What a year it has been. Since I first became involved with Vision, my personal journey has been rocky at best, and the roller coaster in many ways continues today. Vision International University and ITEN (International Teaching and Education Network) of which I joyfully give leadership, continues to grow, change and mature, and at the same time our challenges continue. Now we are facing challenges of growth, and strategic changes must be made for everyone's vested future. Each year we have a Vision and Leadership Conference, or what we call our World Zone Leaders conference. We have divided the world into regions, and have developed leaders in each area who are dedicated to seeing the Whole Word taken to the Whole World. This is the motto of ITEN/Vision since its inception in 1974. In 2007, we met in Athens, Greece, with our Mediterranean and European World Zone leadership, and leaders from around the world. After a time of fellowship and renewing friendships, we settled into our meetings on the World Zone system and accreditation. Who would have thought that we would have such an extensive outreach, with such quality leaders from around the world? From Eastern Europe, Dr. Ernie Campe and his wife Linda reported that the Vision schools are growing in their region. As of today, they are working with over 1500 students in five nations and working with fifty-five local churches. In the Middle East, Dr. Jerry Zandstra and Yvette D'Sousa, along with Dr. Tim and Laurie Dailey report that the outreach is making a real impact. In partnership with the International School of Ministry, hundreds of students are being trained, and we are expanding into Jordan and other Middle Eastern nations. In Western Europe we have added five new schools. Those are in Switzerland, Italy and the UK. Denis Plant is heading to the UK in May to solidify arrangements for more schools in England, which is a real answer to prayer. Africa continues to grow, under Dr. Steve Mills, our recipient of the annual Excellence in Leadership Award, and we are getting ready for greater launches in India and China, along with Farsi language programs in partnership with the Iranian Christian Church. Overall our meetings were highly productive, a true blessing to all who could attend. In the Steps of Paul The second half of our time in Greece was a tour, following the Footsteps of Paul. At each stop, we heard dynamic teaching from Dr. Chant, Dr. Gurley, Dr. West, Dr. Zandstra, and Dr. Brian van Deventer and Dr. Gail Stathis. Drs. Brian and Gail, along with their staff in Greece, made this a most memorable time for all. Reflections When I wrote this, I was still in Greece, teaching 20+ students about leadership. Our staff was home preparing for our Readiness Visit (February 28) from the Distance Education and Training Council, the next step in our march towards accreditation. As always, I am grateful to the Lord for the privilege of serving in this ministry. God is so good and merciful. We have much work to complete before we can move to the next level in Excellence, but the Lord is our helper, and we will indeed make it by His grace. We must always stay focused on taking the Whole Word to the Whole World, as God gives us strength. One key to doing this is to never forget where we have come from. The reason for this book is to document the first 30 plus years of a remarkable and unlikely work for the Lord; the Vision International University/ITEN story begins here. Dr. Stan DeKoven President
Vision and Iten History was published by Vision Publishing (Ramona, CA) in August 2014. The ISBN for Vision and Iten History is 9781615291502.