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Calvary Grad Serves Youth through Equine Assisted Learning

Calvary Grad Serves Youth through Equine Assisted Learning

Emily Schmidt at Horsepower

“The biblical view I got at Calvary is the lens through which I look at counseling theories.”

Emily Schmidt graduated from Calvary with her bachelor’s degree in 2010. She went on to earn her certification as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Registered Play Therapist (RPT). She’s putting her degrees to work at Horsepower, an experiential learning program that helps students develop life skills in a ranch environment. Their equine assisted learning—equine assisted therapy when taught by a licensed therapist—focuses on reaching at-risk youth.

Schmidt said, “The program is about seven weeks long, and each week there’s a different theme.” These themes include communication, empathy, and decision making, and they help students develop and translate relational skills with horses to their human relationships.

The ministry at HorsePower appealed to Schmidt because of her long-time love for horses, as well as the integral role horses played in her coming to faith. Growing up with a difficult family life, she said, “I was desperate for a change, so I came up to Kansas City to go to a horse clinic.” She found an opportunity to work at a local horse farm, and through friends there, started going to church and was saved a few months later. She knew she wanted to go to Bible College, and she started her studies at Calvary in 2006.

Schmidt found Horsepower shortly out of college through a friend, and said, “It’s really interesting, because I remember volunteering, and I remember praying, ‘God, these kids need a Christian therapist. Please send them a Christian therapist.’ But I had no idea it was going to be me.” After attempting to start a horse-based program on her own, Schmidt decided to go back to school to become a licensed therapist. She also discovered natural lifemanship, a method of equine-assisted therapy that focuses on the therapeutic and healing effects that interaction with horses can have on psychological and behavioral disorders. Schmidt said many forms of horsemanship focus on controlling the horse, but HorsePower trains students to understand and work with their horse, teaching them a better model for healthy relationships.

With ten years of experience now, Schmidt said, “It’s amazing. We’ve had kids in the past that very clearly had no beliefs, and I got to share the gospel with them. Also, seeing them growing in ways that are going to help them relate to God in the future. We’re not always talking about God all the time, but we’re helping kids learn to have healthy relationships and attachment with humans.” She added that, “When working with kids, you don’t always see the fruit right away,” but the patterns they create prime the kids for a healthier relationship with God.

Looking to the future, Schmidt said her dream is to eventually be part of her own equine assistance program with a vision to “be compelled by love as we create space for relationships that bring hope and healing to a hurting world.” She said, “The biblical view I got at Calvary is the lens through which I look at counseling theories” without getting distracted by misplaced theories. “There are people who’ve dedicated their lives to studying human nature, and what they’re seeing is accurate, but something in their interpretation is wonky because of their worldview. So you can still learn, as long as you know how to interpret it biblically at the end of the day.”

Cory Young Named Alumnus of the Year

Cory Young Named Alumnus of the Year

Interim President Jeff Campa presents the Alumnus of the Year award to Cory Young on June 27.

“The free grace and the dispensational theology that I came out of Calvary with drives everything that I have done.”

Cory Young, a Calvary graduate of 2003, was given the Calvary University Alumnus of the Year Award at the 2020 Commencement ceremony on June 27. Young serves as a rodeo chaplain through Golden Spurs Ministries. He explained, “[Rodeos are] a subculture in the U.S. that, because of their lifestyle, they’re on the road a lot, so it’s a needed thing.” Interim president Jeff Campa presented the award to Young, who said, “The free grace and the dispensational theology that I came out of Calvary with drives everything that I have done.”

Young grew up near Belton, Missouri, just south of Calvary’s campus. Horses and rodeos were a part of his life from a very young age. He said, “I grew up in that world, and that was kind of part of my family.” Young was raised in a church that “didn’t really preach the gospel,” so when he attended a rodeo Bible camp at age 16, he heard the gospel for the first time. He expected to learn his sport better and thought he was “good on the church stuff,” but when he heard the gospel explained, he said, “I was an easy sell.”

Young came to Calvary to earn his bachelor’s degree in Missions and Pastoral Studies and said, “When I did my internship, I never thought I could do my rodeo ministry… but I ended up with a rodeo chaplain—the only guy that did it—and I actually did my internship with the same guy that led me to Christ.”

After graduating, Young worked for Calvary’s maintenance department and served as a youth pastor in Belton. “After that, I just started hitting I think ten rodeo Bible camps in the summer.” Young quickly became involved in the National High School Rodeo Association (NHSRA), serving at the National High School Finals Rodeo and National Junior High Finals Rodeo for the past 15 years.

As Young developed his outreach, he formed Golden Spur Ministries. Young and his wife, Leslie, are currently the only members on staff, but they have trained other leaders who went on to Bible college and other ministries.

Young said 17 years down the road, his time at Calvary is still impacting his ministry. “I’m still going back and using resources and notes, and that foundation is essential.” He noted that, “I had to take Greek and a lot of hermeneutics, and it taught me how to learn. I rely on that every day. On the flipside, having the missions program’s courses on culture has really informed a lot of my ministry. Even though this is not as stark of a difference [in culture], it still trained me to look at things through the culture.”

Cory, his wife Leslie, and son, CT.
Young ministers at rodeos across the country.

Alum’s Book Tops New Release Charts in Science and Religion

Alum’s Book Tops New Release Charts in Science and Religion

“Calvary laid the foundation for my study of the Bible.”

Calvary alumnus Jeff Rhoades recently published his first book, The Bible, Dimensions, and the Spiritual Realm. Rhoades, who graduated with his Bachelor’s degree in 1994, said, “It’s really about looking at the spiritual realms as a higher dimension. We normally think of angels and God out in a three-dimensional world, so instead of God being in the fourth dimension, we think of God really big… and heaven is just way up in the sky.” Through his book, Rhoades examines the concept of the fourth dimension. “There are lots of things out there scientists that look at that say, ‘There’s more out there than initially meets the eye.’”

Rhoades said his years studying at Calvary “laid the foundation for my study of the Bible. Calvary gave me my biblical premillennial dispensationalist foundation so that when I continued to study, I was on track.” He noted that, when researching the scientific aspects of his book, “I’m reading a lot of science books, and there’s guys who are way off track. But there’s a piece of the truth in there.” He added that one of the biggest mistakes most scientists make “is they don’t have any foundation of truth to sift through these findings. Calvary gave me that foundation.”

The Bible, Dimensions, and the Spiritual Realm topped Amazon’s charts as the #1 new Release in Science and Religion early in May. The book is available to purchase on Amazon in paperback or kindle edition, and an audiobook is slated to come out on Audible later this month.

The Bible, Dimensions, and the Spiritual Realm

The Bible tells of a spiritual realm where heaven, angels, and God reside. Where is this mysteriously invisible realm? Science has opened the door to the possibility of higher spatial dimensions. Could this be where heaven is? Using God’s Word, this book will present evidence for the reality of the spiritual realm and also lay out the scientific evidence, from Einstein’s theory of relativity to string theory, that points to the possibility of a higher dimension or dimensions. Through this book, the everyday Christian will learn how to view the spiritual dimension or spiritual realm in a deeper way and will see clearly that there is much more to our universe than meets the eye. The seeking skeptic will also be presented with evidence that God is real and the Bible is His communication to man. The foundation is laid from the Bible, from science and from understanding that we are three-dimensional beings created by a Grand Programmer to live in the physical and spiritual universe. Because of sin, mankind lost the ability to see the spiritual realm, but through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, we can once again access the spiritual realm and live fully as God our creator intends.

Calvary Alumni Minister through COVID-19 Crisis

Calvary Alumni Minister through COVID-19 Crisis

Left: Pastor Tom Zobrist preaches a live-streamed sermon. Top right: Pastor Charlie Paine holds a service through Facebook. Bottom right: another alum, Dustin Garrett, holds a worship service online.

Calvary grads finding creative ways to serve

In spite of stay-at-home orders across the country, Calvary alumni are continuing their ministries. In lieu of holding regular service, many pastors have turned to streaming services. Calvary alum and chairman of the board Tom Zobrist, who pastors Liberty Bible Church in Eureka, Illinois, said, “Liberty was already broadcasting services with high quality video equipment for quite some time,” so the transition was easier for them. Another alumnus, Pastor Charlie Paine of Blue River Bible Church said their services had transitioned online as well. “[We are] conducting a virtual Sunday School class through Zoom… and a feature called Friday Blessings, in which we use the church Facebook to share blessings and praises.”

Staying connected as a church during isolation can prove difficult. Zobrist said Liberty Bible Church has a team that comes in on Sundays to produce their broadcasts, and “I have also been set up to be able to livestream with my phone in our home so that I can broadcast Sunday night and Wednesday night Bible studies when scheduled.” Even some youth group and AWANA events have transitioned to online.

Zobrist said their AWANA leader “developed a virtual AWANA on Wednesday nights that broadcasts opening ceremonies and devotions on Facebook and then leaders contact individual clubbers by phone so that they can keep up with their sections… Our youth also have been having a game and devotion on Wednesday nights with our new youth pastor, Josh Tomlinson, a soon-to-be CU grad. Josh hasn’t even officially started his ministries here yet, but is already developing relationships with our kids.”

Kansas City’s CEF ministries have been adapting to pandemic conditions as well. Another alum, Christy Heath, works as CEF’s local director for the Greater Kansas City Area. Heath said, “When the public elementary schools in our local area abruptly closed in mid-March because of COVID-19, we immediately began to respond with creative ministry strategies and tools for continued Gospel outreach to our 2,000+ after-school Good News Club (Bible club) children, their families, and many others.” CEF’s resources include an online Good News Club on Good News TV (U-NITE YouTube channel), Good News Radio, and online activity books, and other tools available at cefonline.com/covid19.

As we live through these ever changing times, Pastor Zobrist said, “We look forward to the day we can be together physically again, but until then, we will make the most of the opportunities we are given. May we all stay faithful in these different days.”

President Trump Recognizes CU Alum

President Trump Recognizes CU Alum

The Schneiders with President Donald Trump

President Trump recognized Robin Schneider’s NICU advocacy during his 2020 State of the Union Address.

During his 2020 State of the Union Address back on February 4, President Trump recognized Calvary alumna Robin Schneider for her efforts advocating for Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) infants. Schneider graduated from Calvary in 2011 with her Life Track One-Year Certificate. In 2017, Robin’s daughter, Ellie, was born at 21 weeks.

In the State of the Union Address, Trump said this about Ellie: “In 2017, doctors at St. Luke’s hospital in Kansas City delivered one of the earliest premature babies ever to survive. Born at just 21 weeks and 6 days, and weighing less than a pound, Ellie Schneider was born a fighter. Through the skill of her doctors — and the prayers of her parents — little Ellie kept on winning the battle for life.”

Schneider said, “I was first told that I would lose Ellie at 17 weeks pregnant. When we told our church that, they immediately rallied around us and helped find babysitting for our older son, food, prayers, and visits.” The Schneiders visited several hospitals, “and each one told me that there was no hope and that they would not admit me.” Finally, at 19 weeks, St. Luke’s admitted her, “even though there was no hope for viability at that gestation.”

St. Luke’s hospital staff provided high-quality care and encouragement to the Schneider family. Schneider said, “When Ellie was born, I was told she had a 0% chance of survival no matter what they did, but that they would give me the option to attempt life saving measures, and when I said we did want that they worked extremely hard and saved her life. Throughout her entire 5 month stay they were extremely encouraging and helpful.”

Schneider pointed out, “Ellie is an anomaly not only in the fact that she survived, but that she has almost no complications, and none of her complications are serious.” All of the prognoses offered at Ellie’s birth included lengthy lists of side-effects and probable surgeries, but Ellie only had one complication that required a surgery, and now Ellie is a healthy toddler. In his address, President Trump said, “Ellie reminds us that every child is a miracle of life… Our goal should be to ensure that every baby has the best chance to thrive and grow just like Ellie.”

The months spent in the hospital with Ellie have greatly shaped Schneider. “All my life I was looking for my purpose, and was frustrated for many years. After Ellie was born and I spent all that time in the NICU, I discovered that my passion was advocating for these babies and their parents.” Now, Schneider has been able to use her family’s NICU journey “to help families, to encourage and draw them to Jesus, and to help bring miracles to others.”

The Schneider family: Elijah, Joel, Eliora, and Robin
Robin and Ellie

Calvary Grad Uses Media in International Ministry

Calvary Grad Uses Media in International Ministry

Seminary graduate Dr. Leandro Tarrataca serves as president of ABECAR in Brazil.

Dr. Leandro Tarrataca graduated from Calvary Theological Seminary with a Master of Theological Sciences in 2007 and headed home to Brazil to put his degree to work. Now he serves as president of ABECAR (Brazilian Association of Culture, Education, Service, and Religion), a ministry focused on discipling believers through various forms. Tarrataca said, “The main thing we do is making disciples; that’s our Great Commission. In order to get that task done, we have different areas in process.”

ABECAR works to fulfill the Great Commission through strategic church planting, running children’s camps throughout the year, children’s programs, and media ministry. The camp program frequently involves teams coming from American churches to host English camps. The idea for the children’s program was developed by Tarrataca’s wife, Julie; she created a plan for buses to pick up underprivilaged children, who receive meals, help with homework, and recreation time. Tarrataca said, “It’s not only social work, it’s a social program because we want them to come to Christ.” He said over 1,000 children have been through the program, and as they grow up, they are becoming “doctors and dentists and teachers” instead of turning to drugs or other destructive habits.

The media aspect of ABECAR’s ministry sprouted from Back to the Bible’s work in Brazil, and follows a similar format. In the past, Tarrataca was “the voice of Back to the Bible to the Portuguese speaking world,” and he brings that experience to his current work developing podcasts and video sermons. He loves the analytics of modern technology that gives ABECAR statistics on their viewership base that has reached over 360,000 viewers in Brazil, Japan, and throughout Europe and the Americas. The media presence also plays a critical role in the educational side of ministry. ABECAR offers long-distance education across the country, supplemented with on-campus modulars that train believers and pastors in their faith.

When Tarrataca started his own education, he said, “[I knew] that I would be engaged with some sort of media ministry… that was my crystal-clear thing that I should be doing.” The other aspects of his current work—children’s ministry, church planting, and directing ABECAR—were unexpected. As he evaluated the ways God is working in Brazil, he said, “I really think we have to answer these things, not based on feelings, but on what Scripture says… I think our aim of making disciples is a biblical command… [and] we see people coming to Christ and being baptized… [So] first, what we’re doing is biblical; second, people are coming to Christ; and third, people are growing spiritually.” Based on that, he said he fully trusts that God is working in and through the ministry in Brazil.

Dr. Tarrataca with wife Julie, son Leonardo, and daughter Melina.

Dr. Tarrataca serves as president of ABECAR, a distance learning system that is roughly translated, “A theological faculty as close as your television.” 

Dr. Tarrataca’s personal website is “Communicating Hope in the Digital World.”