India, Land of Opportunity
July 21 marked the beginning of the most exciting, the most productive
one-week missionary journey of my life.
I landed in Chennai, India just before midnight July 23 and was met at the
airport by Prabhu Kumar and his family and friends. Their royal welcome was
a prelude of things to come. During a seven-day period, Prabhu and I
traveled approximately1,000 miles by train and car. I preached for two
churches, inaugurated four new WEI branches, spoke at seven graduation
ceremonies, conferred hundreds of diplomas, and rejoiced over the baptisms
of thirty-two people, twelve of whom had come from Hindu families.
These thirty-two baptisms occurred under the heat of the afternoon sun,
during blustery monsoon rains, and in the pitch-black darkness of night.
Most of the baptisms took place in lakes, rivers, ponds, and canals.
Since space is limited in this newsletter, I will limit my report to two of
At Wyra, a town about 500 kilometers north of Chennai, 185 WEI students and
their teachers, gathered in the church building for their graduation
ceremony. Prabhu interpreted as I spoke to the graduates and gave out
diplomas. Each of the seven teachers put a garland of flowers around my neck
and draped a beautiful shawl around my shoulders. It is customary in India
for people to honor their guests in this fashion.
Following the graduation ceremony, we drove to a nearby lake, and thirteen
graduating students were baptized into Christ. One of them was a journalist
who worked for a local newspaper.
N. Manohar, Journalist, Is Baptized into Christ
In Wyra, I saw Prabhu’s vision at work. Two years ago,
Prabhu was a WEI Internet student. When he completed the courses, he shared
what he had learned with twenty-five friends. When they graduated, he
selected his ten best students and asked each of them to teach twenty-five
of their friends. Prabhu plans to use this system of multiplication until
there are WEI “branches” in every state in India, and hundreds of students
are being baptized every year.
For more information about the amazing work that God is doing in India
through WEI, contact Mike Hale at mike
Pictured below are three generations of WEI teachers. Prabhu is on the far
left. One of his original students is standing next to him. The other six
men are his students, all of whom are now WEI teachers. These six men had
just baptized thirteen of their students in the lake.
Three Generations of WEI Teachers at Wyra
At Sathravada night had fallen when we arrived for the
graduation ceremony. Five WEI students wanted to be baptized, and the only
water deep enough for immersion was in a nearby canal. With only one
flashlight among us, we climbed up a muddy, rain-slick embankment in the
dark, then slipped and slid down to the water on the other side.
Baptized the Same Hour of the Night
That night, I spoke to the graduating students in
shoes and pants covered with mud.
Cambodia Needs Teachers
After leaving India, I spent two weeks teaching WEI students at the Partners
in Progress Center in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Barney Cargile, David Tedla,
Judith Mackey, and I joined Julie Broyles, and Anca Gliga. Julie is Director
of the PIP English/Bible Study Center. Anca was led to Christ by Tom Langley
during a WEI campaign in Oradea, Romania several years ago. She had been
teaching for several months when we arrived.
My first student each morning was a Buddhist monk named Voeun Sarom. I found
him to be amazingly open and friendly.
Studying with Voen Sarom in Phnom Penh
My 11 o’clock student was a young Muslim named Sen
Mohamath. One day, Mohamath said, “We Muslims pray five times a day. How
often do you pray?” I replied, “I pray without ceasing. In fact, I pray for
you every day.” Then I demonstrated how I prayed for him. When I looked up,
his eyes were filled with tears.
Julie is doing a marvelous job directing the school, but she needs more
teachers to keep the school running year around. If you can spend a month or
more teaching WEI students in Phnom Penh, contact Julie at
PIP Center accommodates six teachers at a time. Food and lodging will cost
you only $13 a day. That may be the best deal anywhere in short-term
New Christians in Durrës
In his July-September newsletter, Çimi Kafaxhiu reports that Perparim and
Dhurata Ceni were baptized into Christ on August 19th. “This couple has a
six year old son. Perparim is a doctor, and Dhurata is a teacher. They have
become so dear to us, and we are together growing in the Lord and his
Morrills Return to Korçë
Congratulations to Kevin and Allison Morrill upon the birth of their son,
The Morrills have now returned to Korçë, Albania to resume their mission
work. May God bless the Morrills and their newborn son.
Good News from Guatemala
For several years, Tom Langley has encouraged Hawatthia Jones to use WEI in
Guatemala. “This year,” says Hawatthia, “we decided to bring WEI to
Guatemala, hosting 3 teams. . . . We were highly impressed with WEI!”
Anna Pride, a member of the second team, tells an interesting story about
Yolanda, one of the students: “Yolanda came everyday with her friend Lupita.
They were both eager to study God’s Word.
Yolanda Is Baptized in a Hotel Bathtub
“After receiving her graduation certificate, Yolanda
was having a conversation with Nancy Petrokansky when Yolanda began to choke
on a piece of hard candy. Nancy grabbed her and gave a thrust so that the
candy came flying out. Later that afternoon, Yolanda called to ask if she
could be baptized. We took her to the church building for the baptism, but
she was nervous due to her inability to swim. Later that night, she again
requested baptism, and Jason Rich baptized her into Christ in a bathtub at
Hawatthia concludes, “WEI has been very successful in many countries, and we
are very happy with the results we have seen thus far here in Guatemala. . .
. It allows us to meet people in a completely different economical
situation. . . . Those who studied ranged from college students to
university professors. We also had some teens, housewives, doctors, lawyers,
etc. Some of them have already visited Linda Vista and are now familiar with
the church of Christ and what is taught. . . . We are looking forward, Lord
willing, to having WEI back in Guatemala in 2010.”
Françeska Is Baptized in Tirana
We received word in mid-July that Françeska Malaj, one of my favorite
students in Tirana, Albania, had been baptized into Christ. Pete Bogdanovic
had taught her this summer.
In the last issue of Update, we ran a picture of Laureta Malaj being born
again of water and the Spirit. In this issue, we are happy to celebrate her
daughter’s new birth. Praise God.
Erik Qirjaqi Baptizes Françeska Malaj into Christ
Ministries Are Flourishing
1. Ralph Weinhold, of Dardanelle, Arkansas, uses WEI in his prison ministry.
Ralph writes, “Thanks so much for your materials. My inmates in the county
jail study them on a regular basis, and I use some of them as study guides
for our weekly classes. The guys have also given us names and addresses of
their friends and loved ones—which multiply the seed being sown.
2. Larry Ware writes, “Johnny Wilson and I had the privilege to baptize the
following inmates at Oklahoma Sate Reformatory and one at MSU.” He then
listed Cory Moore, Edward Farr, and Michael L. Williams. As an afterthought,
he wrote, “I am not sure if I included another inmate that was baptized
earlier, Terrance Higgs.” Larry & Johnny use WEI.
3. In Santa Rosa, California, Virgil Weare has taught and baptized a number
of inmates at the Sonoma County Jail, using WEI materials.
Praise God for these prison ministries.
Bullets & Baptisms in Nigeria
Aniefiok Akpan is the Director of WEI in Nigeria, while serving as Principal
of Rhema Academy, and ministering to the Campus Church of Christ at Uruk
Otong. He and his wife, Etang, use WEI as an evangelistic tool and are
reaping a harvest under trying circumstances. Fifty of their students have
been baptized in recent months.
In July, Aniefiok wrote, “Two middle aged women believed the gospel,
accepted Christ, and were baptized in our campus church. They were brought
to the Lord by Brother Monday James Udo, a World English Institute student
who was converted during Rhema Summit 2009.”
A few days later, Aniefiok wrote, “We are facing constant threats to our
lives and property on a daily basis. . . . We narrowly escaped when our
family compound was raided by dare-devil armed robbers last year. . . We
slept in the bush with our little daughter Nancy throughout the night and
Then, a few days later, Aniefiok wrote, “Yesterday was a great day for us.
We received a phone call last night from a preacher friend of ours, brother
Iboro Ikafia. He told us that three of our WEI students in Ika area accepted
Christ and were baptized in his congregation yesterday.”
On 9/11, Aniefiok wrote, “We have survived another difficult night of fear.
Shortly after midnight, our security dog, Tarzan, barked on a very serious
note. Then, we heard a gunshot within our premises. After the gunshot,
Tarzan ceased to bark. With trembling and fear of being attacked by armed
robbers, we knelt and prayed for safety and protection. It was indeed a
sleepless night. This morning, we found Tarzan stone dead from a gunshot.”
Aniefiok and Etang are understandably concerned about their safety. They are
serving God under difficult circumstances. Aniefiok wrote to say that they
are getting another dog to guard their home.
Let us remember the Akpans in our prayers
Bob & Jan Towell
The new teaching website continued relatively smoothly
during the 3rd quarter. New Bible/English studies soared from 209 in April
to 562 in May, to 855 in June. In the 3rd quarter, the numbers continued
high at 846 in July, 788 in August, and 730 in September. The downward drift
was caused by suspending advertising several times until the waiting
students were assigned.
The huge increase has been handled by the 74 existing teachers increasing
their number of students, and by 22 new teachers taking up the challenge to
share their faith around the world. Teachers set their own limits, but
several have 400-500 students. Thanks to all who have taken to heart the
Lord’s command to “go and teach” and are using WEI’s teaching website as the
When new students have waited for assignment to a teacher more than 48
hours, we suspend ads temporarily. The resulting downward drift shows we
still need more teachers!
Nine hundred new Bible/English studies a month is not the upper limit on
what can be done. Just as the number of new studies can be reduced by
suspending the ads, so it can be increased by increasing them. Money has
already been contributed for such an increase, but it would not be good
stewardship to spend the Lord’s money to gather students without having
teachers for them. Please help us recruit new teachers!
At the “Around the World Forum” at Harding Lectureship recently, Bob quoted
John Reese, President of World Bible School, as saying, “WEI has the
potential to have as many students as WBS,” which currently starts over a
million new Bible classes a year. Privately, John corrected Bob, saying that
WEI could have ten times as many, because “for every person who wants to
study the Bible, there are ten who want to learn English.”
What an amazing tool WEI is for teaching the Gospel! Any Christian who
speaks English can teach the Good News to people anywhere in the world—and
without learning another language.
---Bob and Jan
Tom, Angela, Bianca, and Brianna Langley
One of the most exciting aspects of my work with WEI
is the short-term mission. Although WEI material is so easy to read that it
literally teaches itself, it’s not always easy to convince Christians to go.
However, once they go and experience the thrill, they always want to return
and teach again. Most of our teachers even plan their vacation time around
the next WEI short-term mission.
Here are quotes from a couple of our WEI short-term
teachers who taught this past summer:
“One thing I like very much about the WEI program is the opportunity for
women to teach the Gospel. In other types of mission work, our role is to be
supportive, and our input is not always necessary when men lead the work.
The one-on-one aspect of the program allows the teacher to know the student,
learn about their family, and understand where they are coming from
spiritually. The work is intense in a relaxed environment. We work hard,
have good rest periods, stay in lovely, clean hotels, eat nice meals, get to
see amazing parts of God’s world, and worship with faithful saints. It’s a
win-win opportunity. Let’s GO!” –Rebecca Clark
“I have now been on 5 WEI short-term missions at 4
different mission sites in 3 different countries. WEI gave me a lot of
confidence in studying the Bible with a lost person. Every time I go, I
learn something new about my faith as it grows and stretches me. I have
developed relationships that transcend culture and that will last a
lifetime. I am continuously amazed at how God’s Holy Word works in the lives
of people everywhere. I consider it a privilege to witness the simplicity
and the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Recently, I signed up to be a
WEI Internet teacher, and I find it helps me stay in touch with teaching
while I wait for the next trip! WEI has also brought growth to our
congregation at Waterbury as we use the materials in our local ministry.”
Testimonies about what God has done in our lives and how he is using us are
so powerful and scriptural. Thank you for your continued support and
prayers. ---Tom and Angela
Glory to God
Dick & Maudine Ady
Now and then, someone says something that gets our
attention and touches our hearts. Recently, Jean Coleman of Maryville,
Tennessee made such a statement in an e-mail to Bob and Jan Towell. With her
permission, I will share her statement with you.
“How many times have we prayed for something good to happen, and when it
did, we were surprised. . . . I have prayed many times for the WEI mission.
I wanted to get involved, and then I stopped breathing in the ambulance
before we got to the hospital. When I regained consciousness, it was six
hours later, and I was on a respirator.
“For ten days, my life hung precariously while my church family and many
other friends prayed for me. April 1, I got a new heart valve, and on April
3, I went into congestive heart failure. I survived by the grace of God. I
spent 21 days in the hospital, and those who loved me continued to pray for
“Why am I telling you this? It is because I believe that God hears our
prayers and answers them. I would think that every teacher and every
congregation involved with WEI is praying for WEI. This concept has the
greatest method of mission work that has existed since the days of Paul.”
In an e-mail addressed to me, Jean said, “I truly do believe that WEI is why
God spared my life. I am new at teaching in this manner. I have suggested to
my students that I am learning about them and their culture while helping
them with their studies. . . . What a warm feeling.”
When we come face-to-face with death, the Lord gets our full attention.
Suddenly, we discover what is really important. It is then that we think
most seriously about investing in eternity.
WEI is still celebrating its 20th anniversary. Some of you have sent $20 to
celebrate what God has done through WEI during the past twenty years.
Perhaps someone would like to send $20,000 to keep this global outreach
ministry going. To those who have partnered with us, we say, “Thank you.”
May God reward you. ---Dick and Maudine
Fruit of WEI in Hanoi
Dennis and Sharon Welch are missionaries in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Both serve
as teachers in the WEI Internet ministry.
Recently, Dennis received an e-mail from one of his students who had moved
to Hanoi, Vietnam to study agriculture on a scholarship. His student said,
“Teacher! I would to answer your question. . . . I please inform you that I
not be baptize yet. I really want to be batized, so what should I do? Could
help me to be baptized?”
Dennis says, “After inquiring a bit, I didn’t find anyone who knew a
Christian in Hanoi. Quickly, it became obvious that I needed to fly to
Hanoi, study with Txxxx, and baptize him.
“Txxxx, almost 21, met me at the entry of his dorm. He suggested I stay in
his room so that we would have more time to study. This was a welcome
invitation. . . . From the time I arrived Saturday evening until Sunday
lunch, we studied the cost of discipleship. When we both were convinced that
he understood what Jesus was asking of him, we set out in pursuit of water.
. . . We journeyed by bus to the tourist section of the city and found a
guest house that would allow us to use a room with a bathtub. And a new baby
boy was born! Happy Birthday, Txxxx.
Dennis & Sharon Welch
“That evening, we partook of the Lord’s Supper for his
very first time. During the remainder of my stay in Hanoi, I studied with
Txxxx about the church and about his personal relationship with God through
Bible study, prayer, etc. Several of his classmates joined in the studies. .
. . Please join me in prayer that Txxxx will grow to be a mature and mighty
warrior in the kingdom of God.”