Updated: Sep 13, 2022
About 2 months ago, a group of us at EFC spent a week focused on the question, “God, what are You doing in our town, and how can we partner with Your work?” Every evening and all day on Saturday, we gathered for dinner and then spent time listening to our community, to God, and to one another. Looking back, it was the most joyful and life-giving week of my summer.
Here are a few highlights:
Connecting as Foursquare family — We started each session with dinner and some questions to help us get to know each other more deeply. The questions were pretty simple, but over the course of five days we all really bonded. It has been several years since I have seen a group of people connect in such a manner.
Seeing Ellensburg from several perspectives — During the week, we heard from our middle school principal, one of our police captains, a city councilman, and two caseworkers focused on homelessness. Each shared their unique angle on the needs of our community. The stories varied, but the struggle with feeling disconnected and the issues relating to mental health were consistent threads that ran throughout each one. It is clear to me that God gave us a gift of insight and connection with each leader. One presentation, however, stood out beyond the others — the one given by Michelle Bibich, principal of Morgan Middle School. Here are a few quick facts we learned about Morgan:
Principal Bibich has been leading Morgan for 11 years.
Morgan has grown every year for a decade and now has over 700 students.
28% of students at Morgan receive free lunch, and another 13% get it at a reduced price.
Vaping nicotine and marijuana have become difficult school issues.
Social disconnection in student-to-student and adult-to-student relationships is a major problem.
Morgan has students that are actively involved in gangs.
Teachers are struggling with mental and emotional health.
Principal Bibich spoke candidly about the vast challenges facing our middle school. She shared her tremendous hope for each situation while readily admitting she is facing problems for which no one has answers. The more she spoke, the more engaged we all became; we could feel both the huge need and a deep longing for God to move. I wrote in the June blog: I believe God wants to give us a corporate assignment…I have no idea yet what that assignment might be. I believe God was, at that moment, planting the seeds of this new assignment. Where do we go from here? As a first step, we want to surround Morgan Middle School in prayer. The goal is not to just pray for Morgan. The goal is to pray for this school as though it were full of our kids and grandkids, as though we were the teachers, administrators, and school board members. We want to pray as people who own the problems and are fighting for people we love. We want to pray with confidence knowing that God has the answer to every problem Morgan students are facing and that we have His ear. Why? Because He is a good Father and promised that “the fervent prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16b)
To facilitate this kind of prayer, we have set a goal of having at least one person prayer walk around Morgan every day from now until the end of the year. You can follow the link below for instructions and to sign up for a shift. Link here for sign up & Instructions.
Second, one of the major needs of 6th-8th graders is relationship with adults who will give the student their attention, so we have been invited by Principal Bibich to pilot a weekly lunch with students on campus. The plan is to start with a small group of volunteers to test the idea; as we figure things out, we will be looking for ways to involve more people. Once again, I invite you to pray for wisdom and for favor with students and teachers alike.