Recently, at the Chimala Bible Institute we began the last two weeks of school with short courses. Denton Landon taught the graduate class on Homiletics with 9 students. Donnie and I taught the undergraduate courses on “The Prison Epistles and World Religions. After teaching all week we entertained ourselves watching some old movies. Denton, Donnie and I were watching the movie Sahara and there is a line in the movie where one of the good guys shoots a bad guy with a flair gun. After that he exclaims; “now that’s what I am talking about.”
In chapel, our Dean of Students, Joshua, was supposed to be speaking but had traveled to baptize three people he and some students had studied with over the weekend. So at the last minute we asked Boaz, one of our instructors, to speak. He got up and delivered a powerful discourse from Galatians 1:6-8 encouraging the students to never compromise while preaching the gospel. After he spoke, I told the students “now that’s what I am talking about.” Telling them to always be “ready to preach” at a moment’s notice, like they had just witnessed.
We traveled to the Airport congregation last weekend where Peter, Ezekiel and some students had a Saturday campaign where both teachers spoke on church growth. Peter is going to return to this congregation next year to strengthen the work in Mbeya. He will be taking students every weekend and teaching classes two days a week at the Institute.
Denton spoke on the “Hope of the Resurrection,” and Donnie spoke on the “Armor of God.” Both lessons were well received and Boaz reminded us he was one of the early workers in that area of Mbeya from the mission. He told us as they were going house to house he came to one dwelling and started talking to the inhabitants. They asked him to preach. He willingly did so and as he was leaving he was told it was a denominational church. Some started going to the Lord’s church soon after.
Blessings, one of our graduating students, gave me a sheet of paper this week expressing his appreciation for the opportunity to go to school here. His last paragraph says; “therefore I am on my way to share what I have studied with others (2 Tim.2:2) in Malawi and anywhere I can reach. Remember this is because of the Bear Valley Bible Institute which has equipped me for the ministry!!!”
I am constantly thankful for the dedication and faithfulness of our students and their instructors. Training preachers is the greatest work on earth and here at Chimala I am often lead to exclaim “Now that’s what I am talking about.”
Hongera means congratulations in Swahili and we offer a hearty congratulations to our 12 graduates from Chimala Bible Institute. Donnie Bates and Denton Landon both spoke words of encouragement to the graduates, as visiting coordinators from Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver.
Joseph Haonga and Peter Kamatula handed out the Swahili Bible Certificates and English Bachelor’s Degrees. The student addresses came from Blessings Nkhamanga and Mika Mtweve, both having the highest grades in their respective programs. Brother Donald Logsdon then handed out Agricultural Certificates to those students who had attended his class. The final prayer was led by Joshua Mwakwazima after a few words to the graduating class. I encouraged the class to remember the Bear Valley Bible Institute motto of 2 Timothy 2:2 which has Paul challenging Timothy to teach others what he had been taught.
Many of our graduates have expressed their desire to do that. Israel said; “my aim is to go and preach the gospel everywhere.” Blessings said; “I have been inspired a lot by the restoration slogan which says we speak where the Bible speaks and are silent where the Bible is silent. Thus according to 1 Peter 4:11 hope God will do something through me especially in guiding people to the true God.” Navie expressed the fact that he will continue working for the Lord and use his knowledge in edifying the church and in seeking lost souls. Again we say hongera to our graduates and look for great things in their service to the Lord.
Hatari means danger in the Swahili language. We were reminded of that as we began our trip home with Denton and Donnie. Friday, and continuing Saturday, we heard that some of the merchants and police had been rioting in Mbeya. Brother Don Logsdon insisted on traveling with us as he too had heard there was trouble. As we got close to the town I could sense Menard, one of our faithful instructors who was driving us, becoming more concerned. We could see black smoke in the distance as we neared the town. Traffic was worse than usual, and all the shops were deserted as we entered the city limits. Then we were amazed there was no one, not a single soul at the bus station. Then we saw the riot police. They were loaded with all the weapons they could carry. Soon afterwards, we saw the reason for the black smoke. Hundreds of rioting townspeople had been burning tires in the middle of the roads. We had to drive around some as we passed through the town on the way to the airport.
As we got to the airport we insisted Menard get back to the mission with Don. All the passengers on the plane were apprehensive as we got ready to board. Then hundreds of people started running at the edge of the field where the planes landed. The riot police showed up and shots were fired and many more explosions were heard in the distance. As this happened we were ushered inside the terminal building. A few minutes later we hurriedly boarded the plane and, needless to say, we were glad when the plane lifted skyward. One of the passengers jokingly asked if we could fly over the town and he received an emphatic NO from the pilot. As we landed in Iringa an hour later we called and were greatly relieved that Menard and Don had made it safely back to the mission. Boaz called as we boarded the plane and we assured him we were all right. He then promised to check on everyone else’s safety.
Please pray for our students who also started home today, many of them traveling through Mbeya. Saturday evening we arrived safely in Dar. Donnie and Denton safely boarded their plane back to the USA. Please pray for those on the mission, all of them who are so dedicated to the cause of Christ in our area. We are thankful for the opportunity to do this great work but there can be some Hatari.
Garry L. Hill
Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver