“You should do my car too,” I joked with the students washing the school vehicles.
“Bring it over,” responded one student. “You serve us all year. We ought to at least wash your car once a year!”
And they did! They even vacuumed inside! Now how often does that happen?
This little incident illustrates a big step for Indian Bible College. The students are learning to serve others, to express gratitude (rather than display a spirit of entitlement) for the many blessings and gifts they have been given, and to take initiative. This is just one area of progress and growth that has encouraged me over the past few years. We have said we are in the business of training Native leaders, yet, in the past, have not always been so intentional about doing so. We now have a group of student leaders who are responsible to serve as resident assistants in the dorms, mentors of underclassmen, and even student body chaplain. I used to run around like crazy getting things ready for chapel and now the students help set up and tear down the chairs and tables (our chapel doubles as a classroom); run the sound, lights, and projection; set up the microphones and other equipment; and work with us on the two music teams.
One of the student work teams from Serve Day
Once each semester we cancel classes in order to allow the students to serve neighbors, the school, other local ministries, and the City of Flagstaff (through Adopt an Avenue). The incident above took place as a part of a recent Serve Day. In the past few years the students have taken over making the arrangements for that day and leading teams of other students. I traveled from team to team taking photos and never saw an idle worker. Everyone was engaged.
Another positive development at IBC has been seen in the fact that no students are allowed to “fall through the cracks.” We are small enough that no one can blend in or get lost, as is the case on so many campuses around the country. Every student has a mentor who takes personal responsibility to see that he or she at least has the opportunity to grow spiritually. The registrar (who graduated with a Bachelor’s from IBC in May) keeps informed of students who are in danger of failing academically and contacts the professors who then follow up with the specific students. A dean of students is available to assist with interpersonal conflicts or troubles that arise. Christian Service Assignment overseers hold each student accountable to serve weekly in a ministry that fits his/her individual gifts, interest, and passions. Life skills classes are now offered to train students in normal day-to-day activities such as shopping for bargains, applying for a job, or refinishing furniture. Resident assistants monitor dorm life and are available day and night to pray with other students. A deep sense of community pervades the campus. One student responded to a recent survey by exclaiming that our campus is “the perfect place to grow.” By the grace of God, we pray so!
Without your faithful support in prayer and finances, I could not be a part of what God is doing here at IBC. I am SO GRATEFUL to you and to God who provides through you. I have never gone wanting in the 30 years I have served Him full time. THANK YOU!
As part of striving to be a better servant myself and manager of God’s funds entrusted to me, I am in the midst of purchasing a lot within city limits where I can place my mobile home. Housing costs should be a little less and I will no longer be paying rent. Please pray with me as I establish myself in a new area and begin to develop relationships in the neighborhood. Pray too for God’s continued work in and through us as faculty and staff at Indian Bible College.
Praise be to God this Christmas, who has sent us the greatest example of servanthood! May God bless you this Christmas season with many opportunities to serve those He has placed in your sphere of influence. I look forward to visiting with most of you personally this coming summer.