Welcome to the forty-seventh issue of the BEST prayer news. The aim of the BEST quarterly is to keep you up-to-date with news from study partners past and present, and the BEST programme at the Crosslinks office. Download a copy of this newsletter here.
We are preparing for the first selection meeting of 2023 on 1 June, having shortlisted 29 applications to be considered for bursary support.
Here is news from some of our study partners from Kenya:
Alex Muiriri has started the second year of the MDiv in Biblical Studies course at Africa International University (AIU). He is involved in the children’s ministry in the Baptist church he attends and has three ‘one-to-one’ meetings on the theme ‘What is the gospel?’ Alex and his wife, Teresia Esther, are praying for opportunities in 2023 to witness to friends and neighbours and disciple people in their home.
Another study partner at AIU is Cephas Nganga, who has now relinquished his role as Director of Student Ministry at FOCUS Kenya, in order to study the MA Theology course full-time. He writes about this change, ‘This has been tough and has happened with mixed feelings because it appears I will not come back to the same role when I finish my studies. So, I am in prayer asking God for guidance with regard to my next assignment of ministry.’
Although still restricted physically by his injuries from a motorbike accident last year, Evans Opiyo is enjoying his first year of the BTh course at Great Lakes University of Kisumu in western Kenya. He has been involved occasionally in leading and preaching at church services. He writes, ‘[The Lord] is the God of mission and it is his work, I am just a servant. Love is paramount to the accomplishment of our divine mandate. Love of God, love of his call and love of the world that he is sending us to.’
Zablon Kihara is on the BTh course at AIU and has begun ministering in a new parish in the Diocese of Malindi. He is visiting a number of people who had stopped coming to church and is also running a mission week at the end of April.
All our study partners at Nekemte Christian Education College in Ethiopia report increasing difficulties due to economic pressures and lack of peace because of the recent war in the country. Dangia Desta, studying the BA Practical Theology course, reports he is training believers in the congregation and youth groups, visiting believers in small groups and baptising new converts. Fellow student, Fekadu Namomsa, wrote that, on returning home from teaching at a neighbouring congregation, some youths followed him and tried to attack him, ‘but they could not get me because God was with me.’
In South Africa, John Mangwiro has moved on from his internship with Hope Church Auckland Park in Johannesburg to serve at Christ Church Blairgowrie. John will continue with his BTh course that he is studying through the South African Theological Seminary.
Worshipping at Hope Church for this year is Raymond Elphace, the Tanzanian pastor who is studying the Christian Professional qualification course at Johannesburg Bible College. Pray what Raymond learns and experiences would help him to teach and train others when he returns to his church in Dar-es-Salaam.
In Europe, husband and wife, Nenad and Ilaria Jovisevic, are studying for the BTh in Biblical and Theological Studies at the Baptist Theological Seminary Novi Sad, Serbia. Ilaria wrote this month saying, ‘I was the best student for the Old Testament module and I received the highest points in the exam! My understanding of the Biblical text is now much clearer and different, I can interpret more correctly some messages from the Bible that I previously misunderstood, trying to interpret them in the way we live today.’ Nenad serves as the assistant pastor and preaches in a church in a small town in northern Serbia. Ilaria helps with the women’s ministry, and both are keen to share the gospel.
Since the beginning of the year, we have had one study partner, Elie Nimbona, who has finished his course. Elie has just completed the BTh course at Bujumbura Christian University in Burundi and will take up the role of Diocesan Youth Coordinator in the Diocese of Muyinga.
Corrections: in the last edition we reported that Zibuyile Mazibuko had been offered a bursary for the three-year online BTh course at South African Theological Seminary. Sadly, Zibuyile decided not to pursue her studies at this time. We also included Diego Rivera as among the four BTh students who had finished their studies at the Centre for Pastoral Studies in Santiago, Chile. Diego has a further year of study and will complete the course in December this year.
I hope this forty-seventh edition of the study partner news has been interesting and an encouragement to pray more informed and personal prayers for our BEST study partners and their families. You can find more details about about BEST here. It is a privilege to partner with you in supporting these international pastor-teachers and gospel workers in different corners of the world.
Ian Marden | Study Partner Coordinator