By Anna-Kate Weichel
Joshua Fernandez hurries into the private dining rooms inside Fozard Hall for a chance to learn, grow and share. He is equipped with a pen, paper and one of his Jesus-loving graphic T-shirts. He talks with his small group about their weekends while waiting for the speaker to begin.
Every fall, a new class of about forty hand-picked students are chosen to be a part of Iron Men and Women of Valor. Throughout the school year, these students hear from faculty, staff, coaches and public mentors. These important guides teach these students about leadership, life, etiquette and much more.
Fernandez, who studies Biology and Ministry Leadership at MACU, is in his second year as an Iron Man. He is also involved with the chapel worship team, serves as a chaplain and Vice President for Student Ministerial Fellowship (SMF) and plays baseball.
Despite his many responsibilities, Fernandez said he makes it a priority to make time to grow as a leader and a Christian through the Iron Men. He is well-known in the MACU
community for spreading the Word on Instagram by posting mini sermons or helping others break down and understand Bible verses.
“The mentorship from Iron Men has impacted my walk with Christ in a positive way,” Fernandez said, noting how much he has learned about himself and his personal strengths and weaknesses. “Now I can use my strengths and be aware of my weaknesses to lead others the best that I can. Iron Men has shown me how to better love compassionately, like Jesus.”
Another student, Sarah Goins, is also in her second year of Women of Valor. One of her favorite parts of the leadership group is learning how to conduct herself in professional settings. For example, one of the group’s yearly events is an etiquette dinner. They are joined by a professional guide on etiquette and are able to learn the ins and outs of how to speak eloquently and behave in professional settings.
“The biggest lesson I have learned is that even though I am quiet, I ask a lot of questions, sometimes hard questions,” Goins said. “I’ve come to understand that those qualities don’t hold me back at all — they are what make me a leader.”