Bula from Fiji!
It’s hard to believe that the year is passing so quickly. We have just passed the halfway mark for 2018! At the Bible Institute of Raiwaqa, we have just completed our second term of classes. Our students are now beginning two weeks of short courses next week, which are being taught by Paul Merideth and Rocco Pierce. As soon as short courses are finished, our ten current students will be joining Dad on a campaign to Samoa, where they will be taking part in a workshop centered around the book of Job. Before you know it, we will be starting our final term of the year. Which means that our first graduation is just around the corner (November 3, 2018)! In this report, I will be sharing some news about the last couple of months with the work here in Fiji. As always, your prayers and support for our work are greatly appreciated!
The last eight weeks have been a rush for us at the Bible Institute at Raiwaqa. Our students have participated in what I believe was their hardest term yet. Over the last eight weeks I have taught courses in Old Testament Prophets II (Hosea-Malachi), Expository Preaching, and Greek Grammar I (which focuses on nouns and adjectives). Dad taught courses in Bible Geography, Acts, and 1 Corinthians. While the courses were very demanding, I was amazed at how hard all of our students worked. It seems like the more challenging the course, the more the students enjoyed it. Throughout the term, I asked different students which classes they were enjoying the most. The leading answer was Greek, followed by Bible Geography and Expository Preaching. Even though these were the three classes that required the largest amount of homework, they were also the classes that they enjoyed the most – primarily because they covered things that our students had never studied.
I was especially pleased to see how well the Greek course turned out. Learning Greek is never easy. But, in this case, it was made more difficult by the fact that they are learning to translate Greek into English – which is not the first language of any of our students! But, they have all worked so hard at doing it. Some students have really struggled with it (especially all of the memory work it requires), but other students have shown a real talent for it. While we are only able to give our students an introductory level understanding of the language, it is our hope to be able to identify some students who have a talent for learning the language and provide them with additional resources to advance their knowledge of the language in the future. Several of our students will be taking Greek Grammar II (which focuses on verbs) next term, while the other students will be taking a different course that will be taught by Dad. Currently, the plan is for him to teach a course on Rhetoric and Argumentation.
The goal of this program has always been to train our students in church leadership, public teaching (preaching and teaching Bible classes), and especially evangelism. We want to not only help them build their own faith, but we also want to teach them how to share that faith with others. One of the most rewarding experiences in teaching is when you see your students applying their knowledge in sharing it with others. Currently, Devan and I worship with the Raiwaqa church of Christ where several of our students attend. Because the Raiwaqa congregation uses a preaching rotation among the men of the congregation, we regularly have the opportunity to hear our students preach. I can truly say it amazes me each time I hear our students speak – to see how much they are learning and growing. While I do not get to hear our students at other congregations preach as often, we have often received reports from members of their congregation speaking about how much their preaching and involvement in the church has improved. We truly have a great group of students in the program.
What is even more exciting than seeing our students preaching and teaching is seeing them involved in personal evangelism. I mentioned in our last newsletter that the Raiwaqa congregation had recently seen several baptisms as a result of studies with some of our students. In this letter, I would like to highlight the additional works of a couple of our students. Brother Peter Lee has recently begun traveling with his wife, Moira, to the other side of the island to work with the congregation at Ba. They travel up to Ba every two or three weeks to the congregation to help with the work over the weekend before returning home for Peter’s classes. Another student who is heavily involved in personal evangelism is Brother Emosi Sailo. Brother Emosi and his wife, Nancy, have always been evangelistic. Brother Emosi is regularly involved in visiting the homes of people he knows or meets to study the gospel with them. He is also one who travels to other villages and towns from time to time to preach or teach the gospel. These are just two of our students in the program. The truth is, all of our students are heavily involved in teaching and serving their home congregations. In spite of their heavy school load, many of them continue to not only be involved in the work of their local congregations – they are actually taking on more responsibilities within those congregations!