Dear Friends, Family, and NICS Support Team:
Usually when I sit down to write each month’s update, it feels like ages since I wrote the last one. This month, however, is a break from that trend, as it seems like I sent the April update only a week or two ago. Many things have happened, though most of it seems like a blur as we have been running full speed ahead to the end of the school year. Yahweh is ever teaching me to seek him and praise him through all the various situations that come our way. I’m not sure that we ever get a reprieve from the flaming arrows of spiritual warfare, and yet, the Lord’s grace and new mercies have been daily helping us claim the victory in Jesus!
Future Planning and Financial Support Opportunities
I don’t typically do this, but before I get to stories from the past month, I want to let you know of some financial support opportunities. In considering our positions as ministers abroad, and upon rereading some of Paul’s words to support his support networks, I want to be as up-front as possible. Though Courtney and I are only living on one income right now, there is nothing that we need. Our Lord Jesus Christ has continually provided for us according to his riches in glory. At the same time, we don’t want to hide from you the vast number of opportunities in which you can support our lives and work here- that your faithful stewardship may be credited to you in the form of imperishable treasure stored in Heaven.
Here are some of the current ways you can support us:
1) BAIS Music Library Resources: One of my main goals is to build up the music resources available to students in the form of recordings and books. These will also help me to know my content better. I have setup a wishlist on Amazon that you can browse at http://amzn.com/w/1IACQRWF85HTA . Items range from a couple of dollars on up. Used books and recordings are OKAY! Even if you can only afford to purchase one book that will go a long way in helping me stretch the budget that I am given by the school. Purchased resources should be sent to Bryn Rice / 1071 7th St / Erwin, TN / 37650
2) Sports Equipment: Courtney and I are really trying to invest are money in things that promote community and fellowship. Looking ahead to next year’s boys’ Bible study, my goal is to be more involved in casual ways – such as playing soccer or (my first love) baseball with them. I could use money in the following ways – $6 to purchase a baseball and $20 to purchase a soccer ball
3) Cooking Utensils: Courtney is looking forward to a ministry opportunity that seems well within her reach for where the Lord has her right now – that’s investing in the local Sundanese helpers who work for our school families. Many families wish their helpers could cook more Western food, and it just so happens that my wife is an expert at adapting recipes to make delicious dishes from home with the resources we have. She’s hoping to meet weekly to cook and talk over a cup of tea. It would be helpful for her to have some extra cooking supplies. Estimated cost: $25-50.
4) Sponsor a Song! One of the biggest expenses that I have is purchasing high quality, theologically sound, and age-appropriate music for my school choirs to perform. I am incredibly picky, especially as next year I want to be more deliberate about using the concert music to witness to students and teach them about worshiping the One True God. Though I’m blessed with a large budget, music (when purchased legally) is very expensive, and there are other needs that prevent me from shelling out my whole budget on music. I’m trying to be economical and use as much free music as possible, but it takes hours upon hours to sort through all the junk. If you are interested, you could sponsor a piece of music for approximately $35-45. Once the copies arrive, I would be glad to write your name in it and explain to my students the blessing of someone halfway around the world who was willing to support their music education.
5) Exercise Equipment: On a more personal support opportunity – Courtney and I have greatly enjoyed our membership for the gym/pool at our local hotel, but the cost of the membership is so great that we probably won’t pursue it for next year. Still, as we discipline ourselves for godliness, we also want to keep disciplining our bodies that we can run this race with endurance. We are looking to buy some basic weights and other equipment to be able to exercise at home. The approximate cost would be $150.
6) Medical Money: We would appreciate continued prayers for Courtney, as her stomach issues have resurfaced with a vengeance this past week. She is finishing up some new medicine with the hope and prayer that it will be taken care of. But as this problem has kept resurfacing (and she’s still feeling sick despite the new medicine), we’re facing a possibility of making trips to Jakarta and/or flying to Singapore to get a thorough medical checkup. Transportation costs will quickly add up, so any amount you feel led to give would be helpful.
As you can see this is a list of opportunities ranging from as little as $5 all the way up to larger expenses. No amount of support is too great or small; we appreciate the thoughtfulness and are certain that Yahweh sees the heart behind your giving heart. If you desire to support us financially, you can send checks to:
Network of International
3790 Goodman Rd E
Southaven, MS 38672
3790 Goodman Rd E
Southaven, MS 38672
Checks should be made out to “NICS/OASIS.” For the memo, you should write our account number: 003385. Also, please feel free to contact me via e-mail for more details about any of these support opportunities.
A Closed Door
I received some surprising news at the very beginning of this month. You may recall from updates all throughout this school year about the many happenings with high school praise teams. I eagerly stepped into the leadership role for them this year and, with new knowledge of many things that worked and didn’t work, I was ready to continue building next year on what the Lord did this year.
But I kept praying for the Lord to make it clear that I should do it without me just assuming that I should… and the result of that prayer? He said a very clear, “No.” Needless to say I was surprised by this and a little down about it for a few days, but then I realized that his ways are best. In fact, only a few days after that, new puzzle pieces were revealed as to how next year may look. One of those being that I am the new 7th grade class sponsor! I am extremely excited for this role – though it will be unique and challenging for me as a “specials” teacher. This is a class for which I’ve felt a close affinity the past two years, and I’m looking forward to walking with them through a special year of middle school.
Suffice to say that this opportunity and several others would be much more difficult if I were doing praise teams, as that ministry takes a lot of time. I would greatly appreciate your prayers for Yahweh to continue to reveal to me exactly what my niche of service is here, for I don’t want to be laboring in vain outside of it – even though I may be doing “good” things. Too many people here see and experience the tragic results of us having a heart to do “good” things for which we really aren’t called to do. I still don’t have all the answers, but with each closed door new ones are opening, making the daily walk with our Lord all the more exciting.
Visitors, Recitals, and Curtains
A couple of weeks ago we were blessed to have a brother and some sisters from the Singapore school come visit us. James, who was in my PFO group and who we connected with in our trip to Singapore, stayed with us and was able to experience some of our lives here in Indonesia – a vastly different experience from theirs in Singapore. I just love being part of a Body for which I can open up my home and also be welcomed into other homes, all of us sacrificing for each other as members of the some Kingdom and having the same desire to see that Kingdom expand.
On the 15th we had our music “recital.” This particular event was a big struggle for me. It got cancelled last year and, in reality, should have been cancelled this year. It was crammed into a full week, and no one entirely knew what it was supposed to be or look like. I made it into a “mini-concert,” with most of the ensembles performing one or two pieces. Overall, the students did great, but I’m glad to have it over. For next year, I took advantage of having two years’ experience at the school and decided to completely change it. Instead of a “mini-concert” in May, we will have a true “recital” in February in which students who are learning instruments outside of BAIS will be invited to display their talents for the glory of God.
A joy of this month has been seeing our new house come together. We were able to setup a beautiful back yard, have painting done, curtains installed, and custom-built cabinets made (which is good since there was absolutely no storage space in the kitchen!) We’re so excited to have this as our “first” home – as much of a blessing as our borrowed house has been, we haven’t necessarily considered it home this year. From the ground-up in planning this house, I feel like it portrays so much of mine and Courtney’s personalities. We are trying to tailor it to not be materialistic, effective for ministry, and ultimately something that we want to offer back up to the Lord for his service. Thanks for everyone who has supported us the past year, providing the resources possible to see the house shape up.
Banquets and Graduation
This month entailed two banquets and our high school graduation. The whole season has been even more exciting than last year, as I have built closer relationships with so many students. First was the 8th Grade Banquet, for which I had the joy of being accompanied by my lovely wife. The 8th Grade Banquet was a time to celebrate the accomplishments of the 8th graders and also for them to be blessed by their parents as they prepare to transition into high school.
Next came the high school banquet – “One of a Kind.” This would kind of be our school’s prom equivalent, but it just takes the form of a meal together and celebration of the seniors. Each senior chooses someone to speak on behalf of them – friends, family, teachers, etc. – and I was paid the special honor of being asked to give such an address. 준영 (Jun Young) has been my TA and member of the high school choir for two years now. As one of my first, close glimpses into Korean culture, I’ve so enjoyed my time with Jun Young and have several memories with him that will stand out for years to come. For anyone who is interested, I have attached the address that I gave for him along with a photo taken a week later at graduation.
Finally, just this past weekend, we had graduation, and in looking at the stage to our 20 seniors, I couldn’t help but think of how equipped so many of them are to make an impact for the Kingdom wherever the Lord sends them. Of course, some of the seniors are not followers of Christ, and that only compels me to keep teaching music in a way that points to Christ and clearly outlines the cross before my students’ eyes. I consider every moment that the Lord gives me with these students as a special gift – even though I don’t always fully seize it. As we finish up this year and I look to a third year in this community, my heart is even more set to be a servant-leader, seeking to come alongside the paths my students are walking along, sharing in their joys and struggles, and ultimately pointing them to the Good Shepherd who is already walking ahead of them, clearing the way.
We only have 8 days of school left, and I can’t help but feel dizzy when I try to look back and consider all that this year has held. What a growing opportunity it has been, and how indescribably joyful it’s been to have a companion walking with me through all of it. By the next time I write to you, we will have passed our one-year wedding anniversary. I couldn’t be more in love and taken by the heart of someone who’s given up so much to follow me to the ends of the earth – and not only to follow, but to join me in taking up the banner of our King and give her heart to serve the lost here. How deeply blessed I am, my dear support network, and I pray that through whatever hardships you are walking through in your life that the incomprehensible mosaic of God’s plans would shine brightly in your sight, reminding you of the one who gave it all that you might have abundant life through the Spirit.
Soli Deo Gloria,