Pernille (Kluckow) Russell
The Boise Bible College community has been blessed with students from around the world since early in our history. We’ve had a connection to Zimbabwe since 1960 when Dale Marshall (BA’59) and family were commissioned to serve in Southern Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe). Their ministry impacted the area they served and many people came to follow Jesus because of their efforts.
Years later, Dale asked Neil Kluckow to play the guitar for him and that started a lifelong friendship. Neil and his wife Kirsten gave their lives to the Lord in 1982, changing their family forever. They were baptized by Richard (BA’56) and Eloise Carter and from then on raised their children to know and love the Lord. One of their children was Pernille.
There were few options for education in Zimbabwe for Pernille after high school. She got in touch with Randy Bourn (BA’92), the BBC student recruiter at the time, and his encouragement led her to “take a leap of faith and come across the world to BBC.” She came in 1995 with $300 in her pocket, unsure of the future, yet excited to see where God would lead her. After two weeks of being at the college, she was told it would cost $300 a month to stay. That was more than her dad made in a month in Zimbabwe. She was sure her adventure was over before it began. Little did she realize that God was going to use past friendships in amazing ways.
She was invited to travel with the “Image of Christ” on a trip to Oregon. At Oakland Church of Christ, she met Richard and Eloise Carter! It had been about ten years since they had seen each other. When she shared her story and need, the church agreed to help sponsor her! A couple of weeks later the soprano dropped out of the “Image of Christ” and Pernille was asked to join the group and that provided a full-tuition scholarship! The Oakland church, the “Image” scholarship, and the support of others allowed her to stay and grow in her spiritual walk. She saw firsthand how faithful God was!
Life After Boise Bible College
God continued to bless her with connections and funding. She returned to her family in Zimbabwe, set up a teaching position at a local school, then returned to the Boise Bible College community to finish an associate’s degree in 1997. This time she was an alto on the “Image of Christ” and found herself “pushed way out of my comfort zone and prepared for the future I never imagined.” She met Wayne Russell, (BC’96), the love of her life, and they were married in Zimbabwe in June 1998. They returned to Boise so Wayne could finish a business degree at Boise State University while Pernille worked and supported them. They now have 3 amazing boys, Jordan (17), Carson, (14) and Kayden (9).
Pernille is a proud mom and thanks God for the honor and privilege of the gift of her family. They attend Ten Mile Christian Church in Meridian, ID where she has taught in the preschool class and over the years has sung with the worship team. In 2013 she began working at the preschool at TMC teaching 3-4 year-olds. She says, “I am thankful for my AS in Christian Education that prepared me for this role. Teaching brings me so much joy and I count it a privilege to be with these amazing little ones and teach them about God’s love every day!”
Pernille talks about her BBC experience: “Mr. Jim Byerly was a huge encouragement in my life. He pushed me out of my comfort zone and believed in me more than I did in myself. Mr. John Whittaker, as my spiritual family leader, was also a great influence in my life and helped fill a gap when I was on the other side of the world from my family.”
The Boise Bible College community was fun and family. She remembers enjoying time together and doing things like whitewater rafting, singing worship songs at Table Rock, watching BBC sports, ice-blocking on Simplot hill (something that never happened in Zimbabwe), late-night sessions at Shari’s where the coffee refills were free, and so much more! The “Image of Christ” became her closest family as they traveled many weekends together. She was able to see the northwest and visit beautiful sites; they are all lifelong friends to this day.
Pernille said it well, “The words, ‘Scholarship, Community, Humility, and Innovation’ resonate with my time at Boise Bible College. It was a life-changing experience and one that I will always feel thankful for. People invested in me, believed in me, and helped me grow as a person! God has always proved to be faithful through the mountains and the valleys.”