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"Immeasurably More" - A BFA Story

Catherine and I love being a part of a school that is not only equipping this generation of MKs to influence their world but is also playing a key role in global missions today. BFA students represent roughly 60 countries where their parents are working - including many "creative access" countries.

But for this sort of dual impact to happen, BFA needs to be practically sustainable. As some of you know, BFA is facing a significant challenge to its long term sustainability - the challenge of replacing its two oldest and no longer viable dorms. Recently I sent a letter to BFA parents, alumni, staff and students to update them on this mission-critical situation. I want to share that message with you now because I believe that it provides an incredibly encouraging window into how God demonstrates His goodness and provision in situations that might otherwise seem impossible.

The Challenge: For the last ten years, BFA has recognized the increasingly urgent need to replace our beloved but aging HBR and Storch dorms. The age (they are both almost 200 years old) and historical protections on these building mean that government required modern renovations are both impractical and prohibitively expensive, but building from scratch created its own signficant challenges.

Based on initial architectural plans and the cost of construction in 2024, the estimated cost to build a double dorm from scratch was a frightening $10-12 million, assuming all went well! Undertaking such a project is a significant risk for a school of our size.

But God is in the process of doing something incredible through our need. As you will see, He is already doing “Immeasurably More” than what we could have asked or imagined just a couple of years ago. 

“Immeasurably More” Part One - the Building: In August of 2022, after a sleepless night of wrestling with this dilemma, our CFO felt a “nudge.” We needed to look “one last time” to see if there might be anything in the area that we could buy for a more reasonable price. But what were the chances? BFA had been looking for years and nothing remotely suitable existed. Not unlike Jesus’ call to Peter after a night of futile fishing to “cast the net on the right side,” our CFO reached out in faith to a local realtor. 

This story deserves a more full treatment, but the result of this step of obedience was the first significant miracle in our story. A few days later we were told confidentially that a property would likely be coming on the market. That property, a large and modern retirement home just 200 meters from campus, had the potential to not only replace HBR and Storch but could add a third dorm, allowing us to serve at least an additional 15 families. All this was for a total (all-inclusive) of $9M - $3M less than the estimated cost to build a smaller double dorm. Incredible! But $9M was still far beyond our capacity.

“Immeasurably More” Part Two - Favor in the eyes of the local government: The exciting potential purchase of this facility had one major challenge. In order to use it as a triple dorm, BFA would need to get the support of the Kandern city council to begin the process of changing the “building use permissions”. This support was not a foregone conclusion. In fact, for several months, it appeared BFA would not be allowed to move forward. Discouraged by the bureaucratic challenges we faced and by some initially negative press, we continued to bring our needs before God. In a series of Kandern City Council meetings between July and December of 2023, God answered our prayers. The Kandern City Council unanimously approved our request to begin this important process!

“Immeasurably More” Part Three - ein Schritt auf einmal (one step at a time): Part Three is a series of financial miracles related to this project, each providing us with clear and fresh evidence of God’s faithfulness. There are remarkable stories behind each of these, but I will let the examples stand on their own for the moment:

  • A BFA-owned property purchased by a valued mission partner.

  • A negotiated price reduction on the property representing a savings of $250K.

  • An unexpected exemption on the closing cost tax of $300K.

  • Stewardship at BFA leading to $1.1M in savings over the last few years.

  • BFA’s successful 2023 Year-End Appeal of $250K.

  • Additional gifts to BFA over the last 18 months in excess of $400K.

As of the beginning of March 2024, through this series of smaller but significant miracles, the total resources that God had provided towards the triple dorm purchase amounted to an incredible $3M. BFA’s remaining need now stood at roughly $6M. This was still a daunting figure, but it is only half of what we originally expected to spend replacing HBR and Storch!

“Immeasurably More” Part Four - Our Biggest Gift Ever: On March 13, I received a voice message from the representative of one of the most mission-minded denominations in America. While the Assemblies of God have had MKs at BFA off and on for many years, the message represented a new chapter in our relationship. As I listened to the message, I was blown away. In short, the missions wing of the denomination was convinced that BFA is going to play a significant role in global missions in the coming generations and so, for the sake of AG missionaries and all those doing pioneering work in the regions we serve, the Assemblies were pledging $1,000,000 towards the purchase of the triple dorm! $1,000,000! Five times the largest single gift BFA has ever received! With that pledge, our need is now less than half of what we expected when this journey started: $5M.

The Remaining Challenge: The task ahead continues to be daunting. Five million still feels “immeasurably more” than what we could ask or imagine. The time frame is no less difficult. The purchase of the property is expected to “close” in about nine months.

We don’t know what miracles number five or six or seven will look like and we have no idea how God is going to work and through whom. But we are certain that God is doing something special right in front of us and we are looking forward in anticipation to see what He has in store!

As you think of it, we would be grateful if you would join us and the BFA community in prayer as we wait in anticipation for miracles five, six, and seven.


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