Planning to travel over 7,000 miles in the winter during a pandemic…what could go wrong?!?
One of the great responsibilities of my job as president is to travel on behalf of the school; one of the great privileges is to travel with my family. Here is a “photojournal” of our trip a few months ago (February 12 to March 6).
The school’s Business Administrator decided we should have a roomy and reliable vehicle for the trip, so he rented a GMC Yukon for us.
It turned out to be a very wise decision, as we went through some intense weather. We made it through southern Texas in freezing fog (see picture below) just one day before the power went out. Do remember that? It was national news around Valentine’s Day.
We spent the first week of the trip in Orlando for the accreditation conference and supporter visits. It was a tremendous answer to prayer to be awarded “initial accreditation” by the Association for Biblical Higher Education, which was one of the main tasks the previous president assigned to me 13 years ago when he recruited me to be the Academic Dean. What a blessing to finally clear this hurdle after seven years in the process!
After Florida we traveled up the east coast as far as Pennsylvania, before going west to Minnesota. I gave a church presentation and had several visits with friends of the school (supporters, faculty, prospective staff etc.) One of the highlights for me personally was to finally complete the goal of visiting the campus of all the Native Christian colleges in the country. In South Carolina I visited with the President of Native American Bible College (now called Lumbee River Christian College). It is an Assembly of God school focused almost exclusively on the Lumbee tribe. In Minnesota I visited with staff of Mokahum, a Native discipleship ministry of Oak Hills Christian College. We’ve had students transfer to IBC from this school in the past, and for over a decade I’ve wanted to visit their campus and connect in a more meaningful way with their staff. Both campus visits were insightful about what is being done in Native ministry around the country, and created—or furthered—relationships towards partnerships that should help IBC fulfill its vision of seeing the Native church cease to be a mission field and join the mission force. To see this vision come to pass we will need to be a part of meaningful partnerships across the
The family was able to do an amazing amount of sightseeing on this trip. Most of the stops or visits were very quick (to allow us to stay on schedule) but were still very significant. The pictures here show the kids’ first-time visits to:
One of the most emotionally gripping parts of the trip was the visit to Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse monument on our way home through South Dakota, both in the Black Hills. Rushmore is truly an amazing feat of engineering.
But the history of the Black Hills (see here: https://www.britannica.com/place/BlackHills) is a horrific example of the greed that drove the pattern of broken treaties (all of the 500+ treaties with Native peoples were broken in some fashion), and it is the greatest of insults to have the faces of four White men forever etched onto mountains that were promised by our government to remain for Native people.
On the other side of the Hills is the Crazy Horse monument, another remarkable site worth seeing. It is worth the trip to see this tribute to one of the regions great Native leaders, but it too is full of a challenged history; see here: https://www.businessinsider.com/crazy-horse-monument-isnt-finished-70-years-on-photos-2019-9.
The troubled past of Native peoples is a part of the broken story of our students. The devastation of the Native family has resulted in an almost universal experience of abuse. IBC exists to help our students find freedom in Christ, which requires the courage to face and lament the hurt of the past so we can walk with freedom into the future. Thank you for standing with us in prayer and financial support as we raise up leaders who can bring freedom in Christ to their own people!
Blessings to you,
Jason & Sarah Koppen and family