Our senior class will graduate this Saturday, May 21st. By the activity around our NTBI campus, you’d think it was tomorrow. One student put it this way on a recent Facebook post, “Ephesians test today, and several assignments and tests due as the semester winds up. Please be praying for the seniors (the class ahead of K. and me) as many of them have major life decisions to make that will affect their future and eternity!”
What kind of life decisions, you ask. Some are planning marriage over the summer months. Some are considering enrollment in colleges to get their Bachelor’s degree. Some are deciding whether to stay in the Waukesha area to work or return to their homes to seek employment.
Many of our graduates have already decided that they want to continue NTM’s training to become cross-cultural missionaries, but aren’t sure about the timing. Some wonder if they first need to establish themselves in their home churches. Some would like to continue the training this fall, but lack the finances to do so.
God has already blessed a number of our students in a very spectacular way. The school just received word that a generous financial gift was given to help students with their school bills. Because of this contribution, a number of underclass students who fell behind in their payments are now debt free. A handful of seniors who would not have received their diplomas, will now get one when they walk the aisle with their classmates on the 21st. How we praise our God for his impeccable timing and for the amazing way that he uses others to show us His goodness.
So, along with our thanks to you for your assistance in our ministry, this short note comes your way to ask you to pray:
- For our seniors as they prepare for graduation on the 21st, and for their futures.
- For the underclass students that their summer will be profitable and that they will find their way back to our campus in August to finish their studies.
- For our staff to continue to encourage our students and live exemplary lives before them.
- For all to have the energy, focus, and stamina to finish the school year well.
How fitting that the Akolet people of Papua New Guinea should hear the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection during the Easter season! Just a couple of weeks ago, like a tsunami, new life flooded onto a tiny island just off the coast of New Britain. Epic battles were waged here during WWII, but none with the eternal consequences of God warring against satanic forces for the souls of the Akolet people.
Here are just a couple of the testimonies shared by the Akolets after hearing the Easter story:
“I never understood. I never understood. But the way to be made right with God is just Jesus. There’s no other way! He didn’t ‘half’’ His work! He finished it! and said ‘Done now’ when He died. There’s nothing we can do to add to that ”
“I had heard before that the sky turned dark when Jesus died, but I had no idea what any of that meant. Now I understand. God was turning His back on Jesus because God can’t be with sin and Jesus took all our sin on Himself. Wow! I understand that now! Jesus is the only way. There’s no other way!”
Imagine how the 2 missionary families feel after 3-4 years of pouring themselves into ministry with these dear people. I wonder if either couple envisioned this day as they attended their last month of classes before graduating in 2001 and 2002, one from NTBI, Jackson, MI campus, and the other from NTBI, Waukesha, WI campus.
When our NTBI staff hears about these momentous occasions, we are reminded that we’ve had a part in the Akolet coming to faith in Christ.
That’s why we share this story with you! You too, by your prayers and your gifts to our ministry, have played a part in wrestling the Akolet people out of the deadly grip of Satan.
From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for the vital role you play in taking the Gospel to the least reached peoples of the world. May this Easter be especially meaningful to you because of this.
- For our seniors as they prepare for graduation on May 21.
- That the Akolet will grow in their faith.
1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
2 Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story—
those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
3 those he gathered from the lands,
from east and west, from north and south.
Below is a portion of an email I received from a fellow missionary who is ministering among the Dao, a people group in Indonesia. Stories like this motivate us to continue doing what we can to take the Gospel to people who are isolated from it by their language, culture and geography.
We send it to you in hopes that you will fervently pray for the “least reached” peoples of the world and those who are committed to reaching them.
For more stories, go to http://www.ntm.org/news/
Jan & Cheryl Bast
A ministry of New Tribes Mission
Paatoma sang these words to a beautiful Dao melody along with his wife and the other believers that were gathered this morning.
“Jesus, our older brother. Jesus our older brother.
He opened the eyes of those that could not see.
Jesus, our older brother. Jesus our older brother .
He brought healing to those that were sick.
Jesus, our older brother. Jesus our older brother.
He brought sanity to those that seemed insane.
Jesus, our older brother. Jesus our older brother .
He gave life to those that were dead.
Jesus, He is our older brother.
Jesus He is our older brother “
“The Creator gave me that song while you were gone to America” [Paatoma] said to us later on. “It was His gift to me as a lay in my hut one night. I heard it sung to me in a dream as I lay sleeping. When I woke up in the morning and had realized what happened I sang it for all the others in my house. The Creator gave that song to me. It was His gift to me!” he continued on almost laughing with joy as he talked.
[T]aking a black writing pen and placing it on the floor in front of him Paatoma said, “We are like this dark colored pen, our hearts darkened from all our wrongdoings; God seeing that we have done wrong as He looks at us”.
Then Paatoma took a white piece of paper and placed it over top of the black pen so that it could no longer be seen. “Jesus is like this completely clean and spotless piece of paper place over top of the pen so that we can’t see it anymore. Because Jesus has covered over our wrong doings through his sacrifice on the crossed wood, now God sees us as clean and spotless in His sight because of what Jesus has done.”
Missions is often thought of as a man’s domain. In the Bible God used many women in pivotal roles to further His plan for the salvation of mankind. The stories of Ester, Ruth, and Mary, are well known. What part do women play in modern-day missions?
A while ago, I came across the following on our NTM website.
“After many long months of hard work, missionaries Keri Pacheco and Becky Preheim were able to complete their first major translation projects. The books of Mark and Exodus were recently reviewed by two translation consultants and Mengen co-workers.”
I wasn’t surprised to learn that both Keri and Becky are alumni of New Tribes Bible Institute. Keri attended our Jackson Michigan campus from 1995-1997. Becky graduated from our Waukesha campus in 1996.
It is interesting to note that about 50% of our Bible Institute graduates are single women. Understandably, many of those single girls meet and marry single guys while they are training to become missionaries; thereby fulfilling the roles of wife and mother as well as missionary when they begin their ministry.
There are also a significant number of single women serving in New Tribes Mission. Keri and Becky are representative of the many who have found challenging and rewarding ministries in reaching tribal people with the Gospel.
NTM values the enormous contribution of all the women in our organization. We are grateful to God for the gifts that they offer in building His Church.
New Tribes Bible Institute is pleased to have a part in training young women to minister to those who have never heard the Gospel. Daily, we interact with many who will follow in the footsteps of Keri and Becky and rejoice that God will use them for His glory.
Please pray for our young women as they continue their studies here at NTBI. Ask the Lord to guide those who will graduate in just a few months.
To those of you who partner with us in our ministry, please pray for Cheryl, my dear wife, friend, and partner in ministry.
Thanks and praise to God that the qualities of Esther and Ruth are multiplied many times in the lives of Christian women today and will continue until Jesus comes again. I know that they are a reality because I have seen them lived out with my godly wife for 42 years!
Imagine our Bible School students attending classes without having books! Imagine them trying to study without being able to read or write. How well do you think they’d be able to absorb the information?
That’s a very real problem that tribal people have. Most of the cultures that NTM works with have no written expression of their languages; hence, no books and no ability to read.
One of the tasks our missionaries face is to develop an alphabet for the tribal language and then use that alphabet to translate the scriptures into the tribal dialect.
Our goal is to teach the tribal people to read so that they have the ability to study God’s Word on their own and teach others the truths of the Bible.
Here’s a quote from a recent story on NTM’s website.
“Missionary Lisa Kappeler met with the NTM language consultant in Papua New Guinea and the Uriai alphabet has been checked and approved.
“…Lisa will soon finish her culture and language study and begin preparing to teach the Uriai to read their language….”
Now, there are many non-Christian people in the world who could do what Lisa is doing. However, they wouldn’t take it to the next level, to translate the scriptures into a tribal dialect.
Without her understanding of God’s Word, Lisa would be of little spiritual value to the Uriai. She received that training from New Tribes Bible Institute and our Missionary Training program.
So, on behalf of Lisa and countless other missionaries in NTM who received their Bible education from NTBI, we thank YOU for your partnership in our ministry at New Tribes Bible Institute.
To paraphrase the Apostle, Paul, “[We] thank God upon every remembrance of you …for your fellowship in the Gospel…” Philippians 1: 3, 5a.
As I write, more than 200 students are busy either taking final semester tests or preparing for them. The fall semester tends to be a bit more difficult because of the many distractions that come at the end. There’s the 4-day weekend for the Thanksgiving holiday; the many special activities associated with Christmas, and the anticipation of the Christmas holiday and semester break. Imagine balancing your time between classes, studying, writing papers, a 20-25 hr/week job, Christmas shopping, parties, church activities, and laundry! I get exhausted just thinking about it! Fortunately, they don’t have to do their own cooking!
In spite of all that can distract our students, as a group they are doing well. Many of them are learning for the first time to budget their own time. They can no longer count on their parents to manage and prioritize their lives. Our young people are growing up, at times with the help of our staff, at times learning from one another, and at times learning by their mistakes.
The last day of classes is Thursday, December 14. Both the staff and students are looking forward to a well-deserved break. Classes will resume on January 16th.
Our students would appreciate your prayers:
- for the safety of all who will be traveling.
- for a refreshing break from school
- for opportunities to share what they are learning
As we watched 78 of our students dressed in their black caps and gowns receive their diplomas, we were reminded of 1 Corinthians 12, where Paul likened the Church to a physical body with many parts. Over the past 2 years, we have come to know a number of these students to a degree that has allowed us to get a glimpse of their spiritual gifts. We’ve begun to see how they “fit” into the mosaic we call “The Body of Christ”.
To these students you are virtually unknown. However, you have had a significant impact on their lives through your prayers and your giving. Thank you for the contribution you’ve made to equipping these students to take the Gospel to people groups who have never heard of our Savior! We are privileged to have your faithful partnership in our ministry.
Each of our graduates has spent approximately 1000 hours under the teaching of God’s Word, and we are pleased with the resulting spiritual growth. We believe that each student is grounded in the foundational truths of the Scriptures. As they leave NTBI, we are confident that each graduate will be a positive witness for Christ as they live by the strength of His Spirit. We are pleased that a majority of our graduates plan to continue training with NTM so that they can take the Gospel to those who have never heard. New Tribes Mission currently has 3200 missionaries working in 31 countries. We are involved with 245 tribes and have ongoing translation projects in over 100 languages. We rejoice that on average, NTM missionaries are reaching a new tribe with the Gospel every 45 days!
However, we are painfully aware that there are still an estimated 2200 people groups without any knowledge of the God of the Bible. That is why we take our ministry so seriously and continue to plead with the Lord of the Harvest, to send more young people to us in order to be trained. Thank you again for your partnership with us. May our Lord bless you richly as you labor for Him.
Yours for the Harvest,
Jan & Cheryl Bast
* That our graduates will discern God’s leading and timing as they move on to the next phase of their lives.
* For God to raise up a large group of new freshmen for NTBI-Waukesha and NTBI-Jackson.
* Praise: Our son, Joshua is getting settled in Kenya and his townhouse in MD was rented.
* Praise: Son Caleb found a job.
* Continue to pray for our son Arne to find work.
* Praise: The student we mentioned last month who was struck by a car is recovering well. Thanks for praying.
* Most of our returning students are back in their home areas. Pray that they will be able to find jobs that will allow them to save enough to pay their initial fees so that they can return to NTBI to finish their studies.
The spring 2008 semester has ended; most of the underclassmen are home; the senior class of 2008, all 97 of them, have graduated. A lonely silence has descended on our Waukesha campus until mid-August when the returning and new students will arrive.
The graduating class of May, 2008, is the largest ever, breaking the previous high by 15. But numbers aren’t the only encouraging fact. In an informal polling of the students, roughly two out of three indicated that they plan to be involved in foreign missions.
What impresses me most about this is that our faculty and staff go to great lengths to paint for our students a realistic picture of missions, both the good and the bad, the highs and the lows.
Here’s an example of making tribal missions real to our students. It came from a missionary family in Papua New Guinea. I’ve condensed it slightly.
We wish you could be here to experience everything that we are, during the teaching. If you could only create the same environment that we have here, it might help you experience it with us. Here’s the step-by-step process for creating your very own mock teaching setting!
- Find a large dirt area and flood it with water. Include potholes and puddles.
- For seating, get pieces of firewood. Make sure they are rough & splintered.
- Set 3 pigs, dogs, chickens, and toddlers in the middle where you will be teaching.
- Roll 25 cigarettes using newspaper and tobacco leaves; hand them to important men in the crowd. Hand out buai, (local chewing tobacco) to the men who don’t get cigarettes.
- Make sure the pigs, chickens, dogs and children use the dirt around you as a bathroom.
- Get a crazy old lady to dance and swear in the back of the crowd.
- Pair up everyone so they can pick lice from one another’s heads while listening.
- Finally, with 200 lost people around you, get ready for what God is about to do.
Thank you for your prayers and for supporting our ministry to future missionaries and Christian leaders.
Please pray for our graduates:
- that they will continue to walk with the Lord as they pursue their ministry goals.
- that others will pray for them and support them financially as you have done for us.
The Spring 2008 semester is well under way. 30 new freshman students joined us on the 11th of January for orientation. Classes began on the 14th.
Our staff is always encouraged with the help given to the new students by the upper classmen. It’s a sure sign that they are internalizing the teaching that they have received.
Despite record amounts of snow and extremely cold temperatures, New Tribes Bible Institute continues to be a cozy environment with plenty of “Son” shine for our students. We thank God for each one that the Lord brings our way.
Recently we heard from two of our NTBI alumni working in Papua New Guinea. Tony and Tara Sutton completed their studies here in 1996. In 2003 they began to live with the Inanbimali people along with 2 other couples.
On January 23rd of this year, after 5 laborious years of language study, culture study, and lesson preparation, their team began teaching the Scriptures to this tribe. 90 percent of the village was present.
In preparation for this day, the missionary team had taught the people to read. As the teaching began, the Suttons and their partners presented the village with a translation of Genesis 1: 1-25.
One of the things that amazed the Inanbimali people was that God knows everyone’s thoughts. "We saw a lot of scared looks on their faces," Tim wrote. One tribal man said, "I never knew that ‘the God’ could know my thoughts … wow, that’s power!"
Please pray for the Suttons and their partners as they continue to teach the people from God’s Word. Pray that the Inanbimali people would respond positively to the Gospel as they continue to hear it taught in their language. Pray for two tribal chiefs, Manu and Kandal, who are speaking out against the teaching (see photo above).
Once again we are reminded that the Suttons and all of our missionaries sacrificially committed themselves to years of training in order to be well equipped to teach God’s Word to people of different languages and cultures. For most, that training began with 2 years of intensive study of the Bible right here.
Thank you for your contribution to our ministry and, by extension, to the ministry of New Tribes Bible Institute. Be assured that your gifts have eternal value. Please support us with your prayers for the following:
- That we would seek to grow in our faith and personal walk with Jesus who knows our every thought and still loves us unconditionally
- That we would be effective in our ministry to both students and staff here at the Bible Institute
- That many of our students would dedicate themselves to reaching tribes with the Gospel
- That our new class of freshmen will adjust quickly to the rigorous academic schedule and will apply what they learn to their daily lives.
Yours for the Harvest,
Jan & Cheryl Bast
The year 2008 is now unfolding before us! What events will take place? We seem to be able to handle “good” when it occurs but what if calamity strikes? Will these events place fear in our hearts? Will they cause our faith to be exercised? Will we rely on ourselves and follow our “culture” or will our hearts be drawn to Christ and His kingdom? We do not have complete control of our circumstances but we can determine to make “right” choices each day.
I am feeling a little pensive as I think of this coming year. I just read that 2008 marks Israel’s 60th anniversary of the rebirth of their nation. What a year of rejoicing that will be for them, and yet they live each day facing the reality that other nations and terrorist groups desire their demise. I wonder how closely their aspirations in 1948 resemble today’s realities?
I think of my parents, pregnant with me that year, looking forward to my birth. They had survived the depression and finally hope was alive with steady employment and new life developing. Yet, there were no guarantees for them. Ten years earlier, their first child died only 6 weeks after birth.
I think of the Christian church at large in 1948 and now. Styles of worship have changed. Music has changed. We still continue to grow and the gospel is still being taken to the ends of the earth. We Christians, in the US, have tremendous opportunities to serve, to give financially, and to congregate freely without fear from the authorities. But, everyday our brethren are tortured and killed for their faith in Christ in countries hostile to the Gospel. Do we suffer with those who suffer; would we be ready to face hardship because of our faith in Christ?
Nothing in life is certain for us. What I desire may never come to fruition. But, that’s OK with me. I am learning that Christ, who is my life, is planning my path and He knows what is best for me. Soon, He will have given me 60 years to know Him better in preparation for eternity. He has given me precious promises to anchor me everyday to His steadfastness. He has given me a wonderful husband and family and brothers and sisters in Christ who have been by our side for many, many years. How could I even begin to express my gratitude for those who have prayed with and for us for so many years? I am truly blessed and I would not trade the path I’ve walked for any other.
I have regrets, some; made wrong choices, many; a sin nature, without a doubt. Nevertheless, each day I endeavor to forget what is past and keep straining for what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Phil 13:13-14)
This year my prayer for each one of you, dear ones, is that you would rather have Jesus than what this world has to offer. It is the only sure hope we have today. I am quoting for you the words to a wonderful hymn that speaks truth to our hearts.
"The words to this beautiful song came from a poem written in 1922 by Rhea F. Miller. George Beverly Shea wrote the music. According to the late evangelist Jack Wyrtzen, George’s mother had placed the poem on the family piano so George would see it when he returned home after receiving a lucrative singing offer in the secular world. After reading the poem, he chose to serve the Lord and wrote the music to this famous and beautiful hymn. Bev Shea will be 99 in February. And as of this writing, he is still singing." 1
I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold,
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands,
I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand.
Than to be the king of a vast domain
Or be held in sin’s dread sway,
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame,
I’d rather be true to His holy name.
1. Thomas C. Simcox, Making Melody in Your Heart (Isreal My Glory Jan/Feb 2008), 25