One thing we have learned as a result of the pandemic is the value of synchronous online learning, that is, allowing online students to dial directly into the classroom while the class is in session. This has enabled us to accommodate far more students than the physical classroom can hold. It has also provided access to students we would not normally be in contact with.

In addition, we’ve seen our first online student apply fulltime and start classes in person as a result of the exposure she received last semester. Our hope is that she will be the first of many.

Lela (not her real name) is in her late forties or early fifties and has already raised a family. She has a bachelor’s degree from a secular institution. In the past she has served as a tribal judge and is currently working as an elected official with her tribe. She has been a great encouragement to her instructors as she soaks in new information daily. She continually expresses appreciation for what she is learning and strives to grapple with how what she is learning applies to her life. Her gratitude and humble attitude are a challenge to the younger students to take full advantage of what they have available to them at IBC.

Lela has had a difficult road to travel this semester. In addition to contracting COVID, she is wrestling with at least one other physical problem that is still undiagnosed but may require medical intervention. She has been living in crowded conditions off campus with a relative several days each week and then driving two hours back to her home for the weekends. She has responsibilities with the tribe. Family upheaval distracts her from her studies, and yet she perseveres.

Lela’s life experience and past of walking as an unbeliever in a traditional Native environment have helped her become particularly aware of the need for discipleship and solid biblical teaching. She could be arrogant and resistant to change but instead is eager to experience the transformation that results from a life devoted to Christ.

  • Please pray for “Lela” and that God would send more students with similar passion. We are praying for 15 new students this fall.
  • Pray also for the end-of-the-year events: final exams (May 18-19), bachelor dinner (May 20), alumni breakfast (May 22), certificate and associate graduate lunch (May 22), and commencement (May 22). Pray that God would be glorified through all these activities.
  • Pray for my proposed trip east this summer to visit personally with you all. I plan to leave Flagstaff early June, Lord willing.




Martha Gushee