Recently our new Dean of Admissions, Jonathon Woodyard, was a part of a team who headed to Oahu, Hawaii, in anticipation of our new extension site there and of partnerships with Training Leaders International to help serve churches throughout the Pacific Islands. He sent the following dispatch while on the trip:
A word of encouragement as we survey the island and prayerfully explore Oahu and the desire for a Bethlehem College & Seminary extension site here.
About halfway through the trip, my wife Gina and I went to dinner with the Bethlehem students and families who are considering how the Lord might have them involved in the Islands, to talk about their thoughts. We decided to drive up the coast, see a few sites, and watch the sunset along the way to Haleiwa on the north shore. The views were stunning.
We stopped at a rocky point where we could walk out and watch the waves crash in. A few hundred yards off the point, there was a rock formation that looked like a bridge. As I looked at the formation, I noticed a man headed toward the cove with snorkel gear, a knife strapped to his leg, and a wake board. Due to the condition of the waves crashing in, I asked him if he was going into the water (he said yes) and then asked him if he knew Jesus (because it looked dangerous). He assured me he did, and I helped him down the rocks.
I rejoined our team and we all looked at this man with concern. He stood still for about 20 minutes contemplating getting into the water. Why? Because his drone had crashed and he wanted to recover it! The group asked me to go back down the rocks to ask the man to reconsider due to the rough conditions. I did. He agreed it was too dangerous, and I helped him back up the rocks and away from the water.
Once he was up, he asked me if I was from Hawaii. I said no, that we were visiting. “Why?” he asked. “We are hoping to launch a school here,” I said. “What kind?” he asked. I replied that it would be a college and seminary. His head tilted and with amazement on his face he said this: “For years I have been praying that God would start a school in these Islands to help reach people and strengthen churches.” (I’m paraphrasing.) He asked about our association, and I told him we were with Bethlehem College & Seminary. He looked at me and said, “John Piper?” The connection was clear. He went on to tell of Pastor John’s influence in his life, and we marveled at how God had orchestrated this moment.
We rejoined the group and we all laughed and smiled and talked about the needs in the Islands. Then we had a time of prayer for him and his family (his wife is pregnant) and for what God may do in the future through new relationships.
It was a joy-producing moment. And all I can say is, how sweet an experience of God’s providence.
Praise God for answering this brother’s prayer!
Chris Bruno, Ph.D.
Associate Academic Dean
- Pray for the Lord to bring together a team who will serve the Hawaiian and Pacific Islands humbly and faithfully.
- Pray for the Brunos as they transition back to Hawaii this summer and launch the ministry efforts there, and for the Greever and Haines families as they move to Minneapolis to join the faculty here.
- Pray for future students of Bethlehem College & Seminary in Minnesota, Hawaii, Cameroon, Memphis, and Rochester as they make decisions for the fall.
- Pray for current students as they finish the spring semester and make plans for this summer and beyond.