Greetings from Bible Institute at Fiji!
Bula from Fiji! I hope that this newsletter finds you all doing well. The last three months have been a time of tremendous joy and excitement with the work of the Bible Institute at Raiwaqa. But they have also brought a personal challenge to our family, since we have had to say “goodbye” to our oldest son, Austin. Austin graduated from High School in June of this year and has now enrolled as a freshman at Freed-Hardeman University. While it is hard to see him leave and be so far away, we are so excited for him to begin this new chapter in his life. We are also grateful to so many of you for your prayers, support, and encouragement during this time of transition for Austin and our family.
The second term of the year has now come and gone, and the third (and final) term is just getting underway. The second term was one of our best terms yet. During the second term, we had nine students take part in our classes. One other student had to step away from the program for the term due to family reasons, but she has returned for the third term – bringing our total number of students to ten. Once again, we find that we have an outstanding group of students in our program.
During the second term, I was able to teach Death of Christ and Old Testament History I. In Death of Christ, we focus upon the last week of Jesus’ life. We also look at the crucifixion and its impact on Christianity. In Old Testament History I, we focus on the period of the conquest, judges, and the reign of King Saul. We study the books of Joshua through 1 Samuel. We many of our students are very familiar with New Testament doctrines and some of the better-known stories of the Old Testament, much of the material we cover in this class was new to them. One of the things that they had to do was study an assigned character from the course material and prepare a narrative lesson with suitable application from it. I was amazed at how well the students did with the project.
They are all growing in their ability to put together organized lessons to teach. In addition to these two courses, Dad and I co-taught the course Old Testament Poetry II. During the course, I covered the material on Proverbs and Song of Solomon, and Dad covered the material on Ecclesiastes. In addition to helping with this course, Dad also taught Romans and Hermeneutics. Emosi Sailo taught the course on 1-2 Peter and Jude. We are very pleased with how well Emosi is doing teaching in the program. He is truly rising to the challenge of teaching in the program, and we look forward to seeing him continue to do great things in the future.
The third term in now underway. Even as I write this newsletter, I am about to give the final exam for the course on Old Testament History II. In this course, we have focused on the books of 2 Samuel through 2 Chronicles, detailing the reigns of David, Solomon, and the kings of the Divided Kingdom. We have also briefly introduced the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther. Emosi has been teaching Denominational Doctrines. Up next, I will be teaching Hebrews and Biblical Foundation of Ethics. Dad will be teaching Scheme of Redemption and Prison Epistles.
In July, we were blessed to have our second round of short courses for the year. This term, we had Paul Merideth and Joshua Pierce. Paul and I have been good friends for a number of years. This was actually Paul’s second time teaching in the program. This time, he taught a course on Church History. This material was almost entirely new for our students. While most of them have a good understanding of the history of the church in the first century, few of them have studied anything after that period of time. Paul did an outstanding job of presenting the material in a clear way. In addition to our full-time students, Devan and Caleb (my third son) took the class. Not only did Paul teach in the program, but he was given the opportunity to preach and teach the auditorium class for the Raiwaqa congregation while he was here.
Josh is my brother (we are less than a year apart in age). It was his first time coming to Fiji. Josh has a great deal of experience working as a full-time youth minister. He has worked with congregations in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. Josh taught a course on Youth and Family Ministry. One of the things that congregations in Fiji are starting to recognize is that they have not successfully been reaching their young people – with the result being that many of them are falling away from the church when they leave home. Our students expressed a great interest in this course, and they wore Josh out with questions nearly every day for two weeks! Josh did an excellent job teaching the material. Josh also spent time teaching the youth class at the Raiwaqa congregation. I was impressed with how well he engaged the youth and held their attention. One of the side effects of having a family of ministers is that we rarely get to hear one another preach or teach. It was truly a blessing to be able to see Josh in action!
Upcoming Nadi Campaign
One of the major goals of this program is to train our students to be more evangelistic. With that goal in mind, we seek to give our students the opportunity to participate in evangelistic efforts as often as possible. Next week (September 10-15), we will be taking our students to Nadi (pronounced NAN-dee). The church has been in Nadi for several years, but in the last couple of years the congregation has really struggled.
We are going to Nadi with two goals in mind. First, we want to strengthen and encourage the brethren in Nadi. Second, we want to reach out to the community with the gospel of Jesus Christ. While there, our students will spend three days out in the community visiting erring members and knocking doors. On Wednesday and Thursday nights, we will be having devotional services for our campaigners and the members of the Nadi church of Christ to strengthen and encourage them. On Friday night and all day on Saturday, we will be hosting a seminar for the community on the Biblical Home. All of the lessons will be presented by our students. Our male students will be teaching general classes and men’s classes, and our female students will be teaching ladies’ classes. On Sunday, Dad and I have been asked to present the lessons at the Nadi congregation. Please pray for the church in Nadi and our upcoming campaign.