April 3, 2020 UPDATE
Dear Student and Parents,
I hope this email finds you safe and healthy. I am reminded of Psalm 46:1-3, which says,
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is no doubt in my mind that many of you may feel as I do in these moments, as though the world is falling apart or crashing in on you and everything is coming at you at lighting speed. Maybe you’re fearful. In light of this, I am greatly encouraged by the opening thoughts of these verses: God is my refuge, my strength, and my ever-present help! God is YOUR refuge, strength, and ever-present help! Therefore, we (you and I) will not FEAR! You and I can live in this moment of time resting in the presence of our wonderful Savior Jesus Christ! Find Him in His Word and the comfort of the Holy Spirit!
Here are few updates and resources for you:
Personal Belongings Update – NY Campus
We have been working within and with the guidance set by the President of the United States, New York State Government and our local Warren County Department of Health. All of them are strongly advising limited travel, enforcing the requirement of essential workforce only, and restricting social interaction to that which is essential (or the term we have all learned to love and apply in our lives – Social Distancing). At this time, I remain convinced and confident in the decision that the most responsible and reasonable thing to do is not have students return. As you are seeing in the news, New York State is the epicenter for COVID-19 in the United States. Many states are placing regulations and guidance concerning people traveling to and from New York State. Here are some of my thoughts I shared with my leadership Team as to why now is not the time to have students return.
- Health and Safety of Our Parents and Students – As they travel to our campus, they do not know what they may be exposed to at rest areas, gas stations, and other interactions. We must place their health and safety first.
- Currently, COVID-19 is extremely prevalent and dangerous in NY State and our surrounding states. Many state governments are limiting travel to and from NY State. Vermont for example has said any one from NY or someone traveling from NY must self-isolate for 14 days. Other states are doing the same – which means this will be an inconvenience for our parents and students if they had to self-isolate for 14 days.
- Health and Safety of Our Team Members. – We do not know what our students and parents have been exposed to. The risk of exposing a staff member to COVID-19 is not a risk I am willing to take.
- Respect for Our Government Officials – we have been asked by our President and our State lawmakers to shelter in place and limit travel. I believe we need to be a testimony to our community, staff children and loved ones, and parents and students in this matter.
- Prayerful and Godly Wisdom – After praying much and seeking input from those with much more experience in these situations. I simply believe this is the wise decision to make. We can replace material objects; we cannot replace a life.
Although this decision may serve as an inconvenience, there is some encouragement to offer. Our team has built a policy, procedure, and system for personal belongings pickups. It is fully designed and ready to be implemented as soon as we have a green light to move forward as it is determined that everyone’s safety and health can be adequately cared for. I am confident that when you see what we have developed you will be very pleased. As soon as we are in a downward trend with COVID-19, and the government has lifted the restrictions, we will release this system to you. I know I have stated this before, but please do not take matters into your own hands. Right now, New York State has issued penalties to companies not in compliance. Word of Life is not prepared to pay for those penalties on behalf of individuals. Your cooperation and understanding in this matter are extremely important during this time. Many of you have shared your support and concerns, for which I am thankful. Please be patient with us on this situation. Rest assured we are doing all that we can.
Center for Biblical Counseling – All Campuses
Recently our Director of Counseling sent out a note to all students concerning the Center for Biblical Counseling. These resources remain fully accessible to students and friends of the ministry. Here is the note sent by Joe.
In the face of the uncertainties of the Covid-19 crisis, we are all having to adjust our lives. Those of us at the Center for Biblical Counseling want you to know that, while in-person counseling is not currently an option, you don’t have to social distance alone. We recognize that there may be various challenges and struggles that each of you are now facing. You don’t have to navigate it alone.
The Center for Biblical Counseling will continue to be available to the student body for free Biblical counseling. Any student that is interested in pursuing counseling can connect with a member of the counseling department through their emails listed below for more information. If you were previously meeting with a counselor, feel free to reach out to reconnect if they haven’t already done so with you.
Orion Aviles – firstname.lastname@example.org
Ariel Hidalgo – email@example.com
Charlie Janho – firstname.lastname@example.org
Julie Scheftic – email@example.com
Lauren Bidding -Lobidding@wol.org
Julia Amesbury – firstname.lastname@example.org
Joe Schenke – email@example.com
Just in case you’re wondering what the new team meetings look like for the Center for Biblical Counseling.
Study Skills Center Help – NY Campus
In conjunction with the Academics Department, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness staff are looking to offer Zoom study intensives every Monday morning for both First- and Second-Year guest lecturer courses, as well as some separate sessions for resident lecturer/semester long courses. They are also looking to run some study-skills sessions to help students learn best practices for studying remotely. Several of the student tutors have offered to assist with these events. For the moment, the study intensives are set to take place at the following times each week (dates and times for study-skills sessions are TBD):
- For First Year: Mondays from 10:00-11:00 AM
- For Second Year: Mondays from 11:15-12:15 PM
We believe that these sessions will be profitable for our students as they seek to complete the Word of Life Bible Institute academic program off-campus. They will also allow students to interact with each other remotely, which I know will be appreciated by students during this crazy time. If your student mentions that they are struggling with this new remote learning format that is in place for the remainder of the semester, encourage them to join in on a study intensive.
Chapels and Daily Devotions– All Campuses
Join us for Chapel on Wednesdays and Fridays at 12 PM at our NY location. Join us live on Fridays at 11am with the Florida Ministries Chapel. We will be broadcasting live on our Facebook Pages. We are also hosting daily 5-7 minute devotionals by different staff members every weekday at 9 AM on our main Word of Life Bible Institute Facebook page for NY. You will find these very encouraging for these interesting days in which find ourselves living. If you like the page, you will receive a notification when we go live. Join in on the fun and biblical teaching—you will not be disappointed.
Prayer Requests – All Campuses
We would count it a joy to pray for you and for you to pray along with us. We have created a prayer page on our website here on this page wol.is/ministryrequests. You can see our list of prayer requests and there is a way for you to submit your prayer requests. As a team, we will commit to praying for your requests. Here is the link to the prayer page: http://www.wol.org/get-involved/prayer-partners/ .
We remain committed to faithfully serving and supporting your student during this time. If there is anything, we can do to help you or your student during this time, please let us know.
Please know we are praying for you and your family. Be encouraged, God is at work!
Serving those who serve,