Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pastor's Conference & Seminary Orientation

We had scheduled to provide scholarships to 10 pastors in the city of Cagayan De Oro and the area of Bukidnon. There were 2 other pastors that requested to attend. Pastor Val of Christ Disciples Mission explained that they could attend and in the event that the originally scheduled pastors did not come the scholarship would be extended to them. I had only brought resources for 10 pastors and was feeling very bad that we could not accommodate the other 2 men. As God would have it, 2 men did not show up and we had the perfect total of 10.
I spoke for 2 hours on the importance and necessity of training for pastoral, preaching and church planting work (be that formal or informal). After a brief explanation of how the seminary will function, we issued each pastor a tablet computer. The Andriod tablet is the property of the seminary and they are responsible for its stewardship. Upon graduation the tablet will be theirs to keep. The men were amazed. With each tablet, Bible Expositors Seminary/Revival or Ruin Ministries provided a "virtual library" on a SD card. The card contains almost 2GB of data. There 3 Systematic Theology works (Hodge, Strong, Warfield); 2 commentaries (Poole, Henry); complete works of Reformers & Puritans (Luther, Calvin, Charnock, Owen, Edwards, Brainard, etc.) and classical Christian works (Anselm, Augustine, Spurgeon, etc.). These pastors in the mountainous jungles have a better library than most pastors in the US! Glory to God! The men were blown away.

We also provided them with iPod which contains lectures for the seminary classes. I was able to develope 9 classes of the necessary 10 classes for the first year (Christian History 1 &2, Systematic Theology 1, 2 & 3, Christian Apologetics, etc.). Further more, the lectures are from some of the finest teachers in the US. For example, we are using lectures from John Frame for Christian Apologetics and Wayne Grudem for our systematic theology class. The lectures are top-notch and the resources some of the best in the world. If it sounds like I am boasting it is because I am! I am boasting in how God took the most meager of resources and will provide an excellent education to poor, forgotten outcast pastors in the Philippines. I cannot help to believe that God has done this in preparation for a great work here through these men.

Perhaps the most amazing thing that occurred was our time of discussion after the formal conference ended. We just sat down and I asked them to please share with me there struggles. Now, this might not sound so amazing but you have to understand the culture. Here, people are very shy. They never express a need and especially to a 'kano (white-faced American). I had tried to be transparent during the conference. I explained to them that they were the soldiers on the front line and I was merely the boy trying to run to supply them ammunition for the battle. God used that to break down some walls and they really opened up to me and began to honestly share their burdens and struggles. Because of this, I know now they trust me and accept me as one of their own.

Please pray for these men. They have no support, little fellowship and very difficult work. I am convinced the Lord has great things in store for them because He has overcome impossible obstacles to create a seminary out of nothing and provide them with fantastic resources.

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