Use this link to view a .pdf file of the Koppens’ Christmas letter!
Thank you so much for your prayers for the Site Team Visit October 18-20! The team was extremely positive about IBC and it is looking very promising that we will be able to step into the next phase of accreditation in February 2017. Our staff and students did a great job hosting the team.
On October 27th we dedicated the new entrepreneurial training workshop. Members of the community (including the Chamber of Commerce) came for the “ribbon cutting” and I was able to share God’s view of work and of our need for Christ with several non-believers. Pictures will be coming next month.
Greetings in Christ!
The semester is going very well. The 38 full- and part-time students are an incredible group. You can see how to pray for the full-time students by going here: IBC student photos and bios 2016
It is monsoon season in Arizona, and so Flagstaff has been receiving a tremendous amount of rain over the last few weeks. Rain in the (high) desert! What a beautiful reminder this is of the Lord’s grace and provision for us in the difficulties and challenges of life.
Dear friend of the Indian Bible College,
What a year we’ve had, filled with challenge and opportunity, struggle and victory, weakness and strength! In II Corinthians 12:9 the Lord tells Paul “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul goes on to say that he will boast about his weaknesses and delight in insults, hardships, and persecutions. We’ve definitely seen our share of struggles this year: staff unity challenges, walking several students through the intense “Restorational Discipline” process, and even the loss of several students and a few staff. But through it all, the Lord has been strong and gracious! We persevere because of Him!
Summer is here! We had a great end to the school year with Celebration weekend, where we do “four in 24” (four events in 24 hours): the Student Ministry Showcase Friday on Friday night and the Alumni Breakfast, Graduate Lunch, and Commencement Ceremony all on Saturday. Praise the Lord all the events were well-attended and God-honoring and the student presentations were fantastic! Since then we’ve had a week of inservice staff meetings, begun the annual staff evaluations, and I taught a one-week block course on Christian Family.
Biblical. Relational. Transformational
From the Desk of the President
May is here! The end of the school year is here! How did it get here so quickly?!? We have just two more weeks of regular classes and then a finals week followed by our Celebration Weekend, including the Student Ministry Showcase and Commencement (see attached for an invite to these two events). Many students invite friends and family to these events—some that don’t know Christ. Would you pray with us that they are God-honoring events that clearly declare the good news of Jesus Christ? Please also pray that students end the semester well, especially for the nine students that have a chance to receive a certificate or degree?
Last week was the 10-year anniversary of Sarah and I moving to Arizona. We’ve been Arizonians for 10 years now! The time has flown by.
We are in Phoenix this week and visited the church that we helped plant 10 years ago and MY how things have changed. The leadership is different, the name is different, the building is different, yet we see the impact of the lives we invested in all those years ago. We came away reflecting on the fact that everything we enjoy in this life was paid for by the blood, sweat, and tears of others, most of whom we will never know their names. Thankfully, we know the Name of the One who paid his blood, sweat, and tears for the purchase of our salvation! I pray that your celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is continuing, now that we are over a week away from Easter Sunday.
Thank you for your prayers over the last month. I can literally tell people are praying. Here are some praises and answers to prayer:
IBC’s self-study was just approved for our October ABHE accreditation site visit! This is the last step before we can be accepted into candidacy status. What a thrill to be getting so close to completion of the first phase. Our students need this for us to offer them the best possible education we can give them. Now to figure out how to pay the $10,000 price tag for that visit…
Thank you for your prayers for the January board meeting! We had a very meaningful two days together, discussing such exciting matters as a master facilities plan for expansion, how to help Native staff raise support, and aggressive plans to grow the size of the board with gifted individuals able to help IBC move into the future. Of course, there were also the more mundane (but important) matters of approving the annual audit, approval of staff salaries, and the editing of policy. One of the highlights for Sarah and I was when the board prayed for my family. I greatly value the blessing of submission to authority (Hebrews 13:17) and to have the prayers of my leaders was a great joy. Please continue to pray for the growth of our board.
Greetings in Christ and Happy New Year!
I hope that you had a great time with your family and friends over the holidays; Sarah, the kids, and I had some very meaningful family time. Thanks for your prayers for a restful break.
We’ve been back in the office for two weeks now (since January 4th). We’ve had four block classes, three of them taught by out-of-town instructors. Last week I spent three days at events for Native ministry leaders and this week I have been teaching my Human Relationships class to our two new full-time freshmen students in a block-course format.
Serving as the President of the Indian Bible College is one of the greatest privileges of my life. Many days I am amazed at the humbling responsibility the Lord and His people have entrusted me with: leading a ministry served by close to 200 people a year, many donors, and thousands of prayer partners. It takes a small army to run this small Bible college! IBC exists for the glory of God, by His blessing, and through the partnership of His people.
I’ve served as the leader of IBC for almost seven years and hope and pray for many more; yet I long for the day when I can hand the presidency to a Native man. Pray with us for longevity and for the provision of that Native leader to take my place someday.
Here are praises and prayer requests for our four initiatives:
September’s accreditation visit
Our ACCREDITATION self-study was turned in to ABHE Monday! It was around 190 pages plus hundreds of pages of supporting documentation! Please pray for favor for the self-study from ABHE so we can proceed with the October 2016 site team visit.
Yesterday we did our fourth annual “Feedback Response Chapel”. In this chapel, the staff respond to the input the students gave us in their April “Feedback Input Chapel”.”We engaged with their written feedback and all four school departments—Student Life, Academics, Business Operations, and Development—responded to the feedback given to them.
Some “new school year fast-facts”:
We have 33 students enrolled, 21 full-time and 12 part-time.
There are 12 Native tribes represented in our student body.
We have nine new students from five states.
Eight students are already working on applications for Spring enrollment!
Our first chapel service
Crisis Counseling Class
It has been a busy August: first an overnight trip to Albuquerque, NM to meet with a prospective board member and encourage our reservation extension class, then a two-night Administrative Team retreat for the four vice-presidents and myself, then just this last weekend a three-night staff retreat for 20 IBC staff to Phoenix! Right now (Thursday-Saturday), I am hosting our first ever Crisis Counseling class. Next week is student leader training and new student orientation; regular classes begin August 31st.
It has been a busy summer! It has been filled with a church campout, whirlwind trip to Oregon (with daughter #2 Lizzy), annual board retreat, one-week vacation (where I built a retaining wall), performing eight annual staff evaluations, new staff orientation, and team-teaching our summer block class (just this week). We have our fourth work team (out of six) here right now and the campus is looking so much better!
April was a month of firsts:
I made my first trip to Canada on behalf of IBC and established and strengthened relationships with a very like-minded ministry (North American Indigenous Ministries). I attended this ministry’s men’s retreat and was able to connect with all the key leaders. IBC needs to be in active relationships with other ministries like this, for we exist to train future Native leaders for their local Native churches!
He is Risen–He is Risen indeed!! We have been saved from the penalty of sin through the cross and delivered from its power through the resurrection! What a joy to know we are free in Christ!
“How do I continue a long-distance relationship with my girlfriend when she seems to resent it when I share with her how I am growing in Christ?” “Should I pursue a relationship with someone my age  who already has two kids?” These questions were posed to me last week by two Zuni Pueblo young men in my Christian Family class. They had sought me out after-hours with questions that were plaguing them as we had been talking about singleness and relationships. After helping them process through these questions (asking a lot of questions and reflections) one of the students declared “Man! You’re like the ‘Love Doctor’!” I THINK that is a complement…
Happy February! Thanks for your prayers for the challenges of sickness–we are all healthy again! Praise the Lord!
I am thankful for the Lord’s faithfulness in so many ways on this trip. We have connected with so many friends and supporters of the school. This last week we have shared about the ministry with three churches that have been previously uninvolved; it is so great to see more churches and believers get excited about the ministry of IBC! Today I spoke with around 300 people at a newly supporting church and the response was very encouraging (you can listen to today’s message). God’s people have been so hospitable and generous towards us. Thank you for your prayers for the fruitfulness of our travels.
Greetings from Everett, Washington!
We are about two-thirds of the way through our two-month trip, on our way to Yakima today and Spokane tomorrow.
Thank you for your prayers for our “Presidential Tour”–it has been filled with an AMAZING 10th-anniversary trip to Hawaii (for Sarah and I) and great connections with family, friends, and ministry partners. PLEASE PRAY for Sarah, she is still sick (after almost two weeks) and we are considering taking her to the doctor when we are in Spokane.
Merry Christmas from the Koppens!
According to the kids
Abby (8) Favorite things: mac and cheese, pickles, painting, coloring. Grandma and Grandpa, family, Jesus, turquoise. Most Looking Forward To: going to Grandma and Grandpa’s for Christmas. Favorite Subjects in School: piano and science.
Lizzy (6) Favorite Things: Family, and Jesus, candy, and trees. Most Looking Forward To: being baptized (Dec, 14), and leaving on our big trip. Favorite subject in school: Mommy read aloud.
Angie (4) Favorite things: Mommy, Grandma and Grandpa, watermelon, candy, family movie night (popcorn and root beer floats). Christmas lights, AWANA. Most Looking Forward To: Jesus coming back, birthday, Christmas.
David (3) Favorite things: Mommy, Spiderman, Daddy, Lizzy, Abby, and Angie, Batman, Superman, and ninjas. Most Looking Forward To: friends coming over.
Dear Friends of the Koppens and Indian Bible College,
· A 13-hour trip to Denver on Saturday & 11.5-hour trip to Flagstaff Sunday afternoon/evening
· 7:00AM Saturday to 2:00AM Monday
· 1600 miles in one weekend
· 6 people in a minivan
· November 8-9
What do all the above numbers have to do with each other? A weekend trip taking four students and a child to and from Denver just to speak in a worship service of a partnering church! Why do all this? Because we are committed to being relational and saying “thank you!” as meaningfully as we can.
Dear friends and ministry partners,
It is said that “time heals all wounds”…but how MUCH time is needed? We are wrestling with this exact question as we continue to try to move forward as a school after the events of September (particularly Monieka’s suicide). Let me share three examples, two from students and one from a staff member:
Last Monday a freshman student in my Human Relationships class asked for some time with me after most of his classmates had left. He proceeded to share with me about a dream he’d had about Monieka. I was supposed to be leaving immediately for a “date night” with my wife Sarah but by the end of the conversation the tears were flowing down his face, so great is his ongoing heartache over the loss of his new friend.