As I walk down the high hill behind the Eleuthera Bible Training Institute where my apartment is located, I look with amazement at the glorious sunset and think about my students waiting in the classroom for our class to begin.
I am always amazed by the students that I encounter teaching with Caribbean Ministries Association. To date I have taught here on Eleuthera, in Freeport and on Spanish Wells an island just north of Eleuthers. Since this class is just one of 10 in the 2 year curriculum it is easy to see that these students are serious about leaning in order to be better equipped for ministry. I must say, however, that the students from Eleuthera hold a special place in my
heart. In many poorer communities pastors and church workers tend to be bi-vocational, they hold down a “day job” and also serve the church. That is certainly true of the folk in my class. In getting to know them I found out a few of them are teachers, one owns a local restaurant (see last blog entry about The Front Porch), one takes in laundry, several of the men are in construction and there is a wide variety of job among the other students. One of my students, Edouard, is originally from Martinique, an island in the French Antilles, and came to Eleuthera over 20 years ago to work at the Club Med here. In 1999 hurricane Floyd devastated Eleuthara and destroyed most of Club Med which never reopened. Edvard has since then been working in the refrigeration and air conditioning. His native language is French and seems to still struggle a bit with English but is still here every night
I find myself amazed that these folks work all day and then come out for these classes for 3 hours each night. They are real students, not just going through the motions, not just doing these classes so they can get a certificate from Eleuthera Bible Training Center. And why are they taking the class? They are involved with and committed to ministry on the island of Eleuthera and they want to be better equipped for that calling in their lives.
As I have mentioned before that the class in Church History is just one of 10 classes that are part of this certificate program at EBTC. It is the next to the last class to be offered and I sometimes tell my classes that it is next to the last because Caribbean Ministries Association is afraid that if it was the first or second class no one would come back after this class. After all classes in Bible and preaching and teaching and the spiritual life are clearly seen as having application to the Christian ministry but Church History? I certainly think it is important and the folks at CMA think it is important and it us usually exciting to see how after the first two classes most students begin to see the importance of studying Church History.
Last night I finish the first week of classes and look forward to having some time this weekend to prepare more fully for next week, spend some personal time in the Word and prayer and to visit Spanish Wells to worship with many of the folk who were in the class there.