Here’s my 2020 in review!
January: Jason and family take a sabbatical for Spring Semester. I taught Personal Finance, Intro. to Missions, and music. Students were engaged and enthusiastic, particularly in the missions’ class.
February: Our new academic dean, Gene, suffers bizarre medical incident and is hospitalized.
March & April: Missions conference speakers share about ministry to deaf in Mexico. Students and staff are encouraged,
and our vision for the “invisible” among us is renewed. Mid-March the COVID pandemic reaches U.S. and IBC. In-person classes cancelled. Ministry Immersion Trip, cancelled. Life seems to be on hold even as classes resume online in mid-April.
May: Commencement goes virtual and we discover the advantages of that format. Also discover how appealing and engaging it can be to have the graduates be the speakers instead of getting someone from outside.
June: IBC, and myself personally, get involved in relief efforts on the Navajo Reservation and then also to the Hopi, Yavapai-Apache, Hualapai, and White Mountain Apache nations.
July: Vacation with trip to New Mexico to visit with my good friend and woman I discipled, Nanette, and family and to Idaho
to visit niece and her husband, and nephew, as well as former IBC staff members.
August & September: Fall classes begin—I teach North American History and music, co-teach Christ and Culture.
October: Accreditation site team visits.
November: COVID-19 numbers escalate again, especially on the Navajo Reservation. Several students test positive for the virus. Dr. Ronald Kroll honored by IBC for his service in assisting with the accreditation process.
December: While this semester was difficult in terms of student engagement in the two main classes I taught, their end-of-the-semester papers did contain some notes of encouragement. From the history class one wrote: We, as God’s people, are called to be different and to show love, compassion, and mercy. Making a difference can start with how you treat others. She goes on to say that everyone needs a loving Father just as much as she does. Another student shared that God ultimately uses everything for good. No matter how bad it looks, He will use it for His glory, in His own plan. Nothing surprises God. He knows what happened and knows what is going to happen. She also shared how she was encouraged that God will bring justice on those who have hurt others. Whether or not those people choose to speak up about it and take responsibility is not our burden to carry. God knows and will judge them accordingly.
Even closer to home, I am asking how the pandemic helped me, personally, to refocus? Has this time restored a proper perspective on eternity and the brevity of life? Can I persevere and not behave similarly to the students but maintain a good example for them instead? Can I rejoice this Christmas and focus on ultimate reality rather than being consumed with self-pity? My singleness has really been highlighted through this time of “isolation” and “distancing.” This has been a hard time for all of us. It’s difficult not to “borrow trouble” from an unknown tomorrow but to choose joy in today.
Please pray with me that I would choose joy, that Christmas break would be a time of spiritual renewal.
Please also pray for the current students to be renewed and revived in their walk with Christ over the Christmas break. Pray for the miraculous: that God would send more students in the midst of a pandemic, and that all would be focused and determined to get as much from their studies as possible in the Spring Semester.
I pray for all of us, that we would be used of God to identify and reach out to those in despair around us, with Christ who is our