Thursday, October 1, 2009

MARS update Sept 09

Dear friends in the Lord.

Some of you are apparantly not getting our updates (I suspect they are being filtered out as spam). So here is the update on our Blog.

We hope this update finds you all well and revelling in the Lord's goodness and love to you as you seek to live out lives to his glory and praise. Here we continue to see the Lord's goodness to us in so many ways. The ‘little’ things in life continue to remind us of the care of our God despite our pitiful acknowledgement of it in our prayers of thanks and in our conversations to each other. Even in the company of fellow believers, we are prone to neglect our acknowledgement of God's goodness fearing the label a bit too pious. That might be something we all need to work on.

The family are all doing well. Emmaleigh continues to grow in leaps and bounds. She seems to have out grown her need for a sole diet of milk and gobbles up any solid material offered to her (including non-food items) and her frame is a testimony to that fact (for those interested – we have been off the internet for a couple of weeks, so hopefully we can get some much needed update photo’s on our blog by this weekend). The rest of the children are also doing well. They are enjoying the outdoors, while the sun still shines, by getting kites caught up in trees, shooting arrows into neighbour’s properties and playing with the neighbourhood children.

Gina continues to marvellously juggle up her responsibilities as a mother, wife, home maker, and teacher. This includes responsibilities such as cleaning snotty noses, hugging crying children, showing love and affection to children struggling with ‘mundane’ issues every day, organizing a household, keeping easily distracted students focused on their work, cooking every day, etc, etc, etc... and then we wonder why she is so tired at night....

Comparatively Erik has an easy job. Keeping 5 professors happy is child’s play (pardon the pun) compared to that. But considering the reason we are here on the other side of the world, we thought it would be good to focus this month’s update on the classes Erik is taking this semester.

Christology (3hrs): Dr. Venema teaches this course which examines the work and person of Christ. Until now most of the class time has been devoted to the person of Christ and the early church councils which struggled with formulating creeds and statements on the person of Christ. This proves to be a very interesting course which may seem a little vague on the surface, but is very deep and fascinating as we explore the depth of the One who gave all for us. I thought I knew most of what there was to know about Christ, but it is not until one studies it deeply that one realizes how much there is still to know. Also, a knowledge of Christ is not just abstract stuff, but a revelation of this great Redeemer of ours.

New Testament History (3hrs): This course, taught by Dr. Kloosterman, is where we examine the history, environment and themes of the New Testament books. At the moment we are going through the synoptic Gospels, how to study them, and how to preach on them. When you get into the study of any of scripture it is amazing to see how deep and rich is the Word of God.

Old Testament sermon (1hr): this is only a short course (taught by Rev. VanderHart) where we prepare and preach an Old Testament sermon on a historical text. The difficulty in preaching a historical narrative text is the nagging question: ‘how does this story, from so long ago, relate to us today?’ a big part of the course is taken up in an application paper, showing how we will apply the text in a sermon. My text for the sermon is 2 King 2: 19-22 (Elisha healing the waters of Jericho) which I need to preach on 27th October.

Applied Apologetics (3hrs): this is a continuation of the Apologetics course we were taught last year by Rev. Strange. For those interested, we are taught the pre-suppositional approach espoused by C. VanTil. This year we are going through differing world-views and religions, seeking to apply the pre-suppositional approach to these different situations. About a third of this class is taken up with general class discussion which proves to be a great way of learning.

Ethics (3hrs): this course is another course taught by Dr. Kloosterman. It focuses on teaching us how to use the Bible on moral issues and the content and implications of the 10 Commandments. The course does go deeper than this, but until now that is about what we have covered. Our main textbook is the ’10 Commandments” by Douma (this is a very readable book and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in this area). At the end of the course we are supposed to be writing a paper on the 2 kingdom view and natural law, which seems to be the ‘in’ discussion at the moment. There are some great discussions in this class (as you can imagine) where some very interesting views that come out of the closet.

Calvin's Institutes (2hrs): since it is 500 years since the birth of Calvin, our elective for this semester is about Calvin’s life, his influence and the institutes. We haven’t started the institutes yet, but it has turned out to be a lot more interesting than I first thought.

So that is what Erik is learning at the moment. In case you are wondering the hours are the hours of lectures that we attend. The work load is not as intense as last year, for which we are very thankful. It has given us a bit more relaxed time as a family - which has proven to be a real blessing.

That is about all from us for now. Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we realize, as you all do, that without the Lord's blessing and grace ‘those who labour, labour in vain.’

May God bless you all in your varied tasks that he has given you in your lives.

With much love
Erik and Georgina
Juliette, Johanna, Jacob, Rebekkah, Georgia, Phillip and Emmaleigh Stolte

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