LETTER FROM SAMUEL BERBERIAN – From June to October, 2011
As we conclude another year of academic activities at the Frederick Crowe Institute, we can see the progress of the students, whether adolescents or adults. This year we had 96 students in the weekday program, and 30 in the Saturday program. Several are pastors’ children, whose parents have been very grateful for the good formation their children have received. As they are sponsored, some of you have made possible their studies. Thank you.
FROM THE FREDERICK CROWE INSTITUTE TO THE UNIVERSITY. Pastor Gerber García (picture on the right) who graduated last year, is finishing his first year of Psychology at the university, being one of the best students, thanks to the preparation he received. He commented that having learned to investigate in the library and the habit of turning in papers on time, made it easier to study in the university. His wife told me: “The first to benefit from our studies are the members of our congregation.”
FROM THE GARBAGE DUMP TO THE UNIVERSITY. Hector graduated from the Saturday program in 2004, (picture on left). He had a full scholarship because he was born and raised in the garbage dump in Zone 3. During the 3 years he studied with us, he married, formed his home, and learned to repair computers to earn a decent wage. After graduating from high school, he felt in his heart to help youth in danger and in conflict, and with his wife they organized a non profit organization. To do a good job, he signed up at the university, and now he is completing fourth year of Business Administration. This year, in the Saturday program for adults (18 or above) there are four young people from the program he is directing. It is wonderful to see him, as if he was their father, checking up on them and how goes their studies. This is the fruit of the faithfulness of many of you to sponsor needy students.
DOULOS FOUNDATION. I am thankful to God for the Board of Doulos Foundation, for their help every moment; we meet the first Wednesday of each month for breakfast. I also appreciate the members of the Foundation; they are very busy people, but they generously back us up as professionals.
PANAMERICAN UNIVERSITY. As Dean of Theology we are closing the year of studies Nov. 24, and we are in full promotion for the New Year that begins January 21. Remember that our school year begins mid-January and ends in November. We are asking the Lord to send us students motivated to serve the Lord, with desire to prepare themselves. It is a joy to provide help to each student according to their need.
MINISTRY IN THE CHURCHES. Each weekend I am preaching in different churches in the capital and surrounding areas, and sometimes in the interior or out of the country. In June I travelled with my son-in-law, Iván, to San Pedro La Laguna, Sololá (facing Atitlán lake) for a special event (see picture top left). In July I travelled to México to share in the International Convention of Pastors of the Centers of Faith, Hope and Love. In August I was in Cobán for three conferences in a pastoral actualization with Nazarene pastors. In September, with my wife, we travelled to Patzicía for a special service in the church called “House of Prayer”. In October, with Martha we shared at a couples’ dinner in a Central American church in Colinas de Minerva. October 23rd we shared about the Role of the Father, the Role of the Mother in the Training of the children, in a joint meeting of leaders of Church of God Full Gospel, near Boca del Monte. October 9th I had the priviledge of baptizing my grandson Daniel, at his request.
Thanks, dear friends, for praying for our ministry, which is priority. Thanks also for investing in our work as the Lord leads you to do so. If you need a tax receipt, please use the enclosed envelope, and write your check to CMM. If you don’t need a receipt, you may make direct deposits into our Bank of America account number 9010 00668613 to the name of Samuel Berberian. God bless you abundantly! I would love to hear from you.
LETTER FROM MARTHA BERBERIAN – From May to October, 2011
The years are passing by so fast. Last Sunday I turned 67 and to celebrate it we played the piano with three generations! Elizabeth, Daniel (age 12), and I. I was 33 when we arrived in Guatemala, you can see the picture when I taught music at the Calvary Bible Training Center, with two of my piano students, Julio Sosa and Luis Morales. It has been a blessing to invest in the lives of young (and not so young) people in our dear Guatemala.
MINISTRY OF TEACHING. At the Panamerican University, School of Theology, I taught Alternative Techniques of Teaching in second trimestre, to the second year students, using my book Enseñando con Eficacia (Teaching with Efficiency). One of my students is using the book to teach a similar course in his church, his first formal teaching experience. At present I am teaching Introduction to Pedagogy to the first year students, at the Central Campus, Zone 16 on Thursdays and Naranjo Campus, Mixco on Saturdays, 18 students per group. I see in them potential to teach formal courses in their churches, or become university teachers in the near future. Even though the course says “pedagogy” the focus is really the formal teaching of youth and adults. On June 25 I gave a conference to Nazarene school and Sunday school teachers presenting “The 10 characteristics of teachers that impact their world.” My grandson, Andy, age 16, accompanied me, filmed the conference and helped me with the book table. (Thank you, Andy!)
WRITING, PUBLISHING AND EDITING. Since October 2008 til now there were over 8,000 visits to my web site for writers: www.ComoSerEscritorGuatemala.blogspot.com It is a blessing that people in various parts of the world are reading the capsules. The last one was on: “The use of the interview to write history.” In July we did a revised edition of the book En Busca del Cónyuge (In Search of a Life Partner), a useful tool for teenagers. October 15 I formally presented to the autor, Dr. Edgar Menéndez (Rector of the Nazarene Seminary), his first book, Desafíos para el Ministerio en un Mundo Complicado (Ministerial Challenges in a Complicated World). I worked with Edgar chapter by chapter as editor, and I am very pleased with the eight deep but very practical chapters. Also in October we published a brand new book written by a Christian banker, Saúl Contreras Hernández, titled: 12 Principios para salir de la pobreza (12 Principles to rise out of poverty), with only 24 pages, but a great and useful content.
FAMILY: Susy has been a substitute teacher for two months at Christian Academy of Guatemala, and is expecting her fourth child for April 2012. Lisa is elementary coordinator at CAG, her four children study there, and on Saturdays she is studying School Administration in the university. Steve and his family came down in September for a delightful week; his many patients keep him super busy in Houston. In the picture below I am with my twin brothers, Jim and Joe, Pennsylvania, 2009. I am the eldest of five. Do you notice how small I appear next to them? Ha! In Guatemala I am considered tall!!!
SPECIAL EXPERIENCES: May 20th I was invited, with two students who graduated from our Frederick Crowe Institute, to participate in a one hour radio program on Radio Voz Evangélica de América. The program, called “The Healthy Home” is directed by Luis Morales Orellana (my student back in 1978). We discussed the importance of education to have a healthy home. The two graduates from the IFC adult program, Boris and Felipe, shared their experiences as adults studying high school. I presented four excuses many give not to study: “If I didn’t study, you shouldn’t either.” “Work is more important than study.” “To serve the Lord you only need anointing of the Holy Spirit.” “I don’t have money to study, I am poor.” I talked about the scholarships available for low income students, and how a home is more stable when both parents have completed at least high school.
Proverbs 19:17 says: “He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done.” I invite you to consider sponsoring a student at IFC in 2012. $270 per year, and you can send it in installments.
Your sister in Christ, Martha Saint-Berberián Berberians
GENERAL NEWS AND UPDATE ON BUILDING SITUATION
Samuel Berberian, April 19, 2011
Dear beloved friends,
At the Panamerican University my contract as Dean of Theology was renewed for another five years for which I am thankful. I have some 26 teachers under my responsibility, and I am glad to see older teachers hanging in there with excellence, and some newer, younger teachers doing a fine job. My salary covers about 50% of our expenses, for which we are very thankful. And the difference comes from our prayer partners who contribute as they are able, in various parts of the world. Thank you, dear friends, for investing in Guatemala, especially for praying.
I have had unique experiences recently. For example, mid March I was contacted by Prensa Libre staff, Guatemala’s largest daily newspaper, inviting me to write a weekly column in their Sunday paper (two pages long), for their section called Opinion, on page 21. Feeling that God was guiding this, I accepted, and the first column came out March 20. It has been a blessing to receive positive comments even from total strangers, saying how the column has helped them understand, for example, about forgiveness. You can access the column by going into the web site, www.PrensaLibre.com
Another unique experience was to participate in the 25th anniversary of the pastor of a Nazarene church way out in San Marcos, not far from Southern Mexico. Rev. Enna Giron-Ríos was my student at the Nazarene Theological Seminary almost thirty years ago, when she was single, determined to answer God’s call to enter the ministry, but having many obstacles blocking her way, including the fact that she was a woman. She founded the church 25 years ago, and raised up a solid church. She married in San Marcos and has three children. It was a joy to see her church, her family, and remember her as a determined student.
I have the personal obligation to inform you on how things have advanced about the buying of our building here in downtown Guatemala City. On March 16th we were able to pay the $5,000 dollars to initiate the process with the owner of the property (thanks to donations sent from Kentucky, Kansas, Virginia, Argentina, France, California and Texas).
Also we are in the final phase of the paper work to obtain the mortgage from the bank, BanRural, with monthly payments to the bank for 20 years. In this phase we are praying and asking God to give us 10 people, organizations or churches, who can help us with $65.00 dollars a month, to help pay the mortgage. Three have signed up already, and three more with smaller monthly donations. Of course, God never looks down on the widows’ mite; whatever amount before the eyes of God and before our need, has an eternal value. We invite you to consider a monthly gift for one year, as a start. Let us know your decision as God guides you.
Once the building is ours, we will be enlarging the classrooms, and eventually adding a third floor. May God bless you for being a part of this project, and personally, in a periodic way, I will be informing you of how things are, so that you, united with us in prayer, can rejoice in the faithfulness of eternal God, that until today has never failed.
For an income tax receipt, send your check to CMM, P.O. Box 7705, Charlotte, North Carolina 28241, with our name on the envelope (or inside). For a touch of humor, here’s a picture of me teaching in 1980! In a blue suit! I count it a privilege to teach and train Guatemalan leaders.
Always holding on to the hand of God, and counting on the solidarity of the people of God, we are at your service with a grateful heart. Your friend,
Dr. Samuel Berberian, founder
THE MINISTRY OF TEACHING.
At the PANAMERICAN UNIVERSITY School of Theology, we have new students since January, and I taught one group at the main campus in Zone 16 on Techniques of Research. Surprisingly, this group has five couples who are studying theology together! In the Saturday group there are new students sign up each year to studytwo couples. In a country where 30% of the population can’t read or write, and many pastors have only a junior high education, it is a joy to see theology, many who have a second profession. The lady behind me on left is a medical doctor. Next to her is a young girl, whose father was my student 30 years ago! About half of our students are either pastors or leaders in their churches.
Do you remember this picture of Pastor Boris Mendoza from the last newsletter? He graduated from our high school last November, and when I walked into the classroom in January, there he was in first year of theology! He is in the center back of the larger Saturday group. Several of the older students have told me that returning to the classroom has been difficult for them, but they were trying their best. So besides the course on learning to write formal research papers, I throw in tips about study, reading, agenda management, etc. And via e-mail I write letters to inform and motivate them. They are also sending homework via e-mail. It costs the students $55 dollars a month to study and even so, some have a hard time to pay it, forcing some to drop out.
HISTORIOGRAPHY PROJECT Dr. Clifton Holland visited from Costa Rica and Sam and I organized a session April 14th to help get the ball rolling in collecting information and writing the history of the evangelical church in Guatemala. God has done marvelous things in this country, and we have several mega churches, though very little has been documented. As brother Cliff said: “If we don’t study our history and its flaws we will repeat our mistakes.” We invite you to pray for this new project. I invited Cliff to teach my Saturday class on research techniques, with the 4th year students joining in. It was a well-spent hour and a half.
WRITING AND PUBLISHING.
My new book, out mid January, has been of much help in my courses. It is being used in other universities also, and 360 books have been sold in three months. I plan to write a course on Introduction to Pedagogy, to fill another need for textbooks in Guatemala. Books published by Ediciones SA BER and selling well are: Cómo Predicar, Enseñando con Eficacia, and Sam’s Hablando de Frente.
Susy is kept busy with her three little ones. Lisa continues working at Christian Academy of Guatemala, with school out end of May, and studying School Administration at the University on Saturdays. Steve continues taking care of lots of patients in his clinic and at various hospitals in Houston. I am very thankful for my Mom and Dad, Phil and Ruth Saint, who with their example motivated me to Christian service. Here is a picture of them from 1980.
1 John 3:17-18 “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”
Your sister in Christ, Martha Saint-Berberian