Sometimes you know just what is ahead of you in life at a very young age. In junior high, Nick knew he wanted to be in ministry. He was highly influenced by Bruce and Nate Wheeler, and Nick Adams. Growing up with the youth group from Southwest Christian Church in Boise, he visited Boise Bible College. While in high school, his school encouraged students to have a job shadowing experience. He was set up with Steve Moore, then the preacher at Cherry Lane Christian Church and still the preaching minister at the now renamed, Ten Mile Christian Church. Those men and his experiences confirmed for him that he wanted to attend BBC.
There was a girl attending church at Southwest named Kate. She originally wanted to be a teacher and attended Northwest Nazarene University her freshman year. During that year, she decided she wanted to go into counseling instead and wanted a solid biblical understanding before getting a masters degree. Before transferring to BBC for her sophomore year, Nick Parker married Kate Kemper. They had been dating each other for two years. And though not the reason, attending the same college as a married couple made life a bit easier and lots of fun.
They grew together as they shared their BBC experience. One of the school newspapers noted that Nick and Mike Frost provided the evening’s entertainment during the 2001 Spring Banquet with a series of laughs. Every professor had an impact on their lives. John Whittaker gave them tremendous support in their personal lives and marriage. Chuck Faber and Dale Cornett challenged and encouraged them academically. Bill Krause gave Nick a passion for children’s and family ministry. Because of him, Nick’s desire for teaching kids outweighed his desire for preaching to adults, something he is grateful for to this day. Rich Schell offered Kate a deeper understanding and love for counseling. And John Greenlee gave them a friendship that they greatly cherished. All of these men enriched not only their BBC experience but their lives.
They made some of their dearest friendships with others because of their time spent at BBC. To this day, they still consider Autumn and Justin McMurdie and Mike and Marsha Frost to be dear friends, even though they all live in separate states. Perhaps Nick and Mike will return to an Alumni Gathering sometime with their humor?
Life After Boise Bible College
After graduation from BBC in 2002, they went to China for a year with a group led by Martyn Mayfield. Autumn and Justin McMurdie, Kathryn Henry, and Martin Flaherty (who all graduated together in 2002) were in that group. The trip was an amazing, life-changing, and unforgettable experience for them. The Parkers moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, to begin their master’s programs. Their intent was to get educated and return to Boise, where their families lived. God apparently had other plans for them. Kate received a Master of Arts in Counseling in 2006, and Nick received a Master of Arts in Christian Education and a Master of Divinity in Biblical Studies in 2007. Nick started working as the Children’s Minister at Bridgetown Church of Christ and is still there after 16 years. The church became their surrogate family, and the staff he works with challenge and supports each other through their varying ministries. Kate was working as a counselor after graduation, and after the birth of their first child, Kyla, in 2007, she chose to stay at home. She did this for 12 years and was home for their second daughter, Ally, born in 2012. Recently she has been working at her daughter’s school as a teacher’s assistant. The schedule allows her the same time off as their kids. Once the kids get older, she plans to obtain her Clinical Pastoral Education certificate and hopefully work as a chaplain (thanks to Rich Schell for inciting her excitement about this profession!)
In addition to their biological children, they have been foster parents to 21 children from the Cincinnati area. Since 2010 they have had individual children and sibling groups ranging in age from birth to 9 years old. Some have stayed for months and some for a couple of years. It has not always been easy and can take a toll on their family, but it has been good to watch the change in these children as they learn about a God they have never heard about before. Kate tells of a 9-year-old girl that came to them two years ago. She had not been attending school, couldn’t write her name, couldn’t count past 12, or identify any numbers or letters. She didn’t speak in full sentences and didn’t know what many common objects were called. With a lot of love and hard work, she is doing much better now. She repeated first grade, but now she can write full sentences and do basic math. Kate spent much of the quarantine time working with her reading, numbers and helped her speak in full sentences. Seeing her progress is worth the sacrifices.
The ministry Nick has created for kids in their church is truly amazing. Children beg their parents to go to church every Sunday because they don’t want to miss out on what Mr. Nick will be teaching them. And the parents confess that they would want to sleep in or skip a Sunday, but their kids will not let them. They are excited about church, and they get excited about God. This is no different from Nick and Kate’s own foster children. Every single one of them (excluding the babies!) has loved being part of their church and has learned a great deal about Jesus as Lord, Savior, and King. That’s been the biggest reward for them as foster parents.
In Nick’s free time, he is quite the home-brewer. He has been brewing his own beer since 2010. It’s something that he enjoys, is really good at, and has given him the opportunity to be part of a club where he can have friendships outside their local church. Kate really enjoys taking walks. She has found others that find it just as enjoyable, and they walk together throughout the summer months. They enjoy going to King’s Island, the local amusement park, during the warm summer days.
Coronavirus has shaken the world up. The local church is not exempt from this. Though it has been difficult to navigate, it has brought some great innovations to the ministries at their church. Nick and the other staff have had to put in a lot of blood, sweat, and tears due to these changes. School has also been turned upside down for Kate, as it has for all kids and teachers throughout the world. Right now, they are both trying to do their best in the uncertainty of what the world will look like moving forward. God is here, and He is providing. Neither of them is in fear of losing their jobs, and they have not gone without an income. They did have the virus but continued to have their health. They have true friendships, a strong marriage, and amazing children. God is good.
Something they can say for certain is that BBC shaped the direction of their lives. And not just because of the solid biblical teaching. The professors truly had a love of the God they were teaching about. They weren’t just intelligent people sharing their knowledge. They were God-fearing people who passed down that excitement and love of God to their students, whom they genuinely cared for. This experience was just as life-changing as the class content. And they are eternally grateful for everything they received as students.