Current Student and Purdue WDA alumni testimonials – many more to come!
If you have been in WDA over the years and would like to participate in this please let us know! You may contact Parks, Everette or Mary directly. Another option is to send us an e-mail via the Contact page or Mail link at the bottom of this page.
(Parenthesis indicate maiden name initial)
Christine (R) C. – Class of 1994
“One of the most important things I learned in college had nothing to do with my biology and chemistry classes. I learned that in order to disciple someone, I also needed to be discipled! I had become a Christian through Young Life in high school and then eagerly became a leader for YL in college. I loved meeting with the high school students and discipling them, but over time I found that my spiritual energy was running dry. One of my friends introduced me to WDA and I became hooked. I started meeting with Margo Thievagt weekly, and I loved learning from her how to walk more closely with the Lord. I could only lead the high school students as far as I had already walked, so I needed someone more mature to lead me. I also grew through WDA’s weekly campus meetings and developed amazing friendships.
Meeting with Margo taught me that I needed someone to pour into my life, while I would then also meet another’s needs. Throughout medical school and residency, I sought these discipling and discipleship relationships through church and through Bible study with other women. I have found that I cannot properly serve without being filled. I also cannot properly be used by God without serving and discipling others. I picture it as God using others to pour His love and his wisdom into me, so that I can in turn pour it into others. As a physician, I have been used by God to show His amazing love and grace in my interactions with patients and families. As a mother, I daily serve God by loving and taking care of my family. I still participate in a weekly women’s Bible study and cultivate my own personal walk with the Lord. I now disciple others as a mother to my four children and as a leader for my daughter’s Christ-centered scout troop.”
Nicole (C) S. – Class of 1999
“When I began my time in WDA in 1995, I was a freshman at Purdue and a brand new Christian. My foundation in Christ was built because of my experiences in WDA. Mary McKeever not only met regularly with me to mentor me in my walk with God, but she also showed me what it looks like to show grace and love to people who are on this journey of learning who God is. I learned from many of the staff how important it is to know God’s Word and what it looks like to apply it to my daily life. Several of the friends I made in WDA have become lifelong friends. It was a blessing to spend time with both the Wilson and Albrecht families during my years as a Purdue student, and to have those great examples of what a Christ-centered family looks like. I feel like the training I received from WDA in missions, evangelism, sharing a testimony, and leading a Bible study have equipped me well for reaching others for Christ.
Since my time at Purdue, I can look back and see how God led me to WDA, and how He used that foundation to help me in the ministry he had planned for me all along. In 2012, I realized God’s plan was for me to begin a ministry for single moms at my church in Warsaw, IN. After just 2 years, this ministry has grown to 64 women. Some of these single moms are at the very beginning of their journey with Christ, just as I was my freshman year at Purdue. I’ve had the opportunity to teach a few of the women how to share their testimony, using what I learned in WDA. I enjoy meeting the single moms for coffee to talk about life, and I think back to when Mary met with me. I am incredibly thankful for the time that WDA staff invested in my life, and it is an honor to share what I’ve learned with others.”
Steve W. – Class of 1991
“I never dreamed I would be where I am today. As a student at Purdue University studying Agriculture Economics, the plan for my life was to help farmers be successful. Many of the men who surrounded me at FarmHouse Fraternity were pursuing similar goals, but little did I know that God would use some of them and their participation in WDA to change my life. There were a handful of guys who I watched live consistent Christian lives. They were distinct in a way that often created conviction in others and jeers for themselves. But these guys were patient and purposeful as they engaged their brothers. They would hold Bible studies, share things they were learning, and invite us to a weekly gathering they had with other Christians from around campus.
God used their faithfulness, the connections they had with a WDA staff member, and His gospel to bring one of my best friends to Christ during the summer before my senior year. The change in my friend was obvious to all. He was very vocal about his new found faith and the need of all his fraternity brothers to embrace it. He began meeting with the WDA staff member, attending the weekly gatherings, and talking to me about my need for Christ. I grew up in church and was offended that he would question my faith, after all, my head was full of Bible stories he did not even know. But he was persistent, leaving tracts on my desk and inviting me to a Bible study.
Over time, I decided to attend the Bible study. I found it interesting that the guy from WDA was in charge, but he was letting the students lead the Bible study. They would teach, say something that was a little off target, and he would gently step in to get things moving in a better direction. I remember sitting in my car with a couple of by buddies from the fraternity outside of where the Bible study met looking up Bible verses and wrestling through their implications for our lives. As we studied the book of John, I realized that I knew a lot about the Bible and the gospel but that I did not truly know, love, or trust God. All that changed one night when I was walking home from Bible study on a clear autumn night and in the parking lot of Stone Hall surrendered my life to Christ.
God began to change everything, but what I remember most was the instant hunger I developed for His Word and the joy and gratitude that were overflowing in my life. The Bible study became a regular part of my schedule, I began attending a good church, I became involved in a Bible study at our fraternity, I met occasionally with the WDA staff member, and my life was being transformed and given a new trajectory.
I graduated from Purdue that spring and soon began a career in agriculture. I loved my job, but I was finding myself loving people and the ministry of the local church even more. Over time and through a variety of circumstances I stepped away from the ag industry and my wife and I moved to Michigan with two month old twins for me to begin attending seminary. I began serving as an associate pastor and after finishing school and nine wonderful years of ministry, we moved to our current location where I have been serving as a senior pastor for the past ten years.
I look back and cannot express my appreciation for the faithfulness of the Christian guys in our fraternity and the WDA staff member who poured his life into theirs so they could impact me. The groundwork that was laid early in those few months as a new believer at Purdue has provided a solid foundation that God has continually built on over the last twenty-five years.”
Tami (F) R. – Class of 1989
“Alongside me…Mary McKeever…came alongside me.
I was a new believer in 1984 living in a sorority on the campus of Purdue University.
Mary sought me, invited me, taught me, and trained me (I remember the day when I learned
that the Holy Spirit was a part of the trinity!) Mary discipled me in biblical truth, servant leadership,
a life of joy, and sacrificial love. Mary knew my backstory, yet treated me with the same love that my
heavenly Father did. She readily reminded me of God’s smile for me–even when I struggled to believe it.
The three years I spent meeting weekly with Mary and being a part of a student/staff ministry team
equipped me with skills that I would need throughout my life. I married a pastor! I have had many ministry roles in the last 30 years
(sorority chaplain, campus ministry team, campus pastor’s wife, seminary wife, seminary wives ministry
leader, youth pastor’s wife, assistant pastor’s wife, church planting intern’s wife, church planter’s wife, women’s ministry team member/team leader,
Bible study teacher, pastor’s wife, oh yeah–mother of 3, and founder of a ministry to come alongside church planting spouses with the gospel and our lives as well, parakaleo.us
“Whatever it is – it ought to begin by being personal” from You’ve Got Mail
Discipleship – the WDA way – is personal and powerful. It shaped me and compelled me to love and serve. (And to continue hugging!)”
Rick F. – Class of 1996
“I don’t remember the exact year I started going to WDA, but I started going with some of my friends. I played acoustic guitar soon after joining WDA I was helping lead worship during the Tuesday night leadership gatherings. My friend Jim and I were soon meeting with Kevin Scott for personal discipleship and accountability.
My strongest memories of my time with WDA is the people; the relationships I made with other believers who were growing in their faith and wanting to learn how to live out their faith among their college peers. We were given opportunities to share our faith on campus through different outreach events and encouraged to participate in a local church where we could be part of a faith community making a difference in the lives of people in the greater Lafayette area.
Discipleship is at the core of WDA because it is the core of Jesus’ great commission. We are to “go and make disciples of all nations”, and now in my role as Pastor of Volunteer Care & Administration at my church, Granite United Church, I have the honor of helping oversee our discipleship process through our staff team. There is nothing greater than being part of a move of God that is seeing unchurched people put their faith in Jesus and helping disciple them and growing them in their faith.
I truly enjoyed my time with WDA and am thankful for each leader who poured into me. Everette, Parks and Mary are still going strong at Purdue WDA, which is a testimony to their faithfulness to God’s calling on their life to teach college students how to become disciple makers not only in a college setting, but for the rest of their lives.”
Patrick D. – Class of 1997
“WDA, and the direct investment of Everette into both my partner in ministry during my time at Purdue and myself provided tremendous support in creating a Bible study within our fraternity and the prayer ministry with our friends there. Our engagement and discussions helped pose questions and challenges to my default way of thinking so that I could live more intentionally and less in auto-pilot and also helped me to understand some of my areas of giftedness for ministry. Ideas for approaching study of the Bible as a group helped structure conversations and small group studies since that time. I think back to charges that the leadership team challenged us with as we during our graduation and am thankful for the directions that helped lead me in that provided in areas of ministry, stewardship, and love.
There is still much to learn many years later, but after graduation I felt equipped for involvement for the ministry opportunities that presented themselves leading adult bible studies, youth ministry, children’s ministry, and perhaps even more importantly being an ambassador for God in my career, life, and family as we work to create a legacy and new generation of disciples. Thank you Everette and WDA for your ministry in my life!”
Nick F. – Class of 2009
“Thinking back to my college days I don’t really ever think of WDA per se, only Everette and Parks. I remember fondly meeting with Everette nearly every Friday morning, from Freshman year until I left Purdue. We didn’t always, or even often, talk about profound spiritual things but just shared time genuinely getting to know one another mainly through hunting and fishing stories. (Of which none have been proven to be 100% accurately recollected) I recall having a lot of stress about living in a fraternity and struggling to have an authentic relationship with Jesus and my brothers in the house and you were an example of someone who trusted in God’s word to me. We read through a Psalm and/or Proverbs usually every time we met. Although Everette has a profound knowledge of the Scriptures and has a genuine drive to see God’s will worked out through young Christians he was many times just a great friend and listener. Everette has stuck with Alpha Gamma Rho through thick and thin and has been like a sturdy oak tree in a place where “Normal” is anything but. Everette has been a mentor to me ever since we first met, and even through many situations like buying a house, family trouble, or the wrecked life of a friend I can always trust you to have a Godly perspective that I overlook.
Parks and Julie also have had a profound impact on the lives of my wife, Erin, and I. Parks and Julie became mentors when we asked them to walk us through pre-marriage counseling. Being good southerners they were so hospitable to us and always had such a warm and welcoming atmosphere at their house and that stood out to us as something we wanted for our future household. They are so relational and never let us get by with pat easy answers and were able to get to the REAL stuff of life. I often say that Julie is my second mom, so thoughtful and sensitive but can see right through your shenanigans! Julie connected with Erin and really was to Erin what Everette was for me, a first real guide to life following the Jewish carpenter. Parks always had a way of boiling things down by asking the tough questions during Alpha Fellowship that tied together what might have gotten too rigid in doctrine or bogged down in words. Parks is now a guy that anyone could drink sweet tea on the porch with and Parks would share his heart in such a natural way that I am envious of. Parks has also been an anchor for Acacia when I would have given up 8 years ago! A faithful friend who I will always look up to.”
Kevin S. – Class of 1994
“During my time as a student at Purdue University I was introduced to WDA by a teammate on the swim team. I was eager to connect more with other Christians, and instantly enjoyed the large group fellowship meetings, the students there, and the teaching by the staff. Not long after attending the large group I became involved in a small group Bible study led by Parks Wilson.
Over the next few years as a student, I deeply appreciated WDA’s commitment to and teaching of the Bible, the relationships, and the discipleship emphasis. WDA was clearly concerned, not only with helping people enter into a relationship with God, but also about helping people grow and mature in their relationship with God. The emphasis on discipleship was demonstrated to me during my time at Purdue through meeting one-on-one with Parks and Everette, through the ministry and leadership training programs, retreats, and ministry leadership opportunities that WDA gave me.
By the time I was in my final year as a student, I began sensing a call to full-time ministry, which Parks and Everette, the other WDA staff, and students in the ministry helped me confirm. This led to going on staff with WDA, first for a two-year internship at Purdue, then to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, then eventually to seminary at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School to pursue a Masters of Divinity (M.Div.) degree. I wanted to help others know and grow in their relationship with God in ways that I had during my time as a student.
After completing seminary in 2002, my family moved to Las Vegas, to plant (start) a new church called The Stream. At The Stream our mission is “Transforming lives by the power of God’s Spirit, love, grace, and truth.” This mission is consistent with what God taught me from His word, especially through WDA – God wants us to be and to make disciples – people whose lives are truly transformed to love and live for Jesus. At The Stream we have a step-by-step progressive discipleship process in which we utilize some of the WDA materials to assist us in helping people know and grow in their relationships with God.
Since being in Las Vegas, God has also led me to serve since 2007 as a Pastoral Counselor at Renewing Life Center. In my counseling ministry I get to help people who are struggling with marriage, family, or relationship problems; stress/anxiety, depression, addictions, or any number of the myriad of issues people deal in life, including some of the unique challenges of living in Las Vegas. Much of the training I have received over the years in WDA, including training and materials from WDA’s restorative ministry, have been very helpful in my counseling ministry.
I am extremely thankful for how God has used the staff, students, and my time at Purdue WDA to impact and transform my life, and in turn to impact others for Christ through me. Lives are being impacted – yes even in so called “Sin City” Las Vegas – through what God has done through Purdue WDA!”
Pastor – The Stream
Pastoral Counselor – Renewing Life Center
WDA Associate staff – church staff
Anisa B. – Class of 1994
“I’m beyond grateful for my undergraduate experience with Purdue WDA, as it provided for me a lifeline of supportive spiritual nourishment and counsel during my difficult, rocky, formative, transitory college years. The leadership training, retreats, and regular weekly meetings provided an oasis in the midst of many storms. And the anchor holding it all down was the aspect of WDA’s one-on-one discipleship program, which is a priceless gift that is a rare find in any ministry–church or parachurch. I don’t know what I would have done without those weekly hourly meetings with my dear friend and mentor, Mary McKeever. Her influence in my life has continued throughout my entire adult life. I thank our heavenly Father for the life-saving, life-giving provision of Purdue’s WDA ministry. To Him be the glory!”