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“Not in vain.” This statement summarizes the last few months for us as we evaluate the BCCL ministry over the decades and as we move forward.
Celebrating 20 + 1 Years of Ministry
As we looked at the faces of all the alumni, teachers, and supporters during our 21st anniversary celebration last June 11, God showed us that by His grace BCCL’s labor in the Lord is indeed not in vain. The anniversary celebration was a wonderful time of reminiscing God’s faithfulness through the video greetings of international teachers, who shared wonderful memories of being involved with the BCCL ministry over the years. There was a time of tears as well as we watched a memorial video for sister Mayette Ativo-Bueno, the founding director of BCCL. It was quite special that her very first students from 20 years ago were present and her last batch of students (before she died of cancer in 2020) graduated that day.
The first part of the celebration was the joint graduation of the basic Certificate in Leadership Foundation Course (CLF) and the two-year Graduate Certificate in Urban Ministries (GCUM) course. We look forward to the next seasons of God’s continuing work through BCCL in the Philippines.
Our Training Courses Continue
I had the joy of once again teaching at the classroom at BCCL last June. It was a hybrid class on Biblical Leadership. Then, last July, we had a very encouraging elective course called “Not In Vain: Persevering in Difficult Times” with Michael Brogna. This was the first time that a teacher taught live online from the US. The students in the classroom had to endure some brownouts though during the class. Thankfully, our internet device was hooked up to a battery, so even if the students were just lighting up the classroom with their mobile phones (see picture above), they did not miss anything from the discussion.
Meet Some of Our Alumni
We had the pleasure of visiting some of our students’ churches during our last visit this summer. We were blessed to see how our alumni are thriving in their ministries, either as regular preachers (like brother Raul, a 2015 alumnus serving at Albay Bible Community), as missionaries, or as pastors. One such pastor is Kim (also a 2015 alumnus) who has just been ordained this year as the pastor of Jesus First Christian Ministries since pastor Tony Bueno went to be with the Lord last year.
Recent graduates Dwight and Cristina Spears (American missionary married to a Filipina) have been missionaries for almost 10 years now. They have a very encouraging ministry with churches around the area as they help provide Sunday school and outreach materials through their ministry, called United Ministries Gospel Outreach. Lately, the Lord has opened doors for them to minister to less-fortunate families in their community in Daraga, Albay. Each day, batches of kids collecting garbage would drop by their apartment building to ask for cold water, as they work in the sweltering heat. Since they live on the second floor of the building, they would take the kids’ empty water bottles in a bag tied at the end of a rope and fill them up with water and some bonus snacks (cookies, etc.). This has continued for some time now and become a way for them to be welcomed and trusted by the community and has enabled them to share the Gospel and teach the kids as well.
They have also been mentoring a group of young professionals for more than a year now, which is on the verge of becoming a church. The Spears couple find their two-year BCCL training very helpful as God continues to entrust them with bigger ministries. Cristina graduated at the top of her class this year, and the leader of this young group, whom they are grooming to be a pastor, is currently attending the training courses at BCCL.
These and other testimonies continue to remind and encourage us that indeed BCCL’s labor in the Lord has borne much fruit over the decades, thanks, in part, to faithful supporters, teachers, staff, and ministry partners. Our labor in the Lord is definitely “not in vain!” Glory to our awesome God!
A. Claire Marker, BCCL Director