I grew up in Illinois, the third child of Stanley and Barbara Dvorak, who became christians when I was a baby. They taught us to put the Lord first, no matter what, and to do what needs to be done ourselves, instead of waiting for someone else to do it.
When I was in middle school, Ken Chumbley came home from Florida College to preach with a passion for historical details that made the people and events of the Bible come alive, and I ate it up. Then I went to Florida College in 1982, and studied Old Testament History under Phil Roberts. What an experience! For the first time, I learned the whole story, with its one unifying theme, and how it all fits together to tell God's amazing plan to have a relationship with us.
In the 90's, when someone asked me to teach them the Old Testament in a simplified format, it was another challenge. I had a hard time finding a lesson book that was comprehensive and at the same time simple enough. So, I put together my own lesson sheets. It forced me to study, and I've kept right on studying. I added more information to the sheets over the years for my own use, delved more into chronology, and eventually bound them into a booklet.
Meanwhile, Gary and I began working with Spanish-speaking brethren with limited access to Bible study tools. I began preparing lessons and other materials for them and their children. I dreamed of making the things I prepared available to others. Finally, with nudges from many people, Copeland Publications was begun to do just that!
That was just the beginning. It’s one thing to learn, and another to teach. But at Florida College I learned where to find answers to questions about the Bible. I learned how to distinguish between reliable resources and those with religious bias.
When there was a need for class material for toddlers in our church, I jumped into the project. I was forced to distill the Bible accounts to find the most basic lessons being taught. I had to ask questions like, "Which Bible stories are most important to THE story of the Bible?” and “What themes unite these Bible accounts?” and “What HAS to be said about this story to get the message across?”