George Pontius (’61) recently published his first book, an autobiography titled Grace Over the Long Run. It is published by iUniverse and can be found on Amazon. In June, George and his wife, Marilyn, will celebrate their 54th wedding anniversary. He was recently among others honored by the Greater Spokane Association of Evangelicals for more than 30 years of pastoral service in this area.

Steve Blount (’72), a former Alumni Association board member, was elected to the Cypress School District Board of Trustees in November. In the 115-year history of the district, Steve is one of only two people to defeat an incumbent.

John Stewart (’74, M.A. ’76) recently released a new book, Text Messages From God, published by Xulon Press and available on Amazon. The book, Stewart’s third, is a fictional story about Dave, a hard-driving, successful attorney whose self-centered existence is suddenly turned upside down by text messages he receives from a mysterious person claiming to be God. John speaks and teaches internationally through Rolling Stone Ministries ( and, along with his wife, Laurie, is an allied attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund. Find out more about John Stewart at his website,

Vernal Wilkinson (M.Div. ’76) recently released a book about preaching and teaching in small churches: The Bible, Live: A Basic Guide for Preachers and Teachers in Small Churches. It is available through Outskirtspress or Amazon.

John LaShell (’76) recently released the book The Beauty of God for a Broken World: Reflections on the Goodness of the God of the Bible. In the book, LaShell addresses the challenge of seeing God as “worthy of worship” while one is in the midst of turmoil. The book explores the beauty and evidence of God’s grace and mercy in the midst of an often ugly and resistant world.

KristineNaas Lowder (’82) was recently elected chair of the Grays Harbor Republican Party in Washington. Her husband, Chris Lowder (’80), was elected vice-chair. Together, they serve on the executive committee of the local chapter for Child Evangelism Fellowship, co-pastor The Sheepfold, and are the founders and leaders of the Grays Harbor Chapter of Christians for Biblical Equality: They are also active in outreach to the Hispanic community.

Greg Nickel (’95) received the Kansas Association for Court Management’s 2010 Outstanding Court Clerk Award in February 2011. This award for talent, dedication and commitment to excellence is not granted every year. Greg has worked for the court in Newton, Kan., for almost seven years and when living in California was employed in Biola’s IT Department. Greg lives in Newton with his wife, Holly (Williams, ’95) Nickel, and children, Ben and Louisa.

Nathan Hitchcock (’99) received his Ph.D. in systematic theology from the University of Edinburgh, New College, in November. He did his work on Karl Barth and the doctrine of the resurrection of the flesh, and is currently an assistant professor at Sioux Falls Seminary in Sioux Falls, S.D.

William Casey Wells (’06) was recently admitted into the Johns Hopkins Master of Science in Biotechnology and Bioscience Regulatory Affairs dual masters program via their part-time Advanced Academic Program. He also recently accepted a position with Wells Fargo’s Commercial Real Estate Equity group. William is eager to continue representing both Christ and Biola in the realm of finance.

Jared (’03, M.A. ’07) and Candice Begg brought their son, Isaiah Charles Akhilesh Begg, home from India on Dec. 4, 2010. Jared is in his fourth year overseeing Bowman House, a freshman men’s residence hall at Indiana Wesleyan University. Candice and Jared are blessed that their son is adjusting well to their family and to the on-campus community.


Stephanie Frazier (’04, M.A. ’05) and Ryan Hilton were married on July 12, 2009, in Portland, Ore. Biolans in the wedding party were Janelle Lopez (’04) and Alicia (Bleecker, ’04) Simmons. Stephanie and Ryan honeymooned in Kauai, Hawaii. They live in Vancouver, Wash., where Stephanie is a middle school teacher and Ryan is a case manager helping special needs families. Both are active in their church through youth ministries.

Amy (Steck, ’05) and Joe Rovetto wed on July 10, 2010, in Irvine, Calif. Biolans in the ceremony included the officiant Matt Rouse (’98), who chairs Biola’s communication disorders department, bridesmaids Chrissie (Flaming, ’96) Rouse and Elane Parker (’94), groomsman Rudy Cortez (’08) and guitarist Paul Aung (’94). After the ceremony, the bridal party released butterflies as a symbol of God’s transformation in their lives. Both teach elementary school and currently live in Foothill Ranch, Calif.

Michael Drake (’09) and Cali Celinski (’09) were married March 19, 2010, in San Clemente, Calif., at The Garden Cottage Bed and Breakfast. The wedding was officiated by the groom’s father, Marshall Drake (’88), and was attended by many Biolans. Both the bride and groom received their degrees in music in worship. The couple currently lives in Reno, Nev., and is part of the worship team at Reno Christian Fellowship.


Joe and Lynell (Johnson, ’96) McCrary celebrated the birth of their daughter, Makiya Brynlyn McCrary, on March 9, 2010. Makiya weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces and measured 19.75 inches. Joe is a youth pastor and Lynell is working in connections ministry at a church in Danville, Va.

With joy, James and Amy (Jones,’96) Payton announce the birth of Annabella Kate. She was born Aug. 7, 2010, weighing 7 pounds, 14 ounces and measuring 19.5 inches long. Her name means “gracious, merciful, beautiful, easy to love and joy.” Her older brother, Griffin, 3, thinks she's pretty cute too! The Paytons live in Oakdale, Calif., where James is the pastor of Oakdale Family Church of the Nazarene, and Amy is blessed to be a stay-at-home mom and work part time from home.

Andrew (’99) and Aimee (Hawkins, ’99) Calderon joyfully announce the birth of their daughter, Claire Elizabeth, on March 13, 2010. Big brothers Caleb and Aaron adore their baby sister. The family lives in Orange, Calif. Andrew is an attorney in Tustin and Aimee stays busy at home with the children.

Keith and Madison (Brunckhorst, ’99) Kimball welcomed their daughter, Avalon Kalalea, into the world on Aug. 20, 2009. She joins her 4-year-old big brother, Saxon. The Kimballs live in Kapaa, Kauai. Keith is a project supervisor for a construction company and Madison is enjoying being a stay-at-home wife and mother.

Steve (’99) and Esther (Lochmoeller, ’99) Sherman announce the birth of their fifth blessing, Lilyanne Rose. Lily was born Feb. 11, weighing 7 pounds and measuring 19.5 inches. Her two sisters, Karise Joy, 6, and Zoey Abigail, 3, are very excited to have another sister. Her two brothers, Josiah Andrew, 5, and Caleb Daniel (2 in May), are also enjoying her beautiful face. Esther is busy at home enjoying her family and homeschooling the kiddos. Steve is a pastor of a small church in North Brunswick, N.J.

Nathan and Mindy (Pierce, ’01, M.A. ’08) Dunn are celebrating the arrival of their third son, Daniel Jordan. Daniel was born on Flag Day, July 14, 2010. This little patriot has already been loved on, squeezed, kissed and played with by his two older brothers, Caleb, 4, and Luke, 3 (and he is loving all the attention). The Dunns live in Downey, Calif., where Nathan has enjoyed teaching AP biology this year at Downey High School and Mindy has begun the adventure of homeschooling.

Kevin (’02) and Amber (Wiens,’02, M.A. ’04) Grant joyfully announce the birth of their daughter, Lila Eve. Lila was born on Oct. 5, 2010, weighing 8 pounds, 8 ounces. Lila is welcomed by big brother Logan, 2, and big sister Charlotte, 2. Amber stays at home with the kids. Kevin works at Biola as the director of the Learning Center.

Brian(’02) and Brooke (Twellman, ’02, M.A. ’05) Ristow are pleased to announce the birth of their second daughter, Tatum Paloma. Tatum was born in Bad Soden, Germany, on April 14, 2010. She was so anxious to enter this world that she just couldn’t wait! Her daddy delivered her in the parking lot of the hospital! The Ristows recently moved back to Southern California where Brian is teaching special education and Brooke stays home with the girls.

Todd (’03) and Jennifer (Harrison, ’02) Wright are overjoyed to announce the birth of their son, Matthew Michael Jeremiah, born Jan. 22, 2011. Todd and Jen adopted Matthew and 11 of his siblings as frozen embryos through Nightlight Christian Adoption Agency’s Snowflake program. Matthew and his parents live in Mesa, Ariz., where Todd is self-employed in the auto industry and Jen enjoys being Matthew’s stay-at-home mommy. To catch up with the Wrights, or for more information on Embryo Adoption, e-mail them at

David (’04) and Robyn (Thomas, ’06) Clinton welcomed their firstborn, David Clinton IV into the world. He came surprisingly fast, and was an unintended, unassisted home delivery! Thanks be to God for the preparation of Bradley classes! The Clintons currently reside in Salt Lake City, Utah, where they strive to make their home a kingdom outpost for sharing the gospel.

Brian and Melissa (Salios, ’04) Douma are pleased to announce the birth of their baby boy, Lucas Dean Douma. He was born on July 13, 2010, in Kirkland, Wash. He weighed 8 pounds, 8 ounces and was 22 inches long.

Brian and Claire (Smith, ’04) Rogers are proud to announce the birth of their first child, born Dec. 7, 2010. Ava Hope Rogers arrived weighing 8 pounds, 4 ounces and measuring 21 inches. The Rogers reside in Cincinnati, Ohio, where Brian serves as a student ministries pastor and Claire works as the marketing director at Back2Back Ministries.

Josef Thomas (’04) and Jessica (Barrett, ’01) Simpson joyfully announce the birth of their daughter. Eleanor Anne Barrett Simpson was born June 2, 2010. The Simpsons live in the Washington, D.C., area. Josef is a Ph.D. student in the philosophy program at Johns Hopkins University and Jessica is a program officer at the U.S. Department of Education.

Jacob and Christina (Marangakis, ’05) Bullock are thrilled to announce the birth of their first child. Gabriella Alicia entered the world via water birth on April 17, weighing 6 pounds, 11 ounces and measuring 19.5 inches.

Mark(’05) and Danielle (Brokke, ’03) Finzel joyfully announce the birth of their twins, Ireland Grace and Elias Daniel. They were born Aug. 20, 2010, and weighed 5 pounds, 11 ounces and 5 pounds, 12 ounces. Their big brother, Asher, 3, enjoys helping mom and dad take care of them. The Finzels live in Colorado Springs, Colo. Mark is vice president of marketing at LearningRx and Danielle is a stay-at-home mom.

Joe (’07) and Hayley (’07) Gallucci are proud to announce the birth of their baby boy, Eli Rocco Gallucci. He was 8 pounds, 1 ounce, 20.5 inches long and was born on April 24, 2010, at 11:57 a.m. The Galluccis live in Laguna Hills, Calif. Hayley recently wrote a Christian novel geared for highschoolers called My Darkness, which can be found on Amazon.

Kees (M.A. ’07) and Fatima (’96, M.A. ’99) van Hartingsveldt are excited to share the news that William Alexander was born on June 6, 2010. Kees works as a field technician for Biola’s IT department and Fatima teaches at Dulles Elementary School in La Mirada, Calif. (Childcare is working out great!)

Phil (’09) and Megan (Orr, ’09) Martin joyfully announce the arrival of their daughter, Chloe Isabella Martin, who was born on Oct. 26, 2010. She weighed 8 pounds, 6 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. Phil, Megan and Chloe live in Escondido, Calif. Phil is a manager at a law firm and Megan works part time as a personal assistant.

Kwangu Tim Lee (M.Div. ’10) and Hyesun Grace Shin (’10) joyfully announce the birth of their son, Elliot Lee. Elliot was born on Dec. 3, weighing in at 6 pounds, 12 ounces and was 18.5 inches long. He is their first son. Kwangsu is doing youth ministry, and Hyesun is doing children’s ministry in their churches.


Ray Mainwaring (’49), 94, died Nov. 6, 2010, of natural causes at his home in Mesa, Ariz. Ray was a rural missionary out of the First Baptist Church in Shelton, Wash., and pastored churches in Woodland, Calif., Seattle and Alaska. He was a founder of Solid Rock Bible Camp in Soldotna and Alaska radio station KSRM on the Kenai Peninsula. Ray played the violin and sang, producing an album, “The Song of the Soul Set Free: Songs Sung in Alaska by Ray Mainwaring” (Word Records). He enjoyed hunting and fishing and was an ardent gardener. Ray is survived by his wife, Myra Mainwaring, daughters, Janice (Mainwaring, ’59) Swanson, Karin Newcomb, and Susan Mainwaring, and son, Paul Mainwaring, as well seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

James Allen Speer (’65) passed away at home in Colorado Springs on Dec. 16, 2010. Jim was a native of Colorado Springs, born to Guy Speer and Edna Blomquist Speer on June 30, 1943. At Biola University, he met and married Donna O’Neal (’65). He attended Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and served as a pastor of churches in Illinois, New York and New Jersey. He completed doctoral studies at Drew University and served for 10 years as a professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Ill. In 1996, he returned to Colorado Springs, where he created and managed a successful website development company. He is survived by his wife; children, Susan, Leslie Cruz and Andrew; son-in-law, Tim Cruz; grandsons, Jesse and Casey; brothers Bob, Jack and Doug; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

Richard Gehle (M.Div. ’73) graduated to glory on June 8, 2010, after struggling with health issues for over 41 years. During his life, Rich worked as a mechanical engineer but also had a heart for missions. During his time at Talbot Theological Seminary and through Granada Heights Friends Church, Rich met and married Claudia Jones, with whom he had two children: Tim Gehle and Debbie Anderson. Rich served faithfully in many capacities at East Whittier Friends Church: teaching, leading Bible studies and getting to preach on many occasions. He passed away peacefully in the presence of family and friends, transferred from this imperfect earth to a perfect hereafter where he is now with the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for all eternity.

Harry William Wilson (’74, M.Div. ’85) arrived in the presence of the Lord on Feb. 5, 2011. Born on Sept. 12, 1928, Harry overcame a serious childhood bone infection that had threatened to claim his mobility or even his life, and as a young adult enlisted in the Marine Corps. He spent 23 years in the Marines, serving in both Korea and Vietnam, before retiring at the rank of master sergeant in 1970 in order to answer God’s call on his life to serve in pastoral ministry. In 1974, he graduated from Biola with a B.A. in biblical studies. Over the next several decades, he served as a pastor for various churches throughout the Los Angeles area. During this time, he also earned an M.Div. from Talbot Theological Seminary and eventually learned Spanish in order to minister to Spanish-speakers. After retiring from the pastorate, he continued to serve as an elder at his church for 14 years, balancing has passion for God’s Word between intermittent preaching and regular teaching until his death. Harry is survived by his wife, Inez, his mother, Stella, his brother, Arthur, his children, April (’76), Harry, and Paul ('80), his children’s spouses, 12 grandchildren, four (soon to be six) great-grandchildren and other extended family.

William Bradford Houg (M.A. ’05) passed away from lymphoma at age 46 in January of 2011. His life was greatly enriched by Biola professors like Craig Hazen, J.P. Moreland, John Mark Reynolds and others. He is survived by his wife, Sheri, and sons Jacob, 1, and Matthew, 3. In blog posts during his final months, he affirmed his faith in the God who can heal and his trust in the One who may not. He attributed all of life’s blessings to acts of God’s mercy.