February 21 2019
In fulfilling our formative mission of persons to serve God, the church, and society, the Biblical Seminary of Colombia is committed to impart theological education that is firmly rooted in the Scriptures and deeply engaged with our context. As such, we are challenged to develop academic initiatives that explore biblical answers to the socio-political realities of Colombia.
Some of the realities of the socio-political scene in Colombia are:
- •a peace agreement signed in 2017 between the Colombian government and the oldest and largest guerrilla group, after more than six decades of civil war.
- •the polarization between different approaches to the implementation of this peace agreement and peace conversations with other groups.
- •corruption as a rampant phenomenon that permeates all spheres of society, including religious organizations.
- •implementation of legislation to guarantee religious freedom in the country, alongside the pluralistic character of our society.
As an expression of our rootedness and engagement, our strategic plan has three core themes: peacemaking, integrity vs corruption, and faith in a pluralistic context. With this in mind, new initiatives have been put in action:
1. Integral missiology and the human flourishing of internally displaced persons in Colombia (research project).
The civil war and the violence related to drug traffic has resulted in more than six million people forcibly displaced in Colombia in the last two decades. This project focuses on the humanitarian crisis of internal displacement in Colombia. The big question that orients the project is: how might a renewed theology of integral missiology, enriched by empirical social-scientific analysis, mobilize local Protestant churches to foment the holistic (spiritual, social, psychological, and economic) human flourishing of Colombian displaced persons?
2. Living our vocation as peacemakers (diploma course)
This modular course responds to requests of pastors and denominations to help them understand and carry out the church’s call to peacemaking in the historical moment of Colombia. Designed in cooperation with three other institutions, as a witness of joint service, this course has been offered to churches in areas deeply affected by violence.
3. Seminars, academic discussions
To address the scourge of corruption, a seminar entitled Voices Against Corruption has been offered in different cities of the country. Challenges that the peace agreement poses for the church have been addressed in class and in open discussions for the seminary community.
4. The Biblical Seminary of Colombia, at the invitation of the national government, participated in conversations between the government and the religious sector leading to the formulation of a national policy of religious freedom, approved in March of 2019. As part of the implementation of this policy, BSC is the only theological school member of this national religious sector think tank.
5. Our commitment to sound biblical teaching and preaching is expressed in our participation in a national project of formation of Bible expositors and in our diploma course on Christian Education. Thus, we help nurture the faith of the church in our pluralistic context.
In 2019, we celebrate 75 years of God’s faithfulness expressed in sustaining and using BSC. Join us in gratitude, and pray that we continue to be rooted and engaged.
By Elizabeth Sendek, President, Biblical Seminary of Colombia
February 5 2019
Beloved pastor and friend,
I wanted to write to tell you about the beginning of the adventure at Colombia Biblical Seminary.
It is hard to believe that God can use me. I have felt that I am not capable or worthy, but the devotionals we heard during orientation reminded me of some things:
- God called me and he is not going to change his mind now.
- I am a disciple who will not stop learning from the Master; my main call is to have an intimate relationship with the Lord.
- The fact of being called does not guarantee that it ends well, so I must be more careful of what I do.
- The key word of both devotionals was called, and that has encouraged and motivated me to continue believing that God brought us here to fulfill his purpose in our lives and in that of the church.
They have a student welfare program that is very focused on giving us holistic formation. There are sports, health, recreation, and cultural activities. It’s good to know that we will have a life apart from academics. I was surprised to learn that the seminary not only trains in theological aspects, but it also forms in us the social, physical, mental, and relational aspect.
They want us to be good at what we do AND who we are! We must learn to read in English (another surprise), volunteer a certain number of hours of service per semester, participate in research projects with professors, make the library "our second home," devote about five hours per day to study outside the classroom, do ministerial practice in a church, and take extreme care not to commit plagiarism or cheat on exams or assignments, which is great, but I fear messing up accidentally. Bottom line, the level of excellence that they expect is greater than I anticipated.
I must confess that I like it but am afraid. I am not afraid of the challenges, after all, we wanted to be trained as well as possible, to get out of our “comfort zone” and into the “growth zone,” but a few things have me worried. For example, I do not read well in English, I don’t know how to type, and I am not great with time management. So much goes through the mind; I really hope to live up to what God wants and what the church expects from us. I feel like a first-time father, scared but happy!
I am grateful to God, to the church, and to you. To God, it is a joy to know that I am called by him and to know he will sustain and keep us. To the church, it is a privilege and a great responsibility to be the first missionaries sent and supported by her. To you, my pastor, thank you for believing in us, supporting us amid our own doubts, and expressing love and care as no other pastor has done for me before. You are a friend and example to follow. Without your support and vision, we could not be here today. Thank you so much. I cannot adequately express my deep gratitude and love for you, your family, and the church.
December 11 2018
Eleven years ago, Ofrane Saintil and his wife, Gerumene, lived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Saintil worked as a delivery driver. On one trip from Port-au-Prince to Cap-Haitien, he was in a bad accident, leaving him with a broken arm, leg, and teeth. Gerumene’s aunt attended the OMS-related Grace en Sion Church in Cap-Haitien, and she had the church pray for Saintil.
He accepted Christ at that moment because he realized God had saved his life.
Saintil and Gerumene moved to Cap-Haitien because they believed that was where God wanted them.
Gerumene says living in Haiti is difficult. Even working full time and earning a salary, they don’t have any extra money after they provide food for their family and meet basic needs. There is definitely not enough to pay for school tuition and purchase books for their children.
In 2011, Grace en Sion School became a partner school of One Mission Society’s Starfish Kids program. In 2013, Saintil and Gerumene’s oldest child started attending Grace en Sion School. They have four children: Jonas, Watcherline, Louvens, and Emmauella. Watcherline and Louvens are now sponsored through Starfish Kids.
They are so thankful for the sponsorship because it provides tuition, school supplies, and books for their children to receive a quality Christian education.
In 2015, Grace en Sion hired Saintil as the security guard for the church and school because he had proven to be trustworthy and hard working.
Gerumene says the Starfish Kids program is so important to Haitian families who have difficulties making ends meet. Parents respect the Starfish Kids schools because they know these schools are reputable.
One of their favorite aspects of the school besides the sponsorships and Bible teaching is that Grace en Sion starts teaching children English and Spanish in kindergarten. Knowing multiple languages will help open doors for them in the future. Most schools charge extra money for these courses, but at Grace en Sion, they are part of the curriculum.
God’s grace and provision is evident in countless ways through Saintil’s story and dozens of others sponsored through Starfish Kids. Please consider a gift of $300 to cover one child’s tuition for one year.
October 10 2018
Slava Pleskach (pictured far right), a scholarship recipient at the Moscow Evangelical Christian Seminary, accepted Jesus in 1990. By 1995 he had become a missionary church planter to Siberia. In 2004, Slava planted Victory of Christ Church in Yaroslavl, Russia, and most recently, he planted a church in a neighboring country, predominantly with a Muslim population.
But Slava felt he lacked training. So, in 2016, he entered the master of divinity program at the Moscow Seminary. Slava believes family is the nucleus of and vehicle for church growth. He is married to Maria, and together, they have four children. Therefore, his classes on pre-marital counseling, marriage & family, and conflict resolution have been extremely useful for him.
“Sometimes, hard things happen in ministry.” says Slava, “One year, I took a group of churched and unchurched families to a summer camp. The police came, scattered us all around, and shut the camp down. I later took a class at the seminary on church and state. I learned a lot and we have been able to have the camp every year since, with no problems whatsoever! Studying at the seminary truly helps ministry,” concludes Slava.
Slava praises the Lord and thanks you for making studies at the seminary possible for him. He, along with the other 364 students at the seminary, only pays 10 percent of the actual cost, all they can afford. The rest of the tuition is covered by generous donations.
Would you like to help student-ministers like Slava study for ministry effectiveness? You can donate here.
August 29 2017
we were at Tokyo Biblical Seminary (TBS), we sat across the table from a young
man who beamed with the fullness of the Spirit. We, of course, were eager to learn
his story. His name is Yoshikazu Kasahara, but we call him Yoshi san. Here is
san lived in an area of Japan devastated by the earthquake and tsunami of 2011.
As he sat on the ruins of his house, a few Christians from one of the Japanese
Holiness Churches (JHC) served him water, food, and encouragement. He was so surprised
and impressed by their love and kindness that he inquired more about why they
were doing these acts of service. This led to Yoshi san hearing the story of Jesus
and God’s love for him for the first time. Out of the wreckage of his material
world and emotional upheaval, he opened his heart and mind to receive Jesus as
Savior and Lord, and he experienced true peace and joy in the midst of his
losses. Soon, he was overwhelmed by the desire to learn more about God and how
to live for him, so he enrolled in Tokyo Biblical Seminary (OMS’ oldest partner
school). During his years there, God called him into ministry.
of Yoshi san’s professors and advisors at TBS, Homare Miyazaki sensei,
reports that Yoshi san is now married and serves as a pastor of one of a JHC
church in Saitama-prefecture.
is from a Hindu Brahmin family in South Asia. When Bikash became a believer in
Jesus, his parents forced him to leave their home and disowned him. Despite
this, Bikash continues steadfastly in his faith and prays regularly for his
unbelieving family. God has blessed him with a wife and children. As a district
superintendent for an OMS partner church, he sharpens his knowledge and skills
as he attends South Asia Bible College.
schools would not function without dedicated faculty. Let me introduce you to a
few of them. Please pray for the faculty at our OMS partner schools.
and Sony serve at N* Bible Seminary in the South Pacific, a highly
Muslim populated nation. Frans and Sony have been instrumental in fulfilling
the mandate to train pastors and church planters to be God’s
servants and Christian leaders. For more than 40 years, this seminary’s graduates
have established 420 churches in partnership with N* Evangelical
Churches and many more churches through partnership with other denominations
and Christian organizations. With full accreditation as a Bible college from
the government, NBS still holds firmly to its original vision and purpose.
faithful faculty members serve at Faith Bible College in the Philippines: Rev. Anna
Penny Datu, academic dean; Rev. Oliver Bhem, director of student life and chaplain;
and Rev. Ermalee Hidalgo, president. All the administrators also teach. Despit
being a small school, it provides important instruction for both day and
evening students who will serve as pastors, church planters, Christian
education directors, and youth leaders.
keep the faulty of all our partner schools in prayer as they frequently serve
with modest remuneration and in simple settings, yet are preparing men and
women to serve God with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind.
By Bill Vermillion, Theological Education
* Abbreviated for security reasons.
August 25 2017
Mozambique is not an easy country to do
Economically, it is depressed, being
one of the poorest countries in Africa. Agriculturally, the soil is sandy and
plants have a hard time growing. It greatly lacks the lushness often associated
with Africa. Politically, it is becoming more stable, but with an active civil war
throughout most of the 1990s and numerous political uprisings until the last
few years, there is still a state of uncertainty and lack of trust in the
government. Educationally, there are limited opportunities. And spiritually, it
feels oppressed. Christianity is often associated with the oppressive
Portuguese of the past and does not have a good reputation. Yet, in the midst
of this, there is hope. Hope for change, hope for a better tomorrow.
OMS has been a part of building that
hope. In the past two decades, we have developed a seminary (Maputo Theological
Seminary) and a thriving international K-12 school Christian Academy of
Mozambique). We are developing ministries that reach out to the physically challenged
(Helping Hands), and women and children. And our seminary is growing stronger. The
seminary has a commitment to building strong spiritual leaders for a country
that needs leadership.
One of those leaders is Pastor Daniel.
Pastor Daniel is one of the early
graduates of our seminary. He is a man who loves God and loves Africa. He has
worked hard to contextualize the Gospel.
Over the years, he has worked hard and become one of our seminary
professors and the leader of the OMS church in Mozambique. During the month of
August, my wife Jan and I worked alongside our brothers and sisters in the
church in Mozambique.
One Sunday morning, we joined his
church for service and felt God’s moving in so many ways. The music was lively
and active. And throughout the service they celebrated community blessings. Two
families had apparently been feuding, but had settled their differences. So,
both families went forward, almost 20 people, to celebrate this reconciliation
and publicly hugged one another.
A young couple got engaged in front of the congregation.
The young man professed his love, went down on one knee, and placed a ring on
the young woman’s finger. Then Pastor Daniel sat them down on the front row and
began a one-hour sermon on how to have a strong Christian marriage. He was explicit
and talked about sexual temptations and fidelity. Overall, we experienced God
moving among a people who do their best to reflect God’s character in their
This is the type of man I am excited
about partnering with—a man who is willing to build and prepare for the future
of God’s kingdom in Mozambique.
Your donation today to theological
education leadership development allows OMS to partner with men like Pastor
Daniel to help him build the church in Mozambique. Would you consider donating
to account #408126 so OMS can move forward more strongly in the areas of
theological education? Click here to give.
By Rod Dormer, One Mission Society
Theological Education Team, Africa
August 22 2017
was born into a Hindu family in the Indian state of Karnataka. During his
childhood, Arjun's sister and parents came to faith in Jesus. The family began
to attend the local church of the Evangelical Church of India, but Arjun could
not understand his need for salvation in Christ. Then one night, while
attending a revival service at the ECI church, the Holy Spirit spoke to him from
Jeremiah 1:5, and Arjun realized that God had been calling him from his
mother's womb into a personal relationship as a disciple of Jesus Christ. He
confessed his sins and asked Jesus to take control of his life.
2010, Arjun enrolled as a student at the Karnataka Bible Seminary, one of the
ten regional Bible schools of the Evangelical Church of India that focus on
raising up grassroots level church planters to launch and develop new churches
that multiply. During his studies at KBS, the course in personal evangelism
equipped him to share the Gospel effectively among his Hindu neighbors and
family members. Upon graduation from the graduate of theology program of KBS,
Arjun was appointed as a pastor to a small village church. He is now continuing
his studies, pursuing the bachelor of theology degree at KBS.
met Arjun in November of 2016 when I visited the school in Karnataka to facilitate
training in Train & Multiply. T&M equips believers to find persons of
peace, share the Good News, teach believers to follow the commands of Jesus,
and multiply healthy, growing churches to the second and third generations and
beyond. In a joint effort with OMS’ Every Community for Christ team and the
Theological Education team, we are working with the Allahabad Bible Seminary and
the regional Bible schools of ECI to incorporate T&M into their courses of
eagerly participated during the November training, and he reports that he was
especially influenced by the 12
Principles of Church Multiplication. Today, he continues to learn the
principles and practices of T&M at KBS, even as he applies that learning in
his ministry as a pastor in a local village.
is only one example of the strategic role of the seminaries and Bible schools
of ECI. Their impact goes far beyond the classroom into the cities, towns, and
villages of India, often in partnership with the India Missionary Movement ministry
of the Evangelical Church of India.
These dedicated faculty and students are training thousands of pastors
and laypersons while also engaging in creative and effective community outreach
and evangelism. They do so with meager resources and most often in the face of
fierce opposition and increasing persecution. Across India today, young leaders
like Arjun are bringing transformation to individuals, families, and
learn more about the seminaries and Bible schools of the Evangelical Church of
India and how you can support them, contact OMS Theological Education or International
Support Ministries or give here.
By Dick Freed, Director
of OMS Learning & Development
withheld for security.
August 8 2017
Since its beginning, One Mission Society has been in the business of
developing Christ-like leaders for the global church. One of the ways this has
been accomplished is through the planting of theological training institutions
for the development of local church leaders all over the globe. Through the
years, many of the Bible colleges and seminaries started by OMS have become
leaders in their respective global regions among Protestant Evangelical
theological schools. The Emmaus Biblical Seminary of Haiti is great example of
one of those schools.
In 1967, OMS started the Emmaus
Vocational Bible School (EVBS) in a small suburb of Cap-Haitian, Haiti. Through
Radio 4VEH, an evangelism and discipleship ministry of OMS, churches were
growing and the need for theologically trained pastors was growing with
The vision for EVBS was to develop
both vocational and theological training for local pastors, church planters,
and evangelists for the many small churches in northern Haiti. In 2000, after 33
years of equipping hundreds of local churches with theologically trained
leaders, the school became Emmaus Biblical Seminary of Haiti. The vision for
the rebranding of the school was to offer undergraduate and graduate-level
theological training for an ever-growing Haitian church.
Today, Emmaus Biblical Seminary of
Haiti is among the top 10 theological schools in the Caribbean and has one of
the premier graduate programs among Caribbean theological schools. EBS has also
partnered with Indiana Wesleyan University to deliver a masters in Theological
Studies to Haitian students. The current enrollment at EBS is approximately 110
students with a mostly Haitian, fully credentialed faculty.
The following have been a direct
result of the strategic partnership between EBS and OMS:
1. EBS has maintained its
Wesleyan-holiness distinctive within its curriculum and training programs. Even
today, EBS is one of only three theological schools in Haiti with a
Wesleyan-holiness profile. Thanks to OMS, EBS believes that the best of the
Gospel is the rest of the Gospel. This emphasis at EBS means the promotion of
the transformation of moral character that is a necessary result of conversion
(sanctification and discipleship development).
2. Because of EBS’s relationship
with OMS, there is a continued emphasis on church planting throughout EBS
training programs. In fact, approximately 40 percent of graduates go into some
sort of church-planting ministry.
3. OMS has empowered the development
of Christ-like leaders for the church in Haiti through providing highly
credentialed faculty to teach intensive courses four times a year on the
4. OMS has been a driving force in
helping EBS raise funds for many development projects. In 2010, EBS relocated
to a brand new, state-of-the-art campus five miles from its original location.
Without OMS, this would not have been possible.
Without OMS, EBS would not exist today.
Furthermore, EBS is one of dozens of schools with OMS’ fingerprints all over
it. This is the business of the development of leaders for the global church.
This is the business of Theological Education at OMS.
By Matt Ayars, rector and professor
To learn more about EBS and Haiti, watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HaFJ8w50IE&feature=youtu.be
August 9 2016
24 hours of reading David Platt’s book, Radical,
Chris Love knew she needed to go on a mission trip.
and her husband Jeff had just finished paying off their house, and instead of
going on a vacation, the family went on a Men for Missions (MFM) trip to Haiti.
While they were there, both Chris and her son Camden told Jeff they were ready
to stay. Jeff was unsure, but as they thought about this possibility, it became
more obvious that God was keeping the door to Haiti open to them.
the Love family is heading out next week to be One Mission Society missionaries
in Haiti and work with the Cowman International School, a school for Haitian
children, international students, and OMS missionary kids. Cowman provides a
quality education in a variety of subjects, but more importantly, it provides
children and their families the opportunity to hear the Gospel and to learn
about God through their education at the school.
Loves had the opportunity to experience what Cowman does during that first
mission trip to Haiti. Chris and Camden helped clean the school, while Jeff
served on the electrical repair team on the MFM trip. Chris enjoyed interacting
with the faculty and students, and she discovered that Cowman was seeking a
some prayer and thought, Chris decided to quit her job in pharmaceuticals, a
field she had been in for 18 years, and get a teaching degree to work at
Cowman. There, she will teach several health, science, and math classes to
middle school and high school students. Jeff will work at Cowman through IT
support, taking inventory of the technology, and helping bring Cowman to the
next level technologically for the students and faculty. He will also teach
adult English language classes outside of the school.
Jeff and Chris discovered a love for the Haitian people and for Cowman School
after going on the MFM trip and a second mission trip in April, where God
continued to confirm this was where he wanted them to go. Chris said her heart
goes out for the rising younger generation in Haiti. Only four percent of these
young people are projected to graduate high school, she said, and voodoo has
permeated Haiti’s culture. Jeff and Chris added that this country needs
education and the love of Jesus. And this isn’t a belief they created. It is a
statement they’ve been told by people in Haiti.
Cowman, this younger generation has an opportunity to hear about Jesus. Many of
the students who attend the school are the children of business and government
officials in Haiti. Cowman can affect the next generation of leaders in this
country by providing a good education, one that includes the Good News of Jesus
Loves ask for prayers as they move to Haiti and begin their ministry. Please
pray that they are able to adjust quickly to their new life, that God protects
them, and that their belongings reach Haiti safely. They especially ask for
prayers as they begin to serve at Cowman, that God will use them to reach this
next generation. Chris prays that she can bring science to life for the
students and that God can guide her teaching, especially as she completes the
training and learning process for her degree.
and Chris also emphasize the need Cowman still has for more teachers as they
expand their building and as the student body increases and additional grades
are added to the school. Pray that God provides long-term teachers, as well as
funds so that Cowman can continue to teach students and share Jesus’ love with
more information about the Love family, visit https://onemissionsociety.org/give/TheLoves.
learn more and give to Cowman International School, visit onemissionsociety.org/give/cowman-international-school.
August 4 2016
young four-year-old girl in Haiti was terrified to leave the children’s home
where she lived. After a long history of being abandoned, her heart was scared
to trust and to believe there were safe places outside of the walls of her
home. During this time, she started to attend Cowman International School, and
little by little, she began to heal. Now, this young girl is learning to trust
and experience new situations, which is a huge step for when she eventually
moves into an adoptive family in the future. Her positive growth is thanks to
the education she has been receiving, an education that introduced her to Jesus
Christ, the only one who will never abandon her.
many students return to school this season, we look to a school in Haiti that
God has used to not only provide a solid education but also to share the Good
News of Jesus Christ to more than 160 students.
by One Mission Society (OMS) in the 1960s, the Cowman International School in
Haiti was established as an English-language elementary school where OMS
missionary kids and Haitian children could receive a Christ-centered education.
Over time, the school has expanded to accommodate more students and grades.
Today,Cowman provides high-quality, Christian education for students in preschool,
elementary, and high school. Student enrollment has increased by 150 percent
over the past five years, with children coming from a variety of backgrounds. North
American missionary children, children of Haitian families, children in the
adoption process, as well as children of government leaders and other
professionals in Haiti and around the world make up Cowman’s student body.
doesn’t just reach out to children, it also actively includes the entire
family. Parents participate in parenting and marriage seminars, and in this
process teachers at Cowman can share the Gospel message with the students’
family as well.
Cowman continues to grow! As more grades are added, more space is needed. This
past year, Cowman has constructed a new chapel/cafeteria area and a foundation for
two more classrooms. But more resources are needed in order for the school and
its leaders to continue to grow, seek God’s will, and give more opportunities for
students to receive an education and the Gospel message.
Cowman seeks financial donations to support their expansion needs, such as new
bathrooms and a kitchen, new furnishings, and classrooms. But there is also an
urgent need for teachers as more students enroll.
has placed OMS’ Cowman International School in an amazing position to impact
Haiti’s next generation of leaders, to not only give them a solid education but
also to introduce them to Jesus Christ and help them make a decision to follow
him as they grow up. Check out next week’s blog post to read some personal
stories about how God is calling OMS missionaries to serve at Cowman and join
the school’s mission of Christian education.
you would like to donate or learn more about Cowman International School, visit onemissionsociety.org/give/cowman-international-school.
By Jess Mitchell,
summer Communications intern