After 5 ½ years, 11 weeklong conferences, and nearly 500 hours of instruction in two different cities, STN celebrated its first two graduating classes on October 31st and November 7th. Words cannot express the joy we experienced watching 75 men finish the training program and graduate. Abraham Kumar & Diane Brown provided special music; Randy Leinen presented a history of STN and its ministry focus in India; graduating students gave testimony of how the training has impacted their lives and ministries; I delivered a commencement speech from 1 Timothy 6:11-16; David Nelson of Crossing Cultures International (the agency we partner with to teach the BTCP curriculum) encouraged and prayed for the men; and Diane Brown took photos as graduation certificates were given out.
Icing on the Cake!
The change in the men’s lives from the beginning of the training until now is almost unbelievable. They have grown as men of God and men of the Word. Their ability to handle Scripture accurately, defend sound doctrine, refute false doctrine, teach and preach, lead their congregations, train leaders, and make disciples has grown exponentially. And the final week of training was icing on the cake! The topics were: “Missions, Evangelism, and Discipleship.” The men got so fired up they couldn’t wait to get back to their villages to be faithful to what they learned.
These men are “doers” of the Word! One man told us that in the past 5 ½ years since the training began he has worked with a team of people to plant 12 new churches and has plans to train pastors to plant churches in hundreds of villages in India and beyond. One man has planted a number of churches in Northern India and has worked with others to plant 7 churches in Nepal. Two brothers started teaching the BTCP materials to 35 people in their city and are now halfway through the 10 books. One man is ready to leave his current position as director of a school to devote himself fulltime to training pastors all over Northern India. One of the men who translated for me while preaching in a church worship service said he now feels called to leave his position teaching in a college to serve God in fulltime vocational ministry. Several of the men pleaded with us to come to their region and help them train hundreds of pastors who have never had this kind of teaching.
And the wives of the pastors have grown as well! Susan Leinen, Flory Kumar, Diane Brown, Tammy Werth and Mindy Nelson all shared in teaching the women at each conference. We have observed dramatic change in their personal lives, their marriages, and their ministries since the training began. These women have become true partners in ministry with their husbands and will be used of God to disciple other women on into the future.
Special THANK YOU to those who taught in one or more of the 11 conferences (Dr. Keith Essex of The Master’s Seminary, Mike Amoroso, Jeff Forbes, Dr. David Nelson, Pastor Casey Danley, Sean Ransom, Ryder Kumar, and Randy Leinen). Special THANK YOU to all who prayed and gave sacrificially. The investment was so worth it and the abundant fruit in the coming years will bring much glory to our great God and Savior.
Preparation for Future Ministry
Please be in prayer for Ryder & Flory Kumar as they prepare to move back to India to head up the ministry of STN India. They will work with the STN India Board to provide on-going training & accountability for the men who have graduated, equip those men to train others, offer training for new pastors and church planters, oversee church planting efforts, handle administrative responsibilities, identify men to be supported as new church planters, network with other likeminded Christian organizations, etc. They need to raise about $3,000 per month in additional support to cover their personal and ministry expenses in India. We are hoping that can be accomplished so they can move sometime in the spring or early summer of 2015. If you would like to be a part of their prayer and financial support team please let us know.
Pray for Pastor Eddie Bueno. Eddie is the Senior Pastor of the Hispanic Ministry at our church and went with us to observe the training. He is now seeking the Lord to see if he should do something similar in Central and South America.
Pray for God’s direction and provision in the coming days as we seek to fulfill the Great Commission (Mt. 28:18-20) for His glory. Many of these men need financial support so they can give their attention to fulltime ministry. For as little as $60 to $100 per month these men can be fully supported. Pray that many more churches and individuals will support these men to reach the unreached villages of India and Nepal. If you know of a church that might be interested in hearing more about what STN is doing and how they can partner with us please let us know.
To God be the glory great things He has done, is doing, and will do!