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Goats and WDT degrees

Lizby Mathews' life as a WDT student and missionary is like a crazy dream. She wakes up in the morning in Sentani, Papua, Indonesia, breathes in the warm humid air tinged with the smell of garden crops, wet earth, and sunshine. She hears the roar of traffic picking up on the main road in front of the house and the crazy motorcyclists who don't know the meaning of a speed limit. They drive like they are chasing death.

Lizby Mathews holding a goat Lizby Mathews is a WDT student and missionary who is earning her degree while living in Indonesia.

She goes outside and looks across the road at majestic mount Cyclops that towers 7,000 feet above the town of Sentani. Thousands of shades of green cover the hillside.

"It's a beautiful, wonderful place to live," Lizby said.

It turns out it's also a great place to pursue a Western Dakota Tech degree in Business Management and Marketing and apply the skills she learns in her classes.

"It helps to get ahead in coursework for when the power goes off and you can't get your work turned in," Lizby said, "though my dad did rig up an emergency power supply system that runs off my younger brother's RC airplane batteries."

Lizby has lived mostly in Indonesia ever since she was four years old, excluding about two and a half years she spent in the United States. While in the United States, she lived in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and South Dakota. She attended Stevens High School in Rapid City for 11th grade and because of that, she feels more at home in Rapid City than anywhere besides Indonesia. She plans to move back to Rapid City in January and expects to live in the United States for at least two or three years.

Lizby completed high school in Indonesia at the Hillcrest International School, and after spending some time in the United States, she returned to Indonesia to attend seminary and work on mission projects. Lizby's mother is a medical doctor, and her father is a former mission pilot who now is working to start the first 100 percent Christian radio station on the island. Lizby's parents have been missionaries since 1991.

Lizby's most notable project involved taking charge of the goat project her family had run in the backyard for 15 years. She set goals to separate family and project finances, achieve financial stability for the project, import new breeding stock, move the herd to accommodate growth, and build relationships with local stores to sell goat and farm products.

She accomplished those goals and continues to run the goat project successfully. She gives credit, in part, to her WDT education.

"The courses I have taken have helped me to succeed in improving this goat project," she said. "I have learned skills to help market, sell, fund, and manage. I feel that the skills learned for business are applicable to any work I may do in the future. They are tools that I can use not just in America, but anywhere in the world."

Lizby's days are fairly free, and she sets aside four days a week to work on her WDT courses. She fits her mission projects around assignments and studying, and she takes each day and its challenges as they come. She doesn't know what the future holds because she's following a path of faith, but Lizby knows that faith, combined with everything she is learning in the mission and in her WDT courses, will prepare her for whatever awaits.

"The skills I'm learning are tools I hope will help me to relate to people, manage money and responsibilities well, and make attractive and accurate presentations," she said.

And she'll always keep those airplane batteries close by. Just in case.

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