CBE International is proud to support the education and ministry of Emily Isbell, Michelle Kim, and Laura Tarro!
Emily Lu Isbell is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Theology and Mission at Northern Seminary. She is a first generation American; her father is from Taiwan and her mother is Chinese from Taiwan. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Geology from The University of Texas at Austin. Emily left her position with ExxonMobil to raise her two sons and has been a constant support to husband Scott for eighteen years. She is a founding missionary of The Broken Wall Project, which serves under-resourced under-served neighborhoods in West Baltimore, MD. She has served as the Mission Strategist for The Broken Wall Community Church since 2016. Emily has a keen awareness of the plight of the oppressed and serves as a vocal advocate for the marginalized, the compromised, and the invisible of West Baltimore. Her heart is for all people to find healing, reconciliation, and wholeness in Jesus.
Along with the regular challenges of vocational ministry, Emily has had to navigate the challenges and pitfalls of being a woman of color in a denomination that does not actively affirm or empower women of color in leadership positions. The AMMS award will allow her to continue this leg of her educational journey. The equipping will enable her to utilize biblical and theological tools to seek justice and equity for the oppressed.
The AMMS award affirms the work Emily does among the marginalized and her calling as a woman leader in the church. She is especially grateful for the life of Alvera Mickelsen and hopes to honor her legacy by advocating for women in leadership with both truth and grace.
Michelle is a second-year Master of Divinity student at Alliance Theological Seminary. Michelle answered God’s call to seminary in July 2020 as a mother of young children working full time to lead a Christian non-profit focused on aiding North Korean refugees with hope to be even more equipped to serve the Kingdom at home and around the world.
Michelle’s experience in short-term missions as a child led her to serve in government -- outreaching to various constituencies and marginalized groups. She worked to empower women, Asian Americans, and many other communities, providing opportunities for their voices to be heard. Over sixteen years ago she felt God gently challenging her to lay down her growing career and follow a very different path serving the North Korea mission field. She founded a Christian nonprofit the following year that continues to faithfully pray, further awareness about the spiritual and humanitarian crisis, rescue refugees, and support refugee outreach and resettlement throughout the US and abroad.
Whether in the political world or in the ministry field, Michelle encountered a gradient of gender discrimination and many nuanced cultural barriers, but it never discouraged her from remaining steadfast in her calling. She believes that a God-given mantle of authority comes from humble submission to the Lord regardless of gender, ethnicity, or age.
The Alvera Mickelson Memorial Scholarship is both an incredible financial blessing and an empowering opportunity to learn about the legacy of Alvera Mickelsen and others working to break the barriers to biblical equality in ministry. Michelle is very honored, humbled and grateful as this award is an answer to her prayers in the midst of challenging circumstances for support to continue to her studies.
Laura Tarro is currently entering her third year as a Master of Divinity student with an emphasis in New Testament. Her passion is to see lost people encounter Jesus in the words of Scripture and in the lives of God’s people. God’s call upon her life has always centered around evangelism, leading, and teaching. She has been in ministry for over twenty years, serving in director and assistant roles, teaching the Bible and leading evangelistic efforts in a variety of denominations and parachurch organizations. She has always known that God called her to lead in ministry, but it has taken her many years to identify that the calling was specifically to pastor.
The settings where Laura has served were often happy to use her gifts but not to provide clear paths to promotion in ministry, or to properly name the gifts she was exercising. After years of repeatedly bumping into invisible roadblocks, she realized she needed to find a ministry setting that intentionally identified and promoted the ministry gifts of women. This is how she ended up in the Master of Divinity program at Northern Seminary and in the Evangelical Covenant denomination. Her call is to pastor and to church plant. She is currently serving as a pastoral intern in a local Evangelical Covenant church and leading a program in community outreach. This fall she will be licensed in the denomination while being trained and commissioned to plant a church in her community.
Receiving this scholarship is a tremendous gift to her and her family. She’s thrilled to be able to have the opportunity to focus on classes without the additional concern of figuring out how she’s going to pay for it.
You can also help offer this scholarship to even more women when you contribute to the scholarship fund.
About the AMMS:
Alvera Mickelsen, a CBE founder and its first board chair, was a prophetic theologian and gracious ambassador of biblical equality for women. Alvera was a people’s theologian, bending her enormous talent to fanning into flames God’s gifts and call in women’s lives. She was adept at communicating not only with those who sincerely wanted to learn but also with those who were antagonistic. Without exception, she extended dignified treatment to everyone.
The Alvera Mickelsen Memorial Scholarship(AMMS) is funded by CBE International and made possible through the generosity of Alvera’s family and the CBE community. Given the challenges that women face in the church and Christian academia, AMMS was created to help women answer the call to ministry by providing academic scholarships. The scholarship is designed to provide financial assistance to women who are pursuing a master’s degree in a ministry field related to preaching, communications, writing, youth ministry, pastoral work, or nonprofit work. This year, CBE will award at least one scholarship to go toward 2021–2022 tuition expenses.
In the video below, Pushpa Samuel, a scholarship recipient, and Shirley Mullen, president of Hougton College, share why the AMMS is so important.