Douglas Mehling was diagnosed with Duchene’s Muscular Dystrophy when he was four years old, and by age nine he was in a wheelchair. With the help of great caregivers and a wonderful, conscientious family, Douglas continued his studies and lived a longer life than the original 17 years given to him at the time of diagnosis. His education continued through receiving his Divinity Degree from Southwestern Adventist University in 2007, and he earned his master's degree in theology in 2013.
While his life was full of challenges, he lived it to the fullest extent. He was a high achiever in high school, receiving early college credit from advanced classes. Being in a wheelchair did make his life more complicated, and his disease required difficult surgeries and several hospitalizations. He didn’t know what his career should be, but one day God gave him a calling to study theology. He was impressed with the professors and their love for the students and their scholarly brilliance. He loved college and never would miss a class even if the weather made it difficult to drive his wheelchair. His senior year he was shocked and so pleased to be elected senior class president. His graduation speech was remarkable, and he received a standing ovation.
After graduation he preached often at a small, country church. His sermons were well received, even though he had to preach with a mouthpiece in order to be able to breathe. His lungs were already severely impacted by his disease. During this time he took courses to complete his master's degree in theology.
The last seven years of his life were dedicated to finishing his autobiography, “Bionic Preacher." He tells of a life filled with medical emergencies, humorous experiences, and countless victories. He shares deep insights about living with a severe, crippling disease. His prevailing faith in God was the anchor holding him secure each moment. He passed to his final rest one week after completing his book at the age of 33. Now he is awaiting the resurrection.
Scholarship award requirements
This scholarship is awarded to students who are theology majors who have a GPA of 2.5. The same students may be eligible for this scholarship from year to year as long as they maintain a GPA of 2.5.