Dear brothers and sisters, churches and families,
I'd like to share with you the news about our Institute April's events.
This year we graduate 7 of our students. The graduation is May 26th and it's a very joyous day. Two years ago 11 students had joined the program but unfortunately 4 of them didn't cross the finish line. Some of them were expelled as a result of some disciplinary actions but some decided to quit due to the rigorous study requirements. We are sorry that it happens but I'm not sure I know how to avoid such occurrences. We have a set of requirements for our potential students. First, they have to get a reference letter from their home congregation men's business meeting or eldership. Secondly, a student has to be an active member of the Church for at least three years prior to joining our program. Then they have to have a formal meeting with our recruiting staff members and produce the medical card. We are very determined to choose the right people stopping those who are not interested in preaching the truth. However, only after the first few months of the program we get the real picture.
This year so far we have a few recruits hoping to find more potential students during the summer time. So, I'd like to request prayers for new students of the Ukrainian extension.
The other big news is that I have an opportunity to study with people who are confused by denominational teachings. We found a group of people who gather on Sundays and worship with no leadership. They asked us to come and preach for them on Sunday afternoons. So I had a chance to meet them and have a Bible study. I taught about the true Church and we had started the discussion of the plan of salvation. We pray that these seeds grow and produce good fruit and their hearts will be open to receiving the truth.
In April our first year students had Ezekiel (taught by D. Sopelnik), Book of Daniel (taught by A. Bagdasaryan) and the Gospel of Luke (taught by Viktor Semikoz) while the second year students had 1 and 2 Corinthians (D. Sopelnik), Personal Evangelism (A. Rodichev) and the Book of Revelation (taught by A. Zhuravlev).
Now we are getting ready for the summer evangelism practice. Usually the students return to their home congregations where they have to practically apply their knowledge. We discuss the details of the activities with the local preachers and they come up with a plan of what needs to be done by our students. This time of the year is interesting in the way that each of them can try and see how they feel in the position of a preacher. Each of then have a list of activities for every month usually including visiting the sick and those who are not faithful in attendance, pulpit preaching, active participation in Sunday services, etc.
And also our students are still very active in street evangelism. They purchased a microphone and a speaker. Some people stop and listen, usually very interested in the Scripture reading, but unfortunately that's the extent of their interest. During the whole last year only one person visited the church being attracted by the street evangelism. It reminds me of God's words addressed to Ezekiel 33:32, "And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one who hath a pleasant voice... for they hear thy words, but they do them not".
Thank you all who keep us in your prayers and supports the ministry of Bear Valley Bible Institute. We are very thankful for your generosity and care.
Your brother in Christ,