First Graduation Of TIBS (Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies)

“It is not enough just to belong to a church. Let us again proclaim from the housetops the message of the restoration, and lead a crusade of believers back to Christ and to the church of which He is the Builder, Foundation, Head Purchaser and Savior.” These are the words of Daniel Ampidu Asiamah, Director of the West Coast School of Preaching. Brother Asiamah was a keynote speaker in the 2nd Annual Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies Lectureship. His lesson was a look at the past and the need for us to return to the paths that made the church what Christ intended.

The lectureship was just the first day of a weekend full of wonderful activities. Saturday was a day of celebration as the first class in the Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies was honored with a graduation ceremony. Fifteen men completed their work over the last two years to reach this special occasion and people from the northern, eastern, western and southern regions of Ghana all came together to honor these men.

The Tamale Institute of Biblical Studies began under the direction of the Tamale East and Tamale West congregations, along with Steven Ashcraft, who has served as a missionary / evangelist for the past 6 years in Ghana. Steven now serves as the coordinator for the school in Tamale, as well as, the West Coast School of Preaching in Takoradi, Ghana. Three men serve as full-time instructors for the school, as well as, the administration for the program. Joseph Okyere Baah serves as the Director of TIBS, Daniel Adjei Mensah serves as the Dean of Students, and Ndakar Jaminja serves as an instructor. These men, along with several short course instructors, have done a great work in training these men for the past two years. 

Four of the students were honored with a special gift for outstanding achievement in specific areas over the last two years. The first was Stephen Abugbilla who received the “Best Servant” award. This award was a special award to the student who demonstrated the most servant like character during his time in school. What a great honor to be recognized for such a Christlike attitude and example to his fellow students.

Stephen Abugbilla also received the “Most Enterprising” award. It was encouraging to listen to the explanation of this award. Stephen came into the program without the greatest skills needed to complete the program. His reading level and skill set were not at the same level as the other students. However, he demonstrated his desire to grow and be a part of this class, even if it meant learning to study in the most “private” of places. This brother finished ahead of several other students because of his enterprising spirit.

Christian Somiretey received the “Best Behaved” award. This award was also a special award for the student who demonstrated the type of behavior that excelled above the other students in this class. To receive such an award speaks highly of the consistency of character recognized by the staff over two years of leaving in the same complex with 14 other men studying together. 

Godfrey Nathan Cann received the “Most Determined” award. Brother Cann was the oldest student in the class. It was noted how he was able to get along so well with the younger students and has always demonstrated the proper respect for the older generation in Ghana. Brother Cann entered the school at an age most would consider too old to be able to carry the work load required and brother Baah stated his concern when brother Cann first applied to the school. He was not sure if he would be able to keep up with the class load. However, he has exemplified the kind of personality and strength of character determined to achieve the goal. His work ethic and persistence paid off. 

Adjei Jacob Yeboah received the “Best Student” award. Jacob was the Prefect (valedictorian) of the class because of his academic achievement over the last two years. He stood out above the other students as a result of his academic level. Jacob was one of the younger students in the class and he was kidded as being single and the women present were told they could apply at the office. All joking aside, this good brother excelled in many ways during the last two years. His academic achievement was just one of those areas. 

Fifteen men who are prepared to enter into the work of the Lord’s kingdom will now begin their efforts to help the church grow. Their diligence and hard work for the last two years is only the beginning. We ask each of you to be praying for these men as they embark upon the task of preaching the gospel in the Northern Region of Ghana. They will face many challenges and will need encouragement and strength from the Lord. I know they would appreciate your prayers.

Sunday was also a special day as the congregations in Tamale and all who had traveled for the lectureship and graduation came together for a united worship of God. It was a time where God was honored and praised. It was also a day of great thanksgiving. More than 200 Christians came together for this time of fellowship and worship. I was honored and privileged to share in this special occasion and look forward to the growth and development of the work in Tamale, as well as, throughout Ghana.

The future of the school looks just as promising. The picture to the right is part of the next group of students entering the program in Tamale. In this picture is Steven Ashcraft (coordinator) and Tony Johnson who has been in Ghana since May 23rd. Tony is teaching a short course this summer for the school and planning to return here next year to work full-time with TIBS. As well, 10 of the 14 students presently enrolled are pictured here.

Coordinator Updates
Reports from the coordinators are now located on the website, under Staff Reports. The address is /extension-schools/

Extension Reports 

David Ballard Visits Cameroon: David Ballard has been in Cameroon teaching two short courses for the Bible Institute. Brother Elangwe shares the news and pictures of David’s visit.

Malaria...Reality In The Mission Field: Tony Johnson’s report talks about the realities of dealing with malaria in Tamale. He also shares more of the great work in Ghana.

More Arrive In Arusha And The Work Grows: The Gee Report shares more the great news about the work of those who arrive and participate in the Safari For Souls campaign in Arusha, Tanzania. 

Final Thoughts
Most of you will receive this as I am flying back to the United States. The past few weeks have been exciting and profitable in continuing to make the necessary adjustments in several locations for future growth.

I am constantly amazed at the sacrifices men around the world are willing to make to prepare themselves for preaching the gospel. I am also encouraged by the administration and staff in each location as they also make great sacrifices to prepare these men. They work diligently and the fruit of their labor is being seen with each class entering the work.

As each of you read the report, I pray you are encouraged and edified by the results of this work. Thank you for your willingness to provide what is necessary to make the extension program successful. In the months ahead I will be writing more about various needs to help upgrade a number of areas within the program. Thank you again.

God bless

Posted on June 27, 2011 .