3/19/2017

Our GBTF Interior Haiti class ended today, and I am very happy with the results. A very challenging week resulted in 37 graduates from Interpretation of Scripture. Beside the teaching, I was also able to preach twice for the church hosting the classroom. The best part was graduation today. I was pleasantly surprised to see the heartfelt gratitude and unfettered love of these impoverished pastors and women. I was a little overwhelmed by their gracious spirit. About four or five of them asked to come to the front and speak on behalf of the class. Their praise and thankful hearts were incredibly touching.

We will attempt to link some video in the next few days. We had technical difficulties with the pictures and videos on this trip. We have to rely on nationals to use our phone to get footage for us. The Haitians cannot afford pricey cell-phones, and their expertise with the Apple phones is limited. But that’s ok, we will do better next time around!

The potential here I think is good. The Haitians are very intuitive by nature, so I really think they will pick up and use the material as effectively as anyone else. Pray for them that God would keep showing them ways to use their knowledge. This is so important in the learning and then training process for the future.

The drive back (we were four hours outside of Port au Prince) was good and always interesting with Charles driving. We saw another accident, most likely fatal. We thanked God we weren’t involved. It happened just about fifteen minutes before we got to the location on the road coming back. I don’t know if it was on any American news, but the other night, a Haitian bus driver accidentally hit a man (killing him), and instead of stopping, he fled with a busload of passengers. Unfortunately, it did not end well. He lost control and drove into a crowd of people marching and making merry on one of the local streets. He killed 34 people. It was heartbreaking. Needless to say, driving here is not for the faint of heart.

Please continue to pray for the Haitian pastors, and let me thank all of our GBTF donors and Coffee Club members. This work continues with your continued support. We are humbled and always grateful for what God is doing through us all.

Going out for Haitian pizza in Port au Prince tonight. Should be interesting. Coming home tomorrow!
Bruce
Global Baptist Training Foundation

3/17/2017

I wanted to take a few minutes tonight to explain some things about Haiti that are on my heart. With the Thursday class looming I think it's a good time to share.

Haiti is a very tough place. The people have been repressed by their own government along with the help of the international community for multiple decades. This fact along with the outright oppression of their voodoo religious heritage, and it becomes apparent that the people are are among the most desperate on the planet. Believe me it's very easy to see, even in the classroom with pastors.

The layers and layers of frustration created by their life forces is palpable, sometimes volatile. This is true nearly everywhere you look in Haiti.
Last night, we witnessed a younger man on a motor scooter run into a young adolescent girl in the road here in the town near our teaching site. He was driving like ''Jehu" which is pretty typical here. Fortunately, the young girl was not seriously injured, just a bruised or dislocated arm. But, if this had occurred in Port au Prince, he would been beaten by the crowd, likely to death.

Because children are the only ones not yet corrupted by the Haitian way, they are firmly defended by those who have never known anything but corruption in Haiti. I know that may sound strange, but unfortunately, it's just the way things are here. I hope it will help you to pray for these pastors. They need this training, and I believe this group of ours this week can be a building block for the classrooms to come. We have been diminished by the rain and the expenses to get to the location which some pastors did not have this time. The poverty is difficult to imagine. Your gifts not only bring them the gift of theological education but food each day of the classes as well.

We have about 37 pastors and a few women who are intent on earning their certificate of completion!

Thanks for your prayers and love,

Bruce
Global Baptist Training Foundation

3/14/2017

Today marks the beginning of our relationship with a group of pastors from the interior (about four hours out of the capitol) of Haiti under the direction of Charles Winsky and the Omech Organization of Haiti. Charles is a native Haitian who contacted some Baptist Churches in South Carolina for help during the Earthquake which devastated Haiti several years ago. Charles is a strong believer who runs an orphanage of 150 children. Like many in Haiti during the earthquake, he was deeply concerned about providing for the kids under his care.

We met Charles at one of those SC churches a few years ago, and, since then, their organization has asked us to train their associated pastors. They have about 150 in their group, and we are training fifty to sixty of them this week in their first training course with GBTF. We are praying to raise the necessary funding so that our next class can include all 150 pastors. Food to feed these pastors during the class is more expensive than any other country where we minister.

It has been a challenging day this Monday, the 13th of March! We are meeting in one of the hardest hit areas of Hurricane Matthew, and the church building we are meeting in does not have the finances yet to replace their storm savaged tin roof. About midway through the morning, it began to rain, at first slowly, and within the hour we were experiencing a monsoon type rain typical of the rainy season. I guess it has begun a little early this year. Our pastors were playing musical benches in an effort to escape the rain pouring in the building onto the wooden pews and the cement floor. The sound was so loud we had to suspend the teaching for about 45 minutes. We prayed the entire time that God would stop the rain and finally we were able to resume around noon. I taught for another 45 minutes and then we stopped for a quick lunchtime for the pastors. Charles has been a great translator.

We finally finished day one, and gave the men (and two women) their first quiz questions. We will collect those later this week! We want to see God give us a great number of pastors who are firmly committed to getting training so they can become trainers themselves. Finally, pray that the weather cooperates the rest of the week!

In His grip,
Bruce
Global Baptist Training Foundation

1/21/2017

What can I say? God has been so gracious to us this week! Today we had 61 graduates receive their certificates of completion for the course of Interpretation of Scripture. I think the pictures tell the whole story of the joy of these pastors. They have sought more than any other group for us to return twice a year in order to finish their training faster. I want to encourage all of the followers of the foundation to pray that this becomes reality.

Our host, Pastor James Togba, has told us that we can expect 100 or more next time. There have been a few classrooms where I thought this would be the case, but it didn’t materialize. I think this class will be an exception to that rule. Pastor Togba has been an incredible host all week. Phillip, his right hand man, has also been incredible in making things run smoothly. I am thankful for men, with whom God has linked our ministry, who have integrity and genuine love for Jesus. It seems that wherever we are in the world, we have been given Godly and gifted hosts who undertake for the foundation to better do its job of training pastors. What a privilege to serve with people like this.

Praise God for His goodness and grace! Together we are helping the spread of God's work around the world!

Bruce Snavely
Global Baptist Training Foundation

1/20/2017

Today was an incredible day in our Liberia classroom. We had a great day in the classroom, and then this afternoon we drove nearly an hour into the bush from Gbarnga and had a service. If you have ever tried to picture an authentic African bush village, that is where we were tonight. The drive was difficult and very much an off-roading experience there and back. Once we arrived, they showed us around the village, and then finally we gathered under a few trees where they had some bamboo benches and chairs for guests. They served us their locally grown brown rice and Kasava leaf with chicken. They also served us local papaya and pineapple.

Then they started singing. It was different than I have ever heard in Africa. First of all, I don’t think I have ever been this deep in the bush, so that is likely why it sounded so different. The local dialect was very melodic and strange to us at first, but like everything else in Africa, you simply begin getting used to it without even thinking about it. We have several pictures of this amazing event.
I was asked to give a message, so I preached from Mark 5 for about 40 minutes on the story of Jairus. The people were so attentive and so appreciative of God’s Word. I don’t know that I have ever had a more attentive audience. The translator was very good and attentive.

We had to leave right after to head up the road to the next village where a new church plant is going to begin this year. We walked past several grass roofed huts and open cooking fires to a place where we announced the meeting. Pastor Greg Dixon told them tonight that they will be the first Liberian church plant, and they clapped and cheered like they were at a football game. It was thrilling to see such enthusiasm for the Lord’s work. We prayed with all of those who came to the village meeting. Surprisingly, there were several young people who said they wanted to be there for the first service. By the time we left it was dark, and we made our way back to the truck and headed back.

Incredibly, tomorrow we finish the classroom and will graduate our first Liberian students! This has been a very good week in West Africa!

Bruce Snavely
Global Baptist Training Foundation

VIDEOS:

Panorama of an African Bush Village:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qqrMewgXcg

Driving into the Bush:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IbJQMs9EEg

Children Singing in the African Bush:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8KDvPHDaN0

Singing in the Bush:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=369E9J6tH4k

More Singing in the Bush:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMC7zVGEj_k

 

1/17/2017

I have just gotten back from the classroom and wanted to tell you all about the first two days of our new Liberian classroom. I hope the pictures do it justice. We were slated to have about fifty pastors on our first day, but I think the last count was over sixty by today. We ran out of syllabus copies and also class shirts. They even made me one! I try to never disappoint my students, so I wore it proudly!

The meeting place is only about a mile from the hotel (certainly not the Hyatt). It’s pretty much off-roading up to the meeting location, which is a Baptist camp which they use for a health clinic and a training location for physicians’ assistant training, etc. The building we are in has no electricity in which to plug in fans, so it has been pretty hot all day. The locals can take it, but we don’t fare so well. But, at the end of the second day, I am more convinced than ever that God opened this door wide for training Liberians for the ministry. They are so enthusiastic and thankful!

Our host was recommended to GBTF by a Liberian national in the states, and he strongly wants the training we offer for all the pastors. Dr. Greg Dixon is teaching church planting for an hour after lunch each day this week, and he was off to a great start today. I believe that he and his organization will sponsor several pastors here to start churches in the near future. The goal is thirty over the next few years. At that rate, Liberia will be an African training center for many years to come. GBTF wants to establish long-term training sites in all of the six nations where we now operate, AND we will be expanding into other nations as well.
Please check out today’s videos and pictures and give some feedback. We love to hear from you and all of our coffee club members! Keep praying!

Blessings,
Bruce
Global Baptist Training Foundation

Please take time to view some video of the first two days of classes in Liberia:

Receiving Class Materials:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRl3nY3feIs
Dr. Bruce Snavely Teaching in Liberia:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tuA4o9fq8E
Liberia Worship:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBcWovzcuYU
Liberian Choir:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6Rs5YQZa94
Dr. Greg Dixon teaching in Liberia:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXJMtyVJx94
Pastors Singing to Begin Classes 2017:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTP5cb2LsLk

 

3/30/2015 - Wrapping It Up In Myanmar

Today winds up our final day in Myanmar. I preached the morning service at Independent Baptist Church just outside of the city. Pete and Marta also participated with Marta teaching Sunday School and Pete maintaining the camera and offering the morning prayer for the church and its continuing ministry.

Pastor Siama took us out to the goat farm yesterday and showed us the government farmland he was able to purchase via a US church donation. This five-acre plot is rough hewn and still very early in its development. Because of the price of bringing in heavy machinery to level and plow, all the work has to be done by hand. By ten-o’clock yesterday morning we estimated the temperature to be somewhere between ninety-five and and one-hundred degrees Fahrenheit. With whatever the relative humidity was (we never found out), it was like being a cookie in a hot oven. By the time we looked at the land with pastor Siama, and walked back to the truck, we were totally zapped of energy.
We then got some lunch and then went down to the market in downtown Yangon to do some souvenir shopping. You can’t imagine what this place is like. The market is best described as a bazaar where stalls of merchandise are stacked so close you sometimes don’t know where one ends and another begins. From rolled cloth for dresses and other clothes to hand-carved animals, tools, jewelry, and utensils, it seems like an endless array of stuff that just boggles the mind. And then once they see you are white and very possibly American or European, the sell is on! Most of the time we were able to negotiate good prices and like the Proverbial writer said, “Bad, bad says the buyer, but when he goes away he boasts!" We all had a good time buying trinkets for our families and some friends and by the time we got back to the hotel we were so tired we were almost delirious.

Tomorrow we will finish packing, do some office work in the lobby of the hotel, and finally after some dinner tomorrow night, Siama will pick us up here at the hotel and drop us off at the Airport to come home. It has been a long trip for me. I am very tired but very satisfied with what God has allowed us to accomplish here. We graduated nearly ninety persons from the classes and there have been some very promising students among them which gives us hope that the training will continue after we are gone. May God raise up strong national pastors and leaders who will commit themselves to changing Myanmar from the inside out by bringing them the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Bruce Snavely