For some who are not aware of our call to Vietnam, I will take a moment to clarify it and explain the process in which we have become missionaries to this special land at this special time. I have gone back and forth to Vietnam for several years and the Lord had impressed upon me years ago that the most significant thing that is lacking at this time here in Vietnam is adequate Bible Training for Pastors and Leaders. Then in 2012 the Lord called my wife and I to move here as full-time missionaries to offer the training needed. As I laid the calling down before the Lord, I really wanted to understand clearly what it was He was calling us to. So here it is.
One of the main purposes of SALM67 Ministries is to establish a Bible College/Bible Institute that eventually will be entirely operated by Vietnamese pastors. The Lord has supernaturally provided the land and facilities as well as the curriculum through a partnership with BTCP. In
addition, Luther Rice Seminary has committed its help in teaching the curriculum and will offer a certificate of graduation to all students. Our very first class was scheduled to start in mid-January, and to show their support, a team from Luther Rice came over to help us get the institute off to a great start. What an incredible blessing it was to have this team travel nearly 36 hours to be with us - in good shape and ready to teach!
Our first day Dr. Ron Long, the missions director at Luther Rice and our key contacty for our partnership with the university, opened up the session with a word on behalf of the Seminary and the Lord. It was a powerful message that spoke of how the Word of God should be lived out in the life of the pastor. Dr. Dan Yaw (Pastor of Northside Baptist Church, Lakeland, FL), Dr. Dan Lewis (Chairman and Advisor for IAGM) and myself were the teachers for the first session on Hermeneutics - the study of how to properly read and study the word of God
As we taught through the three full days of the first session, it was amazing to watch the students hang on to every word from the mouths of their professors. In most schools and in most classes, students would be dropping off as the material they were studying became more difficult, but that was not the case here. We have a total of 20 pastors and leaders officially registered for this first class of the Institute, but on the first day more than 30 students showed up and by the last day, there were 36 students total. The additional people were coming just because they loved hearing the Word of God and learning how to read and study the Word of God. Just a testimony on how the Lord is moving on the hearts of the people here.
I had the honor of teaching the class on the Power of God’s word and it was amazing to be able to pour into the people of God the understanding of just how powerful God’s Word is and how important it is to preach that word accurately.This truth is well illustrated in this passage from Hebrews.
I spoke about how His word penetrates the hearts of those who hear it and how it causes a response. The author of Hebrews says, the Word is alive, it is active, it is sharp, it pierces and it judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart. When it is properly studied and powerfully preached, it causes some amazing things to take place in the life and heart of those who hear it.
The next three days we spent walking the students through their text books on how to read, study and apply the powerful word of God in their life and ministries. We believe whole heartedly this is the beginnings of a dream come true.