We praise God for the prayers, computer donations and financial support that permitted David Musa and Dick & Cathy Gurley to teach at the Gambian Servants of the Word pastor’s summer school. On September 7th, 2018, twenty five students graduated from a three year pastor’s study at the Servants of the Word Bible College. These students represented sixteen different churches, were from five West African nations and were members of several different African Tribes. Their ministry roles were predominately church planters and pastor/teachers. These energetic and hardworking leaders are and will continue to play a significant role in turning this predominately Muslim area to Christ.
The pastor’s summer school program courses were Bible hermeneutics, Christian leadership, God’s grace, and Bible study tools. These courses were designed to assist the students to be more effective and true to God’s word in their current ministries. More importantly, by working together during class time the students worked out their own faith in a conservative and reformed theological framework. We saw great individual growth in each of the students.
Next year, Servants of the Word will be transitioning from their current facility in the city to a more rural area of the Gambia. The purpose of this move is to have a residential campus where students and faculty can study, work and live together. Construction on the new campus is progressing. During the last year, the Servants of the Word procured approximately ten acres to be developed for farm, nature and recreational uses. Farming skills are required by the students to make a living as they spread God’s word and plant new churches.
The goal is to have the 2019 summer school in the new campus prior to the start of the new school year. This session of the summer school will permit the Servants of the Word staff to work out any issues without a full load of students on campus. In addition, we desire to raise funds to build a library on the campus concurrently with the summer school session. The courses next year are planned to be centered on farming and animal husbandry in addition to Bible study.
We continued to maintain, refresh and upgrade the computer laboratory at the school. The computers were used to train the pastors in computer use, complete assignments, and to conduct Biblical research. Many of the students had never used a computer prior to the start of the three year program. Now, they are much more proficient and complete their assignments without assistance. This has now become the primary vehicle for communication when we are not present at the school.
During the three years, the students grew close together as one family. It was a pleasure for us to be a part of that family. We have mentored the students as they have been married, had children and grown in their ministries. The hardest thing about the graduation was that we recognized that we would not be in close contact with any of the students again. We praise God for their lives and their ministries.