instructors and staff
LAURIE BESONEN, Executive Director
Most people who know me well know that I am a natural encourager with a big laugh and a willingness to listen to whatever is on a person’s heart. My home state is New Mexico, where I grew up with three siblings and parents who loved Jesus. I trusted Christ in Elementary school through the influence of my family and the church we attended. However, it wasn’t until my Freshman year of college that I understood for the first time what it means to surrender my whole life to follow Jesus. After I made that decision, I learned to rely on God’s word as my daily nourishment for life, to share my faith and to disciple young believers.
After graduating with a BA in Speech Communication, God clearly called me to follow Him into a full-time ministry of evangelism and discipleship. The Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) and the Great Commandment (Matt 22: 36-40) had become my true passion. I came on staff with Cru, Campus, Campus Crusade for Christ’s college ministry. For 33 years, I ministered on a local campus, on a regional team and national team for the campus ministry. During this time, I also attained an M.Div from Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, MN. And I had the opportunity to direct a leadership development program that prepared the next generation of Cru leaders to lead nationally. For the last three years, I had the privilege of working with The Navigators. I formed a new department poised to meet the training, staff development and member care needs of the national organization.
In 2007, I married Ron Besonen and we began our life together in Colorado Springs, CO. We adopted our son, John, from China in 2010 when he was two years old. We are active members of our church and volunteer with the AWANA program that John participates in. Last fall we added to our family a golden doodle puppy named, Penny.
Contact Laurie at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Harvey Martin, pastor and Teacher
Dr. Martin taught at the University of Northwestern, St. Paul, for 21 years. He is a graduate of Dallas Seminary and received his Ph.D. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Harvey has had a life-long passion for evangelizing and has been involved with a Polish evangelical mission for many years. He is currently the pastor of the Dale Evangelical Free Church in Harris, MN. He and his wife have three daughters, all of whom are accomplished violinists.
Dr. John Mayer, Teacher
Dr. John Mayer has a BA from the University of Minnesota, an MA from Bethel Seminary and a D.Min from Bethel University. He has taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Northwestern, St Paul, as well as Crown College, Bethany College and Urban Christian College Consortium. He has written curriculum and degree programs for the University of Northwestern, St. Paul, and for Bethel University and other educational institutions. He has served as a guest lecturer at 21 schools and colleges. Dr. Mayer is the president of City Vision, Minneapolis, and has spoken at numerous conferences, seminars and workshops around the USA.
Dr. Samuel O. Asuma, pastor and Teacher
Dr. Samuel O. Asuma is the founder and Senior Pastor of Sonlight Community Church in Maple Grove, Minnesota. He earned his Ph.D. in Old Testament Interpretation from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY in 2012, Masters of Divinity in Biblical Studies from Columbia International University, Columbia, SC in 2005 and Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) from the University of Nairobi, Kenya in 1987. He practiced Law in Kenya (1988-2000) prior to joining the Seminary for his theological training. Prior ministerial experience includes, among other things, serving as a Church Planter in Nairobi (1997 - 2000), and Minister of Education at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Louisville, KY (2006 - 2012). Dr. Asuma was also awarded a Diploma in International Labor Standards from the International Labor Organization, Turin, Italy in 1994.
JENNIFER DOUGAN, TEACHER
Jennifer Dougan loves to point people to God's life-transforming words. With over 20 years of church ministry as Youth Pastor's wife and church staff member, and active member of women's ministries, experienced in co-facilitating women's and couples' retreats and in leading Bible studies, Sunday Schools and small groups, Jennifer loves to teach God's Word. She speaks often at MOPS and MOMS NEXT mothers groups, women's retreats, conferences, camps and adult Sunday Schools. Jennifer has a BA from University of Northwestern - St. Paul with a double major in Communications and Bible, and enjoyed taking several classes from Dr. Harvey Martin. Jennifer and her husband serve in ministry together in the Twin Cities and have three children. For more information, see her web site at jenniferdougan.com
Ryan Habbena, pastor and Teacher
Ryan Habbena is the Pastor of Preaching and Teaching at Conquering King Fellowship in Eagan, MN, and serves as Director of Signet Ring Ministries, a teaching and resource ministry. He holds degrees in Biblical and Theological Studies (B.A. Bethel University, M.A. Bethel Seminary), has published articles on Biblical matters and is the author of Eternal Scars (2004), The Parable of the Fig Tree (2009), and The Pilgrim’s Path (2010). Ryan lives with his wife and three children near St. Paul, MN.
LETSON KAMWANA, TEACHER
Letson is a missionary of the Full Gospel Church (Fullies) in Fish Hoek, and ministers to the people of Masiphumelele. Originally from Malawi, Letson has studied at Rosebank Bible College, UNISA and Capet Theological Seminary and holds a Diploma in Ministry and an Advanced Bible Course Diploma.He has served in churches in Malawi and South Africa as a sunday school teacher, youth mentor and mobilizer for missions. He loves travelling, playing sports - basektball, soccer, volley ball and tennis and likes to read. He lives in Fish Hoek with his wife and daughter.
Titus (Tito) Wanyonyi, Teacher
Mr. Wanyonyi was born in Kenya and is the first born in a family of 23 siblings. Commonly called Tito (a Swahili variant of Titus), Mr. Wanyonyi is married to Alice with whom they have two adult sons. He received his conversion at a tender age of 8 years at the tail-end of the East African Revival. After graduating from the University of Nairobi in 1988, Mr. Wanyonyi was torn between a strong call for full-time ministry and also seeing his many siblings through school. He struck an uncomfortable compromise of handling both. He engaged in business while ministering in his local church. After three decades and all his siblings and children out of school and independent, Mr. Wanyonyi embarked on his lifelong calling by joining Bethel Seminary for his theological studies in 2018. He graduated with an MA in Theological Studies and is now enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry Program. Teaching at Village School of the Bible is a privilege Mr. Wanyonyi cherishes since it fulfills his calling – teaching the word of God in its fullness.
BRIAN MORK, TEACHER
I have spent over 10 years volunteering in children's ministry roles. However my passion has always been the Scriptures, how the Lord has revealed himself and his plans to us, and also how society has chosen to relate to that. I attended college at Northwestern College in St Paul and am currently pursuing a Masters of arts in Theological Studies through the Canadian Graduate School of Ministry.
BARB YLITALO, TEACHER
Barb received her Master of Divinity in Biblical Studies through Liberty University. She and her husband Mark took the Cover-to-Cover course under Ryan Habbena. As Barb continues with her PhD studies she looks forward to joining Bible enthusiasts in the study of the Word. Mark and Barb raised 6 children (4 bio children and 2 adopted daughters - S. Korea and India) in the West metro while she worked as and RN and in Youth Ministry. Barb attends Wayzata Free Church and is a leader at Worldwide Outreach Church on 38th and Chicago where she helps the congregation with outreach to their worthy neighbors.
"I love to witness Jesus pursuit of humanity. As evidenced by my own story - Jesus is faithful, always! I desire to be one whom is rooted in the Word (Col 2:6-7) so that I can walk in wisdom and be used by my Good Father. Go Jesus!"
mathabo masilela, pastor and teacher
Mathabo is excited to start teaching Cover-to-Cover to students in South Africa. She has a BTH from the South African Theological Seminary (SATS). She is currently the principal of Sweetwaters Bible School and also lectures at Durban Bible College. Mathabo is a probationary pastor at Sweetwaters Church where she worships. She is married with two children.
David King, pastor and teacher
David King was for 18 years senior pastor at First Baptist Church in downtown Minneapolis. Since 2005, he has been interim pastor at three Evangelical Free churches. He holds an M.Div from Denver Seminary. He has taught at Northwestern University, St. Paul as adjunct faculty. He is married to Marie, a former hospice nurse. David and Marie have four children and ten grandchildren. One of David's greatest joys is being taught by and teaching God's Word.
Cher moua, Teacher
Cher was born and raised in Laos during the Vietnam War, and came to the US as one of many refugees after the region fell, leaving them, as he puts it, "homeless, stateless, directionless, hopeless and futureless." God intervened through people reaching out with the gospel. Cher and his wife accepted Christ which "changed the trajectory of our lives forever." Cher is CRU Inner City Director of Leadership Development and Strategic Partnership in the Twin Cities, and has served with CrossCultural E. Free Church in St. Paul, Union Gospel Mission, and in Christian higher education.
Harlan Seri, pastor and MENTOR
Pastor Harlan Seri has 8 years' experience as a senior pastor, as well as many years of teaching, coaching and administrative experience in public schools. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and Bible from Concordia College, St. Paul; a Master’s Degree in Theological Studies from the University of Northwestern, St. Paul, and has also taken various classes at Bethel Seminary. Harlan is married to Debi, a cardiac sonographer and Sunday school superintendent who leads a Women’s Bible study. Harlan and Debi have six grandchildren and enjoy biking, reading and traveling.
Dr. ashley smyth, Africa Consultant
Dr. Ashley Smyth has formal qualifications in theology, education and psychology. He has a doctorate in Education, and was ordained as a pastor. His extensive experience includes having been a teacher and pastor, principal of Cornerstone Christian College in Cape Town, and Academic Dean at the South African College of Applied Psychology. He is Evaluator of Training with the Council on Higher Education (CHE) in South Africa. Ashley has published articles on community, health, counseling and education and has delivered papers at international conferences on church, missions, various aspects of counseling and educational curriculum design.
Trish Alcock, School Administrator
Trish manages the day-to-day financial records and student registrations. She has considerable experience in office administration and has worked at a number of Christian ministries, both here and in South Africa. She is also a graduate of the VSB Cover-to-Cover course. Trish grew up in South Africa and immigrated with her family to the U.S. in 1998. She is married to VSB staff member, Warwick Alcock. They have two married children and seven grandchildren.
Contact Trish at email@example.com
Warwick Alcock, Director of Strategic Operations
Warwick Alcock was born and raised in South Africa, and studied at the Universities of Natal and Cape Town, and the University of South Africa. Warwick met Monty Sholund soon after immigrating with his family to the USA in 1998. Warwick has taken the Cover-to-Cover course a number of times and has taught Cover-to-Cover both in a traditional classroom setting and as an online mentor. Warwick served on the Village Schools board from January 2014 to June 2015, and joined the staff in July 2015. He and Trish have two children and seven grandchildren.
Cindy Biebl, Assistant Administrator
Cindy assists with the office tasks, event planning, and class organization. She spent many years working in the medical field and recently interior design. Her passion for studying God's word and organizaiton skills complement VSB values. Cindy grew up in southern Minnesota, her and her husband Bobby are current Cover-to-Cover students near their home in Lakeville.
Contact Cindy at firstname.lastname@example.org