And Still Looking Ahead

It’s been a little over a month now since I gave an update concerning the idea of pursuing a new online MDiv program through Moody Theological Seminary.  I should give you an update.

I believe all of the application requirements have been met now for a couple of weeks.  There was a slight mix-up in matching one of my references to my application, but that was cleared up today.  So, now all is in order and my application will be considered by the acceptance committee soon.  Normally, this happens on Tuesdays.  Initially, the admissions counselor said I’d probably know in one to two weeks.  When I explained my need to know just as soon as possible so I can send out a formal request to our supporters for some extra support to help make this possible, he promised to put my application on top of the list and so I should know next Tuesday or Wednesday what that decision is.

Pray with us for God’s direction in this through the acceptance or rejection of my application.  I do not get the impression that there may be any cause for anything other than acceptance, but until we pass that step, there really isn’t reason to go move forward with raising funds to help pay for this costly commitment.

There is a matching scholarship that our home church has agreed to help us with by setting it up and sending in funds through that scholarship.  Moody calls it a “Timothy Scholarship” and they pledge to match 1/3 of my tuition through it.  Our church will simply send in a gift before each semester that will be matched by Moody 100% up to 1/3 of my tuition.  They can send in a full 2/3 of my tuition, but Moody will only give 1/3 at most.

Presuming acceptance, I’m still trying to ascertain the exact figure for this first semester’s payment, but it appears the first semester will come to just under $5,000.  As it turns out, due to the odd layout of the coursework/classes, the second semester will probably be only half of that.  In addition to tuition, I’m looking at needing to purchase Logos Silver ($1,000 but only $500 with a 50% discount to students).   Logos will be the delivery method of all of the texts needed throughout the entire program.  (There could be an exception for a paper book here and there, but I think that is unlikely.)  Most of the texts for the entire program may actually be included in this one-time expense so that’s a welcome plus.

Bottom-line…we’ll probably be able to put to use about $2,500 in gifts toward the first semester and about $1,000 toward the 2nd semester and should anyone want to purchase the costly Logos Silver, who am I to stop them?!  🙂

The reality is that I mainly need to see a minimal amount that would ensure that the 1/3 matching amount is met and that minimal amount is probably just over $1,000.  I would cover the rest through lifetime savings anything that isn’t covered.  Given there is no way I could cover even 2/3 of the tuition on my own over the course of the program without more than completely exhausting our lifetime savings (i.e. retirement/future house/contingency savings), if the Lord does not provide even the minimal amount that would meet the 1/3 matching, I will back out of the program for this year and will reconsider.

I believe that the Lord has been leading in this direction so while I will “wait and see,” I know there isn’t much time between a potential acceptance next week and near the end of July when I’ll need to see not only pledges but actual transmission of funds, that there is an element of both faith and submission to the Lord’s desire, whatever that may be.

We sure would appreciate your prayers with us over the acceptance into the program and also for the Lord’s provision through some who would be moved to partner with us in this investment of on-the-job biblical training. 

Each week as we continue a handful of Bible studies involving 10 adults/students, and seeing the house church ministry slowly produce new growth (we’re up to 18 on Sundays with others considering coming and a new evangelistic study pending) and except for 2 of these 18 who came already knowing the Lord, this is all “organic growth”!  How wonderful to see God moving and working in hearts!

Perhaps this seems like a small work.  And it is.  We live and minister in an area of Mexico that often sees persecution of Christians.  Within an hour’s drive of our house, in the past 15 to 20 years believers have been pelted with stones and even one was doused with gasoline in order to be burned.  It is not always  an easy place to minister.

The main Bible church facility here in San Juan del Rio was just broken into last week.  All the computers for the community center, the computer and projector for the Sunday services, all the guitars used in teaching in the community center and some used on Sunday services, the sound board, the speakers…all of it stolen.  Interior windows were broken and graffiti was painted on the interior walls.  Virtually nothing of value was left behind. Even though the property had been fully locked up and as secure as one could reasonably make it, this still occurred.   Locks were broken with heavy tools.  The graffiti points to a gang that probably did it.  Christ is not always accepted and His church is right with Him in that.  The Lord has a purpose everything.

All that to say that after nearly 20 years since being planted and seeing cycles of growth and pruning, the original Bible church numbers about 50.  The Lord is blessing greatly to see 18 here after just a couple of years.  We’re excited and a little overwhelmed too.  The needs for shepherding seem exaggerated compared to what we normally observed in the USA.  An entire group of first-generation believers and at least a couple of individuals who have not yet truly believed.  We’re stretched.  But it is a sweet ministry to have entrusted into our care.  We’re so grateful to see the Lord touching these lives and reaching into the lives of even others.  Ultimately, it is His work and His church.

Yet, I continue to see the short-medium-long term need to know the Scriptures better and to have some intensive preparation for that which I’m already doing and that which it appears I’ll be doing in the near future as the Lord continues to grant a harvest for His glory.  I truly need more advanced tools of learning in order to be as effective as I need to be in this ministry.  A few thousand dollars a year are a lot in this economy, but in light of eternity and the eternal value of effective ministry, I think that there is great potential for the Lord to use this investment for eternity.  I’m unashamed to ask for help in subsidizing these studies which have high potential for touching eternity.

Thanks for reading…thanks for praying…thanks for thinking on these things and considering investing in eternity with us.

 

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