Saturday, January 4, 2014

SPNTC: 'Signing' of the Constitution and other important stories

Taku’s story – Light for the Word

Taku didn’t get home from class until close to 10PM, but she wanted to do some studying before she went to sleep.  She lit a candle and placed it close enough on the woven mat so it would shine on the Bible and her class notes making it possible for her to read.  When she woke the next morning, she realized she had fallen asleep and as the candle burned, it had fallen over very near some clothes on the floor which should have burst into flames.  She shook as she realized God had protected her and her family from being burned to death in their home!
We praise the Lord for his protection of Taku, her husband Austin, and their little boy Samuel!  Many of our students do not have electricity in their homes, and use candles or kerosene lanterns instead.  Candles are the cause of many house fires and burn injuries.  You may remember the story of Anna, the baby that was burned when her mosquito net was blown into the flame of the candle that was burning on the floor of her house.
Taku reading her Bible using her new solar light
Solar lights are becoming a popular way for people to have light in their homes in Vanuatu.  The only problem is the good ones can be pretty expensive for people on meager incomes.  Just about the time that Taku shared her story with us, we found that one of the stores in town was getting a shipment of affordable solar lights in stock.  We had tried them out at Black Sand Church and discovered they worked well, had a pretty good battery life, and were easy to carry and hang in the house.  With a contribution given to our ministry we were able to purchase a solar light for each of our SPNTC students.  We no longer have to fear them studying at night since they now have a safe, reliable light source!
SPNTC students each holding their new solar light

Landmark Meetings for SPNTC

Rev. Peter Isaac and Antona, two members of the Vanuatu
SPNTC team
It took the entire day, but our South Pacific Nazarene Theological College (SPNTC) leadership team arrived in Nadi, Fiji, just 500 miles to the east of Vanuatu, to meet with the other SPNTC campus teams that were gathering from Solomon Islands, Samoa, and Fiji.  The chancellor and his family, Rev. Dave and Dr. Rosie Kerr and their two daughters, met us at the airport with eager anticipation of what the week would hold. 

Three representatives from the Church of the Nazarene International Board of Education, Rev. Dr. Dan Copp (IBOE Commissioner), Dr. Melvin Rigsby (AP Regional Education Coordinator), and Dr. Mike Vail (IBOE Team Chairperson), would be arriving in a few days to conduct an evaluation of our institution and give recommendations to help us as the school develops.   Much hard work and countless hours of self-evaluation by each campus had been accomplished in the months leading up to this week of meetings, as well as, all joining together in prayer for God's direction and help to establish SPNTC with a good foundation and proper vision and mission.

SPNTC Board of Trustees at work

Many aspects of our multi-nation training institution were discussed and hammered out during the week. One of the big accomplishments of these meetings was that the constitution for SPNTC was finally and unanimously approved.  This opened the door for many other decisions.  

Rev. Francis, principal of SPNTC-Samoa,
with Rev. Dan Copp

Something that impressed us was the sense of unity and enthusiasm that was felt among this diverse group of people as they worked together for not just their own individual campus, but for the establishment of the whole SPNTC.  Equally impressive was the humility and helpfulness expressed by the IBOE team.  Who would have thought that God could make a Board of Trustees meeting and IBOE review such a rich opportunity for relationship building and growth!

SPNTC's international team

Teaching for Transformation - Looking Forward to Graduation

Our primary ministry responsibility is to equip and train leaders for the Church of the Nazarene in Vanuatu. We began teaching back in 2006 just a couple classes a year; today we schedule at least eight 45-hour courses each year with the goal of completing the 24-course certificate program every three years.  Some of the students have worked hard to continue in the program and are close enough to finishing that we are anticipating our first graduation! 
Pastor Jon Paschke, missionary in Vanuatu with Scripture Union,
guest lectured for one of our recent classes (with Gideon and Antona).
In the last few months, the two of us have taught 3 courses, Gospel and Culture, Biblical Hermeneutics, and Johannine Literature.  We are anticipating a full year of teaching in 2014 beginning at the end of January. After some conversations in Fiji, David is reconsidering our plan to begin extension courses on two other islands, thinking it may be best to wait for a year or so until we have graduates who can teach in the local languages.  

Please pray for our teaching staff (Peter, Jenny, David and Sylvia) for physical health and strength, knowledge of the course material, and wisdom to know how to teach it best.  Pray also for our students that they will be healthy and strong, for resources to pay for their school fees and transportation, and for spiritual transformation as they grow in knowledge and understanding.  Also, pray that God will continue to give us new students.

2014 Course Schedule

January - February - Pentateuch with Peter Isaac; Old Testament Survey with Sylvia
March - Theology 3 with David
April - Pastoral Care with Sylvia
May - June - Church History 2 with Rev. Dave Kerr
June - July - Spiritual Leadership with Jenny
August - Tribes to Kingdoms with Sylvia; New Testament Survey with David
Sept - Oct - History and Polity of the Church of the Nazarene with Peter
Nov - Homiletics with David

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