New Year Begins!
The beginning of the New Year actually begins the third quarter of our school year here at Bear Valley. It has been a good school year so far. The 2016/17 school year began with some big changes at BV! In the last 12 months, we have had to say “good-bye” and “God-speed” to several of our family here. Four of our staff moved on to other works. All of them left here on good terms, but felt they needed to make the change to their new works. We love them and miss them, but know they are doing good work in the Lord’s vineyard in their respective works.
In their place, we have added two new instructors to our two-year program. Mike Vestal and John Moore bring a great deal of experience and depth to our faculty. The Bear Valley Bible Institute is indeed blessed to have them both here.
The classes I have had up to this point in the school year have gone well (everyone passed). In the second quarter I taught Genesis to the Freshmen and Church Growth to the Juniors and Seniors. The Genesis course was a short course, which is a novel approach to some of our courses. A short course is very similar to the short courses that are taught in our extension schools around the world. An entire course is taught in one week (30 clock hours over five days). The courses taught this way are two-credit-hour courses, while the others are all three-credit-hours each (with 42 clock hours over the quarter). I discovered that Genesis is not an easy course to cover in any in-depth manner in such a short period of time, so I will be re-designing my approach between now and next October.
I very much enjoyed teaching the Church Growth class. It was the first time I had taught this material on this level. I think I learned as much through a review of the material as the students did in hearing it presented. They all seemed to get a lot out of it.
This quarter I am teaching just one course: Exodus - Deuteronomy. This is another course that requires covering a lot of material and text in a short amount of time. It can be challenging to try and adequately cover the material in even a 42-hour time period when there is so much in the text that the students need to learn.
A Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity
Today, in an informal faculty meeting, we were presented with a great opportunity to further our own education, as well as, provide a great learning experience for our students. As I mentioned earlier, we have been blessed with the addition of John and Carla Moore to our staff. John is well known for his work on the Searching for Truth video series. He is also involved in the Bible Land Passages Studies, Tours, and Expeditions work. In March 2018, John will head a trip to the holy land for the entire school at Bear Valley. The dates for this trip are March 5-17, 2018. We have arranged our school calendar to allow all the students and faculty the opportunity to make this trip. As I am sure you can imagine, this is truly a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to enhance the education we provide for our students, as well as, further our own.
We are working presently at: 1) making this trip one of education, and not just a nice vacation. Students will earn credits toward their academic standing with this trip, which means they will have some work to do; it also means that we, the faculty will have work to do to see that education happens; and 2) raising funds for the trip. The estimates are that the trip will cost approximately $3,600.00 per person. I would like to formally ask your help in raising these funds. We have a deadline for making a deposit of $1,200.00 each, set for August 11, 2017. Please give careful and prayerful consideration to helping us with this opportunity. If you think you can help with this, please send your check to: Bear Valley Bible Institute 2707 S. Lamar St., Denver, CO 80227 and write a note explaining that this is for my travel fund. I have learned that technically, if you write that on the memo line, it will not qualify as a tax deduction.
Another Teaching Opportunity
Speaking of traveling and teaching (and raising funds), I am also scheduled to teach in our extension school in Siem Reap, Cambodia later in the Summer of 2018. Since I no longer have the travel budget I did several years ago when I worked full-time in the extensions, I will need to raise money for this trip, also.
I cannot tell how much Noma and I appreciate the love and support we receive from good friends, family and brethren like you. The short “Thank You” note on the first page of this report is a regular feature here, but I assure you, it is not just a thoughtless filler piece. We mean that from the bottom of our hearts.