Passing through academic ‘fire’ to serve communities

By November 14, 2018

Lebanon (MNN) – Arab Baptist Theological Seminary (ABTS) students are returning to Lebanon from their breaks and sharing how their education has impacted and deepened their ministry work.

“At the end of [the] academic year, we have the students who graduate, they return to their communities and countries to start their ministries, and at the same time, students who complete the first and second years at ABTS, they also go back home. They get some time to rest and delve deep into ministries in their communities and with their churches,” ABTS’s Loulwa El Maalouf says.

The seminary year restarted on September 8 and El Maalouf says students have been sharing about the different types of ministries they were involved in on the break.

Student Stories

Some students enrolled in an ABTS International Peace Building conference to learn how to launch peace initiatives and implement them in their country and neighborhoods.

One student from Sudan, El Maalouf says, held 14 peace initiative sessions and created two groups from what he learned at the conference.

(Photo courtesy of Arab Baptist Theological Seminary)

“He said that this helped him a lot in building relations with the people around him. He shared that before that, he did not have any close relations with people who were from different faiths and because of this initiative, back home he was able to sit with people from other religions,” El Maalouf says.

The student said there was a challenge as the curriculum in the peace building initiatives could not be directly applied. However, because of his training at ABTS, he was able to contextualize the curriculum so it would be more applicable to the Sudanese culture.

Another student from Sudan also shared about the peace building initiatives in his hometown.

“In each session, they would have youth from different religious backgrounds who would come and discuss their different topics based on their faith, and this would help them to build relations and reach out to others, and then, based on that, they would be able to do some kind of social action that is to serve their community.”

For example, one ABTS student worked with the youths attending the sessions to clean up their area. They picked up garbage and served members of the local community.

While ABTS trainings have led students to work in their own communities, sharing peace sessions and cleaning areas, they’ve also branched out to other areas in need of the Gospel.

(Photo courtesy of Arab Baptist Theological Seminary)

Whether at their own church or visiting other churches, ABTS students, being seminary students, have been asked to preach and share with other believers.

“This is due to the need of the clear Word of God that’s well-explained for the Christian communities in Sudan. It’s a big need for teachers who are well-equipped,” El Maalouf says.

“It’s encouraging to see our students were able to preach and encourage the local communities and to share from what they learned during their residential year at ABTS.”

Another student that recently returned had taken time away from ABTS during the summer vacation.

El Maalouf says the student felt overwhelmed and wanted a break.

Upon returning home, she got involved in ministry at her Church, serving children and young adults.

“Later, her local Church put [on] a prayer and fasting group that she was helping with, and at one point, this group asked her to share the Word of God with them and to explain and they had so many questions,” El Maalouf says.

“She said this incident sparked a desire in her that she knew that she had to come back to ABTS to continue her education so that she would be able to go back [and be equipped] to be able to benefit others.”

Passing through Fire

El Maalouf says ABTS knows their curriculum is challenging and often, students are unable to see families for the entire academic year.

However, “it’s about passing through fire to be able to go back and serve their communities in a way that is glorifying to God.”

(Photo courtesy of Arab Baptist Theological Seminary via Facebook)

With each module and year, students are learning how to better teach and affect their communities.

As students come from low-income households, they rely on scholarships that you can help provide.

Students contribute $100 a year towards their tuition and ABTS works to raise the additional $10,000 per student.

“This amount covers tuition fees, books, and room and board for students. Also, students who have their families, if they have their children here, we will also raise funds to support their children for schooling and room and board as well.”

Students are arriving from Syria, Egypt, South Sudan, and other nations. Help support ABTS students through prayer and financial sponsorship.

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