Highlights of the last month of school:
- Cheyenne Dee scored 21 on the ACT College entrance test. That is a very high score for a minority student.
- Zach scored 18 points in the All-star basketball game and was awarded the MVP trophy
- We did well in the annual academic meet – a contest among mission schools – especially in Bible and Bible memory.
- The juniors and seniors had a great trip to Florida – especially loving the beach. It was also their first time to fly. The saints in Orlando and Tampa were an invaluable help by housing the group.
- We had a wonderful graduation on May 15th. Six seniors and two eighth graders walked the aisle. The gym was decorated beautifully. Five of the six seniors are planning to go on to college.
- On the senior trip Tiffany had to go to the emergency room for an allergic reaction. She is fine but the bill was over $2,000. The Navajo tribe is refusing to pay. We have appealed that decision. Pray that they will do what is right.
- Two of the seniors graduated without coming to a saving knowledge of Christ. Pray for their salvation.
- Pray that the others will continue in the faith.
- Pray that we will have a full complement of teachers for next school year. At this time we still could use another high school teacher.
I think teaching is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. It is often thankless and frustrating. Kids don’t usually appreciate our love and efforts in their lives. It can be lonely in a classroom when you are the adult and not part of the group. There are inside jokes you aren’t a part of, but often the brunt of. Immanuel Mission can be lonely as well. We are far from town and some need to go to town just to be in the midst of people. I have found now that I like waiting in line, being in a crowded place, and even going shopping on Black Friday is fun just to be in the jostle and mess. So those are some of the negatives but this is why I don’t quit or leave:
Teaching is one of the most valuable things you’ll ever do. It is so nice to have a job that has eternal consequences not just a paycheck as a reward, but crowns in Heaven. I know we are supposed to do everything we do to the glory of God but it is more obvious that it matters when you are dealing with a student than when you are dealing with a vacuum cleaner. Kids do learn stuff. It is kind of amazing at the end of each year when you realize that, in spite of themselves and the struggle, they know more than they did in September. They quote me; sometimes that is honoring and sometimes embarrassing. I make a difference and have significance. Selfishly, it is fun for me to be the center of attention. I like having a captive audience everyday. I bet these things are true of parenting too, but the Lord hasn’t given me that ministry. I love teaching at a Christian school where you can tell them the truth and not have to worry about being politically correct. You can call sin “sin” and you can tell people about God’s solution for it instead of using the world’s tools to mask or hide or explain away problems. I love kids and I love the Lord and I love that He lets me do what I love for Him. His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
Immanuel Mission is a great place to live. My neighbors love the Lord and love me. We are working for the same goals of godliness and love for each other. Obviously we have struggles and things to work out, but underneath everything we all want God’s best for each other. I walk to work, I walk to church, I walk to my friend’s house, to the gym, to meetings, etc. Even though groceries are 90 miles away, I know I spend less time in a car on a weekly basis than people who live in town. I don’t pay rent, I often get free clothes, I eat two meals a day that someone else pays for and cooks, my house is maintained by others that are eager to help me, and my neighbor always has a cup of coffee or sugar or whatever I forgot to get in town; or will pick it up for me when they go in the next day or two. I am safe in a gated community and surrounded by people who pray. I wish our phones worked better and I wish Kansas with my family was as close as Farmington, but I am content with the family God has given me here. As I love to say, “God is good, all the time.”
When I started working here as a teacher I thought I was going to teach for just one year. But, after a year went by I decided to teach again. I knew this would allow me to enjoy getting more acquainted with the Mission School and Community. I can’t believe it is my fourth year teaching here. This year I am teaching the 3rd grade only, which is great. I have a wonderful group of nine students eager to learn. There are seven boys and two cute little girls. The boys are very talkative and all my students have talents that show in class.
It’s great being around young scholars as they remind me of my self when I was young. When I was a little girl my parents taught me lots of things at home in our own language. Some of the things my parents taught me were: names of the month, days of the week, four seasons, four cardinal directions, and most importantly, my Diné clan and how I am related to others who have the same clan group as mine. My parents used to tell me about Diné history like the Diné Long Walk that occurred in the 1860’s. This year I thought about teaching some of the things I learned when I was young. So, at the beginning of the school year I asked my students if they were interested in learning about some of the things I had learned when I was their age, and they all said “yes.” They especially liked that we would learn about the different clan groups and how they are related to each other by clan. After school started we learned about clans and kinship, and found out that in some form of relationship by clan we have sisters, brothers, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. in one classroom! As a class we found joy and comfort in knowing that there are kin members we learn lessons with, eat and recreate with at school.
It’s a wonderful feeling to know my class and that wherever I go I will find a relative. It’s very unique. Now I know I have lots of relatives living in the Sweetwater Community. Now I really feel like I am at home. It makes me feel great and joyous to be here at the Mission School, and I can feel the Spirit of God.
We currently have 86 students enrolled for the 08/09 school year. There are 6 seniors and 10 new kindergarteners. We have 54 elementary, 8 junior high, and 24 high school students. We have 17 school staff members with 3 new teachers (see their articles elsewhere in this newsletter). Gerald Harvey is the new school cook. Lula Tom has switched to full time bus driver. Our retention rate is 92% which is very high for mission schools. Students like to come to school here for a variety of reasons, but, of course, we believe that God has them here to hear about Him. Please pray for our new staff, for safety, and that souls will be saved. We see signs of good things in the upper grades with several of the seniors being bolder for Christ. We are fervently praying for revival in the school. Please pray with us.
Immanuel has been bussing students to school and home again for 29 years since the dorms burned down in 1979. We have always used gas busses. Our yearly gas bill is around $20,000. Gas busses are getting hard to find because since about 1995 the industry has only manufactured diesel busses. So last year we made the decision to go diesel. We bought two diesel busses on eBay for around $1,500 each which was a huge savings over previous purchases. We have been pleasantly surprised that even though the price of diesel is higher we are saving lots of money because the diesel busses get better gas mileage than the regular gas busses and they take less maintenance. We believe that the diesel busses will pay for themselves in the first year. So, we would like to purchase two more. They come up fairly regularly on eBay but we do not currently have funds for bidding on one. If you would like to contribute to this project indicate your gift is for the “new bus fund”.
Let’s talk dental, shall we? I am having to have not one, but two crowns replaced. So, already having paid $600+ per crown, I now get to pay again – $850 each. [Do not complain, do not complain, do not complain, Numbers 11:1] So, I asked the LORD GOD to provide that money for me from un-‘usual givers’ and I tacked the dental bill on my bedroom wall (to remind God, y’know) I have been writing in amounts as they come in. The first tooth has been paid for as of last Thursday, and I ‘merrily merrily’ walked in to the office and forked over that whole amount! I am amazed afresh at my God’s ability to provide – I don’t know why . . . George Muller isn’t the ONLY one with a direct line! Still, it excites me – which is odd, because what do I have that God hasn’t provided, after all? [Can you spell nothing?]
Thank you again and again for your support of the work at Immanuel Mission. Maranatha!
As usual, I am struggling with getting out of God’s way and letting Him get on with His work. [We both like to lead, we both have plans for Him to carry out, and we both have a time schedule in mind] Do pray for me to let God lead.
I wouldn’t be out here if it weren’t for God working through you,
Thanks, Becky Knopf . . . Psalm 52:9
Dear praying friends,
School has started for another year. We have 82 wonderful students enrolled. There are 10 kindergartners which is good for the future of the school. We have three new teachers; Cindy Lauersdorf comes from Phoenix and is teaching first grade. Hannah Barr is from Longmont CO and is teaching second grade. Becky Allen is from Manhattan, KS and is teaching HS English, Science and Spanish. Please pray for these new teachers that they will have a minimum of problems adjusting to another culture and living in a mission community. We praise God He has once again supplied what we needed for the year. Their stories of how God called and led them here are really neat and you will be able to read about them in the fall mission newsletter. By the way, if you want more IM news you can subscribe to get all the news at http://www.immanuelmission.org/.
Please be praying about the great expense of bus gas and propane. We run two buses everyday on 30 – 40 mile routes getting about 5 miles to the gallon. We have gas delivered about 5 times a year. A truck full of gas is around $5,000. A load of propane is around $7,000. These are our largest expenses. For many years we have been adding insulation to all the buildings to conserve heat but the cost of propane keeps going up.
We had a great summer with six work groups coming. The new Vo-tech building is almost ready. Please be praying God will provide a teacher for that program. We were able to do a lot of work in the community as well as hold many Bible clubs. We enjoyed having three new groups this year from Tulsa, OK, Portland, OR and Woodland Pk, CO.
As most of you know on July 18 our daughter-in-law Katie (Davey’s wife) had a severe headache. When taken to the ER they found severe bleeding in her brain. Immediate surgery was performed to relieve the pressure but they gave little hope that she would survive or recover. But God has seen fit to spare her and she is doing great. She is still in the rehab center but her progress is remarkable. You can follow this miracle on the internet at katiebloomprogress.blogspot.com. We spent a week in Des Moines in July praying for the miracle and watching the kids so Davey could be at the hospital. Davey has been on the radio and TV in Des Moines giving God the glory for what He has done. We know many of you have been part of the prayers for Katie and we thank you.
I turned 60 this summer, got false teeth and began an oral chelation regimen to reduce plaque in my arteries. Because of the new teeth and perhaps the pills I have lost over 30 pounds and feel great. I was able to go backpacking again this summer and plan to climb 14,000 ft. Mt. Wilson again this fall (maybe not to the top).
Johnny is in his senior year at Emmaus and is the student body president. He seems to be in all their promotional materials.
Again, we thank you for your faithful prayers and support.
John & Ruth Bloom
We are anticipating needing a significant number of new staff for the next school year beginning in August. Please pray that God will supply the workers for this important ministry among the Navajo people of Sweetwater Community.
Anticipated needs include:
- Kindergarten teacher (degree not required)
- Middle School and High School Science teacher (degree preferred)
- Bus mechanic or mechanics helper
- Maintenance man
- Bookkeeper – knowledge of bookkeeping procedures and programs
- Bus drivers – must get AZ CDL and school bus endorsement.
Contact John Bloom for more information.