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Hello, friends and family!
We hope you’ve had a good summer. I’m sure it’s been a bit different than a “normal” summer, since we’re in the middle of the pandemic, but summer is always a wonderful season. Here in our area, this is the rainy season, and we’re enjoying cool weather, sunny mornings, and rainy afternoons and nights. We’ve had around seven inches of rain since the month of August began, and the fields are a beautiful shade of green.
Online Bible School
As you probably know, our Online Bible School is one of the projects we spend quite a bit of time on. The last time I wrote to you, we were finishing our Spring semester. Now, we’re about to start our Fall semester. Enrollment is currently open, and we will begin classes on August 19.
Over the last couple of weeks I taught and recorded the material for our new homiletics course. (For those who don’t know, “homiletics” is a fancy word to describe a course on how to preach.) I taught 18 lessons on the subject of how to write sermons and preach, and these lessons will cover the first 7 weeks of the course. The remaining 8 weeks will be used to have our students practice what they have learned by preparing messages and preaching in front of their peers and facilitators live via Zoom. The students will be evaluated both by their peers and their facilitators, and will be receiving constructive feedback. It should be a very interesting experience!
We will also be offering several other courses, including Old and New Testament Surveys (4 courses), The Life of Christ and Systematic Theology.
We’re looking forward to starting once again! Several students have already signed up, and I’m sure many more will register for their courses over the next week or so.
It is such a blessing that we had prepared this Bible School several years ago to be totally online. We don’t have to worry about canceling in-person classes, and we can accept students from just about anywhere around the world!
Local Church Ministry
Since the middle of March, we had to cancel our normal church services due to the pandemic. We immediately moved everything online, using a combination of YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Zoom, WhatsApp, and our own website to reach our people. Our state is still basically under stay-at-home orders, as the Covid-19 numbers continue to rise. We can only drive our car 3 days a week: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The local hospital here in Tulancingo is completely full and is sending patients to seek medical help in other cities. It looks like we won’t be going back to in-person services at our church possibly for the rest of the year.
However, online ministry has given us the unique opportunity to reach people that normally wouldn’t be reached by our church, including the extended families of some of our church members, some of which live in other cities and states.
We had a good series of classes on parenting in June and July, connecting with parents using recorded teaching on YouTube, then question and answer sessions using Zoom.
Besides our Sunday services, we are also doing small group ministry on Zoom and Google Meet, with a special emphasis on growing in love, unity, communication and personal ministry. We start with a group activity, move into Bible Study, then finish with a time of personal ministry. We are calling these groups “Connect Groups”. We started last Wednesday, and our congregation is really excited about participating. We currently have seven different groups, and each group has between 10 and 20 members.
Our son, David Jeremiah, has been working at Lowe’s during his summer break. He will be continuing with his last three semesters at Western Michigan University. Daniel is in Portland, Oregon, where he is studying at Portland Bible College. He has been working in the school offices with their online Bible School program, and he took a second job at Amazon. During this summer, he sometimes worked over 70 hours a week!
Anna is doing well here at home with us. She has been a great help in ministry, sometimes singing and playing the piano for our services, writing devotional material and teachings, proofreading our online Bible School material, and more recently, doing graphic design. She will be starting 12th grade in about a month. Anna is a great Bible teacher, and she has her own Connect Group on Wednesday nights.
Sara continues to work with me as a team. Sometimes we teach together; at other times, she helps by participating in our online services, proofreading material for the Bible School, and helping in so many areas. She is such a big blessing for me and for the church! She is also hosting and leading probably the largest of our Connect Groups online.
Life is busy during this pandemic, but we are enjoying it. We’re working pretty much 100% from home and have converted the living room of our cabin into a video recording studio. I am writing from one of the bedrooms where I have my little office. Who’d have thought? Remote ministry from a cabin!
Thanks for your prayers and support!
We are so thankful for those who continue to pray and support us each month. It is wonderful to know that we have a group of intercessors and partners who stand by our side and help us to effectively reach many people each week with teaching and ministry from God’s word. Thank you!