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Creating Life-long Friendships – The Cass Family

Author: David Davolt
Published on: February 18, 2021

​Students have attended Boise Bible College from all over the world. Havre, Montana, it’s said, isn’t the end of the world, but you can see it from there. A significant recruitment method has been connecting face-to-face with high school students when they attend on-campus events or visiting them at their youth group or regional youth rallies and in church worship services. One of the most effective places to recruit students has been summer church camps. During a week of camp, there is enough time to let go of some of the business of the world, relax, make new friends, study, and be challenged by God’s Word. Bible college staff are often speakers, and students are counselors and worship leaders.

During the summer of 1989 at Little Rockies Christian Camp in north-central Montana, Bill Putman was a high school camp speaker. Bill inspired a couple young men from Havre to pack their bags and sign up for a year or four at Boise Bible College. That is what started Traber Cass on his journey to a life of ministry.

A year before, a young lady from Salem named Linda Herring decided to travel across Oregon to check out this same Bible college. She had been influenced by her brother, John, who had started the year before.

As often is the case, Boise Bible College brought these two young people together for what now is a lifetime of serving the Church and their Lord together. Their story is one of adventure, heartache, and challenge, but they have never stopped loving God, each other, and serving others.

Linda graduated in 1991 with an Associate’s degree in Christian Education. Traber was in line to be the very first to receive a Bible Certificate, but at the end of school in 1990, he decided to return for a two-year degree. Midway through his second year, he decided on a four-year degree. At the all-school retreat at Warm Lake in 1991, President Charles Crane told them, “I approve,” of their engagement; that meant a lot. They were married in December during Christmas break; this year, they will celebrate 30 years. Linda helped Traber finish school with as little debt as possible. He graduated in 1994 with a BA.

God has shown His goodness through the BBC community for so long. We have been blessed beyond measure by good friends and partners in ministry who fight for us, encourage us, take a chance on us, open up their homes to us, give us time to recover and regroup

The Cass's

Life After Boise Bible College

Traber and Linda had taken a cross-country trip with some good friends in the summer of 1992, visiting some great grad schools. He had been impressed with Professors Dale Cornett and Chuck Faber, so he ultimately decided on Cincinnati Bible Seminary. Russell Grove (BA’86) was a recruiter there and helped them with the transition. They moved in January of 1995. They don’t recommend this. Traber, who grew up in Montana, says, “Those are still the worst driving conditions I’ve ever seen.” But by God’s grace, they made it.

Several other BBC alumni were attending CBS at the time, and they experienced a strong camaraderie. Linda got a job at the school, again helping Traber keep his debt low. During the last 18 months of school, Traber served part-time as Associate Minister at the Church of Christ at Delhi. Daughter Olivia was born in February 1998, Traber graduated with an MDiv in May, and they headed west, not quite sure yet where they would land, but with an eye on northwest Montana. They ultimately moved there, and Traber started as Associate Minister at Kalispell Christian Church in August.

A couple of years in Kalispell brought many blessings but also taught Traber about relational challenges and that expectations were often beyond reality. Looking back on the experience, it was one of those times that taught them what he was not – “an over-the-top extrovert youth leader”! They moved to Salem, then Boise, where good friends came through in a big way, providing places to live and great encouragement. After a few months, good friend Rich Schell, then Sr. Minister at Emmett Christian Church, asked Traber to talk with the elders about an associate position. He started there the same week their second daughter, Hailey, was born in July 2001.

Admittedly still hurting a little from his previous ministry, Traber left Emmett two years later, intending to move to Butte, Montana, and entered engineering school—his plan back in high school. But a planning trip to Butte convinced him that wasn’t the thing to do. They moved to Eagle, and he started work at Micron. They also started attending Eagle Christian Church, finding there a place to rest and heal.

After another year, they bought a house in Nampa. Son Rylan was born in April 2006. In October, Charles Crane called. A church in Colorado had asked him for a minister recommendation, and he had recommended Traber “without reservation.” Traber had looked at Craig on the map before but never figured he would live there. But after an interview trip, they moved in January 2007. He doesn’t recommend this. Shivering while looking at the -32 on the thermometer and the several feet of snow, Linda asked, “Where did you move me to?”

Craig is located in the northwest part of the state with beautiful mountains and wide-open spaces and is just right for a hunter who preaches. That winter, they could see elk from their living room – in town! They made their home there for several years seeing spurts of growth and growing to enjoy the country and the people. Traber shared the preaching for a while with a co-minister, Doug Wood, a friend from their Cincinnati days, and together they led the congregation through a lot of discipleship training.

In 2011, Doug moved to Moscow, Idaho, to join the Real Life church led by Aaron Couch (BA’97). Two years later, they asked Mark Perry (BS’95) and Traber to lead a new church in Grangeville, Idaho. The idea of starting with a new group without any old traditions to contend with, getting to work with some old friends, and more wide-open hunting and fishing country had them on the move again. With a “one church in multiple locations model,” the new location grew quickly as part of Real Life on the Palouse. Then some issues slowed growth and income drastically. Traber chose to back off as a paid staff member and continued to serve as he found other jobs to pay expenses. By now, Olivia was out of high school and on her own, and the four of them ultimately moved to Newberg, Oregon, where Traber’s sister, Fawn, and family had graciously opened their home.

After a period of reflection and regrouping and getting Hailey through her senior year of high school (and watching her cheerleading team win nationals), Traber started pursuing ministry opportunities in the Northwest. David Davolt kept in occasional contact with him.

Boise Bible College had a need that, as a couple, they seemed well-suited for. The Development Department needed an Associate Director to work with David, who had people skills, writing ability, and loved people. The Admissions Department needed an Admissions Administrative Assistant, and with her office experience in banks and her organizational skills as a mother, Linda fit the bill nicely! The fact that they were both alumni and understood what Boise Bible College was all about was a huge plus. They moved in July 2019—the summer is a much more recommended time to move. They have been serving for a year and a half now, and both have proved to be team players and are adjusting to their roles. Hailey is currently a sophomore at BBC; they love getting to see her often.

Traber is a hunter and fisherman. He enjoys sharing those hobbies with his son. He is an avid reader and loves to study. Linda is a wife and mother first. Her role in the Admissions office includes everything from handling paperwork to talking to recruits and their parents to keeping the admissions counselors on the run. Traber and Linda have once again made Eagle Christian Church their home church, and they love it.

When asked about how the values of BBC shaped their lives, they said…

“God has shown His goodness through the BBC community for so long. We have been blessed beyond measure by good friends and partners in ministry who fight for us, encourage us, take a chance on us, open up their homes to us, give us time to recover and regroup. The teaching received at BBC has been foundational for 30 years; we are so grateful in these turbulent times. Humility has definitely been a life journey as we continue to learn from and about others. The need for innovation is daily as parents, in leadership, managing finances, and many other areas. We’re glad to see BBC exploring innovative ways to prepare people for the increasing challenges of leadership in today’s world.”

Traber is extremely grateful for his faithful wife, who has followed him all over the country through thick and thin, serving God and putting others before herself time after time.

Traber and Linda are another example of making life-long friends while attending Bible College. There are so many, they are afraid they will leave someone out. They say, “You know who you are. You are loved and appreciated. You have been our lifeline, you have taken us in, you have challenged us, you have walked with us, you have loved us. Thank you.”