Category Archives: Missions

Teaching in South America

Lethem, GuyanaI just returned from a trip to Lethem, Guyana and the Guyana Christian University. What a blessing to visit these good people and have both students and community visitors in my classes. For those who do not know, Lethem is located in western Guyana along the border with Brazil. It is south of the almost pristine Guyanese rainforest and is situated in the grasslands or savannahs. The school has been in place for just over 12 years and has been the source of many gospel preachers now working among the Amerindian people of the country.

On this occasion, I taught a university-level class on Revelation and a class on preaching. These great students were careful to compare my teaching to God’s word. We teach them to study the scriptures and use the Scriptures as the sole authority in their teaching.

I was also privileged to speak to the church of Christ at Culvert City which shares a campus with the school. It was so good to see old friends and some new ones too.

Here, at Eastern Shore in Alabama, we support Guyana Christian Medical Missions. A team just returned in February, another arrives in July and another in September or October. We are making some improvements to the clinic to be ready for the new team that arrives in a month or so.

If you are near Daphne, Alabama next Sunday, drop by the Eastern Shore church of Christ. I’ll be making a fuller report on Sunday night at 5.


One Way – Only One Way to God

druid practitiionersSometimes people say, “There are many paths to God.” Sometimes people worship without regard to Jesus the Son of God. Jews honor Jehovah God and Muslims honor Allah through the teachings of Mohammad. Some pay homage to Buddha, some practice Hindu while others look to Shinto for their faith. Still more practice a form of witchcraft called Wicca. The common thread among all of these faiths, and more, is the rejection of the divinity of Jesus of Nazareth.

While some like Judaism and even Islam give a nod to Jesus as a teacher or rabbi, they do not acknowledge him as the Messiah.

Let me be very clear: There is no path to God and no hope of salvation to those who reject Jesus Christ. Continue reading One Way – Only One Way to God

Is There A Middle Ground Between Heaven and Hell?

This is a question  that pops up in some form from time to time. The questioner wants to know what will happen to people who have  never  heard of God, Jesus Christ, the Bible and salvation. I am going to try and offer a reasonable answer to the question.

Let me say in the opening that people who ask this question do so out of a love of others. They are horrified at the idea that a person without the Scriptures could be lost. Surely, they reason, there must be some other divine plan for those legitimately ignorant of the Gospel. They seek some hope from Scripture for these unknowing souls.

They also seek a theodicy ((“A vindication of God’s goodness and justice in the face of the existence of evil”, American Heritage Dictionary)) to explain how a loving and just God could sentence someone to eternal hell if that person didn’t even know of God. For the most part, those who ask this question are not trying to prove some point or pursue a hidden agenda but are truly interested in the souls of men. Let’s examine their novel thought closely. Continue reading Is There A Middle Ground Between Heaven and Hell?

Guyana Report, May 2010

It was another great trip to Lethem Guyana and the Guyana Christian University. I was allowed to spend almost two weeks with 10 students. We studied Biblical Interpretation for 6 hours a day. I know I was exhausted and suspect they were too. However this is a vital and often neglected topic which will help the students understand the Scriptures so that they can preach it.

Our motto this class was, “Making Preachers, Not Parrots!” The idea is that we want them to know why they teach what they teach, not just repeat something they heard somewhere else. Biblical Interpretation is a lifelong challenge but well worth the dividends.

As I write this from Miami I am awaiting my final flight to Pensacola and my wonderful family. I just met with Mike Lyle who is on his way to Lethem to teach English As A Second Language (ESL). He will return next Friday. The first will term will then be over and the students will launch into their required summer readings and evangelism. All of the students will work with the Summer campaign which will target the village of St. Cuthbert’s Village near the coast. We will let you know how they did.

Amerindian Missions in Guyana

We are pleased to add to our blogroll. Jerry Davidson of the Summerdale church of Christ is the primary missionary and coordinator of mission efforts among the Amerindian people of Guyana. Their website is maintained by Chuck Smothers, a member at Eastern Shore.

Amerindian Missions and Guyana Christian University work in total union with one another to build the church and expand  the kingdom of Christ in the Rupununi region. Keep an eye on for complete reports on the efforts there.

Guyana Christian University Classes Are Underway

Classes are underway at Guyana Christian University! 10 students, supported by individuals and congregations in the U.S. began classes August 31. 2nd-batch-group-photo-150x111

This is the second batch of students for the two year school in Lethem, Guyana. Most of the first group of ten are now transitioning into their preaching assignments in the Rupanuni region of Guyana. One is awaiting road conditions to improve after the rainy season so they can move to their new location. Another is working in his congregation as a helper and leader in the community while a third is now working with the school assisting Director Thomas George.

I was pleased to visit with the students for the past two weeks and serve as their instructor.. We covered a wide range of introductory material and taught them how to begin preparing sermons. It was important that we give them rapid, additional grounding as these men will begin preaching right away. Due to a coming change in one of the communities the students will have all preaching and teaching responsibilities there within 6 weeks.

The students are a diverse group. Some came out of the Roman Catholic church, some were from Pentecostal type faiths and one was a Hindu. I am unsure of their exact ages but I would suspect we span from about 20 to 60.

These ten men will study in residence at the Lethem school for two years. About half live in the dorms and the others live in town with their wives and family. Some are separated from their families and that is a great hardship. Nevertheless they are willing to accept the difficulties in order to preach the gospel.

These are young Christians and have a very rapid learning curve ahead. However I am confident that they are up to the challenges. I was pleased to observe that the men were already well grounded in  the basics of the faith. The next two years will deepen their love and knowledge of the word.

The entire group will join the Amerindian Missions team from  the Summerdale church of Christ in October for a campaign into new and fertile regions far in the south of the country. As of this writing we were told that we could not enter the intended village in the south at Kwal-dar. But efforts are underway now to press the village council for a reconsideration of their decision. Failing that there are many more villages which have never had the truth preached in them.

I have posted an almost day-by-day report of the first two weeks for your perusal at the Preacher’s Study Blog. Please take a look and ask any questions or make any comments.

Guyana Mission Trip – Day Twelve

The final full day has arrived. Make no mistake, I am ready to head to Alabama and my wonderful, loving family. But at the same time I am sorry to leave my new friends behind. Their work load is very heavy and the challenges formidable. Nevertheless, with God’s help they will gain souls.

Arrangements are underway for the next campaign in October. Thomas George is headed into the south this weekend to try and make arrangements for workers.

Our studies continued today by dealing first with a wide variety of questions that the students had. Some of these are directly related to our lessons but many have to do with doctrines taught by some of the denominations here. We train the students to search the Scriptures for their answers and we are more than happy to help.

We then looked at a Biblical basis for unity as outlined in Ephesians 4. There simply can be no unity apart from the Bible. When we can all stand together on it then we will have unity.

The afternoon session featured two more students giving their sermons. Kennard Moses and Glenn Browne both did an excellent job

Tonight the church assembles for a mid-week Bible study so we dismissed a few minutes early to allow for preparations.

Tomorrow we meet for about 2 hours in the morning and then it’s off to the Lethem airport for a 10:30 check-in and noon departure. We’ll see but I will be happy if we are off by 2:00.

Guyana Mission Trip – Day Eleven

After a fine evening of sleep I was told that I had to get my bags packed and onto the bus for shipment to Georgetown. It seems the normal bus for Wednesday would not be available. This would have been a significant problem as I would not have add my luggage in Georgetown to bring home with me on Friday. Fortunately our man in Georgetown, Frederick Darrell caught the change and called to let us know. So, I packed quickly and shipped my gear before class. Thanks unto God for helping us avoid that trouble.

Our class studied proper Christian worship. We use the Bible alone as our text and as our guide. We noted that there are several aspects to worship including a public, corporate worship when the church assembles together, a private worship involving only a few and the first day of the week assembly (Sunday) when we do by example things done by the early apostolic-guided church.

Attendance in worship is often not as good as it should be. We discussed ways to bring the people together and to give them a better understanding of the purpose of worship.

The various acts of worship were also detailed with some emphasis on the fellowship inherent in all parts of worship. We began an examination of praying, singing, preaching, communion and giving too.

Omadat Persaud Preaching
Omadat Persaud Preaching
Sylvan DeFreitas Preaching
Sylvan DeFreitas Preaching

In the afternoon two students offered their sermons to us. Brothers Persaud and DeFreitas
were the first to present the lessons they had been working on since last week. Both did an outstanding job. Tomorrow two other students will present their work.

Guyana Mission Trip – Day Ten

A new week begins for our ten students. We have been blessed to have some of the wives attend our classes and a young man named Hoxley Moses who will likely be in our third batch of students next year. Hoxley is a professional beekeeper and has literally traveled the world to observe and study various methods of honey production. He is especially fond of the work of beekeepers in Zambia where the bees are free ranging and produce true organic, sustainable honey. He says Zambian honey is the finest in the world.

Our studies this morning included some quick review and discussion of our previous week along with a follow-up on the date of the establishment of the church. Many hold that the church was established in 33 AD but that cannot be sustained Biblically. An error in the calendars makes 33 AD impossible. However one can Biblically support the conclusion that the church began on the first Pentecost after the  death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ.

Students had asked for some help on preparing a funeral service so we offered some pointers. We next began a discussion of death and what happens after one takes his last breath.

After the lunch break we began a discussion of how to add a section in the sermon for the application and invitation. Every sermon should call on the hearers to do something and this is the section for that purpose.

At first the students were far too broad in their applications. For example, they simply called on the hearers to obey God. We showed them that an effective application is very direct, very pointed and very personal. The rest of the day was given to polishing their work.