A Legacy of Love

A Legacy of Love
As a very young girl growing up on a family farm in Iowa, Shila Wiebe always knew exactly what she wanted to do with her life. Her goal was to become a nurse and serve the Lord in some type of mission work. The dream of becoming a nurse was fulfilled at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Shila's mission journey took her to Taiwan for two years, to the Los Angeles County School of Nursing for 11 years, and 26 years of teaching in the School of Nursing at Azusa Pacific University (APU). In each step of her career Shila introduced Jesus as the model and lifestyle for caring for people, stressed excellence in all work, and encouraged students to minister in the community. She attributed so much to the strength of her parents, who instilled in her Christian values, a strong work ethic, and a desire to obtain a college education, which they did not have.

At APU Shila had the privilege of teaching her favorite subjects in medical surgical nursing which included courses in oncology, gerontology and pharmacology. She believed the courses she taught laid the foundation for the specialties in nursing.

"APU is included in my living trust because I agree with their philosophy of 'God First', the priorities that are set by the leadership of the university, especially faith integration, and how faculty are encouraged to provide care for students", said Shila. "It's the whole Christian environment we experience at APU."

"At APU the faculty affirm each other?s accomplishments. It's beautiful. You just don't find that everyplace," she added. "I would highly recommend to my friends to invest in APU because the greatest reward is that you are sharing in God's work, and it's a very safe place to invest your money."

Although semi-retired from APU, Shila still stayed in touch with students, especially those in mission work and the military. They would share with her their joys, heartbreaks, visions and accomplishments in the nursing field from around the world.

"The greatest strength of APU, in addition to the motto of 'God First', is the priority of excellence across the campus in teaching, administration, and life style. Going out into the community and providing care, opportunities, and evangelism are so important to the university today. Our diverse communities need us."

Shila's main focus for her investment in APU is scholarships for undergraduate nursing students. "Many students would not be at APU today if it weren't for the scholarships," she said. "Another project I would like my investment to contribute to is a new state of the art nursing building. We need more space, even though the beautiful new science building is gracious in letting us share some of their space."

Throughout her life she, Shila demonstrated a willingness to follow God wherever He led. She lived by the verse in Proverbs 3:5-7: "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart. Lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord and shun evil."

On October 23, 2009 when this story interview was conducted, Shila's face radiated with Christian joy as she shared her story. However, the APU family was shocked and stricken with grief when the news broke that she unexpectedly passed away on November 30.

Shila Wiebe fulfilled her dream as a young girl of serving the Lord in different types of mission work. We are so thankful her mission journey brought her to APU for more than a quarter of a century as a faculty member, leader and dear friend. She served with extreme Christian dedication to APU in and out of the classroom, and always exemplified Jesus as her model.

Although many didn't get to say "good-bye" to Shila, we know that Shila's legacy of love will live on through her gifts, her excellence in teaching, her compassion for students, and most of all her love and commitment to her savior, Jesus Christ.