MEA Flips and Shares Blessings
Faith. It’s the stuff that moves mountains, and it’s such a loaded word.
As the smoke from all of the wildfires from the Pacific Northwest settles into our valley, our beloved mountains that frame the Gallatin Valley have disappeared behind a grey-brown blanket of smoke. Even though I can’t see the mountains, I know they are there.
Faith is like that too. It is belief in things unseen. In their 2007 hit song “I Believe in Love,” the music group Barlow Girl sings, “I believe in the sun, even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don’t feel it. And I believe in God, even when He is silent. …” For many, 2020 has been a year where they’ve felt God has been silent.
It has been said Mount Ellis Academy in Bozeman, Montana, is a miracle school. For much of our 118-year history, we have been in need of funding. Year after year, God shows up and His voice can be heard echoed in the laughter of our students, the counsel of our teachers, the support of our alumni and the prayers of our administration. Is MEA a miracle school? Absolutely.
MEA is also a school carried on the wings of faith of its constituents, alumni, parents and staff. This year we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Kohl’s Care Campaign, through which we were the recipients of $500,000 that went toward a much-needed new septic system on campus. Whenever we have a need, it seems to be miraculously met. Not only does God show up, but He shows up in big ways.
In March, when our world fell prey to a pandemic that wrought physical, emotional and financial devastation nationwide, MEA was staring down a financial crisis that felt insurmountable. The future seemed uncertain, but we knew from our experience that God is faithful.
He showed up once again through our alumni and friends and provided for our needs so we were able to resume in-person learning in August. We had an unprecedented three months of giving that carried us through the end of the academic year, and we continue to bear witness to God’s hand over our school through the generosity and stewardship of our friends and alumni.
What do you do with a blessing? According to pastor and author Mark Batterson, you flip it! In his book Double Blessings, Batterson writes, “God doesn’t bless us to raise our standard of living, He blesses us to raise our standard of giving. In the words of Winston Churchill, ‘We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.’” At MEA, it is our deepest desire to share the love of Jesus with our students and local community so that years from now, kingdom work will continue in the lives of our alumni.
Recently, we have received several much-needed donations toward funding our scholarship programs, which allow us to serve all students regardless of income level. We haven’t reached our ambitious fundraising goal yet for this academic year, but we are stretching our faith by recognizing that meeting this lofty goal will demonstrate God’s glory and further His kingdom here on Earth.
Individuals are stepping forward in faith to give because they have been impacted either directly or indirectly by MEA, as was the case for Ed Allred of Los Alamitos, California. Because of the impact Herbert Ruckle, ’78, had on Allred's life, Allred felt impressed to give $100,000 toward campus capital improvements when he heard MEA had a need.
Allred had no attachment to Mount Ellis Academy other than the relationship he shares with Ruckle. Ruckle was a blessing to Allred, and Allred flipped the blessing back to MEA. Our aim is to flip that blessing back to our students, their families and anyone else they will be engaging with down the road.
The Apostle Luke wrote, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38). Faith and stewardship go together hand-in-hand. Stewardship is stepping forward in faith using our time, talents and finances to further the kingdom of God here on Earth.
When we recognize that all we have belongs to the Lord and give abundantly of our blessings, we are given the opportunity to join in partnership with Him in being a blessing. God is not silent. He is speaking to the world through His children. He is waiting patiently to bless us. How will you flip the blessing?