Journey of Faith: CBS 8 News Chief Meteorologist Ashley McDonald’s Mission Trip to Uganda

Daniel Okabe is currently studying Radio broadcasting at Vanguard University so he can return to Uganda to improve the quality of Faith Radio.  Impact Ministries started a Christian radio station in 2006 named Faith Radio. The radio broadcasts on 90.5 FM and covers Eastern Uganda in 16 districts, reaching over 10 million people with the gospel message. The radio broadcasts in English and all the local languages of Eastern Uganda namely Luganda, Swahili, Lumasaba, Ateso, Lunyole and Lugwere. It has a development program addressing problems like HIV/AIDS and poverty and the listening community is educated by experts hosted weekly.

CBS 8 News Chief Meteorologist Ashley McDonald embarked on a journey of a lifetime — a mission trip to Uganda.  Ashley spent two weeks in the African country, bringing food, clothes and hope to everyone she met.  She set a goal to feed the 700 orphans during her two-week visit where she was serving at Impact Ministries and Faith Radio. Following is an example of a typical day for Ashley on her trip.  Starting early, 8AM, with the opening assembly at the orphanage, Ashley would share a message with them and encourage them that even in their youth, they can set an example.  She taught them songs and they treated her to some praise songs in Luganda (the Language of Uganda). The children are taught in English and encouraged to speak English, so communication was not a problem and the headmaster had children recite memory verses.

After morning assembly, Ashley spent time at Faith Radio from 10AM-mid-day.  At noon, she went back to the orphanage where she spent about 20 minutes, each, with 3 different classes sharing the story of Christ with them. Pulling out her iPad Ashley played some worship songs for the children and encouraged them to sing along.  They were very aware of who Jesus is and what he did on earth. They were very bright children, but the work’s focus is to have these children turn head knowledge into heart knowledge. The night would wrap up with a women’s Bible study where Ashley was able to share messages and her testimony.  Ashley had someone with her at all times, because there is a lot of spiritual warfare and the Muslims have been pretty bold in attacking Christians.  She says she returned to Alabama with much more in return.  To view her story click here.

Broadcasting the Gospel through radio is one of the most effective tools for Evangelism and church planting.  Radio has helped reach villages and communities that could never have been reached with the Gospel. Through the Radio, the Gospel is heard in Military barracks and by Muslims and all kinds of people.

Vanguard Musician Samuel Hines Enters Prestigious Guitar Competition

OC Register

Vanguard University music student Samuel Hines has been selected as one of 15 finalists to compete against international guitarists for the prestigious Parkening International Guitar Award. Hines will play his chords in Malibu, Calif. from May 30-June 2, 2012 in hopes of winning the grand prize of more than $50,000, and the honor of being the world’s most talented guitarist in this category as a 20 year old (eligible classical guitarists range from ages 18-30).

According to Dr. James L. Melton, chair of the Department of Music at Vanguard University, “I can’t think of any of our music performance students more deserving in being a part of this international competition than Samuel Hines. He is very hard working and disciplined.”

This award was established in honor of Christopher Parkening’s lifetime commitment to fostering musical excellence in young artists and is the most prestigious classical guitar competition in the world. Each guitarist will be judged in four categories: musicianship, tone, technique and stage presence. The finalist with the highest score will receive the Gold Medal.

Vanguard’s accomplished music program has seen the concert choir perform regularly in venues such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York.  The music faculty have advanced degrees from Juilliard, Yale and the New England Conservatory of Music.  They bring experience from the highest levels of performance.  Most are working muscicians who lend their talents to film soundtracks, television shows, jazz studio sessions, with performers such as Andrea Bocelli, Dave Koz and Barry Manilow, and in live performances at the Hollywood Bowl and Disney Concert Hall.  The director of the jazz ensemble spent eight years playing with the White House’s U.S. Marine Band.

For more information on Vanguard University’s prestigious music program, visit For more information on other academic programs offered at Vanguard University, click here.

Read the full OC Register story on their website.

Coast Magazine: Applauds Vanguard’s Gala Promoting Dignity of Women


By  Kedric Francis


Education is one of the pillars of philanthropy in Orange County, with fundraisers, galas and parties for public and private programs key components of the social whirl. The big guns get most of the attention, including Chapman U., UCI, OCHSA, and CSF. But community colleges and smaller schools deserve acclaim as well.

Vanguard University is a school we’re hearing more and more about, most recently when they hosted the Ensure Justice gala dinner at Santa Ana Country Club. The evening was a fundraiser to support the university’s Global Center for Women and Justice and its mission to promote the dignity of women locally and globally. The keynote speaker was author Rhonda Sciortino, and the Center’s director Sandra Morgan addressed the audience as well, passionately showing how supporters can help students learn to be a voice for the voiceless, including abused, trafficked and exploited women and girls.

Vanguard University is a private, Christian, comprehensive university of liberal arts and professional studies equipping students for a Spirit-empowered life of Christ-centered leadership and service. The U.S. News & World Report has ranked Vanguard among the best baccalaureate colleges in the west in their 2011-2012 rankings of colleges and universities and The Princeton Review named VU a 2011-2012 “Best in the West” College. Vanguard is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

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Vanguard University is Honored to Announce Dr. George O. Wood as 2012 Commencement Speaker

It is with great pride that Vanguard announces Dr. George O. Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God, as the 2012 Commencement speaker at  graduation ceremonies on Friday, May 4, 2012 at 7:00pm and Saturday, May 5, 2012 at 9:30am.  Both Commencement events will be held at Mariners Church in Irvine, California.

A popular speaker and writer, Dr. Wood was elected chief executive officer of the church at the 52nd General Council in August 2007. As general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, USA, part of the largest Pentecostal denomination in the world, he is a member of the denomination’s Executive Leadership Team and Executive Presbytery. The church has over 12,300 congregations in the United States with some 2.8 million members and adherents. The U.S. Assemblies of God is part of a larger World Assemblies of God fellowship with a membership of over 60 million.  Prior to his present position, Wood served the church as its general secretary for 14 years. He was assistant superintendent of the Southern California District Council of the Assemblies of God from 1988-1993. Dr. Wood pastored Newport-Mesa Church in Costa Mesa, California, for 17 years. Dr. Wood was elected to serve as chairman of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship at its meeting in Lisbon, Portugal in May, 2008.  Wood has also taught as an adjunct faculty in the Religion Department at Vanguard University and currently serves as a Trustee Emeritus on the University’s Board of Trustees.

The son of missionary parents to China and Tibet, Wood holds a doctoral degree in pastoral theology from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, and a juris doctorate from Western State University College of Law in Fullerton, California. He did his undergraduate work at Evangel University (College) in Springfield, Missouri, and served the college in several capacities, including being director of spiritual life and student life from 1965- 71. He was ordained by the Southern Missouri District in 1967. Dr. Wood is author of a number of books including: A Psalm In Your Heart, Living Fully, The Successful Life, and a college text on the Book of Acts. Sermons by Dr. Wood may be heard at

For more information regarding all Commencement events, please visit the website at

Watch the LIVE WEBCAST of the Undergraduate Ceremony at; tweet and follow tweets live from all events with #VUGrad

Going Beyond the Vanguard Community to Improve Lives

Bits of Hope

“A Costa Mesa company is looking to improve the lives of Ugandan women one bracelet and necklace at a time.”

By Alisha Gomez


Sometimes a trip is more than just a great escape.

That’s what happened to Kallie Dovel when she first traveled to Uganda in summer 2007. It was there that she saw what women were going through: little to no education, lack of health care, extreme poverty.

But there was one thing they had: paper beads they made by hand and turned into jewelry. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a market for them to sell the items.

Dovel started thinking. She brought home a box of jewelry and showed it to friends and family who were amazed. She sold the jewelry at school and at events. People responded strongly; they loved the jewelry.

But Dovel, a young twenty-something finishing her degree at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, couldn’t do it alone. She went to her friends and told them she really wanted to sell the jewelry and invest in Uganda, but she needed their help.

“So we started helping her,” said Alli Swanson, one of the five founders and director of public relations and marketing. “We started selling jewelry at craft fairs and random events, wherever we could.”

In the summer of 2008, four of them went to Uganda to meet the women they had been supporting, see their lives and figure out a way to make their jewelry business model more sustainable.

It was then that 31 Bits, now in Costa Mesa, was born.

The company first hired six women in Uganda to make the beads and jewelry, paid them a salary equivalent to a teacher and ultimately started devising their business plan.

All of them — Jessie Simonson, Anna Nelson, Brooke Hodges and Swanson — but Dovel returned to finish school at Vanguard. Dovel lived and worked with the women to put the business model in place.

A big break came in October 2008 when sandal maker Reef called. One of the designers was friends with one of the founder’s moms. The designer loved the story, the beads and the design and had showed the design team at Reef to see if the sandal maker could work with 31 Bits to make a special edition sandal.

“Reef is one of the largest sandal companies in the world, so we were really excited at the possibility of partnering with them,” Swanson said. “We met with them and had [photo copied] pictures of the ladies and box of jewelry, told our story and said a prayer. They loved our story and they placed a rather large order from us. That’s when it took off for us and that’s when it became something bigger.”

That first big order, some 16,000 beads, gave the founders enough money to get their business truly off the ground.

Nearly four years later, 31 Bits is on its fourth sandal design with Reef. The necklaces and bracelets made out of paper beads are sold in internationally in about 140 boutiques. Locally, they can be found at Silhouettes in Newport Beach, Deer Lovely in Costa Mesa, Jack’s Surf Shop in Newport Beach. For a list of shops, visit

Bracelets range from $10 to $48. Necklaces are $20 to about $60.

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