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Being a Student During COVID-19

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Hello everyone! My name is Kaitlyn Shipowich and I am the SDBC Kids intern. I have attended South Delta Baptist since 2012 and have served on staff since 2016. What I have missed most through these past few months of the pandemic is the fellowship and community that are so present every Sunday, as well as during events hosted during the week. I miss walking into church on Sunday and being greeted by person after smiling person. I especially miss seeing all of the wonderful children that attend our Sunday programming.

As a student during the pandemic there were many challenges and different emotions that came along with the news that classes would be moving online. First was the fact that I would not be seeing many of my friends from school. The social environment at Trinity Western University (TWU) is incredibly unique and, as a student leader, I had gotten to know a wide range of students; each one had uniquely supported me in my education career, my personal life, and my own faith. Because the announcement was made on a Saturday, there were many goodbyes that were never said, at least in person. Then there was the challenge of transitioning to online learning. I know that many university students, as well as high school and elementary students, had a difficult time moving from the classroom environment to learning at home.

The whole semester, year, and, I can honestly say, my entire time at TWU, has a sense of being "unfinished." There were no graduation events, friends returned to their home countries within a matter of days and without formal goodbyes, and I know that I will not be returning to the school come September. I look at my experience, and that of students all over the country, and it is easy for me to focus on all of the things that we have missed out on as a result of the pandemic. However, I know that God is working through this. Friendships have become more intentional, as we are not able to see all of our friends from school on a regular basis, we have been forced to make time for one another, and be intentional in our communications. Online school requires much more discipline and organization in order to finish assignments in a timely manner. For us graduating students, be it from high school or university, the next phase of our lives may be uncertain right now, but my encouragement for everyone would be to look up towards the Lord and give to him all of your worries for the future. No one knows what next year, next month, or even next week will look like, but God in is complete control even when we are not. We can take comfort in what is said in James 1:2-4: "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." If we rely on Jesus in this time of struggle, he will show us the joy that comes with holding true in our faith.

In this time, please pray for all the students who are finishing their school year. It has been a challenging few months, and becomes even more so when you can see the end. Please pray for those of us who have recently graduated, that God will show us what his plans are for our lives, and even though things may be frustrating and uncertain, please pray that we can turn our eyes towards God to show us what the next step is.

Please pray with us for Kaitlyn and all students, as they complete this school year and face the uncertainty of what the future may bring.

What It Means to Father

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My kids rarely ever call me by my given name. When they do, they are either trying to get my attention or are just being snarky. From day one, they have always used a different name: Dad. I cherish this name far more than my given name. It's not the name alone that I treasure, but the deep and profound meaning behind it. The fact that three individuals on this earth refer to me as "dad" is humbling. I am so thankful to God that I have the privilege of loving and leading this crew of kids and teenagers as a father. It is one of the greatest joys and tremendous responsibilities I have been given. I'll be the first to admit, I don't have a perfect track record when it comes to being dad. I've been known to blow it--regularly. But truthfully, since the day Juli and I found out we were having our first child, my hope and prayer has been that God would allow me all the grace, wisdom, love, and strength needed to fulfil this role as a father. I know that being a great dad is one of the best ways I can bring glory to God.

There is a fourth little one in our family that has just begun to call me dad. This has been a strange and new experience for me. When I hear it, I am reminded yet again of the wonder and weight of this role. You might laugh, but "DubDub" (based on my life-long nickname "Dub") is the name we taught him to call me. For the last two and a half years that's the name I've heard. But since he arrived in our home, he has heard the other kids call me by a different name. I am sure in his beautiful little brain, he has wondered why, why the difference. Names and titles have huge meanings as these foster children grow, learn, and feel attachment. So this shift, though natural, has been super eye opening for me. To hear him, who has never known a biological father, say the name dad, has reintroduced me to the beautiful gift of what it means to father. It's kind of overwhelming really. I have the opportunity, by God's grace, to offer a child the type of relationship that could impact how they see themselves in this world. It's that profound.

So, onward we go fathers. God help us!! The cause is great. The calling is huge. Be overwhelmed, along with me, as we seek to best live up to this name: DAD.

Posted by Jayson Oldham

SDBC Young Family and Small Business Highlight

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My name is David Mueller and I have attended South Delta Baptist for about 16 years. I came to accept Christ at this church and also met my wife, Rachel, here. We have been married for 14 years and have three beautiful children, Payton age 7, James age 6, and Kai age 3.

During this uncertain time with COVID-19, God has been ever-present in our lives. Our usual chaotic lives where I am running a small business, my wife is working shift work as a registered nurse, and all of our kids are in too many activities, has slowed down. Through this, we have learned to enjoy our quiet time and spend more time together. We have been watching sermons together on TV and spending more quiet time with God. But I miss seeing everyone at church. I miss being present for sermons, talking with familiar faces, and sharing with others about how their week has been.

We have been struggling during this time. Our youngest son was diagnosed with a lifelong disability, my company, which I rely on to support my family, has slowed down, and Rachel had to step into the unknown in the hospital as a registered nurse. This new diagnosis, the stress of the unknown with our finances, and my wife putting herself at risk as an essential service worker has made my wife and I rely more heavily on God and trust in his love for us. Not only has this been a time for reflection, but it has been a time when we really needed to get on our knees and pray for God to help us.

My prayer request from the church at this time would be for more people to be brought closer to Christ. Please also be in prayer for all small business owners who are struggling at this time and for all essential workers. Also, please pray for children with varying disabilities who are having a difficult time accessing services and therapy, like my son.

Please pray with us for Dave, Rachel, their family, and other small business owners during this time.

Posted by David Mueller

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