Odisha Bible School
Sept. 12, – Oct. 2, 2019
The MTM vision of teaching faithful men who will be able to teach others also resonates in my heart in a greater way after the Odisha Bible School in India the last 3 weeks. I was extremely blessed to be a part of this year’s Bible School here in the state of Odisha. There were 31 men here for this Bible School; along with the 4 dear pastors who organize and make it all happen.
This is the 4th year for this yearly Bible School and my first time here. I will be leaving part of my heart as we start our long journey back to PA in just a few hours. Many of the men are pastors and church leaders. Others were seriously minded men who the four pastors/organizers handpicked to come. There was a good variety of ages with several older men, the oldest being 64, and young men in their 20s. God was plowing on many of their hearts throughout our time here. We saw many tears and heard many testimonies of things God was revealing to them from the 1st day of class to the last. What a blessing it was to be a part of what God was doing these many days in those dear brothers’ lives. There is really nothing that compares to being co-laborers with Christ in this way.
I was also a co-laborer with Pastor Raymond Burkholder and Pastor Orval Graybill. We each had a 1½ hour class per day taught through a translator. My topic I titled, “Lessons From the Kings.” I began with the foundation of God being Israel’s King, prior to Saul, but the Israelites wanted a man as king so they could be like all the other nations of the world. I built upon that foundation by preparing a 16-foot-long time line, that my wife and I made, starting from Saul thru all the kings of Israel and Judah and ending with the KING of kings and the LORD of lords. Time did not allow me to get through all the kings but hopefully I whetted their appetites for study on their own. I used events in the kings’ lives to make practical applications for the people of God today.
Pastor Orval went through the book of 1st Timothy expounding on Paul’s letter to Timothy, the elder to the younger. And Pastor Raymond’s class was titled, “Profiles of Faith and Folly from the book of Genesis.” He compared the faith of Abraham and the folly of Lot, the faith of Jacob and the folly of Esau, and the faith of Joseph and the folly of his brothers. The three topics seemed to blend together very well. To GOD be the glory.
Please remember the Christians in India in your prayers, as it is getting increasingly difficult to be a real Christian without going to prison. They are experiencing a real political climate that separates the doer from the hearer, the hot from the lukewarm, and the wheat from the tares. Pray that they would be “wise as separates and harmless as doves.” And pray that God will fight for them, as He did for the kings of Israel and Judah when they cried out to HIM for HIS help against impossible situations.
Editor’s Note; Steve Clark is one of the pastors at Joy Christian Fellowship in Ephrata PA. Steve and his wife Debby were both born and raised in the Seattle, WA area and were both from non-Christian homes. They have had an interesting walk of faith from the time of conversion through some Protestant churches to where they are at now. They served in Ghana West Africa for six years with Charity Missions. Steve is also the board chairman for All-Nations Bible Translation and Debby is a home birth mid-wife. Debby was not able to come on this trip to India because of a grand baby due over the time. May the Lord reward you openly for your labor of love among all the OBS students. Thank you & blessings to the max.
Testimony from Pastor Orval Graybill
I was blessed to have been part of the three-week Bible school at Odisha, India. I served as a guest teacher and ministered from my pastoral experience from the book of first Timothy. I rejoiced to see young men, some pastors, and older men wanting to serve God in a pastoral role. The many questions they asked me told me that they were listening attentively. There were many new commitments made during those three weeks. I rejoice to know that God’s word will not return void but will accomplish that which I please. If you want to be stretched there is a need for mature men to be involved in kingdom work in Asia through MTM. Praise His Name!
Editor’s Note; Orval Graybill is pastor at Susquehanna Mennonite Church, which is part of the Keystone Mennonite Fellowship. Orval has served as pastor for over 40 years. Orval, his wife Jean, & his daughter Glenda, were blessed to be able to serve the men at Odisha Bible school. May the Lord richly bless you and reward you openly for preaching the Word of God and sharing from your many years of pastoral experience. Thank You.