISSIMMEE — Katherine Barnhart works at Johnson University Florida as the Administrative Assistant of the School of Education and the Assistant Coach of the girl’s basketball team.

Katherine’s husband, Jay Barnhart, accepted the position as Florida’s first-ever women’s basketball coach in June 2018. Katherine joined Johnson staff in August 2018. She said it has been a joy for them to work together.

This is not their first time coaching together, however, as they both coached teams through Camps for Christ. Camps for Christ is a summer camp program that teaches students aged 7-18 about basketball and Christ. Jay Barnhart started this program at age 19 while still attending Messiah College. These years of experience shape how they now teach the girl’s basketball team.

Katherine calls herself the coach mom. It is not just basketball for them, it is a discipleship opportunity.

“I see myself in a position of just being there for the girls,” Barnhart said. “Whatever their needs are, whether they are personal or basketball related.”

Katherine believes the Lord prepared her for this type of position. She grew up in a small rural town in Amherst, Va. She is the fourth born child out of 14. Growing up, she had to be very independent and hard-working. She was required to grow up quickly and took on a motherly role among her siblings. She was very prepared for life once she left her home.

“It was really a blessing because it was training me to be a leader and an example in my own household,” Barnhart said.

When it was time to have her own kids, Katherine decided to be a stay-at-home mother like her mom. She home-schooled all three of her children.

“I really enjoyed being home with the children to nurture, care and guide them,” Barnhart said.

Katherine enjoys spending her time praying and fasting. From a young age, her parents taught her to prioritize prayer in her relationship with God. It was often her practice to spend time outdoors in reflection and prayer.

She also enjoys writing short stories, poems, parables, and plays. She published her first book, Where are you? Am I dead?: Words of Wisdom with Westbow publishers in April 2018. This book is a result of extensive reflection on the story of Adam and Eve found in Genesis. She hopes to one day direct plays for the benefit of the body of Christ.

When asked what was the highlight of working at Johnson, she said it was the opportunity to work with the girl’s basketball team. Nothing compares to the joy of discipling future leaders. She wants students to know she cares for them and that her door is always open if any student wants prayer.

FloridaHomeStudents

Fall Senior Recitals

KISSIMMEE — Two seniors at the Johnson University Florida campus performed recitals to cap off their education.

Audrey Olsheske, a Musical Arts student, was first to perform her recital entitled “More Than A Conqueror” October 26 at 6:30 p.m. in the gym.

Brent Glover, a Worship Ministry student, followed with his recital entitled “Hold Us Together” on November 9.

Each recital lasted approximately one hour and consisted of vocal and piano pieces. During vocal pieces, both students were accompanied by Tony Cason on piano.

The senior recital is required for music majors and serves as a class.  It is a “…time for us music students to use what we have learned,” stated Olsheske. “It is a time for people to gather around and support you.”

Students prepare for this moment every year of their studies.  “It is an opportunity to show our professors, family, and friends what we have learned and how we have grown as musicians/worship leaders during our time at Johnson,” Glover said.

Additionally, Glover saw his recital as a personal confirmation that he obtained the skills necessary for his calling.

“I went from someone who could sing a little bit and play guitar to someone who can sing a lot better and lead worship from multiple instruments, along with being able to responsibly and biblically structure services,” Glover said.

Olsheske experienced difficulty when planning her recital. She was nervous and uncertain if she should perform. But, her nerves turned to joy after her recital.

“My favorite part would be the standing ovation I received at the end,” Olsheske said. “I’m an introvert and definitely NOT an attention seeker, but it felt great to know people really enjoyed what I had done.”

Glover’s favorite part was being able to minister to his family members through his recital. He encouraged all by witnessing to Christ in both song and word. He led the audience in an extended time of worship featuring songs “Is He Worthy?” and “Hold Us Together.”

Both Glover and Olsheske extended special thanks to their professors without whom their success would have been impossible.

“I have grown exponentially in my singing ability and my musicianship,” Glover said.

“Dr. Reyes, Dirk Donahue, and Tony Cason have all done such a great job at helping me get to where I am today, musically and more,” Olsheske said.

Glover accepted a job as the campus worship pastor for Tomoka Christian Church’s Palm Bay campus and will be joining them full-time after he graduates.

Olsheske is unsure what she will do after graduation. She said she is certain, however, that things will all work out.

 

 

 

 

FloridaHomeMissions/CultureStaffStudents

JUFL Cycling Event Raises over $30,000 for Missions

Over Spring Break (March 17-21) faculty and students from JUFL participated in the Key West Bike Ride 2018 (#KWBR2018), a cycling tour created by Ends of the Earth Cycling (a division of New Mission Systems International).

In 2016 Ends Cycling hosted the Tennessee Bike Ride in conjunction with JU—a 300-mile trek from JUTN to VA and back. After experiencing near-freezing temperatures in the Cherokee National Forest in March 2016, Ends made a decision to host this year’s JU-partnered tour in Florida.  

The KWBR2018 took more than 30 cyclists, and support staff from NMSI headquarters in Ft. Myers to the southernmost point of the U.S. in Key West. Cyclists included students Christian Arnold, Jessica Hammock, Rodrigo Monteroso, Leah Hardin, and Dr. Les Hardin (Professor of NT). Seth McManus (student, SGA President) and Elisabeth Arnold (alumnus) provided support staff for the tour.

Ends Cycling hosts tours specifically to raise money and awareness of worldwide mission work. This year’s KWBR2018 sought to raise money for Africa Hope’s School of Youth Ministry Training. The median age on the continent of Africa is currently 18 years old, making youth ministry key for the growth of the Kingdom there.

Justin Hanneken, Executive Director of Ends Cycling, had the following to say about Ends Cycling’s partnership with JU:

“Following a successful Tennessee Bike Ride in March 2016, we at Ends Cycling were so excited to partner with Johnson University again. We knew the only way this would work for the Key West Bike Ride 2017 was to have the tour over JU’s Spring Break. We also knew that God would have to provide a staff member on campus to help us out. He did exactly that through our ‘bro’ and friend, Dr. Les Hardin. Les organized an incredible group of students and JU alumni who were an absolute blessing to the team! Over the course of 5 days, we became family and God was glorified as we had the opportunity to #PrayPedalRepeat for the youth of Africa.”  

Each Ends Cycling participant is asked to commit to raise funds for the designated mission. The KWBR2018 group raised an excess of $30,000 to promote and facilitate youth work in Africa.

Participants in Key West Bike Ride had the following to say about their experiences:

“The KWBR was an awesome way to spend my spring break. Even though I’m not a cyclist, I found a way to plug-in and help serve the riders by moving equipment, helping with worship, and preaching at one of the stops.” —Seth McManus, SGA President

“Intentional discipleship occurs at every part in the team: praising one another for daily accomplishments, pushing one another to work harder, and supporting one another when trouble arises.” —Christian Arnold, JUFL Alumnus and M.A. Student

“KWBR was an awesome opportunity that trained my body and exercised my faith. Carving out specific time to train 6 days a week helped me prioritize my day and even helped me do better in my classes because I was forced to stick to a strict schedule. On the ride I was constantly praying for YouthHOPE in Africa because being on the bike for 8 or so hours a day provides a great opportunity for focusing on prayer.” —Jessica Hammock, JUFL student

“The past two years (2017 & 2018), I have served as a support staff member caring for the needs of cyclists. It is such a rewarding experience as I grow close to people from different faith backgrounds all coming together to use their love of cycling for the cause of global youth outreach.” —Elisabeth Arnold, JUFL Alumnus

JUFL students will once again have the opportunity to participate in the KWBR this upcoming Spring Break (Mar. 16-21, 2019). KWBR19 will raise funds for youth work in Thailand. Anyone interested in cycling or helping as a support staff member is encouraged to speak with Dr. Les Hardin for more information.

For more on the work of Ends of the Earth Cycling, visit www.endscycling.com and follow them at #PrayPedalRepeat.

Florida

JUFL’s Missions Emphasis Week focuses on justice

Johnson University Florida welcomed dozens of missionaries and missions organizations Oct. 2-4 for Missions Emphasis Week.

Noteworthy among them was featured speaker David Peters, a JU alumnus and Director of Strategic Planning for Rapha House. He shared about God’s desire for justice and the work of Rapha house.

His first message of the week clearly laid out the calling of all Christians to justice from Matt. 23: 23-24. He said, “whatever you think your particular calling is, whether you are right about it or whether you are wrong about it, there are some things that I know you are called to,” that is, the weightier matters of the law.

He summarized the church’s primary calling as the need to pursue justice for all “the marginalized, the forgotten, the oppressed, the powerless,  and the voiceless more diligently than any other institution in the world.”

The pursuit of justice for oppressed people is precisely why Rapha House exists. Rapha House is a nonprofit organization whose primary goal is to end sex trafficking and slavery around the world through the raising of awareness and the rescue and aftercare of survivors.

Although efforts have been directed towards this mission, there are still 40-46 million people in slavery today. A large percentage of them being children.

Rapha House has participated in Missions Emphasis Week for several years. Florida Christian and Johnson students have been involved in their work on various levels from donations to missions trips.

During this week, some students have committed to supporting the cause of Rapha House both financially and prayerfully. Brittnay Parsons, a junior, reflected on the work of Rapha House: “I have never witnessed God’s power more than I have through learning about Rapha House.”

Peters understood that not every student’s fight for justice looks the same. However, all students were exhorted to seek justice in every sphere of their lives. “There is justice to be done in the home”, explained Peters.

As the book of Micah says, “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”