Dave (’70, M.A. ’73) and Joanna (Thiesen, ’71) Beckwith serve with Standing Stone Ministry. They have two new books: Your Winning Edge: God’s Power Perfected in Weakness (Elk Lake Publishing, October 2019) and I Love the World — It’s the People I Can’t Stand: Jonah’s Journey of Brokenness and Yours (Elk Lake Publishing, August 2019).

Chuck Olson (’75, D.Min. ’96) will transition from 40 years as a pastor in the local church to serve full time as the founder and executive director of Lead With Your Life, a nonprofit for leadership development. Chuck and his wife, Pattie (Parker, ’76), have been married for 44 years.

Marita Vargas’ (’80) poem, “Song of the Hours,” will be included in Time Of Singing, a journal of Christian poetry. After years of writing curriculum and serving as a textbook consultant, she is returning to her first love: poetry. She thanks Colin McDougall, a former Biola professor, for developing her love of poetry and helping her view it as ministry.

Robert (Bob) Fritch (’81) was recently appointed the state of Arizona’s chapter director for Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, an organization dedicated to educating Christians about their biblical responsibility to the Jewish people and Israel against the rise of global anti-Semitism.

John L. Cox (Psy.D. ’89) published Setting Parents Free: How to Give Your Kids What They Need, and Where to Run When You Drop the Ball (LifeStory Publishing, October 2019). He thanks Rosemead School of Psychology and Biola for the strong background the school gave him in preparation for his work in the world.

Scott Fredricks (’91) was selected chair of the litigation section at Cantey Hanger LLP. The section has more than 40 attorneys and tries cases throughout Texas and around the country. Scott and his wife have lived in Fort Worth, Texas, for 20 years and have four boys. Last fall, Scott was appointed by the Texas Supreme Court to a three- year term on the Professional Ethics Committee.

Kevin Van Lant (’91, M.A. ’94, Ph.D. ’97, associate professor of Christian ministry and leadership, director of pastoral care and counseling) and Robyn Bettenhausen (Psy.D. ’93) recently published Counseling and Mental Health in the Church: The Role of Pastors and the Ministry (Cognella Academic Publishing, March 2019). Featuring chapters written by mental health professionals who are also experienced Christian practitioners, the book provides ministry leaders with a foundational understanding of common mental health issues, typical approaches to treatment and sage advice for supporting those experiencing mental health concerns.

Melissa (Lynch) Tanksley (’01), a Biola nursing alumna, published Honeybee Poetry: The Beeginning (Christian Faith Publishing, May 2019). This book is an entertaining compendium of catchy poems and songs that reflect fables and fairy tales, showing the beauty of life shrouded in enchantment. It is based on the lives of her four boys: Wil, Joshua, Orion and Soren.

James Olewiler (’06) and his wife, Amy, welcomed their third son, Levi James, into the world on May 13, 2019. They live in Bakersfield, California, where James works at Wonderful Orchards as an IT systems analyst. They have three other children named Isaac (age 10), Evelyn (age 8) and Jacob (age 6).

Laura Watts (’08) published The Week I Tore Up My Book: Recognizing Grief Expression in Young Children (The Bottom Turtle Publishing, November 2019). This book serves as a tool for children to explore their emotions and behaviors during grief and helps families guide conversations about this difficult aspect of life.

Patrick Kimani Gathere (Ed.D. ’09) recently planted a multiethnic church called ReBuild Fellowship in Riverside, California, where he serves as a pastor. His wife, Lydia, works with pregnant teens at Corona Life Services.

Octavio Cesar Martinez (’16) published It Was A Beautiful Day When My Father Died (Three Uncles Publishing, August 2019). After his childhood was interrupted by violence, Octavio overcame his fear and anger so profoundly that he is able to show others how it’s done. This open, raw, autobiographical story of abuse in childhood and violence in adulthood is followed by the author discovering freedom through forgiveness.

In Memoriam

Kenneth Bemis (’54) passed away on Nov. 27, 2019, at 88 years old. Ken assisted his uncle, Oran H. Smith, with Practical Missionary Training and later became its director. He then joined the Central American Mission as the personnel director and later became the missions pastor at EvFree Fullerton under Pastor Chuck Swindoll. Ken is survived by his wife Mariquita, three children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Doris E. Lake (’55) of Hagerstown, Maryland, passed away peacefully at the Fahrney-Keedy Home on Jan. 6, 2020, at 90 years old. A strong believer in Christ, Doris devoted her life to sharing her faith with others by teaching Child Evangelism Fellowship’s Good News Clubs, children’s church and Sunday School classes throughout most of her adult life. With her husband of more than 63 years, John “Jack” E. Lake, Doris is survived by five daughters: Debbie Kohl, Judy Keene, Linda Small, Patty Keene and Barbara Heinlein; 13 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren. 

Leonard John Cosby (M.A. ’77, M.Div. ’79) passed away unexpectedly on Jan. 23, 2020, at 68 years old. He leaves behind his brother and sister, as well as his wife, Sherri Cosby (’04), two sons, two daughters-in-law and one granddaughter. He served with the Oceanside Police Department for 30 years after retiring in 2016 as a lieutenant. He loved the Lord and served him faithfully as a Bible teacher and elder at LifePointe Church in Fallbrook, California, where he oversaw the Awana and VBS programs. He also served as a chaplain for the Oceanside Police Department and the San Diego County Probation Department.