A woman who spent some of her early years in the Greencastle-Antrim community will return for a book-signing of her Bible study "Revealed in Ephesians: The Mystery of Who I Am in Christ" during Old Home Week. It will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7, in Greencastle's Lilian S. Besore Memorial Library.
Briana Nei lived in State Line with her parents, Mike and Jeanne Dean, sisters Micah and Leigha and brother Seth, after her father became pastor of Trinity United Brethren Church, now Crossroads Community Church, in the early 1980s.
Although the family moved from the area in 1989, they continued to be involved in ministry at Rhodes Grove Camp in Kauffman.
"Even after we moved away, I came back every year to camp as a camper and eventually as a camp counselor through my sophomore year of college. I cut my 'ministry teeth' at Rhodes Grove and am very thankful for the people I met and the experience I gained in my years there," Nei said via email.
Nei now lives with her family in Berryville, Virginia, and teaches elementary music in Loudon County schools.
She's maintained ties with DuAnne Thrush of Greencastle, a friend of her family through the State Line church and Rhodes Grove. Thrush, a retired English teacher, edited the manuscript for "Revealed in Ephesians: The Mystery of Who I Am in Christ."
Thrush describes the book as "an in-depth, very accessible study of the book of Ephesians in the Bible, directed mainly at women."
'Revealed in Ephesians'
"Whether you are a long-time lover of the Word of God, hungering for a deeper walk with Christ, or a new Christian and reading the Bible seems overwhelming, 'Revealed in Ephesians: The Mystery of Who I am in Christ' is an exhilarating in-depth, inductive study to reveal the hope of your calling in Christ Jesus," reads the book description. "This 12-week study equips women to grow in confidence in prayer, and to read the Scriptures through the revelation of the Holy Spirit in five-days-a-week personal study. Learn to seek the Lord for personal intimacy through his Spirit, to find spiritual and emotional health in relationships, to overcome obstacles like bitterness, fear and depression through God's truth, to understand your position in Christ, and to be empowered in spiritual warfare with a study of the armor of God."
Each day of study begins by teaching the reader to personalize Paul's prayers for the Ephesians. There is a daily focus on committing the prayers — and other key Scriptures — to memory. Nei teaches readers to use Bible study tools and apps to bring everyday study to life for both women and their families. Also available are podcasts and videos at:
Nei did not set out to become an author. The book started out as loose-leaf weekly study guide for a group of close friends, who then encouraged her to consider publishing it.
"I personally was strengthened, and blown away by the work of God in my own life, as I studied Ephesians and wrote this Bible study for over a year and a half, and while the thought of publishing was daunting, I realized that God wanted me to share this powerful and life-changing truth with other women," Nei wrote in an email. The Bible study is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Westbow Press.
In the two years since its publication, she's been featured at women's conferences and has received invitations from ministries in different states. Her ministry, Revealed Ministries, has started weekend getaways just for women in leadership.
Next summer, Revealed Ministries will offer its first seven-day cruise to the Caribbean. "My husband, worship leader Caleb Nei and apologetics teacher Andy Giessman of Addison's Walk Institute will be joining us for a vacation that not only gives us a break from the pressures of life, but builds up and refreshes from the inside out," Nei said.
"Several years ago, the Lord laid on my heart that most women feel unsure when it comes to reading the Bible. I think it's something that many people 'know they should do,' but don't even know where to start when opening it," Nei explained.
She wanted to "create a 'small' guideline to help encourage and equip women when they pick up the Bible to know where to start and how to glean truth. Ephesians is a short book of the Bible with only six chapters, so it's easy to read through in one sitting. It has been called the cherry on top of the ice cream, because of the deep, uplifting and powerful truths that the Apostle Paul unpacks in this letter to the church in Ephesus.
"In the book of Ephesians, we have a magnifying glass through which to see who we are when we put our faith in Jesus. It is a book filled with hope. God teaches us in Ephesians how he wants to reveal to us his eternal mysteries in Jesus Christ. At the very beginning of his letter, the Apostle Paul teaches us to pray for more revelation to understand the Scriptures and the heart of God. The truth in this book is life-changing.
"What I also absolutely love about Ephesians is the focus on relationships. In a time when women feel more and more isolated, being in a Bible study with other women where you learn about growing deeper in relationships is just what the doctor ordered. My book unpacks all the beautiful truths about reconciliation, marriage health and relationship healing that fill the book of Ephesians."
Yesterday and today
Nei attended South Antrim and Greencastle-Antrim elementary schools. She has fond memories of the field days at South Antrim, the special days when teachers would make breakfast in the classroom and field trips to the school farm. She was a middle school Blue Devils cheerleader, played saxophone in the band and played softball.
"I loved the safe, small town feeling of the Greencastle area," Nei said.
The Deans moved away in 1989, when her father became pastor of Fountain United Brethren Church near Keyser, West Virginia.
Nei attended Huntington College (now Huntington University) in Huntington, Indiana, receiving a degree in music education. During her time at Huntington, she met her husband Caleb Nei, who has a degree in church music for the contemporary church. After college, they moved to Winchester, Virginia, to start a church.
"This was a very big challenge for a young couple right out of college and believe me, it wasn't easy," Nei explained. "But through many difficulties, we eventually worked together with my parents Mike and Jeanne Dean and a few other families to launch Emmaus Church in 2003. I spent the next 14 years directing the youth ministry of the church. Caleb spends his time mentoring young musicians and worship leaders."
In addition, her husband has played piano on the main stage twice at CreationFest, a Pennsylvania Christian music festival, in the house worship band with Brian Campbell. Recently, he played jazz piano for the Rose Dinner at the March for Life, opening for Vice President Mike Pence.
They have three children, Ariel, 20, Ellis, 16, and Isaac, 11.
Nei said, "Ariel is studying athletic training at Indiana Wesleyan University. Ellis is a student-athlete at Clarke County High School and just placed second in hurdles at the Virginia state track meet. Isaac loves soccer, basketball and 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid.'"
Her father pastors at Emmaus Church in Berryville and Living Waters United Brethren in Winchester and has a counseling ministry called Small Voice ministries. Her mother works for a Berryville midwife and leads women's Bible studies.