A Look Back
Greetings, brethren! I hope the recent holiday season was all you hoped it would be, and you are now preparing for a new year of life and service to our Lord. First of all, I want to thank you for your participation in our work. We are deeply indebted to each of you for your support, both financial and prayerful, which allows us to be a part of such a tremendous ministry of training preachers. Generally, I offer reviews and reports of my work, which is but a small part of the overall work of the extension schools of BVBID. This month, I would like to insert here an excerpt of our final report of the overall work, of which you also are a part.
There are now 17 extensions, in 13 different countries around the world, with 254 full-time, preacher training students! This year has also witnessed 122 men graduate with their degree or certificate from Bear Valley. Just think of all the potential in those men and their families in the years to come, as the vast majority of them are serving in fertile parts of the world. This is truly exciting!
But at Bear Valley, we know that we aren’t doing this alone. We depend on partners and supporters to help us train preachers around the world. In addition to our all-important supporters, 78 different local teachers taught in Bear Valley extensions this year. In addition to those local men, another 57 men have made the journey to an extension to teach a “short course” to our students. This truly is a team effort at every level.
In addition to teaching these men how to preach and live, we want to instill in them a passion for soul-winning. This is borne out in the many studies, campaigns, and gospel meetings that they are involved in throughout the year. As a result of these efforts, we know of at least 990 baptisms, 60 new congregations, 5 congregations restored, 292 campaigns and gospel meetings, 4 lectureships, 4 youth conferences and camps, 1,068 bible studies, and the conversion of at least 8 denominational preachers. To God be the glory!
Yes, to God be the glory!
As yet, I have not traveled to any of our schools in this young year; I am currently working on getting teachers for short courses scheduled in the coming months. I would like, instead, to share with you some specific needs that we have.
First, an issue that has become more of a consideration with the changing of the calendar to a new year, is our medical insurance. For several years I have not had medical insurance, in large part because of the cost. I visit my doctor four times a year and I pay my own way. I am content to continue to do that, but our current government has, as you know, required that I have insurance. I have investigated policies that are available to us and I will frankly admit that there is no way we can afford it. I won’t go into specific detail here (if you contact me about it, I will happily provide such detail), but the cheapest policy I found would cost approximately $8,500/year ($700+/month) with a $5,000 individual deductible. I currently spend less than one third of that deductible on my medical costs, which means I would be paying the $8,500/year in additional costs for no added medical care benefit.
We have operated on less than our full support for some time, but God has been good to bless us with what we need, and many of you who receive this newsletter are part of that blessing. In recent months we have lost some support, but have regained part of that loss. Currently, we are receiving about $500/month less than we were.
For those of you who are currently supporting us financially, we thank you and ask God’s continued blessings upon you. For the rest, we also thank you for your interest in our work and your continued prayers, and if possible, we ask you to consider contributing a small amount and/or passing along contact information of anyone we might contact to raise more support.
Thank you for taking time to read this report and for your continued interest in training preachers around the world.