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Published on 25 June, 2012

You can help train a Burmese pastor

Burma (MNN) — Most people wouldn't call Burma "Christian." However, God is moving across this nation. The question is: who's helping train leaders who are new in their faith in Christ? Asia Biblical Theological Seminary (ABTS) is doing just that.

ABTS is a ministry of Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The school's dean, Jim Blumenstock, says the school is located in Chiang Mai, Thailand. "We're known as a 'seminary in a suitcase' because we can travel to different countries and do education where the pastors and Bible school leaders are."

Blumenstock describes what ABTS is offering. "We have two masters degree programs accredited through Cornerstone University. These are U.S. degrees, which are highly valuable in Asia. And we do two-week module courses in six different countries."

Approximately 140 students are taking classes in these countries. "Our headquarters are in Thailand. We have two sites there and four sites in the Philippines. We also have sites in Singapore, in Burma, as well as Papua New Guinea. We just finished a cohort there with 11 graduates."

ABTS is unique in that all of the faculty are required to raise their own support, just like missionaries. Students are treated a little differently, too. "We're training people who are in third world countries and cannot afford an education, so we only charge what they can afford, which typically is less than it costs us."

Blumenstock says it costs them about $100 per credit hour. In Burma, the poorest country in which they work, students pay about $1 per credit hour. "It costs us $300 per course. So in order to continue offering our courses there, we do need some kind of ability to offer scholarships to these students."

That's where you can help. It's called the ABTS Scholarship Fund. "83% of our students cannot afford what it costs us to offer our program. If we were able to raise 120 commitments of $50 a month, we could continuously offer scholars for the 83%."

Blumenstock says the program works. He says as students graduate, they're investing in people's lives. One student is teaching Christians in Thailand and also "bringing in people from Laos as well as from Southern China. They come in for a period of time. What he's doing is teaching them ABTS classes in an informal setting."

As you provide scholarship dollars for a student, you're actually investing in a multiplication effort to train even more leaders. Click here to support the work. Make sure you select "ABTS Scholarship Fund" in the drop down box.

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