Dear Montana Bible College Students,

I would like to simply share my heart with all of you for a few moments with the hope that it will bring encouragement and some perspective.

We are all being affected by the coronavirus in many ways beyond our control. To be open and vulnerable with all of you, my own family has been drastically affected this week in that the buyer for our house got cold feet because of the economic situation. He then found a loophole in the contract and backed out less than 24 hours before closing. Ouch! That costs our family a few thousand dollars immediately, and it could cost us many tens of thousands of dollars as we have to look at selling our house again in a very changed housing market. Perhaps some of you are facing similar challenges with yourselves or family members being laid off or losing jobs or having other significant hardships.  I want to encourage all of us to reach out and support one another even as you have been doing.  Even as I shared our deep disappointment with our staff, they poured out their love in return.  I have spoken with multiple of you who have shared with me how you intend to show a watching world the light of Christ through your actions and witness.  Yes!  This is how God’s people respond in times of crisis!  We do not despair.

The events of recent weeks have proven that our world is incredibly fragile. Whether it be an earthquake caused by shifting tectonic plates or a global pandemic caused by a microscopic virus, our world is easily shaken.  By contrast, our confidence is in God who is the reigning King of an unshakeable kingdom (Heb. 12:28) and in whom there is no variation or shifting shadow (James 1:17).  He is infinite in wisdom and power and even when we are deeply impacted by forces outside of our control, his nearness and love for us remain constant (Ps. 73:28).  Rest in that assurance and stand firm in it!

By way of perspective, let me suggest that we look at the remainder of this semester as one that will undoubtedly be the most memorable college experience any student has had in decades!  Yet it is not a time to retreat, but continue to move forward.  We will not shrink back from our mission.  We will fulfill the purpose for which God has put each one of us here at Montana Bible College.  We are going to learn to love him more deeply, to know him more intimately, and to serve him more passionately. We are being trained as servants of the King!  As a follower of Jesus, one can look at the coronavirus as a huge disruption, or an unprecedented opportunity.  I say we seized that opportunity!  This will be the most unique and exciting end to a semester in our history as a college and possibly for you as a student.  It will be filled with the unexpected so we ask you to be flexible and patient.  It will also cause us to trust the God we serve in greater ways than ever.

So, continue to watch for communications from your leadership. Stay in communication with us as needs, challenges and opportunities arise in your lives and be assured we will stay in communication with you.  We are here to support you in any way we can as a staff.  Also, stay on your game as students who have a purpose yet to fulfill. We are not done.  We are in this together.

For now, classes will be suspended for this upcoming week following spring break as announced earlier this week, with the hope and expectation that we can reconvene regular classes again on March 30th with online options for those who cannot or choose not to attend because of complications with the coronavirus.  We are implementing new methods of content delivery even as I write this letter which may require some modifications to the courses so be attentive to communication from your instructors.  Remember you all remain students and it is our goal to help each of you complete this semester successfully.

May you have a great weekend, even as many of you worship in small group settings as your churches have also adjusted.  Remember, seize the many gospel opportunities and hold securely to the promises of scripture!

With love in Christ,

Ryan

Austin Ruhl