Greetings, brethren. It’s hard to believe we are so close to the end of a very eventful 2012. And it certainly has been eventful. 2012 has seen the decision to begin a new school in Paraguay. Classes for the Academy of Theology in Paraguay are set to begin classes on March 11, 2013. This year also saw my wife and me moving to Denver. Last month I asked that our supporters begin sending their funds to the Institute here in Denver beginning January 1, 2013 (more on that below). In this newsletter, I have a couple more items of very important news to cover.
New Developments in Honduras
After a great deal of discussion, prayer and consultation with all parties involved, the decision has been made to consolidate our Central American institutes into one. This is a development that has been several months in the making. On Saturday, December 1, brother Rick Hyder, representing the eldership of the Hillcrest church of Christ in Neosho, MO, and I met with brother Nery Irías, director of the Bible Institute of Honduras (IBH), to discuss the future of that institute and the overall work in the area of Danlí, Honduras. Later, we all met with a group of about 15 preachers in the area to inform them of the changes and give contact information for the Latin American Theological Institute (ITL) in Guatemala City, as well as, answer questions about the change and future of the work of training preachers in Latin America. The ultimate result of this change is that after the current class of students at IBH graduates around June 1, 2013, classes will no longer be conducted on that campus. We are currently encouraging all new potential students in Honduras to apply to ITL which will begin classes sometime in May, 2013. This year we began offering graduate level courses in Danlí twice a year. Those courses will continue as before.
In our meetings with our Honduran brethren, I wanted very much that they understand (and I want you to understand) that this change has nothing to do with any lack of confidence or dissatisfaction with the efforts of our Honduran team. I am very proud of the work our teachers have done in the four years we have worked to train preachers in Danlí. The decision was made as a matter of stewardship. All of us know that there is only a limited amount of resources available to us in doing this work. We must be good stewards in order to be faithful to God. By consolidating these two schools we simplify the process of fund raising, coordination of teachers for our short courses, and a number of other issues.
I am viewing this as an exciting development that will hopefully result in a more efficient effort on our part, but I admit a certain bittersweet aspect of it. I made my first trip to Danlí almost five years ago (February, 2008) and feel a special relationship with the brethren there. I know that the brethren of the El Zarzal congregation, which has housed and encouraged the students of IBH, are saddened and will miss the help and encouragement of the students. I tried to assure them that our relationship was not ending and that, Lord willing, I will return from time to time on campaigns with ITL and also with the brethren of the Hillcrest congregation. Our focus in Danlí is still to train preachers for that area. This change just means that the training itself will take place somewhere else.
As I noted last month, beginning January 1, 2013 our personal support funds will be routed through the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver. So, please send your checks made out to the institute (or BVBID) with my name on the memo line. The address is: 2707 S. Lamar, Denver, CO 80227. If you live in Hugo , OK and have been making your contribution to this work by personally giving it to the church office, you may continue to do that and your support will be added to the that which will be sent on behalf of the congregation.
Another new development is that my contact information has changed just slightly. Our mailing address is the same, but just recently I have changed my phone number to a local Denver number. So, my contact information is:
4801 S. Wadsworth Blvd. #3-105
Littleton, CO 80123
I want to conclude by thanking all of you very sincerely for your interest in and support of this work. Without brethren like you, who are concerned about the need for preachers around the world, we could not do what we do. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and may God bless you richly!
From Noma and me to you and yours: Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Year!