August 17, 2000
We are thankful for the way our Sovereign Lord is
continuing to shape and establish BTC, bringing in new staff and students
and opening new doors of service to his church in this
war torn area of northeast Sri Lanka.
Enriched by visitors
Even though the students were
busy writing their exams during the last week of BTC's
second term, they were still able to enjoy the company
of some special visitors. The hostel adjusted its
expandable walls to welcome and his family, two
friends and students from CTS, Suresh and Jeyaseelan,
and Sriraj from Batticaloa. Newton's wife,
Priyadarshini, is virtually a regular worker for BTC,
having translated the course notes for 'Introduction
to Old Testament' from Tamil to Sinhala each week, so
it was a real joy to welcome her into the BTC
community. Their two children, Johny and Stella, were
able to enjoy the beach-side location of the hostel
with many exciting
sea baths! (Trinco water is considerably cleaner than
Suresh, who is from the Dutch Reformed Church in
Colombo, volunteered to forego sea baths for the
college library and instead spent many hours sorting
and cataloguing the Tamil books. He did an invaluable
job. He also spoke couple of times at chapel,
expounding precious truths from God's Word, the whole
community was truly blessed by our visitors.
Another family to join the community!
had been mentioned at the July Board meeting for the
position of full-time Administrator. He came to spend
a few days with us, finding out about BTC and
enabling the community to find out about him! We look
forward to welcoming him on board in September, and
his wife, Kaushi, with their two
daughters, one 2½ and the other 4 months, will follow
on in January.
Interestingly, even before we have begun to look for
them, we had a phone call about a vacant house just
round the corner from BTC. We are constantly amazed to
how our God works all things together!
Extension Education begins in Kalmunai
The faculty members may have to wait until December
for their holiday!
have just finished a 3-day mini Bible school in
Kalmunai, just south of
Batticaloa in the Ampara district. We are very
thankful to our
students, Yesudasan and Varatharajan, who did a lot of
ground work in
publicizing and contacting pastors in the Batticaloa
About 40 pastors and church workers attended, mainly
reflecting the predominance of them amongst the newer,
churches. Five Methodists represented the mainline
Newton, Nepoleon and Charles taught short courses on
Biblical Studies and Church History, respectively. It
to seethe delegates gradually open up and participate
in the talks and
discussions. Six have already decided to join next
course on Revelation, which Jothy will be teaching.
Many expressed the desire for More such seminars and
courses in their own areas, another challenge for BTC!
Pradhaban's family and Charles' two sons also took the
A holiday in Kalmunai, and all thoroughly enjoyed the
Christa Illam, a Methodist Girl's home, and Rev.
Thayaseelan, who is a member of BTC's Board of
Advisors, and his wife, Kala. Apart from being a local
pastor, Rev. Thayaseelan is also the Superintendent of
the Kalmunai Circuit,part of a region regarded as a
'Methodist fortress'! In this capacity, it was
encouraging to see him urging Methodist candidates to
come to BTC.
Extra meetings were held on Friday and Saturday in
Batticaloa to introduce BTC to the pastors of these
districts, On Sunday, Newton, Nepoleon and Charles
were invited to speak in a number of local churches.
All in all, it was a very encouraging and fruitful
time, making BTC known and establishing genuine
relationships with the pastors from the area and our
friends at Christa Illam.
It was amazing to discover the presence of
'territorial spirits' in a
backwater like Ampara District. This issue dominated
the final day's
discussion at the mini Bible school. For some of our
spiritual warfare meant 'binding the spirits' and
strongholds'. Their leaders had taught them that this
sort of warfare was the key to successful
evangelization. We pointed out to them that Paul, when
he entered Ephesus (Acts 19) did not visit the Temple
of Diana in order to bind her and thus release her
captives. He instead went to three distinct groups of
people and preached the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was
through the power of the gospel that people were
redeemed and a strong church was planted that would
last over a thousand years.
It became clear during the discussion that a number of
including the Principal of a church planting school
(Gospel For Asia,
in Tirukkovil), already had some doubts about this
teaching, marketed from California. It was finally
affirmed that this new teaching belongs to 'another
gospel' and the fundamental problem of humanity is not
spirit problem but sin which needed to be atoned for.
The Evangelical Fellowship of Mannar, comprising of
about 18 local
Pastors from different churches, have invited BTC
faculty members, Nepoleon and Charles, to address
their conference in August 22nd-23rd. They will be
speaking on the issues of war and peace, gospel and
culture in Galatians. This is another encouraging step
forward in building relationships with pastors and
churches in the northeast. It is noteworthy that the
Alliance of Sri Lanka is funding the conference,
thereby acknowledging the reality of BTC.
The Grace and Truth Fellowship Family camp follows
from August 23rd to
27th, at Jeevodaya, Murungan on Mannar mainland. A
large contingent from BTC will be going, including a
few students and Pradhaban's and Charles' families.
Charles and Nepoleon will be speaking alongside Jothy
Hoole and Pastor T. B. Surendran of Grace Evangelical
Looking forward to the new term.
Shanmugapavan joined in with the BTC community almost
as soon as he heard about us back in June. He has
since been auditing virtually all the courses and took
the modular course. BTC has also been benefiting from
his many talents as he helped Pradhaban with the
electrical work around the college and hostel as well
as helping to sort out the library lending system. He
will join BTC full-time when the new term begins on
September 4th, along with Joel, a local church
worker, who has already taken a number of evening
Pratheepan is an answer to prayer!
Yesudasan will also be back with us full-time next
term. Pratheeban, a
former student of CTS, returned from India in June and
came to visit
BTC for a few days. Little did he know that he would
be busy for the next couple of years as a result! He
arrived just as the modular was beginning, so he
decided to join the life of the college and hostel for
two weeks. Charles shared with him about Yesudasan's
situation and during his stay, Pratheeban was able to
spend time with Yesudasan, finding out more about his
church. Presently Pratheeban is spending a month
'training' with the three pastors of Grace and Truth
Fellowship in Mannar, then he will go to Kallaru,
close to Kalmunai, at the beginning of September to
free Yesudasan so that he can study full time until
the end of next year. Pratheeban then hopes to join
BTC and follow up on his CTS Diploma with a B.Th.
A new Faculty Member!
Prathaban is not only a jack-of-all-trades; he is also
an avid Bible
scholar! Having taken Bible studies at his home church
in Mannar, and
spoken a chapel a few times, it became evident to all
that he has a real gift of teaching. He taught at the
mini Bible school in Kalmunai and will be taking an
evening course next term on the Book of Proverbs,
entitled Real Life.
Thank you once again for being part of this work with
us; your prayers are being answered! Thank you!