First There Was One, Then Two, And Now Three
by Dr. Merle Messer
When we started, year one, we had one class in Donetsk that was taught on a Bachelor’s level to existing students of a previous seminary. Then, in year number two, we added a second level of studies, called the Certificate Class. Now, in year number three the RITE Board has approved adding a third level of classes on a Masters Level.
The reason for adding this new class was because some of our students showed a concern almost immediately after starting classes about continuing their education on a higher level. When new students come to the International Reformed Seminary of Donetsk they are not reformed in their theology. Most of them change during their time of studying with us. When they change their thinking about Scripture, their thinking about church and life also changes. For some, the change starts early, for others it is later. This leads to why the RITE Board voted to have another program. Five of our graduates want to continue their studies on the Master’s degree level and they are uniquely suited to do so. On this level we will be requiring a lot of research to be done by the students between classes. Each professor who goes over to teach on this level will assign at least one research paper to be done before the professor arrives. We will give each of these students enough good reformed books to do this type of work. Each professor will be given a list of the books the students have so that the research assignments can be done with the tools the students have. The lectures will be on an advanced level as well.
Eight of our students graduated in May. These students were given credit for courses taken in a previous seminary, yet it hardly seems as if we have been open long enough to see some of them graduate. Each of these students are active in their churches in one way or another. Several of them are involved in starting a reformed church. Since they have made the theological journey to the reformed faith, it is truly a blessing that we can have some of them awhile longer to strengthen them in their understanding of theological issues. Others will be carving out their niches in their respective callings. It is amazing how the Lord has carried us along through these first two years. Our second year is complete and we started our third year in August.
Everyone has given very good reports about the second translator we hired. Yana has fit into our program flawlessly. The professors and students all enjoy working with her. Yana’s easy smile and willingness to help has helped tomake the Certificate Class work out very well. Yana also did a lot of work to make our graduation a success.
My, my, as we start our third year of operation, who could have anticipated all that was going to happen in just two years. We have lost two students to untimely deaths, have added quite a few new students, seen a new church start, started a newsletter and we are starting a third class. The Lord has supplied both professors and funding to do all that He put in our hearts to accomplish. The Lord surely is in this work. Let us pray that it will continue in a fashion that is pleasing to our Lord and Savior. Right now we have forty-one students enrolled for September. Natasha has had to turn away several very good students because we just do not have the room for them. We truly need a larger place to meet for classes if we want to educate those who so desire to study in a reformed seminary. We are also having a problem with the dorm that we rent. When we started we were paying 7 gr a day per student, then they went to 10 gr a day, now it is up to 15 gr a day plus they do not want to accommodate the numbers of students that we presently have. It is less expensive for us to rent an apartment to house students than it is to rent space in the dorm. The dorm requires us to pay for four students per room whether we have four or not. That adds even more costs for our program.
If anyone reading this newsletter can help us financially please feel free to contact any of us on the Board to more information. Your help is surely needed.
Your Servant, Merle Messer