My mind is racing. So many things I’d like to share with you…
… opportunities to talk about Christ the past few Sunday afternoons as I get to know a young woman and her adult son who attend the Sunday afternoon meals for “those less fortunate” in the community around IBC.
… grief of dealing with doubts from people who believe slanderous Facebook posts accusing the school of dabbling with New Age spiritism and our president being a heretic.
… reward of being able to share with the student body and most of the staff some of the things I’ve been learning over the years about how to care for this body in a godly manner.
… encouragement at the response from the students to the mission conference and hearing of at least one individual who is taking specific steps to be able to travel to Russia this coming summer.
…sorrow at the passing of the woman who takes me in every two years when I stay in Middleboro, Massachusetts for seven weeks duration, but relief at knowing she is with the Lord.
… joy in hearing stories of God’s work in the lives of several of our graduates as I prepared to write the articles for the recent newsletter.
I think I will just attach the full-length version of one of those stories I gave an excerpt of in the school newsletter. Be forewarned that it is several pages long, but I think you will find it worthwhile reading. But before I do that, please keep praying:
For wisdom in teaching and mentoring students.
For the students and several staff as they travel and minister on the Ministry Immersion Trips (one to the Yavapai Apache Reservation and one to the Shoshone) March 23-28.
That Jason will be exonerated and confidence in the biblical and theological integrity of the school would be restored in the minds of those who are doubting as a result of the Facebook slander and falsehoods.
Thank you all so much again. If you have time, please read on for the story of James Betoney, whose wife is one of my vocal students this semester.
James grew up in a Christian home, but not a home free from trouble. When he was around three years of age, his parents were divorced. James had two older brothers and one sister, who passed away in a car accident in 1992. Arnold, his oldest brother, graduated from IBC in 1992. Both of James’ older brothers are in the ministry today.
In high school James was known as a quiet, depressed young man. He was in and out of counseling and took various medications for his depression. Around the age of sixteen he started drinking and developed into a raging alcoholic. He drank heavily for about five years and also experimented with drugs here and there. When he reached legal drinking age, he decided to quit.
James found himself in and out of relationships with girls. For a time he worked at a department store in Tuba City. While there, a young girl noticed him and decided she liked what she saw. Char got up her courage to call and ask him for a date, which he accepted even though he didn’t know who she was.
As they had agreed over the phone, Char and James met at the movies. After spending the evening together James decided he liked this girl! He describes her as a humble, quiet, and kind young woman. Instead of spending the evening talking about herself, as so many other girls did, she was a good listener.
James and Char decided to live together. At about twenty years of age, James trusted in Christ. In 2001, pressured by his brothers and convicted by God, James decided he should marry the love of his life. Char had come to the Lord one evening before they were married, while they were still living together. James’ brother agreed to marry them after he was convinced that both of them were believers.
In 2003 James decided to attend Indian Bible College. His wife worked full time at several jobs during that time, as preschool teacher, doing cleaning, and at Tuba City Hospital. James took a break from school for a couple of years from his schooling and went to work but then returned to IBC to finish.
When he enrolled at IBC, James expected that he would gain a lot of knowledge regarding how to do ministry and run a church. At the time he was working with the youth at Red Lake Grace Bible Church in Red Lake, AZ. His desire was to become a pastor and have a church of his own. He wanted to be a leader in his community but knew he needed more knowledge of the Bible.
After attending IBC for about one year, his focus began to change from mere head knowledge to having a heart for people, seeing people in need of God. His motives for becoming a pastor began to change as he saw his pride as the offense against God that it was.
On graduation day in May 2009, James still had hopes to be a pastor and gain the respect from a community that would accompany that position. He had several offers from churches and applied for one of the positions, met with elders, prayed and then decided God was not leading that direction. James and Char returned home to Red Lake Grace Bible Church, helping with the teaching, leading music, doing youth ministry, helping the pastor, and filling in as needed.
A few years later James got a job in the boarding school dormitory at Gray Hills Academy High School in Tuba City. He worked in the dorm for three years but all the while kept asking where he belonged. He felt like he wasn’t really where he should be. In the back of his mind was the nagging question about whether he should pursue full-time Christian ministry and become a pastor. After much prayer, thinking, and advice, he decided he was where he should be, working with kids. God used James to bring several students to Jesus and influenced many others as a positive role model. But, the climate at Gray Hills was not conducive to the sharing of his faith.
While at Gray Hills Academy James encountered a student who dressed in black, covered his face with his hair, and behaved strangely. After a time the young man, John, began to open up to James and started following him around. John had known a lot of rejection. There was no structure in his home. Alcoholism took its toll on his family. He was in counseling and taking various medications for depression.
James began praying for John and spending time with him. He talked to Char about him. Char’s interest was piqued and her compassion aroused. Eventually John and Char met and the Betoneys decided to take him into their home. John had come to know the Lord one night in the dormitory so was a new believer at this time. James and Char began to work with John, providing structure in his life, teaching him basics skills of living. They obtained custody of him and became his legal guardians. John grew and matured and went from a straight “F” student to earning “As” and “Bs.” Through the compassion of James and Char, John began to blossom.
In 2012 the family moved to Flagstaff to enable Char to attend Indian Bible College. James took another job, this time at the Flagstaff Bordertown Dormitory, a dorm connected with Flagstaff High School. At Bordertown James was free to lead Bible studies from the beginning. Currently he is leading a core group of about five students who are already believers. He is teaching them the fundamentals of the faith. James also has opportunity to share his faith with all the students. God keeps opening up doors, providing amazing opportunities to share Christ with many students. Of course, in a government school, James has to share the dorm with many other religions and cults. He has become good friends with a medicine man as fellow “spiritual advisor” and thus has opportunities to share Christ with him as well.
“No matter where we expect or plan to be, it is God who ultimately determines where we will end up.”
Thank you for reading on and for praying for God’s continued work through Indian Bible College. May you know the rich blessing of Jesus today!