Greetings to you from Visakha Valley Bible College, Visakhapatnam. By the grace of God we are all doing fine and hoping the same with you. The weather here is getting gradually warm as another hot summer is awaiting for us. We cannot describe this unless some one spends a week here like any other person..ha.
Moreover, in the meeting with Brother Jerry Bates during his recent visiting to Visakha we were thrilled to learn about the interest of the Elders of Strickland Church of Christ to sponsor our School, this is really wonderful news. We praise our loving God for his providence. At the same time we extended our heartfelt gratitude. We have known this congregation for a long time, I remember myself giving a report to the brethren at Strickland during my visit in 2011, which is when I mentioned about the school established in Visakhapatnam and its association with BVBID. It is certainly a great blessing of God it is beyond my comprehension, may our Lord receive the praise.
I remember my visit to Denver during the summer 2010. During my visit the church at Bear Valley was holding a Future Preachers Training Camp. I was inspired by that program and wanted to introduce here. You know we have been conducting a Youth Rally. Now FPTC is an addition to working with the young people in India. I really thought it would be great if we can do this program here. I am praying God for a successful Camp.
This is another time for us to discuss several things including our preparation for the next quarter. We have a great time to share our views and experiences with the students with which we can go forward in training the men to be more effective. We advised all the faculty to turn in the Score reports of the students for the respective classes they are teaching. We all agreed for a new kind of score report prepared that would be useful by all of us.
Visit of the Coordinator:
Our coordinator, brother Jerry Bates, visited with us for a couple of days. In our meeting with Jerry, several things were discussed. One of them is cutting our expenses which is very crucial. We feel like there are certain modifications we can make to tailor our expenses. However it is not possible to cut the cost we spend on evangelism, because our school is established to train the evangelists. We hope with the tailoring of expenses whatever is possible, things would work out. The church in this part of the Andhra Pradesh has not really grown to the point to have a self paid preacher. Under this circumstance it is too advanced to seek any support for the school. May be in the long run we can see the congregations coming forward to take care of their expenses in all the evangelist activates, where as helping with the other activities like Bible school seem to be mere impossible this soon.
We are thankful for Chuck, Jerry, Denton and Garry who helped us in adding some books to the Library. If there is a possibility, kindly see that our brethren can raise at least a little money towards the library with which we can buy some Telugu books (religious) for the Library. It will be a great addition. With this development, library assignments can be a part of the daily activity of the students. When our faculty met with brother Jerry, they spent a little while talking about the progress of the school programs and shared with him the format of the score reports. During their conversation they mentioned about the need for more Books in the Library which they remark it as a lack, at the same time they expressed their happiness about the collection what the library has now. Adding more books is nothing but adding more treasure.
English classes for Under Grad Students:
English is our business language in India. People tend to use a little bit of English at shopping malls, restaurants and other entertainment centers. Nevertheless many students want to communicate in English, but when it comes to a Bible School, most of the students feel like it is a great thing to learn the Bible in English medium. In addition to that, most of the literature available is in English. So, if there is ever opportunity that would be available for the students to learn the English language they would be delighted to get enrolled in that class. Moreover we think it is necessary for every Bible school student to have some good foundation in the English language. Unfortunately not every student has that foundation even though they have a desire to have it.
Having this mind when we were looking for a way to resolve this, we got an amazing idea…that is requesting the Instructor’s wives to teach English to the undergrads. Paula Bates usually comes once or twice in a year. If she comes she always looks for an opportunity to work, so we are thinking why can’t we use their ability for the benefit of the students. Greg Hamlin’s wife, Sheila, is going to visit with us in September. We would like to take advantage of her visit by using her as an English teacher. Hope it will be a great step towards providing better education.
Then our school will be well identified as the school that has the strongest motive in providing effective education. It has sounded as a wonderful thought to have English Language Classes for the Under Graduate students. Hope it works out good for the students overall for the school.
Working with BVBID Graduates:
As part of my vision, I am taking every opportunity that comes my way to reach the vision, that is to see the establishment of the Leadership in all the local congregations in India. Brother John O’Neal and Russell Bell from USA are working together conducting preachers seminars in various places in India. This time I had the opportunity work with them for a week as a translator and also to co-teach the text book for the seminar. The book, 'The Church,' published by Roy Lanier Sr., who is the founder of BVBID. Russell Bell is a graduate of Bear Valley. This time, we had Dennis Holst, a graduate in the year 1983, who is now working as the full time preacher in Odell, NE. It was really a wonderful time for me to work with those two Bear Valley Graduates in India.
Farewell to Gary: That was an exciting moment for Gary as well as for the students to meet him at his hotel room to offer send off. In fact, Gary was leaving on early Friday morning, Master class students didn’t know this until Thursday evening. When they heard that they all went together and asked the Director to allow them to meet Gary at the Hotel. Since the director, Samuel Raju, is also one of the students in the Master’s Class he was very glad to go with them, so it all workout well for them to meet Gary in his hotel room. He was thrilled to see them coming to give him a send off, especially when they presented some gifts which made him very very special. He, along with the students, shared a momentous joy for a little while. After that they left him and returned back to the school. The affection between the Instructors and the students is what we have to really think about. At our school, our Lord blessed us so to have a healthy relationship within us. This kind brotherly atmosphere and love is what scriptures are teaching about. We continue to keep our spirits up to keep up this brotherly love.
Leadership Workshop: We had a visit from the President of Heritage Christian University, HCU to Skinner's Garden on the 9th of February. We invited all the students of VVBC to be present. Attached is the group photo with brother Dennis Jones showing some of our students who attended the one day Leadership workshop. Brother Dennis was very impressed to see all the work that is going on here. I explained our Bible School project which has focused on the Northeast region of Andhra Pradesh. He was very happy to meet our faculty and students.
Repair: When we work very hard, really hard, maybe beyond our capacity, we encounter health problems, like wise our copier needed some repair. It happened during the visit of Gary only, after printing several reams of paper, the toner has to be replaced, also the drum cylinder. It cost over Rs.8000/- including the labor charges and taxes.
Number of people baptized in this month through our ministry: 2
Denominational preachers: 1
Gospel meetings conducted: 8
Preachers’ Fellowship meeting: 2
Weekend Campaign: 1
Gospel tracts distributed: 1800
Doors Knocked: 112
Held the Bible Studies: 43
Please convey our heartfelt thanks to the Elders at Bear Valley for their efforts in running the School successfully. Give our greetings to all the brethren that labor at BVBID. Convey our greetings to your family as well.
In Christian love & service,
Samuel Raju & John Dean