Evangel Profile

Vision Magazine│Digging Deep with Dr. Dirt

May 23, 2015

See life through the eyes of biology professor Dr. Jason Streubel, one of Evangel’s resident world changers.

As a young boy, springtime was one of my favorite times of the year. On any given Saturday you could find me wandering through an orchard of cherry trees in the farthest corner of Northwest Washington State.

This particular orchard belonged to my grandpa, who was lovingly known as “Bomps.” Often, I sat on the base of the wellhead with my BB gun resting on my knee looking for the sure sign of attack: falling blossoms. I would lose track of time waiting for the first blossom to fall to the ground.

Then it would begin — the quest to protect the orchard.

You see, birds migrated through the area just in time for spring blossom, and as the only orchard on that side of the state, our blossoms were prime targets for the nectar inside. Every time those birds knocked a blossom free, it meant no cherry would grow that season.

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Dr. Jason Streubel is an associate professor at Evangel and serves as director of agriculture at Convoy of Hope.

The despair in the pit of my stomach when making the discovery of white blossoms piled like a fresh snow at the base of a tree was unbearable. The burden was heavy. The responsibility to protect the orchard so the fruit could grow became an obsession.

Bomps would sit next to me and share what each blossom represented — fruit that could be ripe for harvest. God used my Bomps, and those days in his orchard, to fuel my desire to give hope a chance to grow.

Fast forward more than 30 years and I’m sitting in front of a native indigenous tribal group in Mexico. I’m helping them solve nutritional security problems because the eight known Christians in the region are asking how they can grow things for themselves.

They are asking me, a grown-up boy from a small orchard, for hope.

I am confident that with God’s help, hope has a chance to grow and this tribe will no longer be counted among the unreached.

My passport has been stamped 45 times in the past three and a half years. From East Africa to Central America, I’ve been working with Convoy of Hope’s Agriculture Initiative. Really, to be precise, I have been playing in the dirt and manure all over the world.

As I teach the basics of soil texture, solve bug infestation problems, and put education in the hands of those who need it the most, my obsession for giving hope and protecting the harvest comes full circle. I am reminded that hope changes everything.

Walking through fields, I see pitfalls that deny seeds their chance to grow all the way to harvest. I am truly blessed to have a network of scientists and friends I can call to problem solve, but not everyone believes hope for the harvest is both spiritual and physical. Personally, I can’t separate the two — they work in tandem.

In my days as a Missions major at Northwest University, I remember my lovely (now wife) Mary and I feeding tilapia in the aquaponics greenhouse and dreaming of ways to bring hope around the world as a couple. Those days taught me the core of my personal mission, which is what I call “any way, anywhere, anyone.”

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This is my driving belief: God can use any way possible, anywhere on the planet to bring anyone a step closer to a relationship with Him.

This mission is why I believe in working with students from Evangel and other like-minded universities. The next generation of George Washington Carvers are sitting in our classrooms right now, and they need to know that their love for science and academics is a worthy call. When that love for science collides with a call to ministry, protecting the harvest and giving hope becomes a reality that the world is desperately seeking!

Our students and faculty are passionately seeking out answers for those who are suffering with need. Basic needs like food and nutrient security, clean and safe water, energy security and environmental remediation are being addressed because our world is in need of solutions. These challenges are not going away, and the world needs answers, both spiritual and physical.

The solutions to our world’s grand challenges can be found in our quest of discovery. That’s why Evangel and Convoy of Hope have partnered to come up with programs that will reach the hopeless.

We hope for a plant variety able to withstand even the highest salinity. We hope for a water filtration method so inexpensive that everyone has access to clean and safe water. We hope for a new energy source that is yet to be invented, and all of these are within the reach of those who lay their heart and soul in the hands of the most creative Mind.

EU-Streubel-39I dream of the day when people from all over the world come to Evangel to find answers, research, collaboration, training and expertise because we are known for how our scientific rigor blends perfectly with the hope and faith we possess.

As each orchard day would come to a close, Bomps and I would make a final check of every tree hoping I had not missed the enemy coming to take away the harvest. I wish I could take my students, Evangel’s alumni and others back to the orchard of my youth to feel what it was like to see a pile of blossoms on the ground.

It’s the same feeling I get when I look at a disease-ravaged field that will not see a harvest. It’s those memories that help drive my obsession for the lost, my love for dirt, Convoy of Hope and Evangel. Anywhere, any way, anyone — this is why we must train and educate the next generation.


Alumni: If you want to talk about how you can be involved, learn more about Convoy of Hope, or just want to know what type of bird it was, email me at streubelj@evangel.edu.