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Baldaeus Theological College

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of Faith


April 2001 - Cyclone, New Babies, Battles Within

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Dear Friends,

Yet another term has come and gone since our last report was sent out in November some encouraging events and some quite testing. Let us bring you up to date on our present situation and highlight a few events of this past term at BTC. We continue to be truly grateful to our sovereign Lord for his gracious work of redemption in this land that is predominantly Buddhist and Hindu. and the privilege of serving his church here. Throughout the island the churches are growing, and with it an increasing need for theological education and training. To destroy God's work the enemy is also actively at work within the churches, often proclaiming "another gospel" - pluralism, liberalism, prosperity, or third wave. Consequently, quite a few new churches are getting filled with baptized pagans, and many more are filled with mere infants, lacking in spiritual discernment and maturity and thus easily swayed by the array of new teachings. The only antidote to these spiritual ills afflicting the church in Sri Lanka is to place the Bible in the hands of the people of God, prepare them for true spiritual combat by empowering them with the Word of God.

The Cyclone
On Tuesday 26 Dec 2000 a cyclone hit Trincomalee plunging the town back into the dark ages for five days with no electricity and only water from the wells. It rained all Christmas night and then the storm began in earnest on Boxing morning. There was extensive damage throughout the area, with trees being uprooted, posts and wires being brought down and sent crashing into houses, many people had to move out of their homes, including some of our students, Pastor Jayantha Fernando, Pastor Errol Joseph and Joel who were mentioned in the previous newsletter. The college building lost three 8ft X 4ft asbestos roof tiles, and the back wall of the hostel was swept away by the sea, including part of a new room that had just been built to accommodate our new students coming this term. The roof was blown off the new girl's hostel..

On the 27th Joel came to Trinco town looking for an alternative place for his family to stay and ended up fixing the Baldaeus roof. Joel's family found refuge in a house close by and amazingly the very next day his wife gave birth to their third child a baby boy. The repairs to the hostel were done just in time for the beginning of term but the girl's hostel took longer so that 2 stayed in the college and 2 with the Hoole family for the first month and a half of term. A few brothers and sisters in Colombo responded to an appeal and gave assistance to the students to repair their homes, Joel was even able to build himself a new cadjan house! That is real national fellowship!

New additions to the Baldaeus family
On Tuesday 16 January Jaqui Hoole was admitted to the Trinco hospital at 7.30am and a boy was born at 11.43 - 4.2 kg. His name is Mahilyesan Stephen Hoole - Mahilyesan means 'joy who belongs to Jesus'. The doctors were very helpful and allowed Jaqui to leave the hospital at 7pm the same day At the time of writing Jeyamary has just delivered a baby boy by caesarian section, yet another to the Baldaeus family.

Wednesday 31 January marked the first anniversary of BTC. Interestingly it was the students who brought the date to our attention, saying that they wanted to do something special. They organised a thanksgiving service instead of the usual chapel service. Special food was given at our usual Wednesday Fellowship lunch and some guests invited. It was a real time of rejoicing. Now that the student body is that much bigger and more varied the students really do enjoy themselves together, especially when there are opportunities to celebrate!

Battles for everyone!
BTC as a whole as well as individual students and staff have been experiencing a number of battles over the past term. Sadly as so often happens much of the opposition has come from believers rather than folk outside the churches. For example, one pastor suddenly arrived at BTC one day and withdrew the two students from his church, claiming that BTC taught cessationism, even though other students testified to the contrary. A local Pentecostal senior pastor has been endeavouring to stop three other students from continuing their studies at BTC. When he found his efforts fruitless he proceeded to undermine one student's (Joel) ministry by ordering Joel's congregation to return to his own church for worship each Sunday. However all of them continue to meet with Joel for Bible teaching each evening!

Third Wave leaders from Colombo visited the neighbouring Polonnaruwa area recently, a region very sacred to Buddhist being full of ancient monuments. Their rituals of shouting and binding, cursing and rebuking provoked intense hostility from the local population, which was then unleashed on other local church leaders irrespective of their connections to the particular church involved. (The attack on the specific church was reported in April E.N.). One student, Pastor Jayantha Fernando, received a summons to court and was remanded much to the consternation of his wife Annie. (The two other pastors more directly associated with the incident never turned up at court!) Thankfully he was released after a few hours, but had to leave secretly over a back wall since the building was surrounded by angry mobs. In the light of these destructive Third Wave activities Charles wrote an article `Truth about Prayer Warfare' for a local Christian magazine, but although the editor endorsed it, all the significant references to the Third Wave activities had mysteriously disappeared from the final printed article. Such incidences highlight how real the battle is for those who hold to Biblical truths in the Sri Lankan church scene.

Despite the battles the college has continued to grow steadily attracting candidates from all over the island, including the Hill country and the South. At the end of the our first year as a college we had 8 students and most of these continued on into their second year. 9 others joined us, forming a student body of 13 Tamil speakers (11 men and 2 women) and 4 Sinhalese (1 man and 3 women). It has been encouraging to see the relationships between the students grow especially with a number of more mature and experienced students joining us.

Mannar Extension Centre
We are presently looking forward to the opening of the first ever long distance learning center, based in Mannar. An inaugural service will be held on 17th April followed by a modular course taught by Nepoleon. This center will work in close association with the local fellowship of evangelical pastors and enable BTC to serve the separatist LTTE controlled Vanni region more effectively as travel from there to Mannar is comparatively free from restrictions. Courses will be taught by local lecturers with the addition of faculty members from main campus teaching modular courses during the holidays.

This term we have found ourselves scraping the bottom a number of times and been forced to delay paying some bills. Last Friday we received the very encouraging news of an anonymous donation of 1000 pounds sterling, almost enough to see us through another month. We need to build up our support base if BTC is to continue.

Thank you for your interest in the work of Baldaeus Theological College, please pray with us over these matters and together may we see our soveriegn God build a church in Sri Lanka that will truly be to his glory and the extension of his kingdom.

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