What a year it has been. Since I first became involved with Vision, my personal journey has been rocky at best, and the roller coaster in many ways continues today. Vision International University and VITEN (Vision International Teaching and Education Network) of which I joyfully give leadership, continues to grow, change and mature, and at the same time our challenges continue. Now we are facing challenges of growth, and strategic changes must be made for everyone’s vested future.
Each year we have a Vision and Leadership Conference, or what we call our World Zone Leaders conference. We have divided the world into regions, and have developed leaders in each area who are dedicated to seeing the Whole Word taken to the Whole World. This is the motto of VITEN/Vision since its inception in 1974. In 2007, we met in Athens, Greece, with our Mediterranean and European World Zone leadership, and leaders from around the world.
After a time of fellowship and renewing friendships, we settled into our meetings on the World Zone system and accreditation. Who would have thought that we would have such an extensive outreach, with such quality leaders from around the world?
From Eastern Europe, Dr. Ernie Campe and his wife Linda reported that the Vision schools are growing in their region. As of today, they are working with over 1500 students in five nations and working with fifty-five local churches.
In the Middle East, Dr. Jerry Zandstra and Yvette D’Sousa, along with Dr. Tim and Laurie Dailey report that the outreach is making a real impact. In partnership with the International School of Ministry, hundreds of students are being trained, and we are expanding into Jordan and other Middle Eastern nations.
In Western Europe, we have added five new schools. Those are in Switzerland, Italy, and the UK. Denis Plant is heading to the UK in May to solidify arrangements for more schools in England, which is a real answer to prayer.
Africa continues to grow, under Dr. Steve Mills, our recipient of the annual Excellence in Leadership Award, and we are getting ready for greater launches in India and China, along with Farsi language programs in partnership with the Iranian Christian Church.
Overall our meetings were highly productive, a true blessing to all who could attend.
In the Steps of Paul
The second half of our time in Greece was a tour, following the Footsteps of Paul. At each stop, we heard dynamic teaching from Dr. Chant, Dr. Gurley, Dr. West, Dr. Zandstra, and Dr. Brian van Deventer and Dr. Gail Stathis. Drs. Brian and Gail, along with their staff in Greece, made this a most memorable time for all.
When I wrote this, I was still in Greece, teaching 20+ students about leadership. Our staff was home preparing for our Readiness Visit (February 28) from the Distance Education and Training Council, the next step in our march towards accreditation. As always, I am grateful to the Lord for the privilege of serving in this ministry. God is so good and merciful. We have much work to complete before we can move to the next level in Excellence, but the Lord is our helper, and we will indeed make it by His grace. We must always stay focused on taking the Whole Word to the Whole World, as God gives us strength. One key to doing this is to never forget where we have come from. The reason for this book is to document the first 30 plus years of a remarkable and unlikely work for the Lord; the Vision International University/VITEN story begins here.
- Dr. Stan DeKoven - President
In 1974, Vision began both in Tasmania, Australia and San Diego, California. Dr. Ken Chant, founder of Vision Bible College, began in Launceston, Tasmania. Simultaneously, Dr. Joseph Bohac and Dr. Stan DeKoven began Logos Institute, a local church training program in practical ministry and counseling. By 1977, Dr. Chant moved his school to Sydney, Australia, joining Pastor Allan Langstaff, where the Vision Bible College program grew. Logos Institute continued as a counseling ministry and training center, while Dr. DeKoven pursued studies in psychology and theology.
By 1982, Dr. Chant moved to the United States (St. Paul, Minnesota).
He established his program there. Dr. DeKoven returned to San Diego after having earned his doctorate and continued to expand the Logos program. Simultaneously, Dr. Randy Gurley, Chairman of the Board of Regents and Executive vice-president of Vision, began his Bible College teaching ministry eventually merging with Vision. By 1985, Dr.
Chant, in response to a strong leading from the Lord, brought his outstanding Bible College to San Diego, California. Vision Bible College was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in 1985.
By 1987, Dr. DeKoven and Dr. Chant had established a full-time, short-term campus and eventually merged their hearts and visions. The network of affiliated campuses, the desire of Dr. DeKoven’s heart, began to be established and has grown as is described hereafter.
1990 was a pivotal year for Vision. Dr. Chant, in obedience to the Lord, returned to his native Australia. Prior to his leaving, Vision Bible College, under Dr. DeKoven’s direction, had expanded to its present University status. A headquarters site was purchased in the beautiful community of Ramona, California, where the present headquarters continues to be based. A local campus and a counseling center are also located at this location. Since 1990, Vision has expanded its influence around the world, developing teaching centers in every continent. Vision now features a proprietary on line learning system, provides curriculum to bible colleges around the world through our World Zone Leaders in multiple languages, and continues to prepare leaders in the 21st century while taking the whole word to the whole world.