Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Letter from Sam Berberian - April 26, 2009

From Sam and Martha Berberian
P.O. Box 1602, 01901 Guatemala, Central America

Telephone: 011 (502) 2478-0634 (home)
Fax: 011 (502) 2443 6582 (home)

Making a difference through preaching, teaching and writing. April 26, 2009
Dear Friends,

After going over my agenda since November, and seeing the diversity of ministry, I remember what I prayed when I was a newly converted teenager: Lord, make me useful! That is a dangerous prayer, because the Lord takes us seriously. Even today the Lord calls us: "Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men" (Matt.4:19).

I never imagined the wide variety of ministries God would lead me into over 50 years of serving the Lord: fishing for men through street evangelism, tract ministry, literature distribution, traveling speaker in 36 countries, pastoral ministry (in Lebanon and in Kansas), and now in Guatemala: training Christian leaders since 1977. Martha has been updating and editing my life story, adding more photographs, and, you bet! The title is "Señor, Hazme Útil" (Lord, Make Me Useful).

So, what "useful" activities filled my agenda in recent months? I have traveled five times to the interior with responsibilities as Dean of the School of Theology, because pastors from several major cities have been requesting extensions of theology in their area. Three extensions have already started with much enthusiasm in Zacapa, Jutiapa and Puerto Barrios. My present goal is to train enough teachers who can teach in these extensions. I think you agree with me that a pastor who reads and studies makes a better pastor, and serves his congregation more efficiently.
On the other hand, the Instituto Federico Crowe (Frederick Crowe Institute), graduated 27 students in November, including a pastor's wife, Irma, a grandmother, whose husband, Fermin Cuyuch, graduated from the IFC a few years ago, and recently graduated from the School of Theology (see foto). We are proud of these Guatemalan leaders who didn't give up, but decided, with effort and determination, to complete their high school education and more.

A new school year began mid January, and at the end of February we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Institute and Library, that my wife and I, with a group of Christian professionals, established in 1989. With my wife, my daughters and their children, and a host of former students, we celebrated this unique effort to train leadership, in a country where education has been so limited. One after the other, our graduates (now university students or professionals) expressed the meaningful impact the Institute had in their lives. This is just the hand of the Lord that makes it possible, using donations from many of you to provide sponsorships for needy students.
And the Dr. Núñez Library? Begun with my personal library, it now has 13,000 titles. Let me tell you something: every time I get a call that someone has books to donate for the library, the question is: where do I put them? The library is growing and we expect a miracle of the Lord to give us the right facility (a building of our own) so we can serve God and His people through education as well as through the facilities of the library. There is no greater gratification than when you see someone walking out of the library with a smile and a spark in their eyes, expressing appreciation because they found what they were looking for and promising to come back because there was a lot more available.

The more meaningful for my heart is the privilege to serve the Lord, preaching the Word and counseling with people in different ways. Believe it or not, I am 68 already, an old man, and now I have volunteers to drive for me, taking me to my preaching engagements in the interior. In one of the cases, my son-in-law, Ivan, offered to drive for me to Cobán which is 200 kms away, and then drive back the following day after the preaching engagements were over. It must be God's grace.
Last Sunday our home church had anniversary activities, so I was asked to preach in the three services. Man o man! The third round was a "knock out" for me! Gone is the time when I could preach five times a day and no problem! Today the pastor gave the comment that it was a real blessing, that my being worn out in the third service didn't show. What was so gratifying was that in the services people came forward to accept the Lord as Savior.

Thanks for your prayers, so this old "machine" can still function and be productive on the basis of God's requirements. My prayer for you is that this crisis that we are going through, can reveal in you the Mighty One that can give you maturity to adjust your life and not miss your responsibilities.

Your brother,
Dr. Samuel Berberian mailto:samuelberberian@hotmail.com

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