10 new preachers will soon been working throughout Guyana. The graduation at Guyana Christian University is next month but the students completed the last of their coursework Friday morning in Lethem. It was my privilege to teach these students on three occasions. John Langham knows the students from many campaigns and from classes he taught in April. This batch of students is extraordinary and holds great promise for the future.
It was the Spring of 2007 when plans for the school were developed during a campaign in Lethem. Many new Christians were in need of teaching and plans were underway for the construction of several congregations scattered throughout the southern regions of the Caribbean nation. In September of 2007 the first batch of students began to study. Two years later nine of the students graduated. Today all are involved in the work of the church most preaching the gospel.
During the past two weeks we studied a variety of topics and a verse-by-verse study of 1st and 2nd Corinthians. On the final day the students were given Thompson Chain Reference Bibles. The Bibles are especially suited for new preachers has they provide a wealth of information with very little commentary. As a result the students do their own studying and any exposure to error is limited.
Of our students most are from the Machushi Amerindian tribe. The Machushi are one of the registered tribal groups in Guyana. One is Wapishana and one is not Amerindian but is East Indian and speaks Hindi. The new preachers all speak their native languages in the home and will be well equipped to work one-on-one with people of their common heritage. Further, many of the tribes cross national boundaries. Because the region borders Brazil some cross border evangelism is possible.
Preaching in Guyana’s southern regions is not easy. Most walk or ride bicycles throughout their villages. A major settlement may be hours and hours away. Their economy is very basic and many will grow farms to provide for their families. The weather is always warm and stays between about 80 and 95 each day. In the rainy season, which is now beginning, entire villages may be cut off from other areas. Residents are concerned that this rainy season may the worst in years. Already vehicle traffic between Lethem and Georgetown is severely restricted.
While there are already hundreds of New Testament Christians in the region there are thousands more who have not heard the gospel. The students have already begun working in regions at their own initiative. One congregation is meeting in Bonfim, Brazil. The city of about 13,000 lies just across the river from Lethem. English speakers meet under a tree in Bonfim every Sunday and one or two of the students travel over to preach and teach.
What do the students need? They need your daily prayers for them and for their families. Hard work lies ahead and they need your constant petitions before God. They need your support in the form of cards and letters. We can provide addresses and provide transportation for your letters and gifts. Financial support is arranged for preachers through the Summerdale church of Christ and the work of Jerry Davidson.
Let me thank you for allowing me to be a part of this work for the past four years. It has been a labor of love.