January 2018 Newsletter

Dear Friends and Family,

Happy New Year! As the sun sets on another year we reflect on God’s goodness to us through the course of many changes. In just the past year God has provided a house that has become a home, a new daughter(-in-law), and other new and special friends. We have seen God continue to provide for our needs in ways we couldn’t imagine. We are so thankful for all of the financial gifts that have been made to our ministry, as well as the many words of encouragement we have received, and the prayers offered to God on our behalf. For all of your love and kindness to us we say Thank You!

Ministry Update from the Bible Institute of South Africa

Here are some of the highlights from my first year at the Bible Institute:

  • Personnel:
    • Appointed a new, full-time Registrar
    • Hired a new, full-time administrator for the Christian Leadership Programme
    • Hired a new, full-time Educational Technologist to help in implementing an online learning management system
  • Accreditation:
    • Our response to concerns from the accrediting agency finally resulted in the approval of our application for accrediting our Bachelor of Theology degree for both contact (residential) and distance modes of delivery
  • BASIS, the Bible Institute’s Academic and Student Information System:
    • Since going live in January 2017, BASIS has been used for many academic administrative tasks, from processing student applications, course registration of existing students, and printing transcripts for current and former students.
    • For the first time, the new system provides a unified database on information across all of our programmes, including the vocational Christian Leadership Programme (CLP), the Gap Year programme, and the residential and distance degree/licentiate programmes.
    • BASIS also manages curriculum-related information such as programmes, courses, and course objectives. This will allow us to manage existing programmes more efficiently and develop new programmes more rapidly.
    • BASIS is integrated with Canvas, our new online learning management system. Students, courses, and enrolments can be automatically transferred from BASIS to Canvas, and student grades from Canvas will automatically be returned to Canvas at the end of each semester. From Canvas, students will be able to access their transcript and financial statement in BASIS.
    • Starting in January, BASIS will also manage student financial accounts. This will enable our administrative staff to have live access to current student account information.

We now have a fully staffed, highly motivated administrative team in place, as well as the IT systems to allow them to do their jobs efficiently. Combined with the accreditation of our degree programmes, these changes have laid a good foundation for moving forward in a number of areas. By the time classes resume at the end of January we hope to be using Canvas, our new online learning management system, in all of our courses (distance, residential, and CLP). Following this, my main goal for 2018 is to improve our existing programmes, especially in getting all of our programmes accredited and providing a clear path for students to progress from one level to another. For example, at the moment, CLP graduates don’t have a clear path into the degree programme, and the Gap Year programme is unaccredited.

Ministry Update From Our Family
In addition to our ministry at the Bible Institute, Kristina and the girls volunteer at iThemba, a preschool for disadvantaged children in this area. They volunteer at iThemba several days a week and are looking forward to seeing the kids again after the Christmas break. Anna is continuing her studies at the Bible Institute. Sarah successfully completed her high school studies in December and is also applying to study at BI starting in January. Katie will be continuing in Grade 10.

Our biggest Christmas present this year was the news that John and Rebecca will be visiting us at the end of February! We are excited that they are coming to spend time with us and can’t wait to show them what life is like in South Africa.

Prayer Requests

  • Give thanks to God for all of the milestones and accomplishments of the past year!
  • Pray that God will continue to sustain our ministry in South Africa
  • Pray for the Bible Institute, especially for more students to apply and start the new school year at the end of January, and for our
  • faculty and staff as they return for another year
  • Pray for Anna, Sarah, and Katie’s ongoing studies
  • Pray for John and Rebecca’s upcoming visit

Blessings in Christ,

Tim & Kristina Churchill