With an appetite for adventure, a high tolerance of risk, and an eye for the practical, Angela (Parrish) Hayden came to BBC, wanting to use her skills and passions to serve others in ministry. Little did she know where all that would take her. It was also those qualities in others that impressed her and spurred her on.
She wanted to be a Forest Ranger. Her youth ministers – newlyweds and BBC students Mike and Melanie Twite, who made the weekly two-hour drive to her hometown of Twin Falls – encouraged her to use that to witness to non-believers. Their encouragement set a course that she is still on, of using her love for the outdoors in ministry. She decided to attend BBC for a year, so she could defend her faith, then get a degree in Forestry and Wildlife Management.
With her Bible Certificate obtained, she picked up the fire hose and fought fires that summer for the Bureau of Land Management, something she’d dreamed about since middle school. She would soon learn that then BBC Director of Development Larry Woodard was a former BLM firefighter! He kept in contact with her, and as the summer neared its end, she asked him what she should do.
In her year at BBC, Angela had studied under Kenny Beckman, Dale Cornett, Jim Byerly, Chuck Faber, and John Whittaker. She shares,
They all had a way of making the Bible come alive not just through their passion for teaching it, but more by the way they passionately lived it out. In addition, they opened their lives to us students and invited us in by hosting meals at their houses and organizing mountain biking adventures.
With her eye for the practical, she goes on, “Then there was the president of the college, Dr. [Charles] Crane, who would take off his dress coat, roll up his sleeves, and work on my Volkswagen Rabbit in the parking lot.” She would also soon learn she and Dr. Crane shared a love for flying.
She reflects, “BBC was more than an institution; it was a family that encouraged and spurred one another on towards love and good deeds while strengthening your faith.”
That first year at BBC made a deep impression on Angela. So when Larry Woodard responded, “Drop the fire hose on August 19 and come back to BBC August 20,” that’s what she did! She completed her Associate’s degree.
During that second year, Angela took a trip with a group of students to the National Missionary Convention, and her eyes opened up to missions, to the point that after graduation, she decided to take a year to travel and learn more. She found herself in the Philippines, where she discovered her gift of teaching and found herself at another crossroads – how could she get licensed to teach as fast as possible?
The Lord once again provided. During her year off, BBC had worked out an agreement with Johnson University, which would allow her to go straight into a Master’s program and obtain her initial teaching license. She returned to BBC, finished up her B.S. in Biblical Studies in 2001, got her M.Ed. in Middle School Education from Johnson the following year, and began teaching in North Carolina that fall.
Angela’s love for the outdoors, flying, and teaching wasn’t forgotten. While at BBC, she had gone to Russia with a group led by Bill Krause. In Siberia, they put on a teaching seminar. The following year Angela invited Dwayne King, a missionary with SEND whom she’d met on that trip, to BBC’s Missions Emphasis Week. He tried to recruit her to teach in Russia, but when he finally asked her to help build a church in Kazakhstan, then go to Alaska to learn to fly, she knew she’d found what she wanted. In 2005 she obtained another license – a pilot’s license – and moved to Alaska in 2006 as a Bush Missionary Teacher Pilot.
Angela met her husband Taylor there, and they work with SEND North as pilots and church planters; she also teaches in a small, two-teacher school. They have two daughters who were born in Alaska. She acknowledges that life in the Arctic is difficult. But she says the faith foundation laid by her parents and the sound Bible training from BBC prepared her well.
She sums up, “God prepares you for where He leads you. You just have to say, ‘Here am I, send me,’ then let your Light shine wherever God plants you.”