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It is said that the best way to change a person’s attitude is to change his mind. Paradigm shifts can indeed be life-changing. The first time I heard the Gospel (when I was 20 years old), I exclaimed, “Why hasn’t anyone told me about this before?” I was never the same again.
Such is the goal of teaching. By presenting the truth of God’s Word or what is right, transformation begins in people’s lives. Lately, there have been a lot of “aha” moments in our ministries that have been making a difference in our students’ lives and ministries as well.
On the Book of Psalms
Our students were overjoyed and said that they will now be able to teach confidently from the book of Psalms after a class taught by Michael Brogna, a first-time visiting teacher, April 10–20. They understood better the context and structure of each category of Psalms and how to teach or preach from it. What better way to end the class than have them write their own psalms. The students had a blast reading their personal psalms to the class.
On Missions Mobilization
Members of four churches (74 participants) were surprised that there are still 3.2 billion people who have never heard of Jesus in the world and that most of them are in Asia. As I taught at this missions retreat, I had the privilege of challenging them April 30–May 1 to engage in cross-cultural ministries more. Filipino churches are more inclined to do local outreaches mostly because of the misconception that they cannot afford the expenses of engaging in cross-cultural ministries. By understanding that there are other ways to get involved in missions (e.g., prayer, reaching out to unreached people in their neighborhood, missionary care, mobilizing, etc.) and that each believer has a role to play in missions, they eagerly came up with strategies to reach out to local unreached people groups (UPGs) near them for starters.
On World Religions
By God’s grace, our ICM students are now on their second course in the curriculum. Their first class was on the Biblical Theology of Missions. Our first batch is composed of almost 20 students eager to get involved in missions. They are currently learning about Hinduism and Buddhism—their history and worldview and most importantly how to share their faith to Hindus and Buddhists. There’s a mixture of curiosity and shock as they recently talked with a Hindu background believer. They eagerly anticipate an in-person interaction with either a Hindu or Buddhist as a project at the end of the course. There has been a steady influx of central Asians in Albay in the last few years, and this is a great opportunity to engage our students cross-culturally. We are blessed to have a BCCL alumna, Lanilane Ocbina, who specializes in Intercultural Studies, as our regular teacher for most of the ICM courses.
On a Creative Outreach Strategy
Pastor Joseph, our technical staff at BCCL, is also a church planter. He’s passionate about free-range chicken farming. We’ve been praying about encouraging backyard chicken farming as a creative way of doing local outreaches where a number of chicks will be given to interested people in the community, then in the process of training them to raise the chickens, Bible studies will likewise be done. After a few months of hatching their own chicks, they will give back the same number to be given to others who are interested as well. We suggested that he try this in Kilicao, the community where his church plant is located. Just a few months in and the new backyard farmers in the community are already forming a cooperative to pool more chicks to give away. Some Bible studies have also started. In one such home, a cockfight gambler suddenly enjoys raising chickens in his backyard more than his fighting roosters now. And when pastor Joseph comes to do Bible studies, he has become more receptive. A simple act of giving is changing hearts and minds already! We pray to be able to incorporate this creative outreach strategy in our Project Biyaya outreach ministry with our students.
Indeed, leaning not on our own understanding is crucial to spiritual growth and God’s work. It pleases God a lot when we are teachable and ready to change when His truth requires it. We are just amazed at how God is continually making a difference in the lives and ministries of our students through the training they get at BCCL.
We pray you have been encouraged by all God is doing at BCCL, but sadly, we have to tell you that the current financial need for the BCCL ministry and our own monthly support is urgent. Due to extra expenses to support much-needed additional staff, inflation, and operating expenses within BCCL, our account with the NAB has been running a deficit for three years now. While we are so thankful for a number of one-time donations to update the BCCL facilities, we have been praying that God would touch the hearts of those who are willing to be regular monthly supporters as well. We and the NAB leadership trust that God will provide for His ever-growing work at BCCL. If you have questions or if God is touching your heart to be a partner, you can reach out directly to the Vice President of International missions at email@example.com.
Thank you so much!