April 14 was the Nepali New Year. It is also the occasion for a 2-3 week holiday for all the schools. Our six students at the Nepal Center For Biblical Studies went home for a three-week holiday to be with their families and to work with their local congregations. This was only the second holiday for the students since they began on Jan. 4, 2010. April 14 was also the day that Gajendra and I left Kathmandu to visit three of the students in their villages ……. more in separate letter.
Last week when we returned to the school, I asked some questions about their home visiting experiences. These centered on differences that others saw in them and what they saw in themselves after being serious students of the Bible for a little more than one year. The answers were very insightful.
What observations and comments were made about you compared to before you came to the school?
The students were enthusiastically received. The members saw tremendous progress in their Bible knowledge, understanding, and preaching/teaching ability. One student said the members were “impressed” with the difference. One old leader seemed to be a little jealous and threatened. Even non-members saw maturity, joy, and patience. Every local congregation was encouraged.
What changes did you see in yourself?
Each student commented on their increased confidence and enjoyment in working with their brothers and sisters. They also saw needs and ways to meet these needs that they had not seen before. Many of the concepts and applications from our lessons began to take on new meaning. Their eyes were opened to things they never saw before and they felt good about making improvements.
What suggestions and ideas can you share with each other about working to mature the church after graduation in September?
Teach the truth in love while we guide and lead by example and service. Set up programs for home Bible study that includes class discussion on Sat. Special classes for the youth. Build on their enthusiasm and ability to learn. Invite non-members and denominations to study and classes.
We also discussed how to best use our remaining five months at the school to teach and train them for the task ahead. They had some suggestions that Gajendra and I had not thought of, plus they were open to our suggestions. In Feb-Mar 2010 of last year, I would not have thought this conversation would have been possible. Their progress is evident to the members who know them, to church leaders, to themselves, and to Gajendra and me.
One need that every student agreed was top priority was the need for good study materials. This includes all that goes along with compiling and writing, distilling it down to their literacy level, plus translation into the Nepali language, and then printing. The students need this as preachers/teachers/leaders. The congregations need it for classes and personal study. The church needs it to grow. We need the tools to do the work. Then I got a brilliant idea ……… which involves you.
We can prioritize the subjects and issues. The brothers and sisters in America can be involved in writing the study material, both in narrative form and in questions/answers with appropriate scriptures. Some of you will already have some great study guides, lesson books, and fundamental teachings on basic Christian subjects and doctrine. If you can help get these much needed materials to us, then we can get them translated, printed, and distributed throughout Nepal.
The staff and students at the school, as well as those who are learning and growing in the congregations, thank you for your love and assistance. May God continue to bless all of you.