Reports from the Field

Ukraine

image145

Professor Kirk Swanson, 11/4/17


I want to thank you for your prayers and for the funds you gave toward my recent mission trip to Ukraine. I know there were many needs after the hurricanes and appreciate your generosity. Those who gave elsewhere but prayed, thanks for praying. These trips always have the oh-ohs and also the unexpected blessings. 

I left the evening of October 4th on an all-night flight to Amsterdam and then Kiev. In Amsterdam I had time for a cup of coffee (Starbucks of course), where I met a Canadian Teacher who taught at a private school. He was a biology teacher but also planned and accompanied the students on yearly field trips to overseas locations and was rejoining a group in South Africa. The school was church based, but any or no religion was acceptable. He said he had no religious beliefs. He asked about my trip and was surprised that I was teaching from the Bible (2 Peter) in Kiev. I asked him about his classes and some honest questions I had about evolution from a DNA- mutation perspective (my BS is in Physics/Oceanography and have always wondered about this area). He said quite frankly, he’d never bothered to consider those aspects of biology and had no answers for me. It might not sound like it, but it was a very friendly and engaging conversation that went on for nearly an hour. He was initially skeptical of a creation view-point but in the end said it had some valid points, that biology didn’t have answers for. He also admitted after our discussion that he should examine the life of Jesus.

It was 85 degrees when I left Atlanta and in the 40s and 50s in Ukraine. Cool, especially in the mornings since there is no heat or hot water until mid-October in the large apartment complexes built in the Soviet era. We were fortunate and had a small water heater over the refrigerator. You could shower if you only used water to lather and rinse or you could do the dishes. 

I taught one combined class to all 29 students in the afternoons. As we had to travel 45-55 minutes to the Seminary, I prepped in the am. The class went well; I have always appreciated the depth of Peter’s two Epistles. Passing on Peter’s understanding of the churches’ need for defending her precious faith and doctrines was a delight. The students had to produce a sermon outline (men) or Bible study (ladies) of 3 points. Their focus had to be found in a text from 2 Peter or Jude (we never got to Jude in the class discussion but we allowed its use). They had 20 minutes to present an oral introduction to their sermon or Bible study and the first point with its supporting arguments. The presentations took most of the afternoons of our second week. I would teach one hour then 3 hours of presentations. Dr. Lees sat in on the presentations and remarked that they were the finest he had heard from the students. They were pleased to be recognized. 

If you noticed, there are 4 fewer students from my trip in June. The 4 had to drop out of Seminary to find full time work. They could not find enough part time work to add to the stipend we give them to continue their studies. They were all good students, including one couple. They are finding work in Poland! It bothered me a great deal at first. They were so near graduating this spring but have to leave before finishing. But as I considered this further, I realized they were going to be taking the Gospel to Poland, where I may never visit or teach. They are well prepared for their new lives in Poland. I got a picture yesterday of two of the men meeting in Poland for fellowship!

Our translators were fantastic as always. Natasha, our lead translator, Registrar, driver, event planner, purser and guide is a Pearl of great price. So when we heard her apartment had no hot water, Dr. Lees and I purchased one for her apartment, $400 installed. All our staff are refugees from Donetsk where the Russians took over. Her family has lived in an apartment with no hot water since 2014. That meant heating water on the stove from April to October.

Finally, the trip home. We had to get up at 3am to catch our flights at 6. My flights went through Amsterdam, my favorite airport in Europe. The best airport omelet period is found at the Dutch Kitchen. On the flight home I sat next to two young ladies and their mother, returning from a mission trip to Kenya. Their church visits an orphanage there every summer. One of the places they get orphans is a remote lake island where HIV is prevalent. They were told by the Kenyan who runs the orphanage this is the last year he is taking women to the island as ISIS has moved on to the island and is gaining a foothold there. He believes by next year it will be too dangerous for Kenyan or foreign women to visit. There is much need for Jesus’ Gospel throughout the world.

Thank you for your prayers and support. This was my second trip this year, I was not thinking of going. Yet the need is great. In Matthew chapter 9 Jesus said, “36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” As I pray that prayer, it’s hard not to respond and go when the task is laid before me.

India

image146

 Dr. Jim Carmichael, 2/2/18


This was my second teaching trip to India in six months. I have met some incredible Gospelers reaching India for Jesus in that short time. The Church is growing by leaps and bounds. The pastors are taking the lessons we share with them and immediately instructing their churches and Bible study groups on what they have learned. Hundreds of churches have been planted in a very few years in the process of on-going training.

Traveling in India is a challenge. Delhi has two major airports located just far enough apart that you must take a cab or bus from one terminal to the other. Farmers in surrounding states where Delhi, Vishayawada, and Patna are located had been burning their crops so the air over much of India reminded me of California in the 1970's. God was most gracious and we were able to weather the air quality. Our flights were for the most part, on time. 

Vishayawada. I co-taught the Book of Romans with a partner ministry. It was good to spend time with the other professor and hear what God is doing in India and of His future plans. This was the other professor's tenth time to teach Romans, so his mastery of that book is inspiring. We taught a total of four days, concluding with chapter 11. There were about 100 + pastors in attendance, with thirty or forty other participants. Our teaching was enthusiastically received and appreciated. 

India is a uniquely diverse society. Driving through a Hindu led nation can be disturbing. Hindu shrines and temples are located all over the cities. In Vishayawada, each afternoon the Muslim call to prayer was broadcast publicly. Hindus have their own call to pray.

Patna is a somewhat smaller version of Vishayawada, but dirtier. Driving requires nerves that have been deadened by years of near fatal collisions. Yet, the Lord protected us each time we left the hotel. The people are quite friendly. Each cow or pack of dogs has its own trash pile it claims. It is nothing to see cows strolling down the streets, unattended by anyone. It pays to be sacred in India. Our hotel was situated on the floors above the largest mall in Patna. I ate a lot of Domino’s Pizza.

I co-taught this two and a half day Biblical Theology conference with Rev. Shane Floyd. Shane did a great job and it was enjoyable to spend those days with him. There were a few more women than men in attendance, and some smaller children who were rushed out of the room at the slightest signs of tears. Our classroom was located on a large, well-kept Catholic Church/Monastery grounds. 

I was asked to return in September to teach another class or two. Thank you for your prayers and financial support to make such trips possible. 

Haiti

image147

Professor Chuck Lokey, 12/16/17


Just returned from a short trip to La Plaine, Haiti (Port-au-Prince suburb), where I had the privilege to represent the PCA’s Northwest Georgia Presbytery in assisting to establish the first presbytery in Haiti. Had great fellowship with many leaders throughout Haiti, including Rev. Jean Paul, Director of Souls Winning Ministries and Reformation D'Espoir, and Senior Pastor,   

Église Presbyterienne, La Plaine, Haiti, and Rev. Martin Hawley, Executive Director, Reformation Hope International. I also met with Garry Chambers, Director of MTW Caribbean, to discuss other Caribbean nations where TMI’s professors could be used to build up the Body of Christ. 


Dr. Jim Carmichael, May 2018


Dr. Carmichael taught the congregation of a new church plant, led by Pastor Jean-Baptiste Alex, in Cap Haitien, covering the Solas and TULIP (Five Points of Calvinism), greatly encouraging and building up the body of Christ.


Dr. Louis Ferreira, 

January-February 2019


Dr. Ferreira was scheduled to teach early church history, but continuing violence and political upheaval forced the trip to be placed on hold until after the first of the year. He is now currently teaching in Haiti.


Professor Chuck Lokey, 

2018-19


Chuck is working with John Broomall of  WPCG/Grace Radio 102.9 to obtain equipment to set up 3 radio stations in Haiti so that the country can be blanketed with Christian radio.

Bulgaria

image148

Professor Kirk Swanson, 

June 2018


Partnering with PEF, Prof. Swanson taught 2nd Peter to a number of Bulgarian pastors, who are working on completing their theology degree. TMI is now supporting a church plant in Ruse, near the Romanian border.


Professor Chuck Lokey,

Fall 2019


Visioning trip tentatively scheduled to review church plant and discuss strategy for how to engage the church in Bulgaria.

Grenada

image149

Dr. Jim Carmichael, June 2018


Working with John Lewis and partnering with MTW, Dr. Carmichael taught Jude, Philemon and 1 Peter to a number of  pastors enrolled in a certificate program.


Pastor Robie Hembree, 

October 2018


Pastor Robie taught on biblical marriage and roles of men and women in the church to a number of pastors and their wives. Pastor Robie's wife, Talena, led a breakout session with the women during discussion.


Professor Chuck Lokey, 

February 2019


Trip planned for February 2019 to meet with seminary officials, MTW, to determine how best to work with the team in Grenada.

Greece

image150

Pastor Martin Hawley, 

June 2020


Trip planned for June '20 in Athens, subject TBD.