In early December, we rounded up our 15th semester of Providence Baptist College & Seminary and were pleased to have 5 teachers working together for the first time since we started in 2009. Two missionaries (Bro. Sonny McGuffee and Ms. Pat Hamburg) have joined us, along with 2 national pastors who have taught since 2013. On January 27, our 5th commencement will be held, with 9 graduating the seminary and 4 earning certificates from our Temple Baptist Institute. With these 13 added, the total of those who’ve completed training in our schools is over 100, and 36 churches have been planted so far with the graduates!
The month of November was rewarding in several ways. For our 9th Annual Great Commission Meeting at Truth Baptist Church, we had the privilege of hosting our mission board’s Field Service Coordinator for Africa, Bro. Jeremy Snipes; he taught in our seminary and also conducted the first-ever missions conference for Grace & Glory Baptist Church. Next up was an ordination service for a pastor and two of our graduates at the church that has regularly sent the most campers to our annual S.M.I.T.E., Zion Independent Baptist in Jos. According to my records, it is the 20th time that I’ve had the honor of participating in an ordination. The week following, Thanksgiving was celebrated at our house, with three American friends and families. December gave us a nice break from our regular schedule and a fulfillment of a few holiday traditions that have been developed over the years: a big breakfast on the day that our kids opened gifts from grandparents, a Christmas morning service and gift giving for the children of Truth Baptist, and a brief family retreat to an area hotel.
The year 2018 could prove to be my busiest year ever for hosting conferences and camps. Truth Baptist Church will hold the 10th Annual National Soul-Winning and Leadership Conference (SWLC) in April and the 8th Annual Student Missions Institute for Training in Evangelism (S.M.I.T.E.) in August. In February, May, and October, four regional SWLCs will be conducted, along with three regional S.M.I.T.E. camps in April, July, and August (including our first-ever in Ghana!). Over the years, the Lord has always provided for my cost of traveling to these meetings, and this year I would like to help four of the host churches with the expense of feeding the visiting delegates for their multi-day events. The average total for each of the four churches will be about $1,500. Please consider joining me in this investment to encourage church leaders and youth groups in our ever-expanding ministry of pastors’ conferences and youth camps.
Mark Holmes, written 16 January 2018