Garry Hill and Rebecca Benson moved to the Chimala Mission on January 15, 2011 to operate the preaching school aspect of the Mission. The New York Avenue elders, as overseers of the Chimala Mission, have given Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver (BVBID) permission to run the preaching school. New York Avenue church of Christ still finances the majority of the school’s budget. Garry is the school’s Administrator and functions as Academic Dean under New York Avenue and BVBID. Rebecca works as the Administrative Assistant, the school Librarian, and the Dean of Women. Howell Ferguson is the Stateside Coordinator under BVBID.
Chimala Bible Institute (CBI) successfully started on January 17, 2011 at 7:45 AM. CBI’s two departments were formally the Chimala Bible College and the Chimala School of Preaching. They are now the English and Swahili Departments, respectively.
The English Department has 13 students, 7 first years and 6 second years. Peter Kamatula is the Director of the English Department.
The Swahili Department has 14 students (half are first and half are second years). Joseph Haongo is the Director of this department.
Six prospective students from the Congo, who are living in refugee camps, have expressed an interest in attending the Chimala Bible Institute. They wish to learn more about the Bible and methods of preaching so they can return to their war-torn country and preach the gospel. Also we found out this week that ten students per year have been slated to come to CBI from the Tanzania Bible College in Dar-Es-Salaam. Brother Hill and Sister Benson already have plans to travel across the country and to Malawi to recruit new students. Our current student capacity is 50 students. We want to be able to expand our capacity to correspond with the interest to attend CBI. Last year alone at least 10 to 12 students were denied the opportunity to study at the Chimala Bible Institute because of lack of funds.
We have had one meeting on the general operation of the school and one meeting on the evangelism aspect of the school. The first meeting resulted in three basic principles:
1) Keep things the way they are as much as possible.
2) Continuing education is required for all teachers.
3) Form 4 will be required to enter the bachelor’s program starting next year.
We will also be working on the curriculum to make sure that all degrees offered are equal to the degrees offered at Bear Valley in Denver. We will be creating curriculum for an Associate’s degree. This degree will most likely take place through the Swahili program as it is not as intensive as the English program.
Another exciting development in the improvement of quality in training at CBI is the introduction of the Master’s program on April 25th. We are already at our maximum of 15 students that we can enroll in the Master’s program. Seven students are currently on the waiting list. Interest is rapidly growing in the Master’s program and is exceeding our current resources.
Rebecca will be spending an inordinate amount of time organizing and cataloguing the library. She will also teach an intense course concerning library research and how to write research papers. Rebecca will also help the students improve their English so they can go on to the Bachelor’s program if they so desire. Women’s classes will further be incorporated to teach female students about women’s responsibilities and abilities in the church and evangelism.
The students will be widely involved in evangelism, teaching Bible knowledge classes at the primary and secondary schools, and improving the CBI campus. We have plans to repair buildings, build more desks and chairs, convert one of the classrooms into the chapel room, create a new sign, and remodel the dormitories. Student representatives were selected from each department and specific teachers were selected to take care of the food and dormitory requirements.
We also discussed the need for a tardy system. We want to make sure students are earning the classroom hours corresponding to their degrees. Teachers will be responsible for taking note of absent and tardy students and reporting them to the secretary for entrance into each student’s record. A new student database will be created containing detailed information on each student.
A new faculty hierarchy was created and is attached. In addition to that is a list of positions and their specific responsibilities. Each faculty member will be given a copy of these two sheets so that everyone understands their responsibilities.
The meeting about evangelism began with the 2010 report. Joseph, as director of CSOP, was in charge of evangelism last year. He reported there were 267 baptisms and 161 restorations. This year evangelism will be a cooperation between the two departments and under the direction of Joseph and Peter. Each weekend, a group of students will go out to a different village to participate in door-knocking campaigns and preaching the gospel. Seminars this year will include the Bible Cup, the Gospel Chariot, and a ladies’ seminar, among others. Students will be highly involved in the Gospel Chariot, which will take place July 18 through August 28. We will be expanding our radius to include more churches. This will result in the need for more space to house visiting congregations.
We will be meeting about dormitory improvements at the beginning of next week. Currently two million shillings (about $1500) are available for these improvements. We want to be able to build a new dorm and convert the oldest dorm into a combined dining and kitchen area. We also want to make study areas available at the dormitories, either in the form of a gazebo or desks and chairs in the rooms or both.
We are very excited about the improvements coming to the new Chimala Bible Institute.