“Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals”
Woodrow Kroll ’67B
Early in life my parents motivated in me a love for God and His Word. I knew God had called me to teach His Word, and for more than 40 years I have been privileged to consider that my vocation and occupation.
In the early years of ministry I adopted a BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal) that was larger than life. “I want to teach the Bible to the world so people’s lives are spiritually and eternally changed, and to inspire and facilitate a corps of skilled and dedicated Bible teachers to do the same in every language of mankind.” I’ve learned that the audacity of our goals, if properly motivated, never exceeds God’s ability to achieve them.
Twenty years ago when I began teaching the Word to millions through the ministry of Back to the Bible, I prayed this prayer, printed it, and kept it on my desk: “LORD, give me a task larger than myself, wisdom greater than my years, friends to share my vision, sufficient funds to realize it, and length of days to accomplish it.”
Experience has taught me that what God wants me to do I can’t do, making me a perfect candidate for His service, if I maintain clean hands and a pure heart.
Dr. Kroll, president and Bible teacher for the Back to the Bible radio and television ministry, has published more than 50 books. www.backtothebible.org
From Chemist to Tech COO
In 1992 John Boudreau had just graduated from Gordon with a chemistry major, and begun his career as an environmental analytical chemist, focusing on analytical analysis for U.S. Superfund sites. After a few years he moved on to New England Testing Laboratory, where he eventually led the organics analysis department, becoming laboratory director in 2004. In this role John led a team solving complex, multivariate problems while providing analytical services to environmental engineering firms.
At the same time he began his career as a scientist, John was investing in residential and commercial real estate in Rhode Island, building a portfolio of 30 properties. This entrepreneurial drive allowed him to retire from chemistry in March of 2004. Later that year he founded Ion Marketing Group, a digital marketing company focused on the needs of the real estate industry. After a year of explosive growth, Ion earned the business of 10 of the largest brokerages in Rhode Island, maintaining success before John sold the company in 2006.
He founded Astonish Results with three other partners in June of 2006. As Chief Operating Officer, John oversees all aspects of the Astonish digital marketing system, which is designed for insurance agencies. This complex system includes a proprietary mix of information technology (IT), website design and optimization, customer relationship management (CRM), search engine marketing (SEM), social media strategy, sales training, email marketing and more.
Since signing its first partner in 2006, Astonish Results has helped over 200 insurance agencies build and nurture a web presence, increasing over 1600% in revenue. At the core of Astonish, John’s background in science and deep faith has allowed the company to remain stable and achieve such meteoric growth. Astonish Results was recently named the fastest growing private company in Rhode Island, and has just passed the 300-client benchmark.
Balancing a real estate portfolio, overseeing a laboratory and taking a start-up from zero to over 70 employees can be very stressful. John credits his strong faith in God backed by his solid education at Gordon as key drivers to his success. John is also actively involved in his church, Christian Hill Community Church, where he uses his musical talents to glorify God. John and his wife, Jodi, just celebrated 15 years of marriage and live in Cranston, Rhode Island, with their children: Daphne, Greyson and Owen.
Reaching out to Teenagers behind Bars
Lindsi Lefebvre ’10GE
Graduate Education, Concentration in Moderate Disabilities
When she was in high school, instead of hanging out with friends and acting like most teenage girls, Lindsi Lefebvre was working at a feeding center for children whose parents were incarcerated—and she loved it. In college she studied criminal justice and politics and saw herself in law enforcement working on policy reform. She also led the prison ministry at a local juvenile detention center.
As she continued her studies, however, something about law enforcement just didn’t feel right to her. “I finally realized law enforcement wasn’t where my heart was.” Instead she started falling in love with juvenile detention centers. “I knew I belonged in this unique environment,” says Lindsi,” so I started spending most of my days in the classroom wing of the center.” She taught on an as-needed basis for over a year, and her love grew.
Today she is enrolled in Gordon’s graduate education program, set to graduate in December with a concentration in moderate disabilities. When she isn’t studying, Lindsi is tutoring students involved in juvenile justice who can’t be within a certain distance of their former school. She offers five-subject tutoring, often concluding with a G.E.D. examination. “Most students I work with are repeat offenders, so tutoring often takes place over an extended period of time during multiple detentions.”
So what drives her work? “The challenge of providing encouragement to people who feel like they’ve failed themselves,” says Lindsi. “Education is a way I can reach teenagers who need hope while they’re behind bars.”
Lindsi considers herself fortunate to be able to influence a part of the population most people fear and many feel are hopeless. In seemingly despairing situations her students choose education to escape their reality behind bars, giving them opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have. “My students prefer the classroom; this, for a teacher, is ideal! The classroom is better than spending all their time behind bars,” says Lindsi. “The juveniles I have encountered, while hardened and often rough in speech and action, understand I am on their side. Often the day’s math problems are not the greatest obstacle these children have to deal with. Their time within my classroom is the only time they can escape their troubled world and simply learn. What a blessing it is to see students succeed in something!”
Lindsi continues: “For some reason I’m really comfortable in unstable places like detention centers. In spite of my petite frame (5 feet, 2 inches), I feel safe. This is an area where I know I can serve students in the most extreme circumstances and thrive. It’s a gift, and I’m grateful to God for it.”
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