BELC Graduation Report
Eighteen men graduated from the Martin Luther Bible School in Nagalapuram, India. After two years of studying with men like D. Paul, Ashirvadham, Sampath, and Rajamani, eighteen new pastors were dedicated and sent out for the Lord’s work in India on February 28, 2011.
Two years may seem like too short of a time to properly prepare men for the work of ministry in God’s kingdom, but here are eighteen men filled with the knowledge of their Savior and ready to work. From an earthly standpoint how many years would it take? Including catechism class with my father, I had ten years of schooling, yet I was hardly prepared for what awaited me. From a spiritual standpoint we know that the Lord who has received all authority will prepare His own workers. We dare not use such thinking as an excuse for neglecting the charge entrusted to us, yet when we have done what we can we send them forth into the Lord’s keeping unto the task He has appointed for them.
The day was sunny and cool, low 70s, as Missionary David Koenig, Mary and Myself set out. With a two and half hour drive ahead of us we had plenty of time to discuss upcoming work, read, and get in a quick nap. Upon arrival in Nagalapuram we were startled with large posters greeting us to the days ceremonies. Missionary Koenig quickly signed the appropriate certificates for the graduating men and we ascended on top of the building where the assembled students and teachers waited for us.
The ceremony itself began at 10am, with singing and music and the reading of appropriate biblical texts. Pastor D. Paul, president of the BELC and the MLBS, welcomed all with the traditional giving of garlands and shawls to the guests. Myself followed by Pastors Koenig, T. Sampath, Moses Raghu, and V. Rajamani all gave sermons encouraging the graduates in the work that lay before them. Pastor D. Paul read the installation promises to which the students responded. After which individual prayers and passages were given for the individual graduates by the pastors present. Graduation certificates and gifts were handed out by Missionary Koenig. The student representatives, Barnabas and David Venkatesh, gave thanks to their teachers. Finally Pastor Ashirvadham gave the closing prayer, and the students were sent out with the Lord’s benediction.
The missionaries and MLBS teachers ate a quick meal at the MLBS building, while the students were sent to Pastor D. Paul’s house for graduation lunch. These eighteen men will be assigned to congregations and villages throughout the BELC and will continue to participate in district conference meetings. We commit them to the grace of God and the word they have learned.
In Christ, Pastor Matthew Ude