February 2018 Newsletter

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

(Psalm 73:26 NIV)

Dear Friends and Family,

Greetings! Another month has quickly come and gone. It’s been one of the busiest months in a long time. We praise God for giving us strength to accomplish the tasks of the day. Thank you to everyone who has been supporting us in the work at the Bible Institute and in Cape Town. Your prayers and your gifts enable us to continue the work that God has prepared for us, and for that we are truly grateful!

Update from the Bible Institute of South Africa
The new academic year has begun and we’re starting to get into the regular routine. There are a dozen new students on campus in the degree programme, and another 15 students in the distance programme. The vocational Christian Leadership  Programme (CLP) has also started, with about  130 students in the three year part-time programme. All together there are more than 230 students actively studying this semester in various BI programmes, and another 40-50 auditing courses.

All of those students are now able to access Canvas, our new online learning platform, which is affectionately known as “BISA Online” by our students. Last year we hired an Educational Technologist, Louis, to assist in the development of BISA Online. Louis and I worked frantically over the past weeks and months to get everything in place in time for the start of classes, and after many long evenings and weekends we did get everything finished just in time. In fact, our first implementation meeting with our Canvas support representative early in January was a bit surprising because we had done most of the work prior to signing the contract with them. Implementation normally takes twelve weeks, but we finished most of the items during our first half-hour meeting! Please pray that the new system will be a big help to our students in preparing them for ministry.

Upcoming Ministry Week in Hermanus
Every year at BI our residential students are assigned to fellowship groups for mentorship and academic advice. This year I have been assigned nine students in my fellowship group, including four first year students. In March the Bible Institute will close for a week as all of the groups will go to various locations across Cape Town and beyond for ministry at a local church. Our group is planning to help at a church in Hermanus, about two hours drive from BI. Please pray as we  prepare for ministry there. The father of one of my students is pastoring at the church, and the brother-in-law is pastor of a church plant from that same church. That will give us opportunity to minister in a variety of contexts in the main part of town as well as in a township. Please pray for the students, the churches, and the community as we prepare to minister in Hermanus. See the sidebar for more about Hermanus from Wikipedia.

Help for Evangelical University in Zambia
This weekend I also got my former school in Zambia, Evangelical University (EU), up and running on the new Student Information System (BASIS) that I originally developed for BI. I received this note from the Academic Dean at EU:

I just don’t know what else to say than THANK YOU! It’s amazing what you have done […] and I am encouraged a lot.

This comes as a big encouragement during a time which is quite difficult […] as we are struggling with decisions which have to be made […] Realizing how God has let me to get the updated data to you [this week] helps me to trust Him even more for the small and big things happening around us here.

Prayer Requests

  • Pray for the city of Cape Town as the water crisis continues
  • Pray for the ministries at the Bible Institute and iThemba
  • Pray for Anna, Sarah, and Katie’s ongoing studies
  • Pray for safe travels for John and Rebecca

Blessings in Christ,
Tim & Kristina Churchill