Growing Myanmar Bible College

What an exciting year for Myanmar Bible College! The college is now offering a Bachelors in Theology, as well as a shorter program, which provides a Diploma in Theology. In February, 14 young men and women graduated from MBC. We added 15 freshmen this year and now have a total of 44 students.

Earlier this year, we were able to purchase a tract of land that will become the future home of Myanmar Bible College. This plot will also be the home of other FBC ministries including the children’s homes. There is already an existing structure on the property that had fallen into disrepair. Renovations are being made so that it can be used for classrooms while a more permanent building is being built. We have obtained drawings for two new dormitories (one each for women and men) and anticipate that it will cost $146,000 to construct and furnish them. We are prayerfully trusting the Lord to provide as we continue to implement our strategy for growing this ministry.

Meet Professor David

MBC is staffed with amazing professors that are eager to prepare young people for lives of ministry. Here, Professor David presides over his class. Due to the small size of the college, each professor teaches a variety of subjects. Below he speaks about the impact of the classes that he teaches.

Teaching elementary “English” to new students is an exciting and challenging task. Many have no previous English studies. Students come to know more English vocabularies related to the Bible and theology. Moreover, they improve in listening, reading, writing, and speaking as they are compelled to apply their lessons into their daily use.

Learning “Bible Geography” makes students excited to read the bible and has made their reading of the Bible clearer.

Since “Romans and Galatians” are foundational to Christian doctrine and belief, these books are being taught with significant preparation in order that they will be able to teach to others as well. As a result, the students are ready to use their learned lessons when they are called to share the gospel to unbelievers.

“Church Growth” is a neglected, but important, subject in other Myanmar bible schools. Even if it is taught, no church in Myanmar seems willing to apply church growth strategies. I, therefore, personally made the subject very serious, giving NINE church growth strategies, which can be applied in Myanmar churches and the students can apply in their future pastoral ministry.

Teaching “Cults” is important in Myanmar’s current situation as countless denominations and cults are flowing into the country. These cultic sects not only teach strange doctrines, but also seriously divide the church and bring confusion to believers. This teaching allows students the tools to identify and combat false teaching.

From the Field

Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of man plans his way, BUT the LORD directs his steps.” Ironically, and with some surprise, unplanned circumstances over the past few months dictate that we begin this update with this Scripture and its attendant meaning!

We unexpectedly returned to the States due to a significant trial in the club we are serving and the potential fall-out arising from our presence. We enjoyed an extended season of rest in America over the past several months and were ticketed to return to China September 9th, only to have our departure flights cancelled by Hurricane Irma – which struck our home on the West Coast of Florida with a fury. By God’s grace, what first appeared to be an inevitable direct hit from the eye of the storm was rerouted a mere 20 miles to our east, sparing us from the most fearsome effects of the winds, rain, and storm surge.

The airlines rescheduled us to depart September 14th – only to suffer another unexpected setback. Mr. Jones had been battling an unexplained hand infection for about a month. Making a long story short, he required immediate surgery on his right hand on Wednesday, the 13th. The surgery was successful! After a short, but intense, period of prayer, we determined that Mrs. Jones would return as planned and her husband will remain in the States until the wounds have fully healed, and he has completed his physical therapy to restore movement and range of motion to his pinky finger. This is expected to be anywhere from 6-12 weeks, depending upon how the finger responds.

Now these two things alone would be trying enough… but two days after Mrs. Jones’ return, a sister club (with a foreign influence working with them – just like us!) received a foreboding message from government authorities. Translated into English, the notice says, “You are to immediately cease conducting worship services and you are “requested” to gather for services at the Three Self Church. You are further “invited” to a meeting at the police station to discuss your “unlawful meetings.” As you may remember, about this time last year, the religious bureau published new… and draconian… religious regulations for public comment. Like all bureaucracies, things moved slowly, but the new regulations have traversed the political system and been approved into law. They will become ‘official’ in February of 2018 – though functional immediately. Many of the regulations under this law have been in place before. What makes this iteration different is the articulation of specific enforcement mechanisms (lacking in previous regulations) and substantial financial penalties. Physical persecution did not impede the church… now they move to economic persecution. The full extent of these newly implemented regulations is beyond the scope of this update, but the net is this: Government scrutiny is returning to the Chinese house-church network after a ten year period of relative peaceful coexistence. One area of particular government focus is the presence of ANY foreign influence in the church, along with sources of church funding.

As you continue to strive with us in God’s work, please keep the following matters in prayer:

1. Pray for our Chinese brethren as they face an uncertain future and a season of increased attention… and likely persecution… from the government;

2. Pray for Mrs. Jones’ safety, stamina, and “invisibility” as she ministers alone for a short period of time;

3. Pray for a quick recovery from surgery for Mr. Jones; and

4. Pray for discernment as we ponder how God will direct the ministry in the coming year.

As always, we deeply value, and never take for granted, your participation in the ministry. We say the same thing every time simply because the same thing needs to be said… namely, that without your support, we could not do what we do! We extend our deepest and most humble gratitude to each one of you.

Bringing Hope to Orphans

It has been amazing to watch God pour His blessings upon the ministry in Russia throughout this year!

It began with God’s provision for Sergey and Anya, which allowed them to rescue five orphan siblings that were living in different orphanages throughout eastern Russia. The kids are all now living together, are well adjusted, and learning about God’s love!

Throughout the summer, we also worked with two more couples who are now caring for five orphans, collectively. One of them is a pastor and his wife who have grown to love and care for an orphan boy, Zhenya, who accepted Jesus in the summer camp a few years ago. He is now a part of their family and growing in the Lord.

Camp Transformation is a summer camp where we send orphans each year to hear the Gospel and grow in their faith. God allowed us to send 85 orphans to camp this year! Outside of purchasing vouchers for orphans to attend camp, we have helped with several small building projects to keep the camp functioning throughout the years. In early 2017, we decided that it was time to help in a greater way than ever before. There were two reasons why we committed to this project:

• For years, we have watched the commitment of the local churches, to the camp, grow. Our burden has always been to get behind those in Russia who are making a difference with what God has given them!

• The impact the camp has had on countless orphans over the years is absolutely priceless! For over eight years, the camp staff has watched God completely transform the children that attend. Hundreds of children have come to Christ, and many of them are now rooted in their faith.

The renovations are planned in four phases and include insulation, siding and heating in the main building and dining hall, overhaul of the boiler room and heating systems, and renovation of student rooms. In the early spring, we were able to meet our goal of $24,200 for phases 1 and 2.
As soon as the summer camps ended, we began to put a heating system into one of the main buildings. In late October, the system was up and running, and the building was ready for winter use.

On November 1st, Camp Transformation held their very first camp just for orphans! Held during their fall break, 38 orphans came from three different orphanages. Many of these children have already come to Christ at a prior camp, but for many others, this was the first time to hear the Gospel.

There is still a need of approximately $18,000 to complete phases 3 and 4 of the renovations. The renovations at the camp have been such a blessing in many ways. It has given the camp staff and local churches a breath of life and encouragement to see God provide. It has given the camp director favor with government inspectors. And, it has already allowed us to hold more camps to reach more orphans with the Gospel. Lord willing, next spring we will finish the last phase of renovations.

What a blessing to see God’s people pray and give so generously, and to see our partners in Russia work so hard, giving of their time and talents, all for the ultimate goal of seeing orphans come to the Lord and grow in their faith.

To God be the glory!! Thank you so much for praying and giving to help us reach others in Russia.