uni grads

Matt Perman is a unique gift to the church.  He was the chief designer of the Desiring God website and is now senior director of strategy at DG.  I’m blessed to call him, friend.  Along with Dustin Shramek and  Justin Taylor, Matt helped shape my understanding of God’s sovereignty during my college days with him at The University of Northern Iowa.


Name: Angela Thye

Where you are on the map: West Des Moines, Iowa
Full Time Job/Ministry: Children’s Ministry at Valley Evangelical Free Church
Is this what you thought you’d be doing when you were in college?
No, I thought I’d be teaching at an inner city elementary school.
What do you dream about doing 10 years from now?
God’s dreams for my life have far surpassed mine so far. . .so whatever dream He has for my life 10 years from now.
Favorite UNI Memory:
Helping start BASIC (Brothers and Sisters in Christ) in ’94-’95 and being on the first skit team.
Any other comments:
Jesus has brought me through many valleys and shattered dreams since graduation in ’98. Yet my life verse has become Deuteronomy 3:24, “O Sovereign Lord, You have only begun to show Your greatness and the strength of Your hand to me, your servant.” I remind myself and those around me of this verse on the 24thof every month, which I term “Dt. 3:24 Day.” For the rest of our lives, no matter what comes our way; we will be able to say, “He has only begun to show us His greatness and the strength of His hand to us, His servants.” 
I battled with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome from 2000-2007. For those of you who have family or friends who battle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia, I highly recommend connecting them with Rest Ministries. Rest Ministries ministers to those living with chronic illness or pain. Their website is www.restministries.org. Their phone number is 1-888-751-REST (7378).

Name: Jesse

Family: Sarah, Abigail (2 ½), Gloriah (8 months)

Where you are on the map: SE Asia

Full Time Job: Small business management

Is this what you thought you’d be doing when you were in college? 
Yes, for the most part.  Seeking to honor God in life and business, to bless the community, provide jobs, etc, etc. 

What do you dream about doing 10 years from now? 
I dream about helping start or improving businesses in the harder areas of the world, with my wife, mentoring and coaching others in this kind of work not only in the tasks at hand but in all of life.

Favorite UNI Memory:
Wow, many!  Clogged toilet overflowing from 1st floor Promised Land, dripping onto our kitchen table cloth, and us still using it.  Attending Sunday morning service and noticing various men wearing familiar articles of clothing from my closet.  Paul Shepard and the green chair.  Mark and his “borrowed” toothbrush.  Paul scaring the liver out of Doug.  Doug and his mobile mattress.  Fast asleep and then woken up buy JT coming into my bedroom dressed as an old lady, was I dreaming?!  BASIC, Friday Night Alives, Dave Busby Main Event, DC trip for PKeepers, etc. etc.

(Optional) Any other comments or shout-outs to specific people:  
My roommates (Doug, Mark and Paul) and other brothers…God used all of you to seal my heart to Him.  Junior/Senior year was such a life changer for me b/c of the fellowship.  It is amazing how He uses the Body in such powerful ways to change a life forever, thanks for the sharpening brothers!

Name: Michael Miesen

Family: Michelle. Brayden (4) Madelynn (2)

Where are you on map: Des Moines, Iowa

Full Time Job: Corporate Controller (aka bean-counter) for The Weitz Company, a general contractor.

Is this what you thought you’d be doing when you were in college?
I figured I would be doing something in accounting. Call me naïve but part of me believed Justin Taylor when he told me he would hire me to teach finances to the church members where he pastored. Who would have guessed he would end up editing books and blogging? Thanks for crushing my dream JT.

What do you dream about doing 10 years from now?
Loving my wife and kids and serving in our local church.

Favorite UNI Memory:
1. Discipling Chad Simington, Justin Taylor, Spot and the Fisher twins for two years in the PACK.

2. Knowing Justin Taylor and Zach Nielsen before they were nationally known blogging icons.

3. I agree with Reisetter on Z streaking during a poker game. Unforgettable.

4. Getting suckered by Justin into eating 10+ oreo’s filled with toothpaste in less than a minute and paying him back by hiding rotten sardines in his car. So many great memories it’s hard to remember them all. Overall, I’m so grateful for my time at UNI. God used it to teach me so much and blessed me with such great friends.

Random Thoughts:
In the spirit of “it’s a small world” I have the privilege of working with two of our UNI class of 98 graduates in the Children’s Ministry of our church. Joshua Denhart (Director of Children’s Ministry) and BASIC skit-legend Angela Thye.

Name: Hilary Pepper

Family: Not yet, but patient and hopeful.

Where on the map? Deep in the heart of Texas! (Eh hem…it was during my time at UNI when I said I’d never live in Texas!—oops!)

Full Time Job/Ministry:
My dream job! I’m teaching in an intensive English program in a university environment with international students from literally all over the world; however the majority of them are from the ME and Asia/East Asia. My heart has been burdened for the peoples of the ME for quite some time. Not knowing when I’ll go, I’ve had the joy of working alongside like-minded brothers and sisters through the local church. Together, many of us are also laboring in a CPM among M’s, believing that He has called some of the thousands living here (Acts 17:26-27). We are in the first year and are depending on our Father for so much!

Is this what you thought you’d be doing when you were in college?
I knew I would be working with other cultures, but I had no idea it would be like this! These past 10 years have been more than I had ever envisioned or dreamed for my life. It has certainly been an Ephesians 3:20 decade.

What do you dream about doing 10 years from now?
Similar to what I’m currently doing but dreaming and believing God for even more. I have no idea the location, but I’m confident it will involve the unengaged, a team, and Lord-willing, a family.

Favorite UNI Memory:
Not sure if you all remember this, but 98% of my college days were Christ-less days. In God’s perfect timing, He used high-school friends Mark, Doug, Katie, Laura, Jesse, and Dennis to point me to Jesus during the rough years, and Spot’s testimony to draw me to Main Event ’97. While there, He used Justin’s cross-dressing (old woman?), Mark and Aimee’s small group time, and Caligiuri’s re-enactment of the crucifixion to reveal His Truth to me. Therefore, aside from my final two months on campus, my UNI memories with everyone don’t run too deep. However, I’ll never forget the team mascot who was strapped to our van’s windshield the entire way to Passion ’98 and, while there, the group’s obsession with front row seats and Piper-sightings. I kept thinking, “My new friends are kinda weird!”

Being a part of the gals’ bridal showers and learning how to play “Hot Seat!”…blaring (and dancing!) to Peder Eide’s, “Where Justice Rolls Down” in my sorority house. I forget who exchanged the Oreo cream filling for toothpaste at a church potluck. Dirty.

Seriously, though, you UNI grads have no idea how much each of you has helped shape who I am today. Your examples of grace and love and Christ-likeness in my initial months/years of learning to walk with Jesus were foundational and life-giving to me. http://www.seeandknow.wordpress.com.

Name: Eric Schumacher

Beautiful Bride: Jenny

Full Quiver: Josiah, Micah, Elijah, (#4 is due December 14!)

Where you are on the map: Cedar Rapids, IA

Full Time Job/Ministry: I pastor Northbrook Baptist Church in Cedar Rapids.

Is this what you thought you’d be doing when you were in college? Yes.

What do you dream about doing 10 years from now?
I dream about being a better husband to my wife, a better father to my children (who I pray increase in number!), and a better pastor to Northbrook Baptist Church.

Favorite UNI Memory:
There are too many from which to choose a “favorite.” Meeting my wife at a concert is too obvious. My college roommate, Jake Conner, has forbidden me to share all the good ones (since they are embarrassing to him…). So, I’ll go with the “spiritual option”–the CCC Christmas Conference in Minneapolis my freshman year. It was were the Gospel became very clear to me. The time that I spent listening to Dustin and Matt engage in theological conversation and Bible study, watching them do evangelism downtown, and praying with them had a huge impact on my soul.

(Optional) Any other comments or shout-outs to specific people:
I’m grateful to everyone–students and campus ministers–who took the time and had an interest in ministering to me as a young Christian while I was at UNI! The Lord used their efforts to impact the rest of my life…and therefore also my wife, my children, the church I pastor, etc. College ministry has a far-reaching impact. May the Lord raise up more to invest in that mission field!


*Special Note: 

  • Read about how Eric has ministered to his congregation in the wake of the flood in Iowa.
  • Listen to Eric’s sermon last week entitled, “The 500 Year Flood and the Kingdom of Christ”

For the record – I’m only at 9 years … 1999 grad

Name: Greg Fisher

Family: Wife: Darath (Wright) also 1999 grad; Son: Malik (born 9/19/07); Dog:  Sophie (Cavachon)

Job: Tax Manager at Pella Corporation in Pella, IA

Ministries: TNT (Twenties ‘n Thirties): co-leading Bible Study through Third Church.   Leading a Men’s Bible Study (re-studied the college fav ‘Desiring God’). 

Is this what you thought you’d be doing when you were in college?
Pretty much what I thought I would be doing when I was in college.  I figured I’d be out of Public Accounting after a few years (it took 6).  Didn’t realize I would be back at Pella where I did my internship during the summer between Jr and Sr year.  

What do you dream about doing 10 years from now?
Wow, 10 years from now…. haven’t thought that far ahead.  I’d like to be doing a ministry that helps people with their Finances – budgeting, getting out of debt, etc.  I want my kid(s) to be growing in their character and relationships, especially with Christ. 

Favorite UNI Memory: 
It wasn’t during the school year, but proposing to my wife via scavenger hunt was my favorite memory during my college years.   Otherwise it’s too hard to narrow down from all the great FCA & Main Event memories.

Optional Comments:
Last year I had to write a narrative about how God has impacted my life for a class for church.  It was amazing to look back at how significant my spiritual growth was during those college years. Even at a state university God can have a major impact on our lives. 

My shout out would be to J Chad Simington for inviting me to many of those things that significantly impacted my spiritual growth – FCA, IOLBC, the PACK. 

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