Progress report – December 2022
On November 21 2022, Clarkston Bible Institute partnered with Clarkston International Bible Church and other church ministries to conduct our third totally free Youth Apologetics Conference. This time we had approximately 60 students present from 10:00 A.M. – 7:00 P.M. The students were totally engaged by the topic, “What does it mean to be a man or woman of God?” We attacked the gender issue head on from the Bible. One of the high school girls we met was from Pakistan. She told us when she was born her father tried to kill her because he wanted a boy. Her mother fled with her and ended up in Thailand. They have been in the United States and Clarkston area about five years. She has become a vibrant Christian.
On December 3 2022, we had our fifth graduation celebration, and eleven students graduated. It was streamed, and the video is available at www.cibcfamily.com on the home page. This was a special and unique class.! In March 2020, we were forced to teach our class online as a result of COVID. Through that experience, we were forced to learn much about Zoom. As a result, we learned how to teach the fourth class with in person students and online students simultaneously. For this past class, we had people from Milwaukee, WI; Indianapolis, IN; Des Moines, IA; San Antonio, TX; Ft. Worth, TX; Kansas City, KS; and Warner Robins, GA, in addition to those in the Atlanta area. This enabled people to be trained who had no classes available to them locally with the exception of the student from the Ft. Worth area. I doubted before this class that life-on-life discipleship could happen with remote training, but this class has shown me that it can. As a testament to the bonding that took place between the students and our teachers, the graduates wanted a live graduation. Graduates came from Des Moines, IA; Indianapolis, IN; Ft. Worth, TX; and Warner Robins, GA, because they wanted to meet our teachers in person.
I have been praying that God would enlarge our territory, but I had no idea how God was going to do it. Our goal would be for these graduates to begin classes in these cities as one way to enlarge our territory.
We have a graduate from our first class who is serving full-time with Africa Inland Mission in Chad, West Africa. From our third class, we have a woman and her husband serving full-time ministering to Somali Bantus in Nairobi, Kenya. Bantus don’t even have a written language. This couple is helping with others to develop a written language and to provide illustrations for that language.
From that same class, a Burmese graduate, who was a pastor of a Karenni (dialect) church in Warner Robins, has decided to serve the lord full-time in Thailand ministering to Burmese refugees. The plan is for he and his family to move to Thailand this summer. That means the current graduate from Warner Robins is to become the pastor of the Karenni church in his place.
A graduate from our fourth graduating class married a man who was ministering in Nepal. They left this week to serve the Lord full-time in Nepal.
We are now seeing that God is expanding our borders, and the ministry and influence of Clarkston Bible Institute is growing globally. To God be the glory!
In addition, a new Burmese teacher has joined us and will begin teaching next school year.
Our Board decided that we will not begin classes again until August 2023 to get back on the normal school schedule, August – June. This will also allow us more time for recruiting students.
Terry Sparks – Executive Director
Progress report – July 2022
Even though we were not able to begin classes as planned in August 2021, we began January 10, 2022 with eleven eager students. Eight of those are Burmese, two are African American, and one is a white American. One of the Burmese even moved from Milwaukee to Clarkston to attend class.
During the school year 2019 – 2020, we had a pastor who lived in Burma (Myanmar) come to the Clarkston area to attend Clarkston Bible Institute. He was very eager to learn, engaged and spoke good English. We were all excited to help him. He returned to Burma to set up small groups in his church. A few months ago, he sent me an E-mail to tell me that his uncle Samuel in Charlotte, who is a pastor, would be contacting me.
Samuel, called to tell me that he would like to start something like Clarkston Bible Institute in Charlotte. He said he would like to meet me and my wife and invited me to speak in his church. Sondra and I visited his church on May 22, and delivered the the Sunday sermon.
Samuel is theologically trained and pastored in India and Tokyo, Japan before coming to Charlotte five years ago. At that time, he began Charlotte Chin Christian Church. There were about 200 people present, 100 of whom were youth. The music was great, and the church was full of enthusiasm and excitement. They even have their own building with exciting plans for expansion.
This is all very exciting to me because one of my dreams is to expand training like Clarkston Bible Institute to other refugee resettlement areas in the United States. Charlotte would be the first. I came away from our Charlotte visit very encouraged that Samuel is the kind of person who could begin Clarkston Bible Institute there after attending Clarkston Bible Institute himself during our next school year. We learned while there that there are 5,000 Burmese living in the Charlotte area, 3,000 of which are Chin (dialect). Samuel would have the advantage of being able to conduct the training in the Burmese language, which we can’t do yet.
During the last month, the Karenni (dialect) speaking Burmese had a big meeting in Des Moines, Iowa in which one representative from each Karenni church in the United States was invited. The purpose of the meeting was to find out how each church is progressing and make plans for helping the churches that need assistance. Two of the key speakers for that meeting are Clarkston Bible Institute graduates. One, Peter Na, graduated with David. The other, Hsaw Reh, graduated last June.
Six of our eight current Burmese students attended that meeting. Peter Na is pastor of the Karenni church in Warner Robins, and Hsaw Reh is the pastor of the Atlanta Karenni church.
In addition, Peter Na is currently in Thailand preparing for to move his family to there next summer to minister to Burmese refugees in Thailand. One of our current students, who is a leader in the church Peter pastors in Warner Robins, will become the new pastor to replace Peter in Warner Robins.
2nd Youth Apologetics Conference. April 2022
During the last two days of spring break, we had the second totally free Youth Apologetics Conference. We had 70 – 80 youth present April 7 – 8. As a result of a survey after the first youth conference, we learned Clarkston youth wanted to discuss the truth about other religions, evolution, and sexual relationships.
The first day after a time of worship, the youth pastor of Clarkston International Bible Church talked about What is Truth. That and each session was followed by a panel discussion responding to their questions. After lunch I led a session on What is the Truth About Evolution. One of the pastors in Clarkston led a sensitive session on What is the Truth About Sexual Relationships to end day one.
The next day after worship began with a session on What is the Truth About World Religions. After lunch , that was followed by a session on What is the Truth About Islam. The conference wrapped up with a session on What is the Truth About Hinduism and Buddhism followed by wrap-up and conclusion.
The conference was very well received, and the youth have requested another conference during Thanksgiving break. At this time, we are thinking of separating the boys and the girls and discussing What It Means To Be A Man or A Woman.
Terry Sparks – Executive Director
Progress report – December 2021
Our institute began in August 2017 with the purpose of providing Bible training and mentoring in a culturally diverse environment for the purpose of multiplying spiritual leaders. Our dream has been in one year’s time to provide the theological foundation and practical ministry experience to set our graduates up for a lifetime of ministry.
Since our school began, we have been blessed to graduate 37 students! We had another great school year for 2020 – 2021, and we were making continued progress and building momentum. Even in spite of COVID-19, we graduated nine quality students for the school year 2020 – 2021 and were able to continue live classes throughout the school year.
However, everything has seemed to change since COVID-19, and unfortunately, COVID-19 has impacted us as well. We were not able to do our normal recruiting, and the pipeline was dry when we tried to begin the 2021 – 2022 school year in August as planned.
We have had many inquiries, but not enough students who want to attend class in person have registered. We have had great interest from potential students who want to attend remotely using Zoom.
Our board and faculty do not feel called to just provide classes remotely by Zoom. However, we are perfectly willing to continue to conduct Zoom classes simultaneously with live classroom teaching.
We are hoping and praying to begin classes on January 10, 2022. Please pray with us for more in person students. In addition to serious recruiting while we wait, our board asked what other ways we can accomplish our organizational purpose. We had three ideas, which we have begun implementing:
- One of our board members said the youth in his church were asking why the Bible is so difficult to understand. We decided to partner with Clarkston International Bible Church to conduct a Youth Apologetics Conference for people ages 12 – 24.
- To conduct a monthly meeting with our alumni pastors to encourage them, answer their questions, and to pray together. We had our first meeting on October 15 and are scheduled again to meet on December 3rd.
- At least quarterly to invite ethnic pastors to join our alumni pastors meeting. We are presently busy collecting contact information for ethnic pastors in and around Clarkston so we can invite them to attend an alumni pastors meeting early in 2022
1st Youth Apologetics Conference (Nov 2021)
We conducted the Youth Apologetics Conference on Monday and Tuesday, November 22 – 23, while the youth were on Thanksgiving break. We were praying for 50 youth to attend. Including the adult helpers, there were nearly 80 people present.
On Monday morning, there was a presentation about how we received the Bible and why we believe it is the Word of God followed by a panel discussion answering questions. On Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, I conducted an Old Testament Walk Thru. On Tuesday afternoon there was a presentation on why the Old Testament is important followed again by a panel discussion.
We are very delighted to share with you that according to the evaluations we received six youth prayed to receive Christ, eleven youth made another commitment, which will result in lasting life change, and ten youth made a commitment to read the Bible and pray for 40 days. God did abundantly beyond what we could ask or think! The youth requested another conference, and we are trying to determine when we can have it when the youth are not in school. Clarkston Bible Institute absorbed the cost of the materials for the youth conference.
Terry Sparks – Executive Director
Progress report – 2018
We are excited to report that we have accepted applications from three Burmese pastors in the area and approved them as students for the new school year beginning July 30, 2018. We also have received four applications from men currently living in Myanmar and have accepted them as students for the new school year.
Terry Sparks – Executive Director