Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wesleyan Bible Institute (WBI): A Leap of Faith

Wesleyan Bible Institute (WBI) 2010

A LEAP OF FAITH was a message I delivered during the Ground-breaking ceremony of the Wesleyan Bible Institute building in 2007. As I reminisce the tumultuous history of WBI and its closure last year, I cannot but remember the history behind it and the effort and sacrifices of the former missionaries, Rev. Jun and Mamel Rafael.
WBI site was a rice-field  in 2003. In 2004, we (Rafaels and Fernandezs) bought this property from a donation given by Kentwood Community Church (KCC). 
Rev. Greg Fernandez Jr. 
Wesleyan Bible Institute's Ground-Breaking Ceremony Speech: Challenge and Concern
September 13, 2007
Dear pastors, we have called you here today because we want you to have a sense of ownership for this property. This lot (property) and the future building are not for the missionaries but for you. Missionaries won’t stay in Cambodia forever. We have called you to join us today because you are our partners. 

Wesleyan Bible Institute (WBI)

Somebody ask, “Why build a big Bible School when we only have 10 current students”? Yes, but we are going to build this school for the future. This will be a training ground for future Cambodian leaders. This will be for you, for your children and your grandchildren. This will be used also for pastors’ conference, youth convention, and other national church gatherings. We are building for the FUTURE. I want you to see the future and not just the present.

As we are about to begin the project, a huge problem lies ahead. Ahead of us is a vast river/ocean with no boat to carry us across. The only way to cross that ocean is to learn how to SURF. Let’s learn how to Sacrifice, to be United, to take Risk, and move in Faith. 

The great ocean ahead of us is the lack of funding. In short, we do not have enough money complete it. Our donors promised $400, 000 for this project. The best estimate for the building and other expenses, however, will cost $600, 000. To tell you the truth, we already spent $50, 000 for the dirt fill and the wall. This means there is only $350, 000 left from the donor’s promised amount. To make this thing even worse, we do not have this $350, 000 to start the project. Because the donor promised it, I believe they will give it! The problem lies ahead is the remaining $250, 000 to complete the project. Nobody promised to give this amount. Where will we get $250, 000? From us? Yes! But, even if we sacrificed everything we own, it will never compensate this need. Will it come from the donors? No!  There is only one Who can supply this need. He owns all the gold and the cattle in the fields. He created the universe. He can give it if He wants. Our resources cannot, but God’s resources can; it never runs dry.

One early morning, I heard small voice that goes something like this, “Because you do not have money now, it is better to wait until the money comes before you start the project. You do not need a big school now because there are only few students.” Out of this incident, I made two proposals during our previous council meeting: (1) We will take a risk or (2) We will wait. Waiting is the safest thing to do; nevertheless, we chose to take a risk
Dear pastors and students, we will never see what God can do unless we step out in faith. I believe without any shadow of doubts, that if this is God’s will, He will provide the means. In his devotional book, This Day with the Master, Dr. Dennis Kinlaw writes,  “I don’t think we truly believe until we have risked greatly and God has worked for us. Faith that we maintain while sitting in a chair without any danger or vulnerability is not biblical faith at all. Biblical faith emerges when we take a risk and realize that if we do not receive divine help, we will be embarrassed.” What about us? We missionaries are taking risk for this project and are willing to be embarrassed if we do not receive divine help. Are you with us or against us? 
Wesleyan Bible Institute by Greg Fernandez Jr.
Wesleyan Bible Institute (2010)
The construction began in January 2008, was dedicated on January 10, 2009, but was closed in July 2011. The reasons for the closure were complex, but the shortest description is due to a short-sighted vision. John Maxwell was right when he said, "Everything rises and falls on leadership!"