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Trips

Haiti Aug 2016 B

Croix Du Boquet, Haiti August 13-20, 2016

TLI has established a partnership with the Institut Biblique de la Croix-des-Bouquets (IBC). The Bible Institute of Croix-des-Bouquets (IBC) admits a new cohort of about 30 students each year for their one year certificate and two year diploma program. TLI’s non-formal curriculum will be adapted for use in IBC’s certificate and diploma programs. This is week 2 of the August term. Curriculum to be taught: Biblical Theology

Follow along as teachers in the field offer their experiences as they share theological training with local church leaders.

Field Notes   Haiti Aug 2016 B

Aug  20th,  2016Zanmi nan Levanjil La

Our inagural trip to Haiti in partnership with Institut Biblique des Croix-des-Bouquets (IBC) is complete. It was both an exhausting and encouraging time. Our team consisted of myself, Brian McKanna, Gami Ortiz, Ethan Larson, and Michael Hastings. We taught Attributes of God and Biblical Theology at two different levels, a diploma level and a post-bachelor’s level. Between both classes, I believe we had 20 students. In the the post-bachelor class there were 7 or 8 students, all were actively pastoring churches here in Haiti, in what one might call the suburbs of Port-au-Prince. The diploma class had 13 students, several were pastors but many were serving in roles such as worship leader, diaconate, or youth ministry. Pastor Garry, our national partner, is the director of IBC and he has described this two weeks—more than once—as a dream come true for him as well as for the students. “We simply don’t have anything like this here in Croix-des-Bouquets,” he said.

IMG_4780Pastor Garry and I, happy but exhausted, after two weeks of teaching/translating 6 hours/day.

On one of the days we had an interesting discussion with the students—do you have to be called to be a pastor or trained to be a pastor? What if you have one guy who is called but not trained and another guy who is trained but not called—who should lead the church? Through this discussion I realized that Christians in Haiti have a very high view of the pastoral call. I didn’t really answer the question, I just suggested that not everyone who is called would be able to get training, but if you are called and you don’t want training, then that is just foolish. They seemed to agree, but this exchange illustrates a very real aspect of teaching overseas. The students are feeling the teachers out as much as we are feeling them out. Whether or not they have received quality training they tend to have a set of beliefs and convictions in place and they determine their willingness to trust teachers based on how we interact with that set of convictions. To this end the first course or two is sometimes a delicate combination of affirming and pushing them.

IMG_4784 Michael Hastings and Ethan Larson with IBC's Biblical Theology Students

Our students here have exceeded my expectations. All of the diploma students have been prepared for our courses through the certificate program that IBC has been offering. They have a solid, if sometimes narrow, understanding of theology, but they need to grow in the breadth of their understanding and in their ability to apply what they are learning to Scripture, their lives, and their churches. Yesterday, we collected short forms with information about each student, their ministry, their churches. Many of them are pastoring congregations of several hundred. When you put their pastoral responsibilities together with the kinds of questions that are being asked, the need for sound theological education becomes clear. I am thrilled at the opportunity TLI has to be a part of their journeys for the next two years. Returning for graduation in August 2018 to see marked improvement in preaching, for example, would be such an incredibly thing. Please pray with us that God would be faithful to our small efforts in this new school to train faithful pastors for Haiti. As Pastor Garry says, “Everything in Haiti takes faith.”

Alex Kirk, International Trainer

 

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