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.

Physical and Living Water

“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:38

Water is the most important physical substance on this earth and we take it so for granted. 1.5 billion people do not have safe drinking water around the world and I live in one of those countries and 4 million people die each year from water related diseases. Many times these people in Indonesia, Africa, and other countries are forced to drink water that is not safe, because they have no other choice. Drink now and be filled for the moment and risk diseases or to be thirsty. Not only this, but did you realize how precious water to your body and to this earth that God created. Seventy-five percent of our planet is covered with water, but we can only use 2% of that water due to it being too salty. Because of water’s high specific heat, it can keep the earth’s fluctuations in temperature on land or at sea within limits that is favorable for life. Seventy-five percent of the human body is made up of water and 90 percent of human blood is water as well. Water transports food and oxygen to different cells in our body. It flushes out the bad things from our bodies, it is a lubricant for our joints so we can move comfortably, etc. In daily life, we need water to grow food, fishing, washing clothes, bathing, washing dishes, and so much more.

Water…it is truly one of the most important things in our lives. “The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.” Isaiah 41:17 I praise God for His provision over the last month for my helper and her husband with physical water. Starting at the beginning of February, my helper came to me with tears in her eyes telling me that they almost had no water left in their well. They literally had 2 meters of water, which would last around 2-3 days here, in America it would not be enough water for probably even a ¼ of a day in the US. And in order to fix and dig the well deeper it going to cost at least 8 juta (around $900) and could be even more. I have never understood in my life how important water is and have prayed for my helper to have water for the day to be able to daily take care of her needs and He keeps answering my prayer. However, this is only temporary and here we are coming upon in a few months dry season and then water is rare and if you do not have water from the country you must preserve water for the summer. In order for my helper and her family to have water for the dry season they must do this now. Please pray for provision for her family, because 8 juta is a lot. Please pray that God would provide the money and pray for him to show us how to help them without hurting them. God has blessed greatly and we are so grateful, but how we give to the poor is so important. Please pray for us as we are seeking to what and how God would have us to help the poor. If you want more information on this you can read a book Bryn and are reading right now called, “When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor…and Yourself.”

Throughout this time of praying due to lack of physical water with my helper God has been teaching me how important living water from Him is. Jesus said in John 4:14, “…but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Our living water flows out of us and our living water is the most important things in our life that is not physical. For without him, we have no life, we are dry and thirsty and searching and dying. So many people around this world are not only lacking physical water to satisfy, but they are missing the living water. During this time, please pray for God to be made known to my helper’s family and many in this country who may be seeking for physical water, help them as they search to find the living water and the one who provides the physical water and our everyday needs. Without the Living Water I would be nothing. Please pray that I flow even with lack of language with the living water and that those around us who lack living water would see that this living water is what they are searching for, not what they have been told all of their lives, but the water that will flow from their lives if they will only let Him come in and capture their hearts and let him be the water they are looking for.

Bryn’s February Update (2.07 as Bryn would number it–7th update of year 2)

Dear Friends, Family, and NICS Support Team,

Seasons.

I have long had convictions about seasons as a Follower of Christ. Too many times I’ve found myself battling frustration over various physical, emotional, or spiritual issues instead of focusing on the canvas that God was painting in my life.

This has been one of those seasons.

I’m deeply sorry that I disappeared for a month and a half. So much has happened in that time. My initial plan was to take time to give detailed chronicles of all that God has done since I wrote at the beginning of December (for surely He has not ceased to prove Himself faithful!), but then the beginning of school hit…

And now, unfortunately, much of what could have been shared will have to be reserved for the time when I hope we will meet up in Eternity. In that day, I will glorify in telling you about my God and His mighty sovereignty. Likewise, I will rejoice with you over the ways He’s been working in your life.

But that day is not yet. You see, for reasons too numerous to explain, this semester has been one that’s buried me under weights of marriage adjustments, school workload, travel, godly burdens, and more. Yet through it all, Father has been conforming me (sometimes more painfully than others) to the image of Christ.

As you may be aware, January started the adjustment of Courtney being at home while I’m at work. This has been a huge blessing and clearly the right choice; yet, it’s brought its challenges as well. Truth be told, I am selfish and overworking, and I’ve found myself facing a common trap. Many days it is hard to come home and “switch off” work (an especially difficult problem when you’re a teacher, much less a new one). Even though I have been setting healthy limits about not working from home, mentally and physically I’m often either exhausted or not entirely “there” for Courtney. Sprinkle on top of that a portion of one or both us being sick nonstop since January, a last-minute planned visa run to Singapore (for which I missed a day of school), and also a weekend long educators’ conference (which of course entailed much travel, little sleep, and missing another day of school), and you easily have a juicy recipe for stress, fatigue, burnout, etc.

In fact, towards the end of January I hit an almost severe bottom in my attitude towards teaching. Thankfully, however, God had the timing worked out perfectly for me and Courtney to meet with an incredibly wise woman of God who has been on the field a long time. Through her ministry of prayer, God spoke to me in one of the most real encounters I’ve had with Him for some time. He very tenderly ripped open some footholds where, by error of thought and attitude, I had opened myself up for spiritual warfare. We discovered that, though there were and still are some practical issues related to my ministry here that need to be dealt with, much of my attitude stemmed from much deeper root causes.

I rejoice to tell you that, as a result of releasing those burdens to Dad and receiving His perspective on many of those issues, I haven’t felt better spiritually since, and one week after our prayer meeting I signed my contract to stay at BAIS another year.

In the midst of such frenzy as I’ve described (many of those things being good yet still draining), I have to tell you that God has been so burdening my heart and shaping my concept of ministry here. Through some books that I read, along with a family conference that Courtney and I attended, my heart for disciple-making has multiplied tenfold. Above all that I do here, I want to make lifelong disciples of Jesus.

Though neither Courtney nor I know what the future holds, we are thankful and humbled that God would allow us to serve in this place, and that He has opened up the doors for us to stare here. May it never be that we leave a minute too soon before He calls us to leave or stay a minute longer than He would have!

Brothers and Sisters, your prayers for us are needed more than I can express. Courtney and I both fully trust our Father, and we know that, through the sickness stemming from sin in this world, He is drawing us closer to Him and each other. Please pray for us to glorify Him in the midst of sickness and that His power would be perfected in weakness.

Please pray for me as I continue to process and humbly seek God’s strength to not allow sin to reign in my flesh. The spiritual battle here is more intense than I can describe, and yet I would not trade the privilege of being able to serve on my King’s front lines. Please continue to lift up Courtney’s adjustment to being home. She’s doing an awesome job with language lessons and also discovering lots of ways she can serve here. Still, many have spoken into our lives about the experiences of last semester and provided perspective to say that we should not underestimate the amount of time she needs to rest and recover. Please also pray for my transition as a husband in general. In   my quiet time this morning I read again the words of Adam, “Finally! Bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” Finally! That is how I feel, and yet, so often I take my wife forgranted. What an amazing friend, companion, servant, teacher, counselor, and more that she is! We so desire to build our marriage on foundations of shining for Christ and pouring our lives out to others. Your prayers for us as we work through the nitty-gritty of that during our first year and the years to come are appreciated.

I’m sorry that I do not have time to write down specific stories of blessings and students as I usually do. My hope is that I can pick up from this point with my monthly updates and be able to share more accurately the works that He is doing here.

You are dear to both me and Courtney. May Yahweh bring you to new heights in your awareness of Him, love of Him, and service to Him.

Because of Christ,

Bryn Rice

Living on Fine Dust

“Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket;  they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust…The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.”  (Isaiah 40)  This verse has such a different meaning, when you live on the fine dust surrounded by vast waters that God created with the fish that shine in the sea and proclaim the awesome creator that we have.

Bryn and I were able to experience a little more of God’s beautiful creation during the Christmas and New Year holiday on a beautiful island called Bunaken.  Bunaken is unlike the majority of the 17,508 islands, because Bunaken is primarily Christian and it is such a different atmosphere than Bali (which we visited in October) or Java (where we live).  While visiting Bali, there were idols surrounding us and incense being burnt to take prayers to the gods.  It showed us the lostness and hopelessness of the Hindu people.  On the island of Java where we live, it is predominantly Muslim and operates more like what I would imagine it would have been like in the Old Testament without Christ.   The prayer calls here remind us daily of the lostness and hopelessness of the Islamic people.  While visiting Bunaken, it was a completely different feel and experience that of most Indonesian islands.  We were able to sing and worship with believers while we were on the island and got to hear very native bamboo instruments played that were like modern flute, clarinet, trumpet, tuba, and other not as common instruments as a form of worship.  It was a joy to worship with the nations in the island’s local language and in Indonesian.

While in Bunaken, we had unique opportunities also to be able to sit in restaurant at the place we were staying amongst very diverse group of people.  Bunaken is an island that is secluded and most food has to be brought in from nearby islands, therefore all of our meals were provided at Sea Garden Resort that we stayed at in a family setting and we ate with the other visitors that were staying there.  We were able to talk with German, Swiss, Australian, Torajan (Indonesian people group from South Sulawesi—also predominately Christian), and Bunaken people.  It was a very interesting experience to meet them and communicate in their broken English or by the German guy, who spoke very good English, translating to the Swiss and Swiss guy talking to the German who translated into English.  We were able to talk about God and who He was to us and see a different view from different people while being on a remote island in Indonesia.

Bunaken was a wonderful time to get away and prepare for this new season for Bryn and I, as I would not be teaching when we went back to Java.  It was a time of renewal, relaxation, and enjoyment in seeing God’s creation while snorkeling, taking long walks, and reading in the hammocks on the front porch.

Then, we arrived back to reality and Bryn began school and I began to learn how to begin this new season of my life.  I also began learning Bahasa Indonesia or Indonesian.  It has been a joy to be able to be there for my husband and help him when needed, to learn the language so that I can make this home, to be able to have conversations with my wonderful helper, who is not a follower, and to have a season of relaxing in Christ.

Two weeks after being back home, I was told that my Visa was finished and that I would have to leave the country to do final processing of paperwork in Singapore and then come back.  My exit permit was issued and I had to leave the country, however there was a little problem which turned out to be a blessing.  It was Chinese New Year and due to that the offices were closed for two days to celebrate the new lunar year.  Thankfully, since it was Chinese New Year also in Indonesia, Bryn got one day off and then took a day off and was able to see this amazing city with me.  We have friends from our Pre-field orientation that lived in Singapore, so we immediately contacted them and they set us up with housing.  Thank you God for your provision of housing and providing us new friends.

Sunday, January 22, we headed to Singapore and met our friends.  We were able to spend time with our friends and meet some of the students that went to school at the NICS school in Singapore in a bible study that our friends did on Sunday afternoon.  The following days, we went to a flower festival in which flowers were made into dragons, for the year of the dragon, and other animals.  We also went to the Botanic Gardens and got to fellowship with the body of Christ in Singapore, which was amazing.

Singapore was a picture of what the New Testament Church should be like and it was amazing the outreached arms and giving hearts of the people that we met while he was there.  Bryn had to return after this, but I had the privilege of staying until my Visa got processed, so I stayed an extra day and a half.  The next day, I was able to go with Adrielle, my host, to another local garden called the Chinese Garden and see it fully decked out for Chinese New Year.  We also went to a Turtle museum that was located in the Garden of a variety of turtles from around the world.  It was a unique experience to see and then we got to feed some of the turtles, which was a lot of fun as they swarmed around us in the pond.  I also got to try a Singaporean native dish with Chicken and Rice which was rice with Soy Sauce and some other sauce and Chicken Cutlet.  I also got to try the famous Bubble Tea, that originally is from Taiwan but Singapore is known for.

So, we come to the end of January and I am in awe of the provision and ways of God and the beautiful islands and people that surround me in this place I call home.  I look forward to seeing what God has for the future and for 2012 as February arrives.

Reflection of 2011 and Continued Work in 2012

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”  This is one of my favorite times of year celebrating the birth of our Savior and prepping for a new year and new season of our lives.  It is also a time to reflect on all God has done in the past year and God has truly blessed me this year.

Last year at this time, I was in Indonesia with my wonderful fiancé, now husband.  I was seeing the country that captured my heart and getting my first glimpse of Sundanese people whom I loved at first sight.  It doesn’t seem possible that it has only been a year.  I remember sitting on the beach next to an Indonesian believer and a dear friend talking about how God captured her heart and the brokenness we have for those that don’t see the creator of life and all creation in the sunrise, they see beauty but not the one who made that beauty.  I remember hearing the call to prayer for the first time and being overwhelmed at the sound of lostness.  I remember meeting Bryn’s helper for the first time, now our helper, and not knowing how to greet her and instead of the traditional greeting I shook her hand with a pretty good grip only to learn that I was to rub my hands between hers and bring to my heart.  I remember my fiancé officially proposing in a beautiful green field in December while taking engagement pictures none the less.  And then regretfully, with tears in my eyes knowing I was leaving the place I knew God had placed me to be for a reason, I got on a plane to head back to the states.

After returning to the states in January, I spent the following months skyping with my fiancé, student teaching in kindergarten, spending precious time with my family, planning my wedding, and counting the days until Bryn returned so that we could get married and return to the place that captured my heart.   It was a wonderful time of God preparing me for what He would have for me upon arriving in Indonesia.  Then, June 11 came and Bryn finally got home, sick, but he was home.  We finished the final preparations for the wedding and met with the last people to prep for the wedding and the following Saturday were married with the beauty of the Indonesian fabric and Indonesian music and celebration of God joining us as one so that we could serve Him together the rest of our lives.  What a joy!!  Then, we went to Gatlinburg for our honeymoon and relaxed, hiked, saw some bears, went to the aquarium, and then to Dollywood with Bryn’s Grandmother.  It was absolutely wonderful.  Then, we spent time with Bryn’s family and spent some time before heading to two weeks of orientation to prepare to head back to the country that captured my heart.

The two weeks of orientation was challenging, but wonderful spending a little time with my extended family and being reminded that we are “just people whose feet are made of clay.”  I have learned that so much, I am clay and God is the potter.  Because, He already knew that it was going to be a time the next 6 months of molding and breaking and perfecting the clay that I am.  So, upon arriving everything seemed perfect and I was about to be a part of the great work God had for me.  Little did I know that it would be so hard and that maybe I was trying to be a work or design and God had other plans.  I thought at first that the spiritual forces were against me, but realized it was God reminding me I was His and His plans are greater and Him asking me to let Him be the potter and me be the clay.  So, I gave control to the potter and He revealed to me that He had other plans for me, even though I still do not know His complete plans.  After prayer, I gave my plans to God and gave over control to His hands and He answered by sending a new teacher to fill my position.

So, I finished the semester and attempted to make the most of the time God had given me with my wonderful students.  Praying with them and praying that God would be in control and teaching them the wonderful plan God has for us when we allow God to be the potter and us be the clay.

Now 2011 has ended and 2012 began with a wonderful, relaxing trip with my husband exploring God’s creation on an island in Indonesia near Sulawesi worshipping God as we were snorkeling and marveling at God’s creation.  It was a great 2011 and God is continuing to shape me and teach me to allow Him to be the Potter.  I enter 2012 with uncertainty about what it will hold, but I know that “Our God is greater, Our God is stronger…and if our God for us and if God for us than who could ever stop us and if our God is with us then what could stand against.”  (Chris Tomlin-Our God.)  You see I don’t know what shape and design God has for me and how He is molding me, but I have no doubt He has great plans.  I know His plans will ultimately fulfill his ultimate purpose for all creation…to bring glory to Himself and others to Him.  Pray for God to reveal those plans and His purpose for this next season.  Pray that He will be glorified in my life this year and that I will keep my eyes on Him.  Pray for spiritual protection against the forces that are against me.

Bryn’s December Update

Dear Friends, Family, and NICS Support Team,
Impossible.
It is just overwhelmingly impossible to convey to you all that God has done in mine and Courtney’s lives since I last wrote to you in November. Each month I try to keep notes of key events that have happened to make writing these updates easier. The problem is that I either get to a point where I stop keeping notes because so much happens or I realize that if I were to include everything my update would be longer than anyone would ever read (… they probably already are as it is!)
I suppose the key summary to it all is that Courtney is now finished with school. Our last day was Friday, December 16th, and Courtney has already turned in her classroom key and necessary paperwork. Aside from coming in to speak at a few Upper Elementary chapel services next semester, she is completely released from all her obligations. How wonderful!
Although this means another transition of sorts in our marriage when school starts back up, we eagerly anticipate it. In fact, one of my more recent reflections has been about our marriage. December 18th marked 6 months since we stood in Stevens Street Baptist Church with our families (blood-related and Body-related) to speak the vows and unite as one flesh under the leadership of our beloved pastor. Since that day, I lack the words to convey what a whirlwind our new marriage has felt like. Most married people we talk to here end up dropping their jaws in amazement at all we’ve had to deal with, and indeed, in the midst of God’s boundless blessings, our new life together has felt like one continuous process of jumping hurdles.
All things considered, and by God’s grace alone, I feel like Courtney and I have handled everything about as well as can be expected. Still, we’re praying that Courtney’s transition out of the classroom will give us a break from some of the trials we’ve battled. We pray that this will afford us an opportunity to ground ourselves a little more in our marriage and life in Indonesia.
There a few major ways that you can be praying for us during this time:
          For me, I am still working on my music curriculum, and one of my goals is to refocus things a little to include more worship education. Though worship is not just music, I definitely feel a responsibility to make it a central part of my classes to teach the students about worship.
          For Courtney, she will hopefully be starting language lessons the first or second week of January. Since our break started, she’s been home several days with our helper and really enjoys their time together, but I know that she eagerly anticipates a day when their communication can be less about hand gestures and acting and more about the words that they’re saying.
I also know that Courtney would appreciate prayers on being a good steward of the time she’s going to have now. We both know that some of that time will be God-honoring simply through rest, but she also wants to be sensitive to God’s calling for other opportunities that may come up.
          For both of us, that we can continue to build healthy, God-honoring practices in our marriage. And also that now, more than ever, we can unite as a team in ministry – her supporting me and me supporting her.
Oh how powerful the prayers of God’s saints are, and how desperately needed they are as we wade the through the darkness of spiritual warfare in this country!
Our last two weeks of break involve a trip to the island of Sulawesi to celebrate the New Year on the beach. We also have to go to Singapore at some point for Courtney’s visa paperwork, but we still have not gotten any details on when that will happen – maybe during our Christmas break, maybe not.
God is so good!
I will close out now with some stories –
1)      At the beginning of November, Courtney and I were sitting at our dinner table when we heard a knock at the door. I went to open it, and there stood one of my dear Korean students with a bag of food in his hands. It was just him… no car or motorbike in the driveway, which struck me as a little weird… but he quickly apologized to me for missing a lunch meeting he was supposed to have with me. I thanked him and asked him if he was by himself. At about that time, his parents drove up from behind the corner, picked him up, and they left.
Now, I know that there are many things I probably could have been thinking, but in the true fashion of a teacher, the first thought that ran through my mind was, “Wow, his English sounded great just then!”

2)      Back in October the seniors held a “senior auction” fundraiser, and I ended up “buying” the services of one of my high school teacher’s assistants – incidentally, the same student who I’ve had over for dinner three or four times. It took a while to get organized, but we finally had him over in the middle of November to teach us and our helper a Korean dish – bulgogi. It was fun to have him there with our helper (although she was expecting a girl to show up!) and have the two simultaneous languages thing going on (English and Indonesian). The food turned out to be delicious, although our helper’s attempts to make it since then haven’t been so successful…

3)      A week or two before Thanksgiving I was able to go on a field trip with the whole middle school to ice skate in Bandung. That’s right. Ice skate!

One of the big malls has a small rink at the top. The trip was intended to be a middle school “bonding” time, and I thought it was a lot of fun. The ice quickly turns into slush, but we made it work as best as we could. I definitely appreciated seeing the different levels of the students. Some of the “fresh-off-the-boat” (as I like to say) Korean students were skating circles around everyone else. Many of the others had to stick pretty close to the rails, while plenty of others (myself included) fell somewhere else in between.

4)      For the Thanksgiving holiday, our Korean parent community hosted a huge barbeque for the BAIS stuff. Oh my goodness! There was so much delicious Korean food! To top it off, they gave it about a billion door prizes that had been donated and hosted a fun “rock-paper-scissors type” game. The best part though –

Courtney and I sat with the parents of the student from story #1 above. They are M workers here who will be leaving after this school year. Since last year I have been intimidated by the father, but that all changed after Courtney and I had them over for dinner in October. They’re a great family who I’ll really miss. Anyways, in the game that they had us play, there were phrases you had to say: “Hello; thank you; God bless you; I love you; Hallelujah.” Needless to say, we were all in an uproar of laughter by the time it was over. After the game, we formed a huge circle so that the parents could pray for us. I was holding hands with this particular student’s dad, and after the prayer was over, it looked like he reached out his hand to me. I thought he wanted me to shake hands, but then the next thing I knew, he had his arms around me in a hug and said, “I love you.”

Tears filled my eyes. The Body of Christ here is so amazing, and parents tend to be so appreciative of the support their children receive at BAIS – freeing them up to do the works God has called them to do here.

5)      After Thanksgiving, our community was rocked by some pretty devastating news. Our advanced math and senior Bible teacher had gone to Jakarta to have his knee looked at. He was experiencing growing pain. They did some checks, and before he knew it, he and his wife were on a plane to Singapore. Diagnosis: Stage IV, extremely aggressive kidney cancer with a prognosis of 2-4 years. He is, I think, in his early 40s.

They don’t train you for this kind of thing in teacher-training school. On two different occasions I had to give updated news to the 7th grade class, and most students just sat there in shock.
Here’s the amazing thing though – we have hope, and David has radiated with the living Savior in him. Every step of the way he and his wife have taken careful steps to entrust all the details into the hands of our Shepherd, and to our whole community they have proclaimed trust in the sovereignty of God.

I had an especially moving opportunity to talk with one of our seniors who is a praise team leader. The day that his team led in chapel was such a heavy time in this place, and I was praying through that I felt God press 2 Chronicles 20 on my heart – the account of Jehoshaphat sending out the musicians to defeat Moabites and Ammonites in battle. I exhorted the praise team to go out into battle on that day – to fight through the spiritual warfare that was waiting to seize our hearts and spirits and instead to offer up a sacrifice of praise to the living God. They completely rose to the challenge, and I was so proud of them.

But a couple of times during the middle of leading, this student just stopped singing and looked somewhat distant. He got out of the chapel pretty fast after they finished, and I went to see what was up. I ended up taking him to my room next door, and we sat down together. He said that he kept seeing Mr. Durham’s face as he was leading. He expressed hesitancy to show any emotion and then, after some time, confessed his doubts about this whole thing. “What’s the point of it all?” he asked. He told me that he could only see two outcomes – a miracle or total failure (David’s death). I sat in awe at the door God was opening up for me.

Now, I don’t really have doubts that this student is a Believer, and yet his words spoke to me of the holes that can exist in our foundations sometimes. I asked if he wanted to hear my take on things, and he said he did. I proceeded to talk to him about the glory that God has been given through this tragic situation and how so many Believers all over the world have united in prayer for this family. And then I told him my belief: there can be only one outcome for the Believer – miracle. Failure is not possible. I told him that whether David lives to be 100 years old or if he died tomorrow, it is all a miracle – a miracle that God would come down Himself to cleanse us of our sins and offer up a path of reconciliation to Him.  That is our hope; that is David’s hope.

I am so thankful to be in a school that allows me opportunities to share freely like that with my students. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to you, God, my Rock and my Redeemer.

6)     Just last week I was afforded a rare and incredibly proud moment as a teacher. One of Courtney’s students (who incidentally happens to be one of mine as well) had it on her heart to somehow support the poor. You see, this particular student is from an extremely wealthy family, but her heart is one of recognizing those blessings and wanting to give back. It ended up working out that a benefit concert was held in her name, and they raised approximately $5,000 to give to a local organization for disabled kids.

Courtney and I were given free VIP tickets (valued at about $50 each) to see the concert. Courtney shared how nervous the student was, but then the concert kicked off, I looked up, and saw this student on the stage. Tears immediately started to fill my eyes (yeah, I cry a lot these days…) Although I did not have a direct role in helping this prepare for the concert, it was hard to believe that I was watching one of my 3rd grade students – who, just like all of my students, gets fussed at for posture or breathing or not paying attention in class – performing in front of an audience who had paid some good money to get in. Granted, she was just the opening act for an Indonesian pop superstar (about whom I don’t have time to write how unimpressed I was with her performance!) but again she was the mastermind behind the whole thing.

Oh there I go – probably sounding like a rambling parent. Anyways, the girl performed excellently, and I thank God for these students and families that He has put in my life.

Well, that’s everything and at the same time, it seems like nothing. What a grand storyweaver our Heavenly Father is! I look forward to the day when time is no more and I can tell you more of this amazing and challenging life to which God has called me and Courtney. I also look forward to hearing your stories and rejoicing with you.
I pray that this update finds you continuing to rejoice from the blessings of Christmas while looking ahead to the New Year.
In Christ, the Risen Savior,
Bryn Rice

Selemat Hari Natal dan Selemat Ulang Tahun, Yesus!!

Sudah!!  It is finished, at least this part of my journey in Indonesia is finished.  Last Friday, was my last day of teaching.  My students and I went on a field trip on Wednesday to one of the local dormant volcanoes and walked around the volcano amazed at the beauty God has given us in this country and then we went to an orphanage where one of my student’s parent works.  We were able to sing for them and they sang songs they had written to us.  It was a really cool experience even though I cannot communicate with those children, holding them in my arms and loving on them was one of my favorite moments of the Christmas season so far.  Hearing a group of Indonesian girls and boys singing Feliz Navidad and worshipping the Savior was incredible.  Then, Thursday we had a Birthday party for Jesus at my house with my class, and then we finished the week off by using the money we had been collecting in chapel to be able to choose gifts of bibles, feeding babies for two weeks, milk for a week, and 12 baby chickens to give to Samaritans Purse to help the needy and lost people around the world.

I remember a couple of years back, I was sitting at a Lighthouse Christmas party, a party for disadvantaged and needy children as they were shopping for gifts from those given to the camp by churches around the area.  I remember holding one of the little boys with my arms wrapped around him  and him pointing to the mural on the back wall of Jesus’ birth and the picture of his death with blood pouring from his hand, and then the resurrection.  I remember him asking me, why is there blood coming from his hands?   Christmas is not just about the birth, but a celebration of why he came, to die for our sins.  Christmas is about Jesus and it is amazing how these needy children see that joy and love that Christ gave them through Jesus during this season without gifts and stuff, but the person.

When I think of this Christmas season, I don’t want to focus on the worldly processions, but on the God who gave us the greatest gift—His son to be born and die on a cross for you and for me.  Wow!!  He gave all for me, but what am I giving to Him this Christmas?

I have been greatly challenged this Christmas, being on a tropical island and very much far away from the commercialism of Christmas living in a non-Christian environment, on how to make Jesus the center of Christmas and every day.  I have been examining what the world sees as Christmas and remembering what it truly represents.  What am I saying to my helper who walks in my doors every day and the cousins I walk by on the streets?  Am I showing God’s love and representing with my life, since my words are few due to my lack of language, the gift of forgiveness and freedom God gave me from the chains that entangled me?  Do they see the joy that Christ gives me?

So, instead of the normal Christmas celebration, Bryn and I will be celebrating Christmas a little different this year.  We are going to wake up and open a memory stocking from each other with memories from the year and reflect on God’s grace and love that he has blessed us with this year.  Then, we are going to have a quiet time together praising God for who He is.  Following that, we will be having Brunch with our BAIS Big Brother and Sister, Scott and Laura and enjoy the family that God has given us here.  We will be making cupcakes to celebrate Jesus’ birth together and read the Christmas story, which is a tradition growing up that has always made me smile.  Then, we will have dinner with some more of our BAIS family.  After that, instead of giving presents to each other, we are going to write poems, create art, or in some other means truly reflect on what God h as done for us and give him the present of the talent He has given us and worship the Savior, whose birth we celebrate on that day.  It will be a day of reflecting on the Reason for Christmas and remember the sacrifice it was for Him to humble himself to be born of a virgin and the sacrifice to die for each one of us.

So, I pray that this finds you well and that you remember on the day we celebrate Jesus’ birth that you to stop and remember the gift and sacrifice that was given to us.  Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday, Jesus!!  Selemat Hari Natal dan Selamat ulang tahun, Yesus!!

I am Dreaming of a White Christmas…but this year it will have to be sand instead of snow.

“Oh the weather outside is frightful…”

Definitely the weather is not frightful here unless you consider the rain that occurs daily as we ride in the motorbike.  On Thanksgiving day to be able to take a long bike ride in 75 degree weather and then have thanksgiving dinner with our BAIS family complete with turkey, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, and pie reminds me that we definitely are in the states.  And to look in our backyard and have mangos growing on our tree instead of pine cones and snow.  Instead of our white being snow, this year we will have our white be sand as we adventure to one of the northern islands of Indonesia.  It is definitely going to be a different type of Christmas.

It has been a wonderful Christmas season so far though.  The day after Thanksgiving, I was able to teach my helper how to make cupcakes.  She has been asking how to make cupcakes since we got here. Now, it is time to learn how to make a good icing to teach her.  J  Each Tuesday, Bryn and I have either taught our helper an American/Mexican/Italian dish or she has taught us Indonesian or Sundanese dish.   It has been a wonderful way to practice our Indonesian and develop a relationship with my helper and her daughter. On Friday after thanksgiving, I also was able to spend some time with my helper’s daughter and make Christmas ornaments from beads and pipe cleaners and I finally got her to talk to me with my broken Indonesian and have her teach me the shapes.  It has been such a joy to spend time with them on Tuesdays.  Pray for divine moments to share the truth and to give vocabulary for her to be able to understand the hope and truth of this Christmas season of the beautiful birth of Jesus and the hope we have in His death.

Christmas has always been something special to me and it is hard being away from my family and not be with them to celebrate with the traditions as a family.  I remember the traditions of making cupcakes every Christmas day for our Christmas Party for Jesus and getting dressed with stuff from my grandmother’s closet and wrapping jewelry boxes with aluminum foil to be gifts for Jesus for the wise men and putting on a nativity play at my grandparents’ house.   I remember singing Christmas carols in between certain parts of the nativity play with all of the Millers crammed together in one room with a slightly off key, but beautiful sound to my ears and sometimes my dog, Sprinkles, even singing with us.  I remember having dinner with our TBC family.  I remember having my Dad or Grandfather on Christmas afternoon reading the nativity story from the Bible before our Birthday party for Jesus.  I remember making candy treats with my Mom of white chocolate covered pretzels, tiger butter, or one year we made mouse from chocolate covered cherries, kisses, icing, and graham crackers.  I remember my cock-a-poo, guarding his stocking and opening up his tennis balls on Christmas day and being so excited. It is a wonderful time to remember my wonderful family and most of all the wonderful, amazing Savior we serve during this time of year.

This year, Bryn and I are beginning to our own traditions and figure out how to celebrate this season of Jesus’ birth and ultimately the gift He gives us through His death.  One of my favorite things so far this season was when Bryn and I made sugar cookies and cut some out in Christmas shapes which not many made it in their original shapes by the time they got delivered, but they still tasted good and went out caroling, which turned into a progressive dinner and not much caroling, but it was a lot of fun being able to go to our BAIS community of parents and have really cool conversations over peppermint tea and chocolate and then Korean fried chicken, apples, and baked rice.  Four houses in four hours is definitely a reminder that we live in Asia and especially Indonesia with the community that we live in.  I am going to miss being with my family this season and it is hard being so far away as my grandmother is in the hospital.

God is amazing and I am so blessed for all that he has been doing in my life during these last 5 month.  I have 2 more weeks of teaching and then I am looking forward to stepping back from teaching and allowing God to guide me in this next season.

There are a few things I would love for you to pray for this season…

First of all, it has been a very difficult time for our BAIS community.  One of the BAIS teachers was struggling with knee pain and went to Singapore expecting to have knee surgery and come back, but they have found through some exploration that he has stage 4 kidney cancer.  Please pray for the David as he goes through chemotherapy and pray for healing in his body and pray for his faith to stay strong and be a witness to all that are around him.  Pray for David’s wife Kim, it has been absolutely amazing to see their faith and reliance on God during this time, but pray that Satan will not take this peace and comfort from them.  Pray for their 4 kids, Grace (college in Canada), Emma (high school), Jeff (middle school), and Abi (2nd Grade).  Pray for decisions and for God to be seen and glorified in this situation.  Pray for knowledge with the doctors.  Pray for the BAIS community to have understanding and unite during this difficult time.  Pray for the BAIS students that they would see God through David and that they would not blame Him for David’s illness but see what David lives for no matter what happens.

Second, pray for Tamara and her husband Jan and 3 or 4 year old son Russell as they prepare to come back to Indonesia.  Tamara will be taking my place at BAIS.  Jan is Indonesian and Tamara taught at BAIS for many, many years.  Pray for an easy transition as they come back in January.

Pray for my students as some will be leaving after this semester to head to various islands.  Pray for an easy transition as Tamara comes in and that God may continue to shape their hearts to be more like His.  Pray for those who have yet to believe that are in my class.

Lastly, I would like to ask you to be in prayer with me that God would guide me through this next season of exploring what God has in store for me in Indonesia.  I originally thought I would be able to study at the language school, but due to my visa I am not able to.  I have been in contact with a private tutor who is a retired teacher to start taking with her, but it is going to cost 2 juta or approximately $210 dollars a month.  Pray that God would direct me in His Path as I strive to seek His Will.  Pray for His provision as we switch to a single income, I have no doubt God will provide.

I pray that this Christmas season would be an amazing time for you and your family.  May God draw you closer to each other and to Him as we celebrate Jesus’ birthday.