The trees were amazing! Tall spires reached to the heavens. Birds of various colors and sizes started each morning with a variety of songs. An abundance of wildlife reminded me of God’s care.

I made the 8-hour trek from home to Cloudcroft, New Mexico on July 9th through intermittent thunderstorms, surrounded by majestic awe-inspiring clouds, and beautiful mountain scenery. After all the dryness and fires of Flagstaff, the cool moisture was a great relief. The smell of wet pavement and moist earth was soothing to my soul. I arrived at my cousin’s cabin (which he allowed me to use for the week) early enough to see the sunset, or at least I could have seen the sunset if there hadn’t been so many Douglas Fir and Ponderosa. What a beautiful secret, this Cloudcroft! Who would have guessed this forest-paradise was located so close to the desert?

I came to seek the Lord. Saturday night was a little disconcerting as I realized I knew no one for 450 miles and had chosen to go “silent” for the time I was there. Sunday was difficult as I watched online as my church family gathered for worship. On Monday I felt like Elijah: “But the Lord was not in the wind. . .” It was agonizing to wait and listen, to force myself to read the Scriptures and pray, while the presence of the Lord was not discernible.Then came Tuesday. It started out like the previous days but as I began to cry out to the Lord again, Hebrews 11:6 came to mind: “But without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (NASB). And He was there. I began to devour the book of Hebrews, asking God to increase my faith. And He did. I tried to take small hikes each day and soak in the beauty of the surrounding area after spending most of the day in prayer and reading. I carried Philippians with me everywhere so I could continue re-memorizing the book. I felt God’s presence and perhaps His smile as well. Thank you so much for praying for me!

I started back into the office at IBC on Monday, July 25th with a clearer focus for the future and a deeper longing for the Lord. Please pray with me that I would not lose this hunger for God and that I would be continually transformed into His image.

Changes are necessarily coming in the near future as I age. I hope to gradually step back from some of my current responsibilities and be more intentional about training others to take my place.

At this point, the Fall Semester is still unknown in terms of numbers of students we will have. I would greatly appreciate it if you would continue to pray for God’s choice of students. We have been praying for 15 but only has one accepted so far.

I don’t know the name of this flower above, but it reminds me of a crown. I call it the diadem flower. I envision it as God’s crown and remember our God is still in control. He is sovereign over all, including over my little life. As I revisited through reading Jerry Bridge’s book, Trusting God, He is also wise and good. He has already numbered our days and knows the next steps we will take.

Please be encouraged with me as we face an unknown future. Please keep praying for me and for IBC. Our staff retreat is scheduled for August 10-13. Pray for unity, a clear vision for the future, and for good times of fellowship.

New Student Orientation will be held August 24-26. Classes are scheduled to begin August 29th . Thank you so much for faithfully praying and giving as the Lord directs.
Gratefully,

Martha

From Matthew 6, NIV:


27  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life [a] ? 28  “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  29  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  30  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  31  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  32  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  33  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  34  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.