Students at Yamen Bible College in Papua New Guinea (PNG) learn to read the Bible in their own language, and train for ministry in local churches. Some of the students have reflected on how the college has helped them learn about life and how to better live with one another. They have a growing confidence in their faith, and have learnt to share their faith with others. Raphael says, “Studying is about the mindset, true worship and character building.” Students complete practical and biblical training and assist pastors, helping to establish new churches. Jane shared, “They trained us to be leaders in the church, faithful to God, to be - evangelists, and to preach the Word. We appreciate the training. We are ready to share the gospel.”
The Bible College is the centre point of the Yamen community and students from the region make big sacrifices to attend. It was started by faith in a small home! Students spent their first year at the college constructing the buildings! Then they studied for two years after that. Yamen Bible College is an achievement, locally established, managed and supported. Tony Waluk, the Chairman of the Melanesian Evangelical Churches of Christ, explains how God spoke to the hearts of the Yamen church to support the students in a unique way. “The Yamen church supports each Bible College student, whatever their needs, be it finance, clothes, or food. The local family looks after the student like a stepparent. If there are 18 students, then there are 18 families helping them.”
Yamen Bible College students have the opportunity to attend a locally led and supported PNG Mission School after graduation. Students travel four nights by canoe, bus and ship to attend the school in Rabaul. It is a long journey and a big commitment. Jane attended the Mission School and said, “The benefit of going to the school included a deeper understanding of which direction to take in life, and how to be supported in mission, gain knowledge and skills, and learn about the Kingdom of God.” Raphael also commented, “Six students graduated from Yamen one year ago in 2016. They go to mission’s training for nine months, are sent into the field for six months and then return for guidance and refection to discern God’s call for them. In the future, they will go into the field or work at home in the church.”
When asked about their hope for the future, they all responded that they “hope to save the lost”. Pastor Thomas, the Principal of Yamen Bible College says, “The dream is spreading the gospel and the kingdom of God – sharing with other provinces, and this district.” The Yamen Bible College program lasts for two years. The first six students have graduated, and now another 15 students are starting their first year of studies.