Dr. Carmen Joy Imes (Class of 1995) is making her impact in the world of Christian higher education. Through her exciting journey as a missionary, scholar, speaker, and professor, Carmen has been faithful to the next step that God has in her life.
Carmen comes from a family of Denver Christian alumni. Her mother, (Verna [Brasser] Camfferman, and Verna’s siblings Wayne, Karen, and Harvey, all attended Denver Christian from kindergarten to graduation. Carmen and her brother, John Camfferman, also attended K-12. Carmen and her mother had the same 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Meyer (mother of Barry Meyer, our amazing science teacher who retired in 2019.)
Carmen remembers Mrs. Meyer as the person who nourished her love for reading and writing. In fact, Carmen still has the fabric covered cardboard books she made in 2nd grade. Carmen says that since then, “I always dreamed of actually publishing a book someday. That dream finally came true in 2017, when my doctoral dissertation was published.” Carmen’s fifth book will soon be released by InterVarsity Press. She says that she’s still dreaming of writing a children’s book someday!
From a young age, Carmen knew that the Lord was calling her to missions. She remembers a week in middle school when Matthew 28:18-20 was the memory verse. She also heard it on the radio and in a sermon at church. Carmen says, “I felt like that passage followed me everywhere.” Many small moments fostered Carmen’s personal faith and desire to serve others, such as outreach in Denver or TA’ing Bible classes for Mr. Neerhoff.
Carmen says, “I’m still reaping the fruit of that quality education at Denver Christian.
Carmen remembers the way that teachers like Rene Meyer (then Miss Ruiter) helped her study the perspectives of other worldviews. She studied both history and watched it being made through current events in Mr. Posthumus’s classes. Carmen’s memories of her time at Denver Christian highlight the difference that teachers who care about relationships make. She noted that she loved both classes and productions with Rene Meyer, “Mrs. Meyer believed in us and she encouraged us to grow, both in the classroom and on stage.” Similarly, Mr. Neerhof’s engaging way of approaching the Bible, “captured my imagination and shaped the way I teach to this day.”
After graduating high school, Carmen went on to get a bachelor’s degree in Bible and Theology from Multnomah University in Portland, Oregon. While in Oregon, she met and married her husband, Daniel. In 2002, they embarked on their journey as missionaries, serving with SIM in the Philippines. They also later served at SIM’s headquarters in North Carolina. During their 15 years of ministry with SIM, Carmen continued her education, earning her Master’s degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and then her PhD in biblical theology from Wheaton College. After earning her PhD, Carmen and her husband, Daniel, moved to Alberta with their three children (now 21, 17, and 14 years old) when she accepted a teaching position at Prairie College.
When she was a senior, Carmen’s high school guidance counselor returned from a trip to California saying, “Carmen, I have found the school for you – Biola University!” Although Carmen ended up attending school in Oregon, her journey around the world brought her to Biola University, where Carmen is an Associate Professor. Carmen gave a shout-out to her guidance counselor, “Mrs. VandenBerg, if you’re out there somewhere reading this, you were dead right! This is a great fit for me!”Carmen reflects, “It’s been an incredible journey that has led us around the world and back. What a privilege it is to be part of equipping God’s people by helping them understand their identity and vocation as the people of God!”
As a professor and scholar, Carmen has combined her talents in research, teaching, and service. She is passionate about studying the scriptures and making the Bible accessible to others. During the pandemic, she started a YouTube channel where she shares insights from the Torah as she writes her forthcoming commentary on Exodus for Baker Academic. Whether through her Torah Tuesday videos, her classes at Biola, or service to the community, Carmen’s life is an incredible reminder of how God slowly develops the skills we will need throughout our lives. We are thankful to have been a part of her journey!