The room was darkened to help preserve a sense of security and anonymity, though every voice that spoke was known to the entire group present. This was a closed chapel, open only to a limited number of staff and to full-time students. In keeping with James 5:16, and in order to demonstrate the reality of our claim to be a place of grace and truth where students feel safe within a caring community, we hold what has become known as “confession chapel” once each year. It provides opportunity for students (and staff, as needed) to clear the air, resolve interpersonal conflicts, be reconciled to one another, and allow others to share their burdens (Gal. 6:2). It takes place each year before the annual Ministry Immersion Trip in order that there may be no hindrances to an effective ministry.
All 28 full-time students were present, along with 3 off-campus mentors and 6 full-time staff members. After singing several songs together the room grew still. Then the first student stood and boldly but sincerely shared some aspects of her personal struggle with selfishness and its effect on the community at large, expressing regret and remorse but hope in the knowledge that God was at work in her life. One by one all but 6 of the students shared, openly confessing pride, selfishness, anger, rebellion, apathy, insincerity. And then the confessions became more intimate and agonizing as other students revealed sins of lust, a desire to inflict self-harm (including suicidal thoughts), and same-sex attraction. Each student was prayed for by other students and at least one staff member. Several talked nervously about the sexual abuse they had experienced in the past at the hands of family members and how those memories plagued them today. One spoke of the physical abuse his pastor-father had inflicted on himself and his mother when he was young and how he had forsaken God’s path for a number of years in an attempt to express his anger. God had refused to let him go and eventually brought him to Indian Bible College.
For four hours the music, confessions, and prayer continued. Tears of remorse and shame gave way to palpable relief at the extension of forgiveness. Probably for the first time in their lives the guilt of harbored sin was released within a caring community. God was honored and the air was cleared of the dark secrets that had long, some for most of a lifetime, lain in hiding.
God is at work at IBC. Many of you expressed joy at the way God has been working in our midst in the area of facility expansion. Now rejoice with me as we experience His blessing in the area of spiritual growth!
Concerning the requests from last time, thank you so much for praying and for giving, as God leads, toward the purchase of the Salvation Army Thrift Store. Above is a photo of the students and staff preparing to pray for God’s provision as we form a circle in the larger of the two main buildings.
The purchase includes three buildings on a large lot separated from our current administrative building by only one residence and only two houses away from our current main campus. To the best of my knowledge, we are within $150,000 of having the entire amount of the purchase price in cash (our offer was for $675,000). I pray we can pay for the entire purchase up front! Since the mailing went out we have seen more than $87,000 come in. It’s amazing how God is reallocating funds from one pocket to another in order to make this happen! Praise His name!
Concerning the bill we need to pass in order to continue with the accreditation process, there isn’t a lot to report. It passed the House and the Education Committee (on March 13) but now seems to be stuck in the Rules Committee. It needs to pass through that hoop before it can be presented to the Senate and then finally be signed by the Governor. The session is set to end in April, but it appears there isn’t a lot of attention being given to it in spite of our efforts. Several Native politicians whom we’ve approached expressed interest in the bill initially and then seem to have forgotten it existed, or even voted against it! What to do. Only God knows if this is the right plan of attack for us to pursue. If He stops it, then we will trust it is for the best in the end.
Please continue to pray for these two items as well as for the students and staff who will be traveling on the Ministry Immersion Trip to California April 6-13, and those on the northwest 60th anniversary tour in Oregon and Washington. Pray for good contacts, safe travels, effective ministry. I will be working at IBC throughout that time, developing the Life Coaching program and working on other projects.
Thank you for your continued ministry on my behalf. I am blessed through you!
He is risen indeed! Because He lives, we too live!