NINE STUDENTS and SEVEN COUNTRIES
What would you say if somebody offered you the chance to impact quickly the lives of numerous people around the world? Would you take it? The good news is that you have!! This week I finished teaching a course on Old Testament Ethics. I had nine students representing seven different countries, such as Mexico, Ecuador, El Salvador, Peru, Guatemala, and Honduras. Moreover, these are not just young men from various countries who now live in Guatemala; rather, some flew to Guatemala for the sole purpose of taking this course.
Why would a person fly from Ecuador just to receive ministry training? To those of us who have grown up in the US, this question certainly sounds strange. To be sure, there are a number of excellent options available in the US from coast to coast. But the sad fact is that this blessing is not always available in other countries. For example, my student from Ecuador explained to me how his country had recently experienced the horrible effects of an atheistic and Socialist president. Ecuador is in the process of passing laws making it illegal to have volunteer workers for the church, which affects mission projects as well as the possibility of merely having a Sunday School teacher. In addition, pastors are having to receive “professional” certification, meaning they have to be recognized by the government. Such certification also affects centers where ministers can be trained. In effect, there are few options for receiving Biblical training in country. This explains why one is willing to make the sacrifice and pay the price of taking classes in Guatemala: because there exists no real opportunities in their own countries to receive the type of training for the ministry.
Consequently, not only do Sheila and I sincerely thank you for your faithfulness to pray and to give financially for us to live and work here, but also my students thank you. Your gifts are affecting the lives of people all around the Spanish-speaking world.
John & Sheila