2023 May Newsletter
A PERSONAL FIELD VISIT TO SRL
I recently spent ten days in SRL Medellin, the center of operations for all Latin America. As the new Development Director, my purpose was to fully familiarize myself with SRL operations in the field. I met with each staff member in Medellin personally, as well as virtually with SRL site coordinators throughout Latin America. Most importantly, I lived life with the thirty seminarians and took part in all daily activities. The efficiency in managing the seminary and the serious way in which the students fulfilled their responsibilities deeply impacted me. While there, the various directors provided me with current enrollment data. VIRTUAL SRL reached 428 students registered from around the Americas. Students registered in all the sites (SEDES) is 338, with each class attracting many interested observers. Additionally, the new online EDUCA program, offering self-paced courses for spiritual and biblical growth, has reached over 200 students. With this verified demand for students seeking to learn the Doctrines of Grace, I can with confidence plead for support to sustain this jewel that God has created in Medellin for the Reformation to shine throughout Latin America.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF THE SRL SEMINARY
The day starts at about 6:00 a.m. as seminarians scatter about to enter their personal devotions and prayers. Some are in their dorm rooms, others in the patio or at the dining table. All are seeking a morning talk with our Lord. An unheard call instinctively shifts the students to the main classroom for the communal devotions and hymns that start at 7:00 a.m. sharp. This morning, Lazaro is assigned to take command of the podium. Roll call proceeds and some local friends of the seminary join in too. Lazaro, a Chilean student, launches into the expositive homily, detailing how sound doctrine protects our joy. The practice is to receive a loving but firm critique from the seminarians and a faculty member to edify and refine oratory skills, a must for Lazaro as he seeks to serve in a Chilean Reformed church upon graduating the seminary.
A bell clangs—the seminarians smell the aroma of breakfast and descend upon the dining area. As the meal comes to an end, dishes are whisked away to be washed by the student dishwashing team. Conversations turn to the day’s upcoming classes. Students dart to their morning class with visiting Professor Bearss delving into the Introduction to the New Testament. His undergraduate students prepared the week prior with extensive readings, essay assignments, and tutoring from the on-campus facilitating instructor. In another classroom, the graduate students receive instruction in New Testament Greek from Professor Cardenas. Students engage in instruction until 4:00 p.m., with an intermission for lunch and recreation.
At the end of classes, work shifts from studies to taking care of the seminary and its residence areas. Students break into their work teams to tackle assigned duties: sweeping, mopping, kitchen patrol, cleaning windows, scrubbing bathrooms—whatever it takes to maintain order and cleanliness in a busy 24-hour seminary.
The week continues in such a scheduled rhythm, punctuated by individual sessions with the seminary chaplain, spontaneous small group prayers, hymn practice, and many hours in and around the library researching assignments. On Wednesday evenings, however, the seminary is for once empty. Students intern in various capacities at Reformed churches throughout the city. Curfew to return to the seminary is slightly extended on Wednesday nights. But come beyond curfew, the door to enter does not open automatically, and the late entry is addressed between the student and the seminary director.
Evenings and weekends are dedicated to completing assignments, especially in preparing for “table talk” as the follow-up to the visiting professor’s class. Each student formally presents their assigned table talk topic based on the class and is then extensively questioned by classmates and instructors to defend what is presented and to showcase the knowledge gained. Students are graded on their content, defense, and delivery skills. After presentations, students receive additional one-on-one conferences with the facilitating instructor regarding their presentation and any concerns about the course content. Instruction centers around preparing students to skillfully and passionately communicate the Gospel as future ministers and laymen in their hometowns or wherever God calls them.
Instruction is vigorous and students devote their hours of study to being solidly equipped in the Doctrines of Grace. Living in the seminary, each individual—student and staff—is grafted into a wonderful, Christ-honoring body of hard-working soldiers of the Gospel who genuinely care for one another. The student body spans the spectrum of different backgrounds and levels of education, with seminarians coming from as far as Spain to the high reaches of the Bolivian Andes. They overcome any socio-cultural barriers to develop lifelong bonds as brothers in Christ.
SRL eagerly invites ministry supporters to visit and even, when possible, stay at the seminary to witness the equipping of these future workers in Christ who will be spreading the Gospel of Grace throughout the Americas. And if Medellin is not in your immediate travel plans, let the students touch you in spirit through their prayer ministry. If you would like these seminarians to pray for you, please send prayer requests to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your name will be kept anonymous, and the prayer requests will be provided to the seminary chaplain and specifically prayed for by the students.
I am thankful to God for allowing me to labor for Him as I work for SRL, and I value this opportunity to share my experience in the mission field. Now I can ask you with confidence: Would you consider becoming an SRL partner by contributing monthly to this unique and essential ministry? Please also share SRL’s impact and needs with others. I believe that God is well pleased with the magnificent fruits, all from Him and through Him and for His glory. “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Cor. 9:7 (KJV)
Sincerely in Christ,
Mr. William Elshoff
SRL Development Director
OPEN INVITATION TO VISIT BEAUTIFUL MEDELLIN – SRL CONFERENCE JUNE 22 -24, 2023
The title of this annual conference is Dios Es:Knowing God. This particular event on Theology Proper, the attributes of God, will be presented in English and Spanish through simultaneous earphone translation. Many distinguished well-known theologians are participating. The cost is $100.00 for registration only. You can visit this link to register:https://bit.ly/srlcon2023. First class hotels in the elegant area of El Poblado in Medellin are beautiful and inexpensive. Bilingual assistance will be provided to English speaking visitors. You may also contact me, Bill Elshoff, at email@example.com or Rebecca Cook at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SAVE THE DATE! SRL BANQUET IN ORLANDO – OCTOBER 12, 2023, AT 6:30 P.M.
Join SRL for its 24th Annual Banquet at the Marriott Hotel, 1501 International Parkway, Lake Mary, FL 32746. This year’s program will provide exciting ministry updates and a fun evening of fellowship. To attend, a donation of $50.00 can be made to attend per person or $400.00 to sponsor a table for eight.
OUR GRATITUDE TO THESE PROFESSORS WHO TAUGHT AT SRL IN APRIL AND NOW IN MAY