Last night I visited the Iglesia Bautista Vida Abundante (Abundant Life Baptist Church) in Indian Trail, North Carolina. This church has supported the ministry of GBS for many years, and they support my wife and I personally. I have known Pastor Christian Guzmán since he was a teenager and he teaches several of our classes. That close relationship aside, I visited last night to meet Ricardo Leyva, a missionary to the island of Cuba.
Brother Leyva and I have corresponded via email for several years. He has established GBS study centers in both Cuba and Mexico, and has recently opened the door for a study center in Belize. The bulk of our correspondence has been focused on shipping new modules from time to time, and arranging diplomas for graduation ceremonies. I was eager to meet him and to learn of his work on a difficult field.
Candidly, I expected there to be some mention of the ministry of GBS at some point in his presentation, but I hardly expected it to be as prominent as it was. His video was filled with photographs of three generations of graduates who are now serving the Lord in various capacities. His first graduate is now the pastor of the church in Cienfuegos that Bro. Leyva planted many years ago. He related the story of that pastor’s father, who finally trusted Christ after having heard the gospel for years. His father has now graduated from the school as well, and soon will pastoring a church himself. Two generations – father and son – serving the Lord together; although not in the order that one would usually expect!
Another pastor who has begun a GBS study center in his church told Brother Levya, “I have seen many Bible Institutes, but none like this one.” He appreciates the strong doctrinal focus, as well as the emphasis on missions and evangelism.
I know that I am running the risk of appearing to be patting ourselves on the back by sharing these things. That’s not my point. I already believe that Global Baptist Schools is fulfilling a vital role in the work of the Lord. I have every confidence that our ministry is a help and a blessing to the churches that we serve. I am certain that our ministry is distinct from others in a number of ways. I would be foolish to serve here if I did not. But it is easy for those of us who are involved in any organization to believe that we are doing well, and to convince ourselves of our own worth. But it is refreshing – and vital – to hear the analysis of someone “outside the camp”.
Brother Leyva and the pastors that he works with are on the front lines, so to speak. They are involved in the critical work of training disciples for the work of the ministry. They do not sit in isolated places, living in some theoretical reality. They do not have time for theories or experiments. They are not interested in toying with the newest trends and methods. They need tools. Tools that will help them accomplish the important job which has been entrusted to them. I was humbled and encouraged last night to hear that they have found GBS to be such a tool.
I am also telling you this because most of you who read these words were not in Indian Trail last night. You could not hear the testimony that I heard. So I wanted you to know that your prayers, your gifts and your work in this ministry are not in vain. Let’s keep sharpening the tool, so that others may benefit as well.