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Online Professor, In-Person Friendship

Online Professor, In-Person Friendship

  • Jeff Smith
  • April 12, 2022

As a student in Moody’s online program, Adrian Ortiz’s perseverance and drive to overcome numerous life challenges and serve in full-time ministry made a lasting impression on his professors, especially adjunct professor Nathan Stenholtz.

“Adrian was in my Teaching the Scriptures class in March of 2019,” Nathan says. “He had an obvious passion for God’s Word and disciple making. I always try to personally reach out to each one of my online students, and he took me up on the offer to connect. We formed a friendship quickly and had fantastic conversations about class topics but also about life and youth ministry. I had the honor to encourage him and coach him in some areas of youth ministry.

“He is passionate about living out a disciple-making way of life and ministry based on the relational priorities of Jesus. These principles were first discussed in one of our class textbooks called The Teaching Genius of Jesus by Bill Allison.”

Nathan and Adrian developed a close bond outside of the virtual classroom. Nathan and his wife, Kristin, even accepted Adrian’s invitation to spend a week with Adrian and his family last year in Wasilla, Alaska.

“Staying in his home allowed me the honor to see how much he loves his wife and kids,” Nathan says. “I’m sure he has some hard days as a dad with two little boys, but he was so loving and gentle with them, and we could easily see Jesus in the way he treated each one of them. We also got to spend some time with a couple of his youth leaders, encouraging them and building friendships. He invited me up to speak at his church’s youth retreat in February.”

Nathan Stenholtz and his wife, Kristin, visited Adrian Ortiz and his family for a week in Alaska in 2021.


Read the original story about Adrian’s life transformation in Rescue Story.

About the Author

  • Jeff Smith

Jeff Smith is editorial manager of Marketing Communications with Moody Bible Institute. After earning a BA in Journalism from Eastern Illinois University, Jeff worked for 11 years in the newspaper industry as a news reporter, sportswriter, and sports editor before serving for eight years as editorial manager of Marketing and Corporate Communications with Awana Clubs International.