Dear Parents and Guardians,
At the beginning of each new school year, I am reminded of Psalm 86:11: “Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.” We see this scripture put into action as we watch these precious students grow in their relationships with the Lord, in their understanding of His Word, and in their application of it to their daily lives.
Please pray with us as we serve your students– that staff and students alike would point one another to God, His Word, and that we would make much of Jesus on our campuses and in our communities. This Friday at noon, I will be challenging the students in Chapel to dedicate their lives to the Lord with this simple prayer: “All that I am, all that I have, and all that I ever hope to be, I commit to the Lord Jesus Christ.” Would you join me in praying for this special chapel time?
I am pleased to report that we have not had any confirmed cases of COVID-19 on our campuses at the time of this update. While we have implemented our Health and Safety Response Plan a few times and done precautionary quarantines, testing has come back negative. We will be sure to have clear and consistent communication with you and your students as we continue to move forward this year.
On our New York campus, we will begin Phase 2 of our campus reopening plan on September 25th. Until the 25th, we will continue to implement Phase 1 of our plan, which has included a soft campusing of students and closure of the campus to visitors. On the 25th of September, we will enter Phase 2, where the soft campus/closure will be lightened up. We have reviewed the plan with the students. You can learn more about it here.
As we are fully operational now at both campuses, I hope the updates below are an encouragement to you.
Our Campus Life team has been working hard to provide some great opportunities for students to have fun on campus during Phase 1 of our plan. We modified our annual “Campus Clash” event to feature pre-recorded individual challenges rather than the regular large group games, and ended the evening with a fireworks display over the Bollback Student Life Center. Last weekend, we were able to open up a frisbee golf course, some marked hiking trails on campus, and offer a free afternoon of paintball. Many students participated, and they expressed joy to be able to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather on campus. We are looking forward to intramural sports starting up soon, and we are excited about Phase Two of our campus reopening!
As we begin our second week of the school year, we’ve been excited to see how well your students are doing with their flexibility and attitudes. They are willing to do extra cleaning, serve one another and more for the sake of spending their year learning God’s Word at the Bible Institute. This week, we have been encouraging students to take part in one of the many discipleship opportunities we have available. Over 55 female and 40 male students have already reached out to be paired with one of our staff members! We are committed to not only teaching scripture but to encouraging our students in the application of it as well. Our desire is for all of our students to be connected in some way, whether one-on-one with staff or through the leaders in their dorm, who will reach out to them periodically and make sure they are doing well emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
Health and Safety Update
The Bible Institute students have been such a joy throughout this whole process as we work through our health and safety procedures. Both of our campuses have no confirmed COVID-19 cases or COVID-19 tests pending. We are so grateful for the health that God has given to each one. We are daily working with our County Health Departments, staff, and students to make adjustments to serve students at the highest level while maintaining a safe environment. Our last students in precautionary quarantine from the September 11 registration get out this week! We are so excited for them to join the hubbub of campus life.
Our Freshmen students on our NY campus just finished a course on Personal Evangelism with Dr. Larry Moyer. Next week, they will begin a study of Genesis 1-11 with Professor Mark Strout. Professor Strout’s course has been recorded and can be viewed for free at learn.wol.org/courses. We would love to encourage you to follow along as your student studies the course next week– it’s an excellent opportunity for personal growth and a unique opportunity to dialogue with your student about what they are learning in the classroom!
Freshmen students on our Florida campus take the same courses as those on our New York campus– simply in a different sequence. This past week, they were studying the book of Judges with Dr. Matthew VanderWiele, and this coming week they will be studying Biblical Counseling with Professor Dalend Pearson.
Our Sophomore students just wrapped up a course on the books of Ruth and Esther with Dr. Corey Abney, and next week they begin the course “Cults” with Dr. James Bjornstad. This course on various cults will help students to understand the teachings of these cults, distinguish heresy from the truth, and help them to learn how to best reach these people groups with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Mr. Dalend Pearson, our newest professor, comes from Stephenville, Texas, and is teaching this week on the subject of Biblical Counseling. Students are also continuing their classes in Old Testament Survey, Theology, and Research and Writing.
The discipleship program is well underway, with most students now paired up with staff members who will invest time in helping them grow in their relationship with the Lord. One student said to a staff member, “The discipler you picked for me? Perfect!” It’s a great example of the Lord working things together for the growth and development of the students this year. On the social front, students have also the start of some intramural sports including soccer, basketball, volleyball, and ultimate frisbee.
It was an encouraging week in the Ministries Office! We produced the first six student video testimonies to be shared on social media. These students are a part of our Frontline Ministry team and they told their stories with boldness and courage. It was encouraging to have a student ask to join the evangelism ministry team saying, “I really believe that I should go out and share the gospel more.” We look forward to the time when we’ll be able to do that in person!
We also connected each student with a Word of Life Missionary from around the world and challenged them to get to know and begin praying for them. One student has already set up a Zoom call with their missionary. Pray that God will use these connections to encourage these missionaries and to challenge the hearts of our students towards world missions!
Come visit us! Register for a FREE Campus Preview Days event