The past year has been very eventful. I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in April. By God’s mercies, treatment was completed by early May, just in time for the second semester of the year from May to July. Providentially, I was able to attend Shermaine’s graduation and Pastor Clement’s ordination just be-fore I left. Our wedding took place in August, and we managed to pack and move halfway across the world in three weeks. We had two weeks to unpack and settle in, before the semester started in September.

Looking back at the amount of adjustments to be made, it is truly by the grace and mercies of God that we could do so. We had just started to adjust to married life together, both in Singapore and Kenya, and Shermaine has to adapt to a completely new environment over here. We are truly thankful for the Lord’s help day by day!

BCEA Kenya
We are thankful for the joint graduation service on 1st December, 2018, that saw 26 students from BCEA Kenya, and 1 from BCEA Tanzania graduating. Thank God for a good intake in the first semester, with 20 new students so far. We currently have a good mixture of students, coming from Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Rwanda and Congo.

The past year had been fraught with challenges one after another. Right after a series of consistent power outages, came a cut-off in our water supply. We were accused of meter-tampering by the water company, who tried to extort over $60,000 USD from us. Thank God, the issue was solved when an appeal was made to their headquarters. This year has started so far with minimal disruption to our utilities so far.

The Year Ahead
Thank God that Shermaine was granted a 3-year work permit in December just before Christmas, allowing her to begin teaching and serving here immediately without any worry. Her three-month wait (without any interviews) was certainly quick compared to my year–long wait! This was timely, as we had to fly back early in order to take over various responsibilities from Miss Bai, a Korean missionary under the IBPFM who will be on furlough this entire year to attend to her aged parents.

Shermaine will be standing in to teach her Christian education, Church history subjects, and also taking on elementary Greek. She will also be overseeing the on-campus kindergarten, and another kindergarten at a nearby mission station. The Sunday school and Saturday children’s fellowship will also be head-ed by her this year. In addition, I will be helping in the Junior Youth ministry (for youths aged 12-16) this year.

The year has also started with a terrorist incident this week (15th January, Tuesday), an echo of a similar attack in 2013 that we narrowly missed. Some missionaries here including Rev. Eben Yoon and Dr Park were robbed at gunpoint last year. The college also suffered a break-in the previous year. It can be quite surreal that the safety/crime messages back home that are commonly seen and easily dismissed are unseen here, where they seem to be the most need-ed. However, we are often reminded that safety is of the Lord ultimately, even as we exercise human responsibility.

Exercising the Word
At our Lord’s Day’s evening service today, it was observed that some students did not bother to open their hymnbooks or even their Bibles during the service! Over the past semesters there are others who would not even bring the Bible to class, or even open them when the lessons are ongoing. Who would have thought that students in a Bible college could behave in this way!

Thankfully, these are the minority, a few black sheep amongst the rest. They are reflective of an ongoing problem that can also be seen in the campus church, where some in the congregation would not bring a Bible to the service. Even though some had received Bibles from the church, they are rarely seen after that. It is hard to claim that one would love God, but yet, show so little regard towards His Word!

It is hardly surprising that some of these church members do end up making life decisions poorly, or questionably. Over the past years we have seen some children born out of wedlock, and members who have left years ago re-turning as single parents. Some of these were active, serving members of the church. If the smallest of efforts cannot be made to carry even a little book, there is little assurance that any effort will be made to read it, or to obey and trust the principles that can directly be drawn from the Word. If the very accessible wisdom, truth and will of God is ignored, how much more would our voices be? What happened to the role of God and His Word in their life decisions?

“For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” -Heb 5:13-14

Likewise for the students, there can be a huge disconnect between Scriptural knowledge and their day to day living. Moreover, it becomes dangerous when one thinks that they know better, or enough. Some have a pride so great, that no amount of preaching and teaching from the Word would seem to convince them. They have little qualms about using the phrase “but according to me”, or “in my conviction/experience” to justify their views, and practices against what has just been expounded . How can one discern between good and evil, truth and error, right and wrong?

Our usage of the Scriptures must be “exercised”, gumnazo, from which we derive the word “gymnasium”. Like an athlete that exercises vigorously in training, honing one’s skill and body to the highest level possible, our use of the Scriptures in application to how we perceive life’s issues and decisions must be a daily process. One who knows the Scriptures, but cannot perceive the world through it, is like a blind man who knows where to cross the road, but does not know when it is safe to do so.

While we carry our Bibles around, memorize verses, and dutifully attend Bible studies and classes, it must certainly be expected that the more we learn of God’s Word, the more our lives will be patterned and guided by it! Our regard for God Himself will ultimately be seen in how we exercise His Word.

Prayer Items
 Pray for our classes. I will have 12 teaching hours in total, for five subjects: The book of Acts, Galatians, Hermeneutics, Theological Research & Writing, and Bible Geography.
 Shermaine will have 10 teaching hours for four subjects: Through the Bible I, Elementary Greek, Church History I, and Introduction to Christian Education.
 Pray for the new students to adapt to life in BCEA. Pray also for discipline and wisdom in handling the day to day student issues.
 Pray for the works of the college, there are day to day administrative responsibilities, and a constant maintenance of the facilities. We would also have to put in fire prevention and other safety measures according to the revised environment standards from the government.
 Pray also for the college, the church, the kindergarten and mission stations’ churches and schools.
 Pray for the Campus Church, we are trying to have proper elections in order to nominate some into the leadership. Hopefully some of these members will mature and grow in the Word.
 Pray for Shermaine as she teaches and works with the students in the Campus Church Sunday School Ministry.

 Pray that the Lord will have mercy to use the government to rule honestly and benefit the local people.
 Pray for safety and security.