Goucher's Unite at MCC

By Mark Janssen

Paden Goucher and Autumn Bloodworth took the “teammate” phrase to a higher level this past January 6 when they became Mr. and Mrs. Goucher.

Oh, they knew each other as family friends back in southwest Phoenix – Autumn in Surprise and Paden in Buckeye – and in fact were a “dating couple” during their senior year in high school. But this was the read-deal with an “I do” bonding during semester break of this junior year at Manhattan Christian College.

Paden said the timing came after multiple late-, late-, late-night talks in the library until they finally agreed, “What are we waiting for?” and became husband and wife.

Going back a few years, Autumn’s introduction to this school 1,120 miles northeast from home came from her father being on the staff at Christ Church of the Valley, which is the product of Rev. Don Wilson, a graduate of MCC.

“I visited and just fell in love with it. I’m more of an introvert, so I loved the small size and closeness I felt,” Autumn said of the MCC campus where she is majoring in counseling and hopes to eventually focus on foster and adopted children. “I’m not going to end up doing it, but I also liked the availability of getting a dual degree (at Kansas State).”

As for Paden, whose father is the minister of the Refinery Christian Church, he was directed to the Kansas Flint Hills to pursue a dream of becoming a minister.

“I visited and was immediately comfortable with the guys in the dorm, plus the professors were so welcoming,” said Paden. “I was only a junior (in high school), but I didn’t even want to go home. The teachers were that caring and I was ready to enroll.”

He candidly adds with a sly smile, “I didn’t come here because of Autumn, but it was just a nice addition.”

Another nice addition to both was the fact that MCC offered the sport of soccer, which was important to each in completing their youthful lifestyle.

Oh, and it also carried on a tradition as Paden’s father, Chad, and Autumn’s dad, Dennis, both played soccer for the then MCC Crusaders. The families have been ultra-tight ever since, and with the latest marriage they truly are family.

Asked which is the better soccer player, and Autumn and Paden go into stare-off.

Finally, Paden breaks the silence by saying, “I will say that she’s far more physical than I am. Guys hit each other and then normally shake hands and it’s forgotten. With girls, they hold grudges.”

Autumn agreed: “If someone does something dirty or mean, that’s the girl you have to go after the whole game. We don’t forget.”

As for bringing the outcome of a game home, Paden says, “We know there might be the need for 20 minutes when we don’t talk about it, but then you just have to learn how to lose in a good way.”

For Autumn, the season has been especially challenging with just one match victory to cheer and celebrate.

“I don’t think the losing has tested my faith, but instead it’s built my faith,” said Autumn. “God has given me the strength to understand that there’s more than just the outcome of the game that matters. He’s help me develop a better attitude and not be mad at everyone when we do happen to lose.”

That comes through with the tattoo on her right wrist area: “Grace Upon Grace.”

It’s a phrase that Autumn describes as, “… a reminder to live as Jesus has lived by granting others grace. The importance of its placement is to help evangelize so when someone asks about it I get the opportunity to share with others about my faith and who Jesus is.”

For sure, both agree that sports and Christianity can go hand in hand.

“I go back to what my dad instilled in me, which was, ‘No matter what, know that God’s on your side.’,” said Paden. “That’s true whether you’re in life, in the classroom, or on the soccer field. When things may be going poorly in a match, it’s comforting to know that God is on my side. I’m not alone. Not only do I have my teammates supporting me, but I also have God beside me. I’m not alone in anything that I do.”

So now three MCC years later, and with best friend in hand as Mr. and Mrs. Goucher, what is their message to incoming students?

Giving a soft laugh, Autumn joked, “First of all, if you’re from Arizona, you won’t be alone.”

Turning more serious, “It’s just a great place to lead a Christ-like life. I explored other Christian colleges, but was never impressed until I got here. The professors absolutely pour themselves into your life. If you need to pop into any office, you know you can,” said Autumn. “It’s just so encouraging how everyone at the school loves on you and supports you.”

Paden adds, “MCC has prepared me for my next steps in life emotionally, spiritually and educationally. There just is not a better place than MCC. There is just an overwhelming community of support here in helping you become a Christian leader whether that’s in a church or in all walks of life.”

MCC Scoreboard

12/7/2018 | Mens Basketball vs. Baptist Bible College | W, 104-94 
12/6/2018 | Mens Basketball at Union College (Neb.) | W, 96-63 
12/6/2018 | Womens Basketball at Union College (Neb.) | W, 60-33 
12/4/2018 | Mens Basketball at Barclay College | L, 76-72 
12/4/2018 | Womens Basketball at Barclay College | W, 51-38