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Alumni Stories


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Rev. Melody L. Lavin, PhD

President / International Director VLMI, US & Canada

Vice-Chairman VLM of Eastern & Central Africa

In the moment when God’s Word is heard, understood, and applied, a person’s life can change dramatically. I have been an international minister, a teacher and trainer, for 38 years, and the director of four international training organizations for the last seven years: Victorious Living Ministries Int’l, Inc. U.S., VLMI Canada, VLM of Eastern & Central Africa, and VLMI Trust. Our organizations provide customized training options that strengthen local churches, empowering people for life and equipping them for effective ministry. This includes Bible training for all ages, genders and nationalities. Encouragement, teaching and training, and mentoring are all hallmarks of these organizations. I do an extensive amount of work in the area of missions, both in ministering personally in East Africa and Europe, and in directing the international partnerships of Victorious Living Ministries Int’l, Inc. with other organizations and churches globally. Additionally, I provide customized training for local church leadership teams and worship teams.


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Pastor at House of Refuge Church in Hillsdale, MI

I was drawn to go to Bible College but really didn't know what to do so I would send away for information from various schools, then I would wonder, how in the world would I be able to go to another state and leave my family to attend school.  Around that same time, I started attending Soul's Harbor Church, Pastor Garber was the Pastor at that time.  They were just starting Vision Christian Bible College and Seminary.  I was shocked that there was going to be a Bible College so close to home.  Also, around that time I was starting a Cleaning Business. One day a lady answered my ad in the paper for house cleaning and I soon started cleaning for her.  After only a short time she said, "You need to go to college and I will pay for it and you can just work it off."  Immediately I knew I wanted to go to VCBCS.  It definitely was a God thing.  He had it all set up for me.  I have been so grateful for Pastor Garber and the College time and time again.  It prepared me for ministry.  I started House of Refuge Church in 1999 and we are still going strong.  I am involved in various things throughout Hillsdale County as a minister and it is all due to my humble beginnings as a timid, broken person who got a chance to attend a Bible college in Montpelier, Ohio.  I thought I had missed my opportunity for college.  Pastor was always so good to me, he imparted wisdom in me and gave me opportunities for ministry, he believed in me even when I did not believe in myself.  My only regret is I did not get my doctorate only a master’s degree. Pastor tried to tell me to go further, but maybe someday I can work on that.



The Vineyard Church in Marysville, OH

Marriage Ministries

I graduated with a BA in Theology way back in 1999. But I appreciate most the experience of my teachers. I received so much more than just academic teaching. I had the total sum of hard-knock veteran ministers that could convey so much more to me than just academics—they had proven experience. I attended other academic institutions prior, but I found them so lacking. I gained raw knowledge without anyone being able to show me, “this is how it works in the field.” Not so with VCBCS.

I became an assisting minister after graduation in a few Foursquare Churches for about 10 years and VCBCS paved the way. At this point, my wife Leslee and I felt called to marriage ministry. Therefore, we began working with FamilyLife® Ministries under the direction of Dennis Rainey. Being local in Columbus, Ohio, Leslee and I have directed Weekend to Remember marriage getaways for about 15 years. We have had the privilege of seeing over 3,200 couples experience what a real godly marriage can be. Recently, I’ve spoken at these events to several military couples on behalf of CRU Military helping them work through the challenges of marriage in military life. We are humbled to think back to those marriages that were restored and to the souls God saved. We are still working with FamilyLife today and we love working with couples.

Additionally, we currently lead the Marriage ministry at the Vineyard Church of Marysville where we minister to couples in small groups and lead a Marriage Touch Point group helping newly-married couples stay focused on their marriage. All of this gain we give God the glory. VCBCS certainly prepared me for all the challenges we work though in ministry.

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