Greetings in Christ from the Koppens!
I pray this letter finds you enjoying the goodness of the Lord even in the midst of a broken world and challenging days. As I look back over the past 10 months since I last did a full prayer letter, I am amazed at the ways the Lord has walked the Indian Bible College through the challenges of COVID-19 (and the corresponding difficulties in recruitment and retention), loss of staff, and resource limitations. The Lord’s heart for Native peoples is clearly evident in the midst of Satan’s wrath against them, and I praise HIM for His supernatural power, provision, and protection.
The Indian Bible College’s new school year is underway and 40 total students started the semester taking classes! We are praising God for the following recent great blessings:
- We have six new full-time students (pictured above). Four are Navajo and two Apache—and Sarah (bottom left) is IBC’s first-ever Mescalero Apache student! Three of our Navajo students are coming from families in full-time ministry! Please pray for these new students—Satan is not happy they are at IBC.
- IBC is again debt-free AND just finished “in the black” for our 10th year in a row!
- IBC now has national accreditation—and is receiving the Pell Grant. Students have more help than ever in graduating debt-free, and IBC has more resources with which to serve the students.
- IBC has six students and graduates filling positions vacated by previous staff.
- We have a fully functioning Learning Resource Center, providing more resources for student success than ever before! • After having only two work teams in 2020, we had eight teams in 2021—the most teams and most total volunteers ever!
- We are now offering our extension studies certificate for students who attend class live online; we have 15 students studying via webcam on Tuesday nights!
My family (pictured above) is doing well. Due to a couple of scheduling changes this year, Sarah is able to focus more on being a wife and homeschooling mom than ever before. For the first time ever, all of the kids are involved in an athletic activity. Sarah is spending a lot of time in the minivan driving kids to activities; her role as a “soccer mom” is keeping her busy—even though none of our kids is actually playing soccer!
I am, unfortunately, covering the role of Academic Dean again; please pray for us during this season of extra work.
Now, to hear from a recent graduate:
I am utterly amazed at how much God is using Indian Bible College to help transform and change people’s lives, especially Native Americans from all over the South and North of America. The environment and classes at IBC are amazing and have had a lasting impact on me.
One of IBC’s current “celebration stories” is 2021 graduate Karly Robertson (pictured fourth from left in photo above). Not only did I have her in several classes, but my wife Sarah poured into her life as well. In the Senior Seminar class I teach for students about to receive their bachelor’s degree, students write a Senior Thesis about what they’ve learned at IBC. The previous paragraph and two that follow are three separate excerpts from Karly’s paper about the transformation she received during her time here.
Student Life was there to help guide me, check on me, and point me right back to God. I appreciated all that they did for me, especially in the hard times and when I was being a difficult student. They never gave up on me and always helped me to become a better woman of God, especially when it came to my character.
One of the things that I appreciate about IBC raising up leaders is that the teaching does not stop within the courses, but it extends further into the lives of the students. Our character is one of those areas where IBC would insert themselves and instruct us on what a Godly person is and how to obtain that leadership role. Being an upright leader has a lot to do with your character.
Karly is now a staff intern at IBC, serving as Resident Director in the women’s dorm and leading a discipleship group of freshman girls.
I’ve included a letter and commitment card from Joshua Ortiz. Joshua has been serving faithfully on staff since graduating from IBC in 2018 but is just now beginning his support-raising efforts. He is an incredibly gifted young Native leader; please prayerfully consider supporting his ministry.
At her request, I will close with a message from Martha Gushee (pictured below playing piano with a student), who has served IBC for 29 years under a total of five presidents. She asked for the opportunity to share some of our recent heartache and need for prayer.
Thank you for your prayers and support for the Lord’s work at the Indian Bible College to develop Christlike Native leaders!
Dr. Jason Koppen
President, Indian Bible College
Grace is a recurring theme at Indian Bible College. I have never before seen the depth of grace displayed here. Serving at IBC can be fulfilling, exciting, and . . . excruciating, to some extent because of our determination to extend grace. I have watched Jason go beyond the call of duty to intervene in the lives of students and staff who have been caught in sin. He and his wife have even gone so far as to take people into their home for a time to give them another chance. Please understand, these are people who are sometimes desperate. They are struggling with addictive behaviors, demonic influences, and/or just plain sin issues. It can be very disruptive to the family and may even pose some risk. Yet, for grace’s sake, Jason and Sarah recently brought a struggling staff member into their home. The unfortunate outcome was that the individual chose to go their own way anyway. It is these kinds of disappointments in ministry that we rarely talk about, but which explain the existence of ministry fatigue and the depth of the battle endured by those in leadership.
I shared the above paragraph with you to spur you on to a greater commitment to prayer. The Apostle Paul wrote in II Cor. 11: 28 about the burden of being concerned for those under him in ministry. Hebrews 13:17 makes reference to the possibility of those to whom you minister bringing you grief. We don’t often share that side of the story, but it is frequently part of ministry. Please pray for Jason and his family as they mourn the loss of two staff (under two different circumstances). Conflict is never fun. People disappoint us. Those with whom we work most closely have the most opportunity to cause hurt. Thank you for praying.