MARVELOUS NEWS FROM VISITING PROFESSORS IN THE FIELD!
Besides rejoicing in SRL’s most successful Annual Reformation Convention, which was held virtually and reached millions, we thank God for more than 25 teachers who traveled across the USA and Latin America these past few months to personally teach and interact with thousands of students and individuals at different SRL sites. In your daily devotionals, we request that you prayerfully consider these gracious teachers and the students that they instructed.
Dr. Del Belcher and his wife, Nancy, spent four weeks teaching in Cartagena and Bucaramanga, in Santiago, Chile, and in Sunchales, Argentina. Mrs. Belcher conducted ladies’ conferences. Dr. Belcher wrote:
“We were blessed by their warm reception and generous hospitality. The Holy Spirit in these churches and SRL sites is working amazing wonders of God's grace. Many twenty and thirty-year-olds are deeply committed to Christ and active in the churches. There is a great appreciation for SRL’s fantastic teaching ministry. Churches representing Reformed/Biblical doctrine are growing. We were informed that they are involved in planting new churches that need educated and trained pastors. To see firsthand what God is doing through SRL in Latin America is a greater blessing to us than we can express. Our hearts are taken by God's love and work there.”
Dr. Belcher is a BoT member, Director of the Doctoral Program, and the SRL Chaplain.
Dr. Don Galardi and his wife, Diedre, spent several weeks teaching in different cities in Colombia. Mrs. Galardi taught women’s Bible studies. Dr. Galardi wrote:
“I was reminded of how much work there is to do. Growing protestant congregations are mostly first-generation believers who never had the benefit of examples in home or in the church. Consequently, everything is new including how marriages are supposed to function, how to do spiritual instruction in the home, how elders must govern the church as shepherds, and how to protect the next generation from ungodly influences like pornography and obsessive preoccupation with social media platforms. Besides teaching the scheduled courses for SRL, I have branched out into further helps for young churches, including conferences on sexual purity and marriage and family. Now, I am also training elders at the local church level in person and through Zoom at a distance. It is exhausting work, but very gratifying to help look after Christ's sheep.”
Pastor David Theobald taught in SRL Guadalajara, Mexico. He wrote:
“It was a privilege to teach in SRL Mexico. I discovered a group of committed students and a warm and wonderful Reformed host church. They were so eager to learn that members of the congregation joined us every night and during the weekend for the teaching. The fellowship of the saints was as sweet as it has been in all of the SRL sites that I have been blessed to visit over the years. The need for godly, equipped men to pastor local congregations is great and I am thrilled to play a small part in SRL’s efforts to raise up these harvest workers. In addition, I remain very thankful for my own congregation (Grace Baptist Church, Dansville, NY) which shares this vision and makes these teaching trips possible.”
The church in Guadalajara was planted by a Bolivian graduate of SRL, Pastor Jeremias Gonzalez, who was sent as a missionary from Medellín.
Dr. Joseph Fitzpatrick, after traveling to Chile, Argentina, and Cartagena teaching for SRL, has announced a full 2023 schedule to teach in different countries, including a Biblical Geography course in Israel from September 5 to 14, 2023. Some supporters have sponsored pastors to take this course. Sponsors have also expressed desire to take this engaging course in the Holy Land. Dr. Fitzpatrick lived in Israel for ten years.
Dr. Julio Benitez traveled to Chocó in the Darien Jungle region near Panamá, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of one of the first faithful Reformed churches that, with the help of SRL, was planted by Dr. Sergio Ruiz.
Pastor Alejandro Castiblanco taught in Bogotá and Venezuela and is returning this December.
Pastor Javier Dominguez was the main speaker at the celebration of the Reformation Day in Honduras.
Pastor Jack Jenkins taught and recorded a Biblical Counseling course in Medellín and is now traveling to Costa Rica where he will teach the same course, beginning on December 2, 2022.
Dr. Marty Schriefer, Chairman of the SRL Board of Trustees, will travel to Medellín on December 2nd, where he will be the keynote speaker at the 2022 graduation ceremony.
Pastor Robert Lester traveled to Jinotega, Nicaragua, during this November to teach Pneumatology for two weeks.
Dr. Ted Lester taught Covenant Theology in Medellín and Cochabamba, Bolivia.
Pastor John Sandoval taught Introduction to Theology in Armenia and Ecclesiology in Cartagena.
Dr. Alexander Mercado taught Contemporary Theology in Medellín and Houston, TX.
Dr. Paul Bankson, SRL Board Vice-Chairman, taught Christology in Medellín.
Dr. Chris Stevens taught History of the Ancient Church in Medellín.
Dr. Jeff Gwinn, a pastor who reformed his church without losing members, teaches related courses with SRL. This past month, Dr. Gwinn taught Theology Proper in the ever-increasing successful campus in Houston, TX.
Dr. James Bearss, after returning from a hard journey to Haiti where he taught for four weeks, traveled to Medellín where he is teaching and recording two courses: Introduction to the New Testament and the Book of Ephesians.
We are grateful to God for Pastor Isaias Martinez, who organized the celebration of Reformation Day in Mexico City, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. God opened a huge door in Central America.
Dr. Noé Acosta and Mimi visited Nicaragua for the first time to plan for the opening of SRL in three cities: Managua, Masaya, and Jinotega. Dr. Acosta wrote:
“During our two-week journey, Mimi taught the Book of Ruth to over 300 ladies in three cities, emphasizing the gospel, expository teaching in women’s Bible studies, and the doctrines of grace. I taught seminars about the doctrines of grace, Presbyterian ecclesiology, the gospel presentation to Roman Catholics, gave interviews on the radio, preached several times, and taught the entire Book of Romans to 65 persons who, along with the students, attended until 9:00 PM for an entire week. I had the privilege to participate in the Reformation Convention at the Intercontinental Hotel in Managua together with Dr. Paul Kim who came from Los Angeles, Dr. Richard Smith who came from Buenos Aires, Pr. Josias Kim from Korea, Pr. Isaias Martinez from El Salvador, and Pr. Don Hong Lee from Korea. There were many pastors among the audience which filled the conference room to capacity.”
The Reformed Korean missionaries who arrived in Nicaragua over 10 years ago constructed church buildings and hired pastors to teach in those buildings. Those pastors claimed to be Reformed, but after a few years, the missionaries discovered that they are not. They call themselves Presbyterian, but they do not know the doctrines of grace, the Westminster Confession, nor the catechisms nor church government. In one group alone, there are 18 churches and pastors, plus over 20 in other groups. The Korean missionaries asked SRL if we will train those pastors. Besides the church buildings, there is a seminary building with a capacity to house 50 students. That building seems to be available to SRL.
In any event, SRL is already scheduling courses in the region for the entire 2023 year. Managua building video: https://bit.ly/managua2022
It was a difficult trip under government scrutiny and long hours of teaching, meetings, and traveling within the country, but God’s blessings and protection were evident every day. We even survived the company of a poisonous scorpion on our bed. “And you son of man, do not be afraid of their words, though briars and thorns are with you and you dwell among scorpions.” (Ez. 2:6a) As we returned home, for the first time in 24 years, we were welcomed with flowers by some supporters, plus we were graciously surprised with two needed contribution checks: one for $50,000.00 and another for $5,000.00.
Pastor Josias Kim, a missionary in Nicaragua, wrote:
“Dr. Acosta’s visit to Nicaragua brought much grace, consolation and encouragement to me. I have been here for 10 years fighting for the truth of the gospel, but I found myself lonely and working hard amongst many difficulties. But with his encouragement, God showed me “7,000” Nicaraguans who had not bent their knee to Baal. Dr. Noé was like a loving pastor in Korea who taught me the Bible. Mimi was not only a great teacher, but she was like a dear mother who provided me with needed encouragement. I am now more motivated to continue to work for the gospel. The conferences and the intense teaching woke up many sleeping and slipping churches. I am praying that SRL will be well established here in Nicaragua to properly educate many pastors and seminarians.”
Dr. Richard Smith participated at the Managua Convention and taught a Biblical Worldview course in SRL Jinotega. He also taught several sessions with Q&A with various gatherings, including at a local university. On the return car ride after his presentation with Pentecostal pastors, he encountered a group of modalists who do not believe in the Holy Trinity. Modalists believe that there is only one God who sometimes shows himself as Father or as Son or as Holy Spirit. An SRL student from Nicaragua wrote:
“Dr. Smith generated in me a profound curiosity when I observed how he intentionally focused on the use of the mind to understand who God is and how He reveals himself in His Word.”
While many professors visited sites, the SRL Virtual Program also reached hundreds of students. Directed by Prof. Cristian Cardenas, this program continues to experience increasing enrollment, especially after the XII SRL Annual Reformation Convention this October.