February 5th was D-Day for our project-in-making of the past two and one-half years. On that date we would hopefully start using the New Testament Bible History Illustrated course at Sydney Bible Baptist College. The goal was to finish all possible on the formatting, proofreading and arranging of the textbook for the course. I started writing it at the beginning of the process. Out of the thirty lessons to be edited and made into DVDs, I set a goal of 15 which would allow me time to finish the other fifteen during the school year and keep ahead of the classes. Then, the Workbook with review questions from which quizzes would be made, class sheets to fill out during the viewing of the DVD would need to be in place, at least some of them. The Supervisor’s Manual would also have all class materials with answer keys.
The Christian friend formatting the book did a big hunk of the work before he had to stop to do other things. As a result we desperately needed help to carry on that work (unless we just gave out our simple draft notes).
The Lord in His unique way brought people to help us. Two Australian pastors who were good with the Publisher computer program on which the work was being done did some valuable formatting work as did two girls from the Arabic churches here. I wrote the pastor of my sending church in El Dorado, Kansas, and the icing on the cake came with the secretary (of that same church we established in Kansas 53 years ago) stepping into the gap to finish off the formatting work with the Pastoral and General Epistles. I had formatted James but didn’t have the time or strength to do any more. A Bible college student who is a graphic artist did the work on a nice cover insert for the notebook that would hold the material as it was completed during the year. The book will be printed and properly bound in the future.
The first two weeks of school in February were hectic, and we wondered if we could ever get through what we needed to do. Kathleen was working long hours every day proofreading, then coming in and working with me to correct the Publisher documents as well as the other materials that needed correcting.
The first college class started with 12 students taking the first quiz. The first Monday evening Extension School session was held on the college premises and ended up with 42 in attendance counting one new man who joined late! That really excited us! Among them were many from the two Arabic churches I’ve pastored in the past, including one of the pastors and his wife!
Maybe it seems to you that this is all a lot of “fuss” about so little! Certainly it is little, but I have found in 56 years of preaching that little things representing holy desires, sacrifice and effort can be used of God, sometimes in big ways in the long term. God put the desire in my heart to do this project in a stage of my life which would be the biggest challenge I had ever faced. The physical ills caused me to wonder many times if I could ever finish the project. All of the typing, camera work for filming the lectures, computer work on editing the films and making the DVDs were done with my one feeble eye and fingers that entertain arthritis in its beginning stages. Many days the chronic fatigue led me to question the entire project. But God! He is faithful Who will do it!
Many friends here were praying for us and encouraging us. Many friends across the seas were holding us up in prayer to be able to finish something small that was very important to us! So all the fuss about this “little thing” could be justified, I believe! Three other churches here have also started running the course. All we have to do is to keep up the momentum on the materials and finish them off before they are needed. Kathleen and I are running the College course plus two nights of the evening extension schools each week. Thanks to all of you for praying for this “little project” and helping create all this fuss about so little!