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What a special graduation was experienced this past Saturday, January 14th at the Bible Institute of Baptist Medical Dental Mission, located just outside of Diriamba, Nicaragua, on the beautiful campus that God has provided! Four men and three women graduated from the entry-level, three-year program and four of our BMDMI pastors graduated from the two-year, post grad program.
Two of the four men who graduated from the three-year program are already pastoring churches. One of them, Eugenio Lopez, is our youngest pastor. Eugenio grew up in our church in the village of Mata de Cana and is blessed to have two godly parents who also now part of his flock.
Two of the three ladies who graduated are sisters and the third is their cousin. All came initially from our BMDMI church in the village of Israel. Eugenia, the mother of the sisters and the aunt of the third, walks with the Lord as few people I have ever known. This mother and aunt told me after the graduation that her goal is for all of her family to come to know Jesus. She is almost there, lacking only one of her sons. When I think of this dear saint, I am reminded of the influence that Timothy's godly mother (Eunice) and grandmother (Lois) had on his life. May her tribe increase.
We were blessed to have approximately five-hundred in attendance even though one of our buses transporting church members from the area of Leon broke down en route with seventy people on board. Surely everyone present was a special guest but we were also blessed to have some extra-special guests in the persons of BMDMI President Dwight Carr and his wife Margaret, BMDMI Board members Jason Green and Tony Waits and his wife Tracy, Team Captain Glenn Howell and his new wife Nell. In addition BMDMI missionaries Mike and Marty (and daughter Maddy) Edwards, Chad and Nikki Williams, and Marina Calderon travelled from Honduras to be with us as well as a large contingent from the Thomas Herrington Bible Institute in Honduras.
Another extra-special visitor was our guest preacher, Dr. Larry Delay, from Bixby, Oklahoma, who is also a Team Captain. Two days before the graduation, Dr. Delay taught brought a second conference to our BI students and BMDMI pastors that covered the second half of Henry Blackaby and Claude King's book Knowing and Experiencing the Will of God. Many years ago, this wonderfully practical, well-illustrated study had a major impact on my life and that of my wife Cathey and was used of the Lord greatly to direct us into fulltime missionary service. This study has also had a significant impact on the lives of many of our students and pastors. One of our graduates, a primary school teacher and wife of one of our pastors, shared at the conference how she and seven other ladies from her church are doing this study together at 5 AM every Sunday.
Several graduates and students asked this past week if there will be any other programs of study offered through the BI in the future. This kind of desire by our students is great motivation to continue to expand the offerings of the BI and the quality of education they receive.
As seen in the photos, our graduation is held in a tent. Our next construction goal for the BI is the building of a tabernacle that will give us a place inside, out of the wind and rain, to hold special events like the graduation, Bible conferences, evangelistic campaigns, association of churches meetings, etc. We also feel that this tabernacle is a necessity for the BI as we expand and offer perhaps a fulltime program and a BA degree in Biblical Studies.