Landon Mission Report January - March, 2014
Greetings Brethren. Thank you for your part in training preachers in their own countries.
Most years January is a time of preparation for teaching later in the year. This year however was different. The school in Ukraine needed someone to teach Isaiah to the first year students. Ukraine in January is, is a word, cold. Daytime temperatures on average were about 10 - 15 degrees. Some days there was a 10 - 15 mile per hour wind. A couple of evenings the temperature dipped below zero.
The first year class began the year with five students but one needed to drop out due to health issues at home. Of these one man is a fairly recent convert. One of the students is close to retirement age. After graduation in May of 2015 he plans to return to his job in the mines and retire about two years later. He then can preach for the church and not need financial support.
Chapel serve is conducted everyday. Most of the serve is conducted by the students with the faculty speaking occasionally. Here is a picture of a student speaking during chapel.
One activity of the local church is a weekly youth night. On this trip I was ask to speak for one of the meetings. I spoke on the difference between the religion of God as revealed in the New Testament and the other major religious systems. In the Bible God provides historical markers for people to check out for accuracy. People, places, and events are mentioned in the context which invites verification. No other religious system I know of does this.
Following the Freed Hardeman Lectureship in February the extension staff meeting was held at the North Jackson congregation in Jackson, Tennessee. One exciting piece of news involves new schools scheduled for the near future. Several are in the early stages and not yet certain but a new school in Haiti set to open sometime this year. This will be a joint effort between Freed Hardeman University and Bear Valley.
In mid March I traveled to Fort Worth, Texas for three days of work with Gary Fallis. One piece that developed out of these work days is the beginning of a teacher training program. Some of the native teachers in our schools requested some additional training. Gary and I discussed these requests, considered what areas are the most needed for these new teachers and worked out a proposed training program for them. We set a goal of September 1 for the completion of the first four classes in the program (to by Gary and two by me).
March should also be a time of preparation for returning to Ukraine in mid-April to teach Jeremiah. However, the uncertainty of Russian intentions in the eastern portion of Ukraine led to the postponement of that trip. Please keep these brethren in your prayers that they will remain faithful through these challenging times.
Thank you brethren for your participation in this work.
To see Denton's report with pictures, please click here.
Landon Mission Report April - June, 2014
Thank you for your continued mission support for training preachers in their native countries. April, as was reported in the last newsletter, was when I was scheduled to teach Jeremiah in Ukraine. However the unrest in the eastern region led to the cancellation of that trip. In God’s providence the school was able to conduct graduation ceremonies on Saturday May 2014. The following day about 25 armed men entered the building during Sunday worship and declared the building now belongs to them and the only recognized church in that region is the Russian Orthodox Church. After some negotiations the brethren were allowed to remove most of the school’s personal property such as student desks, chairs, computers, etc. with a few exceptions.
The staff has relocated to the central and western regions where they are safe at this time. The Director, Dennis Sopilnik, has rented a meeting place in the city of Ternopil. Ternopil is located in the far west about two hours from Lviv (also spelled Lvov). They have established a congregation and committed to locating the school there for one year. Howell Ferguson, the
coordinator for Ukraine, and I are planning a trip in early September for the beginning of the new school year. Howell and his wife Mary are moving, Lord willing, to Tanzania in January to work there full time as missionaries. He plans to continue working with Ukraine as coordinator but as ask me to help as an assistant for Ukraine. Since I already teach in both the preacher training program and the Masters in Ukraine it seems like a good fit.
I spent some time in May working with a some students from Nigeria with the Extension Masters In Ministry program. These men were involved in the Masters program when we were working with a school in southeast Nigeria.
In June I was privileged to teach Advanced Hermeneutics in Paraguay. The missionaries there know of three churches in the capital city, Asuncion.
These are, to their knowledge, the only congregations in Paraguay. This is a country with a population of 6.7 million people according to the CIA World Fact Book online available at: (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/pa.html)
One exciting thing about the school in Paraguay is the presence of Elias from Panama. He graduated from ITL, the school in Guatemala, in 2013 and is now working as a missionary and teacher in Paraguay. Elias is studying Guarani, the second official language along with Spanish, one day a week. Later in the week he is studying the Bible with his Guarani tutor. It is exciting to see men such as Elias graduating and going into areas where the church is small and the need for men with training is great. Elias is also beginning the In Ministry Masters Program with Bear Valley.
Your support is contributing to this and so many other mission efforts of the church throughout the world. Thank you for your continued support for training men in their native countries to preach and teach the saving message of our Lord’s gospel.
To see Denton’s report with pictures, please click here.