In December it was my privileged to go to Kathmandu, Nepal to teach in the Bear Valley Extension there. Since I have recently become the coordinator for the school, I had an additional reason to go. I enjoyed teaching these 13 young men the Gospel of John and also getting to know the staff much better was well.
It is hard to believe, but the end of 2013 has come and 2014 is here. At Bear Valley, we have had an outstanding year and are even more excited about the prospects for next year and the future to come. This year has truly been wonderful in the history of the Bear Valley Extension Program and we want to share some of the excitement with you - our friends, partners, and supporters.
There are now 17 extensions, in 13 different countries around the world, with 254 full-time, preacher training students! This year has also witnessed 122 men graduate with their degree or certificate from Bear Valley. Just think of all the potential in those men and their families in the years to come, as the vast majority of them are serving in fertile parts of the world. This is truly exciting!
But at Bear Valley, we know that we aren’t doing this alone. We depend on partners and supporters to help us train preachers around the world. In addition to our all-important supporters, 78 different local teachers taught in Bear Valley extensions this year. In addition to those local men, another 57 men have made the journey to an extension to teach a “short course” to our students. This truly is a team effort at every level.
In addition to teaching these men how to preach and live, we want to instill in them a passion for soul-winning. This is borne out in the many studies, campaigns, and gospel meetings that they are involved in throughout the year. As a result of these efforts, we know of at least 990 baptisms, 60 new congregations, 5 congregations restored, 292 campaigns and gospel meetings, 4 lectureships, 4 youth conferences and camps, 1068 bible studies, and the conversion of at least 8 denominational preachers. To God be the glory!
This has truly been a remarkable year, but we are not resting on our laurels as we look to an exciting future. There are already many new students set to enter the program next year and a new extension in a country where it is needed is a very real possibility. 2014 promises to be the most exciting year yet.
At Bear Valley, we thank all those who support us and partner with us to carry out the mandate of 2 Timothy 2:2. What you are doing is making a difference and we literally could not do it without you. Thank you for the confidence you have placed in us and we look forward to continuing to serve together as long as the Lord allows.