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Dear Tyndale First Team Members,
We held our annual “Thanksgiving Friday Night Dinner” at the seminary on 28 November. It was a joyful time with about 130 students, faculty, staff, families and friends in attendance. The joy experienced in this time of fellowship reminded me of the shared thanksgiving we have because of our commonly held faith in Jesus of Bethlehem. We are now preparing for finals, papers and then spending time with our families to celebrate the birth of our Savior. We hope this letter will remind you to keep Tyndale in your prayers during this special season.
We have the largest group of students to ever attend classes at Tyndale. We are very thankful for this group of people as they have brought both a seriousness and enthusiasm to the school these past three months. Please pray for our students during the period of finals and Christmas break. For many, it has been a demanding semester of classes, ministry, and adapting to a new culture both at the school and in Amsterdam. Our students will benefit from their two weeks off at Christmas.
Please also pray for our students during the January/February Term. During this period, Tyndale reverts to its original model of teaching classes in a modular setting. It is rigorous, but also allows the students to focus on one subject for a two-week period. The Winter Term is six weeks in length, broken up into three different modules lasting two weeks each.
As discussed in our September First Team letter, we are now in the beginning of our accreditation renewal year. Much has already been completed toward this process. Please continue to pray for Dr. Williams as he oversees the accreditation process for the school. We believe the accreditation team from the Dutch federal government will be on the campus sometime during the spring semester.
This fall, it was a joy to have Dr. Mark and Ruth Senter living in our community as Tyndale’s “Scholar-in-Residence.” Mark taught at Trinity Divinity School (Deerfield, IL) for over 30 years. In addition to teaching a class, he also led our October seminar, “Five Views of Youth Ministry in the Church” and held a colloquium for our Master of Divinity students. Both Mark and Ruth were involved in leading spiritual formation groups. Please pray that the examples in Christian life displayed by Mark and Ruth will have a lasting impact on the students, faculty and staff. Please also pray that the Lord would lead other pastors and scholars to live and teach with us next year.
This fall, we continued to build bridges with the international church community in Rotterdam. We worked with Scots International Church to offer a class in Bible Study Methods. This was taught by a Tyndale graduate, Bob Landon. We have had two meetings with leaders of the international church community in Rotterdam and are trying to determine how Tyndale can best serve the local church in providing Bible training. Please pray for our future students and classes in Rotterdam. Please also pray for the numerous international churches which have members from many countries. These are often led by people who have regular day jobs but also feel called to help serve the church community as pastors and church leaders. We believe Tyndale can play a role in serving the body of Christ (particularly local churches) in helping to train these bi-vocational pastors. Please also pray that we can add to the ranks of visiting professors who can help serve both in Rotterdam and at our main campus.
One of the things we are thankful for is the fact that Tyndale will celebrate its 30 th anniversary in 2015-16. In 1985 our first eight students began classes at the school. Please pray that we continue to focus on some of the original principles that guided Tyndale’s founders, including teaching the full counsel of God from His word, making disciples of Jesus and developing this international ministry that we believe the Lord has called us to. Please also pray that we are sensitive to those students whom the Lord is bringing to the school in 2015, including potential students for our Pre-English Admission program. As noted in previous First Team letters, Tyndale’s board and faculty agreed to start a special program in 2014 directed toward potential students who were qualified for graduate level studies, but for their English test scores. We have seen significant progress in the four students from Myanmar, Congo and Ukraine who are part of our first class. Please pray for them as they seek to move into our Master of Divinity program in early 2015.
We appreciate your continued prayers as we evaluate our course options at the school, including classes held during our Winter Term. We have been in contact with several pastors and professors who have expressed an interest in coming to Tyndale to teach. We seek wisdom as we start to review our programs, particularly how we can enhance our Master of Divinity program electives and tracks of emphasis. We currently offer tracks in pastoring, missions and church staff leadership. One long-term prayer request is that the Lord would provide us with the wisdom and physical energy required to re-establish modular course options at Tyndale during the summer months by 2016. These additional class offerings would not only serve our residential students, but also minister to missionaries and other students in Europe and elsewhere who desire more Bible and theological training.
We are blessed with a strong residential faculty, which now includes ten faculty members. Next year we hope to be joined by Dr. Daniel Ahn. We appreciate your continued prayers as the Ahns meet with churches and other potential supporters of their future ministry at Tyndale.
Our regular faculty continues to be sought to teach in different venues. This fall, Dr. Jim Dahl and Dr. Alex Stewart traveled to the Ukraine to teach at the Zaporozhye Bible College. Dr. Drake Williams traveled to Romania to teach at Baptist Theological Institute at Bucharest State University. In addition, Dr. Williams continues his work with Tyndale graduates from Romania and other Romanian scholars toward the publication of a New Testament Romanian Commentary Series geared toward providing strong Biblical writings for Romanian pastors and lay people.
I am asking all First Team members to pray regarding the financial support of the school during this Christmas Season. We continue to pray that the Lord would bless our efforts to reach out to new individuals and churches to share the ministry of the school and its growing impact on the global church. Please also pray that the Lord would continue to enable our long-term supporters to provide gifts to the school in addition to raising up new supporters who seek to serve the Lord through Tyndale.
Yours in Christ,
Mark Garavaglia. JD, LLM, M. Div.
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