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Because God told him to

By Stephen Cabe, contributing writer

Assured of what he is about to do, he takes one final glimpse of his reflection in the mirror. Nervously, he takes a breath as the needle begins to inject the dark black ink into his chest.

Tyler Coffey (sr) remembers one of the hardest decisions he ever made: following God’s calling to get something he knew his parents would dislike—a tattoo.

“God asked me to do it,” Coffey said. “He asked me to do probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life.”

Before Coffey got the tattoo two summers ago, he asked several people about the idea of getting a tattoo because he was still on the fence about it.

“[At summer camp] one of our speakers came, and he had this huge tattoo,” Coffey said. “I was just like, ‘Did that hurt?’ And he said, ‘Of course it hurt, but I wanted it to hurt,’ and I was like, ‘what?’”


Coffey got his tattoo two summers ago after he felt God telling him to get it // Photo taken by Stephen Cabe

The speaker explained how Jesus felt so much pain for humanity, so by getting a tattoo, he felt just a little bit of pain for Jesus.

“I was thinking if I ever got a tattoo, I wanted it to have a meaning like that,” Coffey said.

Until Coffey was assured by a verse his dad referenced, he was unsure whether he should get the tattoo permanently inscribed on his chest.

“When my dad referenced a specific Bible verse, I knew it that God was confirming for me that I was supposed to get the tattoo,” Coffey said. “I know I’m still in God’s will because of the different people I’ve been able to reach and the doors my tattoo has opened for me to talk to people.”

The verse that confirmed God’s calling for Coffey to get a tattoo was 1 Corinthians 13:11.

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” (NIV)

The tattoo is the starting point for Coffey to share his testimony and what God has done in and through his life.

This semester Danny Wogoman was one of the first people to hear the story of Coffey’s tattoo.

“I was definitely moved,” Wogoman said. “It made me think about the meaning behind tattoos, and I started wondering that maybe there’s more meaning behind other people’s tattoos that I don’t know.”

Coffey even shared his testimony with the tattoo artist when he was getting the tattoo.

“I was there for like an hour and a half, so I got to share my entire testimony,” Coffey said. “He really clung to parts of my testimony, and he didn’t say it with words, but God gave him a little bit of hope that day that there’s actually a person that cares.”

Growing up, Coffey had to overcome many obstacles, one of which was bullying.

“All the mean things people called me never had power over me until I began to accept those words as my identity,” Coffey said. “The speaker at our camp talked about the meaning behind words and how God gives us words with meaning. That’s when I asked God to give me three words.”

The three words God gave Coffey were love, hope, and faith—all of which are now tattooed in Hebrew in the shape of a triangle on his chest.

 “[The way] I used to read the Bible I would take verses that were inspirational and (without the context) I would post them on Facebook, but it didn’t mean anything to me,” Coffey said. “It means more to me that my tattoo is in Hebrew because if it said it in English, I feel like it wouldn’t have the same meaning. And it makes people want to know what it means.”

Every time Coffey shares the story of his tattoo, it gets easier for him to also share his testimony.

 A sports ministry major, Coffey hopes to use the story of his tattoo and his testimony to share Jesus with people in the present moments and in the future.

 “My goal is to share the hope that God sees and cares for you when no one else does,” Coffey said. “And God will never stop trying to reach you anyway he can.”

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Longboarders skate to relieve stress

By Heather Cox, contributing writer

It’s a breezy, early morning as Ruth Wooster (fr) comes out of Beckett Hall, steps onto her longboard and rolls down the sidewalk toward class—the fresh morning air waking her up and melting away her stress.

Colin Jensen (so) rides his longboard outside the Philippe Performing Arts Center.

Colin Jensen (so) rides his longboard outside the Philippe Performing Arts Center. // Photo by Becka Roth

Hundreds of students on campus have taken up longboarding over the past several years for those same reasons: it’s a relaxing mode of building-to-building transportation on the university’s ever-expanding campus.

Longboarding began as a sport called “downhill skateboarding” in the late 1970s, and the first longboards began appearing on IWU’s campus around 1998 and 1999, according to Joel Cash (sr).

Cash has been longboarding since 2000, when he first attended IWU before taking a multi-year break from his studies, which he recently resumed.

Wooster, who has been longboarding for around 3 weeks now, said “it’s super relaxing and gets you places faster.”

Jonathan Daugherty (so), who has been longboarding for close to a year, agrees and adds: “it’s a stress release, and it’s a fun thing to do with friends.”

The Midwest Longboarding Association states longboarding began picking up popularity around 2010. The Ripple, a longboarding shop in Carmel, Ind., said its board sales began rapidly increasing around 2006.

Though Indiana doesn’t have many steep hills, there are still ways for people in the Midwest to get more involved and serious about downhill skateboarding. The MLA advertises and organizes events for the sport and recently had one at Indiana University.

The longboarding culture is improving and moving rapidly and constantly, on and off campus.

“I think a lot of people would find it fun and stress relieving like I do. I definitely like seeing a culture of longboarding,” Daugherty said.

Jesse Turcott (sr) explained, “I like the challenge of learning a new trick or skill. I also love going on solo rides late at night if I need to get away or think or just enjoy a nice evening breeze.”

As colder weather is rounding the corner, longboarding might get put on hold for some people.

“My longboard usually gets put up once it gets cold, as I only use it for recreation,” Daugherty said.

Some, such as Turcott, will continue with the love for longboarding throughout the cold seasons.

“I actually board throughout the year,” Turcott said. “As long as there isn’t snow on the sidewalks, I’ll still go out and board. I just have to layer up a little more.”

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Cabe brings magic to IWU

Stephen Cabe (jr) started training to be a magician when he was seven years old and now brings his talent to Indiana Wesleyan University.

Stephen Cabe displays his tricks to IWU students at JuJuBerry // Photo taken by Kelly Reed

Stephen Cabe displays his tricks to IWU students at JuJuBerry // Photo taken by Kelly Reed

Cabe became interested in performing magic the moment he saw his older brother do a simple trick as a first grader. His other family members entertained through music, but he decided to entertain through magic.

“I didn’t have the money for any cool trick sets or even trick cards, so I bought my first deck of normal cards and started learning skills,” Cabe said.

He started performing for shows at the age of 12 for the Kids Club at his church.

“It was my first and definitely my worst show, but I learned a lot about performing magic at a young age,” he said.

By the time he was 14 he was already helping Niles Haunted House Scream Park design props for their magic shows. Cabe’s passion and talent grew, and he took his magic to school with him at Hesston College before transferring to IWU.

His tricks now include props such as razor blades and straitjackets.

“I’ve done too many shows to count. Two of my biggest shows were at Hesston where I held fundraisers for the baseball team,” he said.

Since being at IWU, Cabe has become increasingly more known as a magician or illusionist. Last week, he performed magic three days at McConn and once at JuJuBerry.

Corinne Metzger (so) was at McConn one of the nights he performed.

“I was an innocent bystander just working on accounting when I heard screams, so I turned around and there was a man standing in front of the McConn counter legitimately pulling a card out of his mouth. I was so shocked,” she said.

The next night, Mia Anderson (so) was at JuJuBerry while Cabe was performing and got to participate in a few of his tricks.

“He showed me two cards and then put them in each of my hands. When he finished his trick, he told me to flip the cards over, and they were different,” she said. “It was amazing because I didn’t expect him to be that good.”

These little performances might not be enough for Cabe, though. He’s considering doing another show at IWU in his near future, only this time he would like to raise money for charity.

Photo taken by Kelly Reed

Cabe hopes to use his magic as an opportunity for evangelism in the future // Photo taken by Kelly Reed

“My ultimate goal would be to travel across the United States performing on different stages as a motivational speaker and magician,” he said. “I would do escapes because it would give me the opportunity to present a gospel message that people would not normally hear at a magic show.”

He escapes from straight jackets right now, but his next goal is to master underwater escapes.

Cabe’s vision is to give his testimony to his audience and then get tied up underwater. Once he frees himself, he will relate his escape to the gospel message by saying one can escape from sin and be set free through Jesus Christ.

“It gives me the opportunity to share my faith with a captive audience,” he said. “It brings the message to them instead of them having to go to church to hear the message.”

Cabe has three specific goals in mind whenever he performs a show. He thinks of the acronym EIM, which stands for encourage, inspire and motivate.

“I want to encourage others, inspire them to find truth and motivate them to apply that truth to every aspect of their lives,” he said.

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@IWUpresident: David Wright engages community on social media

Dr. David Wright, Indiana Wesleyan University’s president for nearly a full academic year, is no stranger to the social media scene.

Dr. Wright posting a tweet about his interview with The Sojourn

Dr. Wright posting a tweet about his interview with The Sojourn

Though not much of a Facebook or Twitter buff before taking on the title of president, Wright now consistently runs two Facebook pages – one personal and one presidential, a Twitter page and a blog.

“It really struck me that that’s an important way of maintaining a connection today,” he said. “People don’t have a lot of time to sit and read things,”

Wright decided to become more active on social media for his presidency partially as a result of a conference with other university presidents who talked about various ways they were connecting with their communities.

“They all had thought purposefully about the way they would use media today to connect on behalf of the university,” Wright said. “Not so much a personal contact, but how would they communicate on behalf of the university as the president with the multiple publics.”

Wright shared that his Twitter account is connected to both of his Facebook accounts, so anything he tweets gets automatically posted to Facebook as well, increasing the interaction with other media users.

His blog is also connected with both his Twitter and Facebook accounts, giving easy access to his thoughts. photo

Wright says that he, for the most part, uses his Twitter and Facebook posts for brief updates that he tries to share a few times each day. His blog posts come less frequently – usually once every week or two, but he adds much more content.

“The blog posts tend to be longer and more substantive,” he said. “People feel like it’s a more immediate kind of connection with my philosophy or where I think the university’s going or things that are going on in our context.”

“The power of that connection has been pretty amazing to me,” he added.

IMG_6699Wright sees his use of social media as a great way to connect with students and others in the community. He said he has had people start conversations with him about his posts, finding them as an area of common ground with him.

Although readers have given Wright a lot of positive feedback from his various posts, he admitted there has been some negative feedback, usually in regards to something he has shared that someone does not agree with. He realizes though, that people disagreeing occasionally come with the territory.

“If everybody agreed, you probably aren’t doing your job,” Wright said

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