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Alumni Awards: Ryan and Wendy Kessler

Ryan and Wendy Kessler both graduated from Point Loma Naza­rene College in 1994. Ryan majored in management information systems and Wendy majored in sociology with an emphasis in social work.

Wendy says she was failing her statistics class during her senior year, when Dr. Greg Crow suggested a tutor might give her a chance at passing. Ryan stepped in and helped her pass statistics, and a year later they were married.

They went on to have three children together, but never lost touch with the PLNU community. When they first opened their doors to students nearly a decade ago, it began with small youth groups and events.

Today, you can find PLNU stu­dents in their home on a consistent basis Monday and Thursday nights for dinner. They also take students on mission trips and stay present within their lives.

"Our ministry doesn't have a name. It started out as a discipleship ministry, but over the years we've developed truly special friendships with the people who gather at our table," Wendy said. "The relationship and the ministry we share goes both ways. And every week there is a mutual pouring out and filling up. Our dining room table is an extension of the church."

Former student, Sophie Callahan, nominated Ryan and Wendy for an alumni award. Here is an excerpt from her nomination letter:

"Ryan and Wendy embody PLNU's mission to teach, shape and send. They teach explicitly through Bible studies and book readings. They teach implicitly through the way they model Jesus to others. They shape the faith journeys of many twentysomethings in their most formational season, as they welcome the questions, the fears, the doubts, the struggles, alongside the joys and successes. They attend our weddings and host our baby showers and show up when we're hurting. Conversely, they would admit how much their family has been shaped by these relationships. Their three boys are being raised with many mentors, seeing how a life of faith is lived in many ways. The ministry has propelled Wendy to pursue her calling of hospitality ministry though writing and resourcing others as she tells the story of how God has moved in her own home. And we also get to celebrate their birthdays and anniversaries, and show up when they are hurting."