Bryn’s March Update – Little Late, but here it is.

Dear Friends, Family, and NICS Support Team,

“Please, Father. Grant us a season of rest from the enemies that surround us. Yet if your will is for us to remain in this season, I know that you will give us the strength to make it through.”

This has been my prayer for several weeks now, and I have to tell you that in many ways this is such a strange update to write. In my mind, God has absolutely granted this request. The month of February was probably, by far, the most consistent month in mine and Courtney’s lives since we got married last June. School things have only continued to improve for me, and every day I get to ride my bicycle to school with complete excitement for what is head that day, that week, and the months to come. Likewise, Courtney is blazing through her language study and daily figuring out ways to make use of her time at home (and, much to my delight, one of her creative outlets has become cooking… yum!)

So… in light of that paragraph, the next may come as a surprise. Our season of “normalcy” and “rest” has also included: 1) praying through and working through the stomach sickness that Courtney battled for a solid two months, 2) a head-on launch into house hunting and housing contract negotiations for next year, and 3) many inquiries and research into graduate school possibilities for both of us! As I was praying and thanking God a week or two ago for His recent blessings, I found myself struck with this sense of audacity at what “normal” has become in mine and Courtney’s lives. I mean, don’t all couples spend their first year(s) of marriage dealing with one string of major decisions after another? If they do, I somehow missed it in the storybooks, because mine and Courtney’s situation just seems so insane.

But through it all, God has day in and day out proved Himself faithful. In fact, I don’t know if it’s possible to come to this place and do the work we’re doing without having your mind blown away at the strands of purpose and design inherent in God’s sovereignty. I do want to say a special word of thanks to those of you who have been laboring for us in prayer. Though this gets said often, I sincerely believe we can’t even begin fathom the impacts of your intercession to God through Jesus Christ for us. What excitement to know that soon enough we will see each other in New Jerusalem and rejoice in the workings of God’s hand!

To update you on the aforementioned items: 1) After several bloodtests and a couple of different medications, Courtney is finally feeling a lot better. She was prescribed an extremely strong anti-bacterial medicine that left her feeling even worse than before for a whole week, but it seems like it’s done the trick. 2) Once I finish this update, I’m on my way to the bank to transfer the downpayment for our new house to the landlord. We will be leasing in the neighborhood I was in last year, which is exactly what we wanted. Many, many more teachers and school families live in this neighborhood, and we love the community feel that it has. There should also be many opportunities for Courtney to visit with people during the day and begin to scout out venues in which she can be involved in the Lord’s work here in Indonesia. 3) Although it took many weeks for God’s answer to become clear, I have decided not to pursue graduate school, and Courtney hasn’t heard back from the programs she sent inquiries to. What I may end up doing is paying to audit online classes over the next few years and kind of build my own master’s degree. I have so many interests anyways that it was hard to pin down a program that would give instruction in the areas I most wanted. On top of that, I just invested in “Rosetta Stone” software to learn Korean. As I’ve prayed and prayed on whether or not I should invest the time in this, it became quite clear that if I don’t do this, I’m going to spend every year that we are here talking about how nice it would be if I could speak Korean! I look forward to the day when I can connect with our three major language groups in their heart language.

I think that fairly well crams the main points of the last month or so into an update. I unfortunately will have to cut this update a little short as I’m at school finishing up some things this weekend before Courtney and I head to Thailand for Spring Break! Few days go by where I’m not in awe of the blessings God has showered on us, even amidst various trials. The amount of travel opportunities that Courtney and I have had are simply stunning, although we’re thinking that next school year will probably be much more low-key in terms of travel.

My hope and prayer is that once we get back from Thailand we can start yet another season leading up to our one year anniversary in which both of us are feeling well and daily life becomes a little easier. And then, we also really get on the exciting track to having family come and visit over the summer!

Let me close with some praises and prayer requests:

1) Towards the end of February I coordinated a “progressive dinner” for the boys’ Bible study group. We ate at three different homes over the course of two hours, and the boys had an absolute blast. It was great to spend this time with them outside of school and introduce this American concept to them.

2) As I write to you, we just finished up our Spiritual Emphasis Week/Week Without Walls. There were no regular classes this week; instead, students had time for praise, guest speakers, small groups, and service opportunities.  The theme for the week was “Restore. Renew. React.” From watching the students at the closing assembly today, it is clear that many of them heard from God in real ways. In fact, my heart just melted to see a 7th grade student – one that I’ve been pretty concerned about for a while – raising his hands in worship. The community feeling that unites us from events such as this are unreal, and I am so humbled to be a part of this work. May the small work planting and sowing that we have in this corner of the world bear ripples as our students go out so that the Father’s harvest will be that much greater.

3) You can be praying for the praise team ministry that I have lead this year. Several things surfaced during the middle of Spiritual Emphasis Week that were messy. Some of those issues were faults of the students, while some of the issues were admittedly faults of mine. With one of the week’s themes appropriately being “Renew,” it was amazing to see God’s renewal in my heart and the student’s. After three days of almost no power in our worship leading, the fruits of God’s renewal were plain as we led this morning. Still, the renewal is not finished, and there are many ways in which I need to grow as a leader. Thankfully, God has immediately started pouring insights and ideas into my head for next year. At the same time, I want all of us to finish this year well too.

4) Please remember two of our BAIS teams who have gone out from the school – one team to Alaska and one team to various small islands to be lights for Jesus. They will not return till the end of Spring Break, and I know they would appreciate your prayers for safety and effective ministry through the power of the Holy Spirit.

5) The week we get back from Spring Break is the week a team of accreditation people arrive at our school. The timing is inconvenient to say the least, especially as our annual spring concert is the following week! Please pray for all of us teachers and administrators to show our best but also not to put on any kind of false front. Though we want the accreditation team to see tons of positive things, everyone is also looking forward to the constructive feedback that they will give.

6) Please pray for Courtney in her language learning efforts. She’s reaching the place where you start learning so much that it becomes frustrating to talk to people… because you finally know enough to know how little you know! That, of course, is a positive thing, because it means you’re learning. At the same time, it’s no less frustrating. Pray that she can have perseverance and the end goal of being able to speak Truth to a people who need to hear it.

Brothers and sisters, as I often reflect on the impact that I hope I’m having on the students here, I’m often reminded of those who God used to impact me to get to this point. You are all treasured deeply in my heart.

Because of Christ,

Bryn Rice

Our God–There is None like You

Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God, You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome and power
Our God, Our God…

Into the darkness you shine
Out of the ashes we Rise
There’s no One like You

None like You.

(From Chris Tomlin’s Our God)

 

“Our God is greater, our God is stronger” than any force that is in this world. Satan will be defeated by this God in the end.  Our God plan for our lives is so much greater than we can ever imagine.  I am so thankful to serve a God that gave us the greatest sacrifice that could ever be made…His son.  His Love is beyond our comprehension.

“God, You are higher than any other.”  No god that we as human can make or that people can create in their minds is anything like Our God.  It breaks my heart as I hear and see all around the world those that don’t see the High, One True God, the only one who gives us Hope and can forgive our Sins.

“Our God is Healer, awesome and power,” this statement has been a huge part of the last month.  Keep reading to find out more.

We serve a good who shines through the darkness and gives us strength to carry on.  Our ways Our not His ways and He is in control of all things.  Puji Tuhan (Praise the Lord)!

I started out the month with severe sickness and literally 2 weeks of not even leaving the house after being sick since January or almost since arriving in country, I started a new medicine to try to rid my body of the bacteria that was in my body and it literally knocked me out for the week.  All I did was eat, sleep, and spend some great quality time with my Father.  After taking the medicine and resting, I finally felt more normal that I have felt since January.  Puji Tuhan!!  “Our God is Healer” and He is in control.  For those that are suffering through sickness, remember this truth.  Hold on, Help is on the Way…as a Michael W. Smith’s song “Help is on the way” has encouraged me these last few months.

Along with my sickness, Bryn and I were searching for housing for next year.  It was a very challenging process and we found houses that we liked and then it seemed as door after door was being closed.  We did not hear back from one person and was determined it was a closed door, but God ways are not ours.  His ways are so much bigger.  We prayed and God opened up the house that we had originally wanted…we signed the contract a week ago.  Puji Tuhan!!  “God you are Higher than any other” and Your ways and timing are absolutely amazing.

The second week of the month, was Week Without Walls and Spiritual Emphasis Week.  I had the awesome opportunity be a small part of this during the time when I did not have language tutoring.  I was able to spend some time with some of the upper elementary students in the morning as the learned what it meant to be transformed with the Love of Christ.  Then, in the afternoon, I was able to work with the team that Bryn was on who was helping fill rocks in the road of a local kampung and paint the TK of the village run by one the BAIS student’s parents.  Bryn and I had the opportunity to share with one of the other teachers to sit down with one of the guys over a lot of different parts of the kampung and talk to him, which was really cool and paint the inside and outside of the TK (Teh Kah) or Preschool.  Then, the BAIS students drew pictures and painted a beautiful mural (you can look at pictures of this on my facebook).  I also had this opportunity to spend with around 75sh 2-7 year olds from one of the local schools this week playing various games and doing different activities.  It was a really cool week and God moved.  God is working here and I am so glad I get to be a part of it.  We have a God who is “awesome and power.”  Pray that God will continue to change the lives of the BAIS students and people that surrounds.

Following this week, Bryn and I had the opportunity to get a way and be able to enjoy a time of rest and rejuvenation on the Island of Phuket for my birthday.  For my birthday, my husband and I did a Thai cooking class and were able to learn how to make some delicious Thai food and then I was surprised with a birthday cake from my husband.  The rest of the time we snorkeled, went to a butterfly garden, cashew nut factory, ate delicious Thai and Indian food, got to go out on a longtail or local boat to one of the local islands, and just enjoy some time away from the normal schedule.  So, thankful that God gave us this opportunity and time to able to experience the Thai culture.  I love being so close to so many different cultures and adventures.

Thailand is 94% Buddhist.  Buddhists believe that life does not begin with birth and end with death, but that they live multiple lives (karuma).  They also believe that selfishness and craving result in suffering and compassion and love bring happiness and well-being.  They try to bring good to the world and live a life of peace so that all desire and they can experience “Nirvana” or an indescribable state free of desire, suffering, or further rebirth, in which a person simply is, and is completely at one with his surroundings.  Thai Buddhism developed side by side with an ancient spirit religion, so today many old animistic beliefs are intertwined with Buddhism.  Most Thai people have spirit houses outside of their homes, which are miniature wooden houses in which they believe the spirits life.  The Thai people believe that if the spirits are not happy, they will inhabit the larger household and create chaos.  The people give offerings of flower garlands, betel leaves, bananas, rice, chicken, duck, and a wide range of other objects.  They worship and strive to reach Nirvana and give offering to spirits daily, yet they fail to see that the hope and peace they are looking for is only found Abba Father…God.  I pray that in this darkness that God will “shine” and out of the “ashes [He will] Rise” for there is “No One like” Our God, “None like [Him].

Thank you God that you give us Hope in the darkest places of this earth and that you are Rising out of the ashes and that You rule the earth.  Pray that God light will change hearts of those in the darkness in Thailand and here in Indonesia.  Pray that people will see Him as the God who is greater, who is stronger, who is higher than any other, who heals, and is awesome and power.

Prayer Requests:

  1. Please pray for the field around us to be ready for harvest.  Pray for relationships that may come and pray for us to not get in the way or be offensive and allow His word to cut and for His Will to be done.
  2. Pray for my helper and her family and their water situation.  They will drill the hole soon and we are praying for water both spiritually and physically.
  3. Pray for wisdom in how to help the poor around us, but not hurt them.
  4. Pray for spiritual protection for us as we fight the darkness that surrounds us.
  5. Pray for God to reveal and show me His Will of How to be a light to this dark world around me.  Help me to wait when I should wait and act when He says to act.

If you would like to be on a prayer team to receive more detailed prayer requests, please e-mail me at courtneyrice@baisedu.org.  Your prayer and contact through short notes is more valuable than you realize.

God is working and cannot put into words all that is happening, but I hope this gives you a snapshot of the amazing God we serve and how He is working here in Indonesia.

What would you like to hear about my life or what would you like to know about?  I would love to be able to answer some of what you want to know about in my next update.  Make a comment, e-mail, or send me a facebook message.

Piece by Piece — God’s plan Revealed

“Kau yang termanis, Di Dalam hidup ini

Kucinta Kau lebih dari segalanya, Besar Kaish setia-mu kepadaku…

Kusembah Kau ya Allah ku kutinngikan nama-mu selalu,

Meyembah Yesus Tuhan Rajaku.”

We serve a God who is the sweetest in our life and I love Him more than anything, because of His love and faithfulness.  There is no one like Him and His name should be exalted always, and only He deserves to be worshipped.  These are the words and the meanings of one of the songs we sang at church last week.  It is amazing to worship with brothers and sisters here in Indonesia and to sing of the amazing power, love, glory, faithfulness of the One who gives us everything and who is our strength in all times.

Throughout these last two months of not teaching, it is amazing of how God is revealing to me piece by piece the next part of the puzzle.  At the beginning of January, I began taking language lessons with a private tutor, which has been absolutely a blessing.  I was not able to take language at the school, because I do not have a student visa but my tutor is an absolute blessing. I get to spend time with Ibu Els every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and learn language and culture.  Every day, I have the blessing of being able to be a part of the life of my helper, which is the biggest blessing of being home.  My helper is not a follower, but it is a blessing to be able to invest in her life, cook with her, and pray for God to be preparing her heart. Please continue to pray for my helper and her family and for the provision of enough money to allow them to build a well (if it is God’s Will), so that they have water during dry season.  Please continue to pray for Him to Shine through me and that He will be made known in this situation.

At the end of February, I had the opportunity to be a part of a team that was able to do a Dental clinic at the local TK (preschool – pronounced Teh Kah) in one of the local kampungs (native villages).  It was a huge blessing to be a part of a team of wonderful ladies.  To be able to teach the preschoolers the importance of brushing their teeth through song, drama, and the giving of toothbrushes and toothpaste was a huge blessing.  We were able to love on them and talk with the preschoolers as the parents gathered to watch in a house near the TK to watch us. I can still hear the kids singing, “Sikat gigi, Sikat, setiap hari, setiap hari, pagi dan malam, pagi dan malam, setiap hari, setiap hari.”  It is amazing to be a small part of their lives and hopefully God will lead to deeper conversations and life changes as He leads to reach this nation for His Glory.  Please pray that He will reveal to me opportunities such as this to create relationships that will lead to more.

So, what is the plan for the future…this is the question that many people keep asking here.  To tell you the truth I don’t know for sure.  Bryn and I are currently hoping to sign a contract with a house in a nearby neighborhood, near the neighborhood park.  I would love to be able to start and English club for children and praying that it would create relationships with parents and kids and that it would be used for Kingdom purposes.  However, for now, God is teaching me and guiding me in his steps as I study and seek his word and learning about what the people believe here.  Please join me in praying that God will show me the right timing as I grow in language and as I am seeking His face.  I know He will provide doors and opportunities to be a part of, pray that I would be sensitive to His voice every day.

Prayer Requests:

  1. Please pray for the field around us to be ready for harvest.  Pray for relationships that may come and pray for us to not get in the way or be offensive and allow His word to cut and for His Will to be done.
  2. Pray for our brothers and sisters in Indonesia that are currently being persecuted and killed for their faith, especially on the island of Sulawesi.  Please pray for churches that are not being allowed to worship in their buildings.  Pray that the church would stand up amidst the persecution.
  3. Pray for BAIS, as they look for and hire new teachers for the next year.  Pray for the new hires as they prepare to transition to Indonesia.  Pray for spiritual protection for them.
  4. Pray for my helper and her family and their water situation.  They are still in need of around $400.  Pray that they would be filled with the living water.
  5. Pray for wisdom in how to help the poor around us, but not hurt them.
  6. Please pray for me.  I have been fighting a sickness.  I praise God for giving me strength through this.  Please pray for healing of my physical body, all of the blood tests so far have been normal, which is good and frustrating at the same time.
  7. Pray that God would reveal to Bryn and I the future and His Plans.
  8. Pray for spiritual protection for us as we fight the darkness that surrounds us.

If you would be interested in joining Bryn and my prayer team, please send me an e-mail at courtneyrice@baisedu.org.  We are desperately in need of your prayer from the states as we fight the spiritual forces that surround us.  You can pick a day to be devoted to praying for us and weekly or bi-weekly, I will send you e-mails with how you can specifically pray for us for what is going on that week in Bryn and my life.

We love hearing from you and what is going on back home, please feel free to e-mail us.

May His Name be Made Known.