This past semester might be called the semester of doctors. It started with a laparoscopic appendectomy gone awry, resulting in an appendix that disintegrated before removal. That put one student in the hospital and produced complications for weeks that slowed his recovery. Then our fourth-year student was diagnosed with mono, bronchitis, and infected sinuses, so we did not see him around for a while. After that it was wave after wave of colds, flu, and one case of pneumonia that took out various students from week to week. A visiting student informed us that he had been diagnosed with tuberculosis, with the result that all who were in that class were instructed to be tested (no positive results, happy to say). And now at the very end of the semester, one student is hobbling around on crutches with a badly injured knee, wondering what the surgeon will recommend.
Other than that, we are well, thanks.
From every other point of view, this was an exciting semester. Abilities developed through ten weeks straight of practice preaching. Students started teaching catechism in the churches. Reams and reams of paper were devoured for exegesis, church history, dogmatics, and church polity assignments/papers. And, very important, the instruction was well received by the diligent students one and all.
Exciting news is found elsewhere in this issue of the SB, namely, that five of the students have been licensed to speak a word of edification in the churches. As most readers know, a large class just finished its second year of seminary. To all the seminarians the Lord gives gifts in differing amounts, and causes them to develop at varying rates. Thus one cannot expect that the entire class would be ready for licensing at the same time. We thank God that these five have developed to this point, and that the others are working diligently toward this goal.
For some of the students, instruction will continue into the summer, though it will be of a different kind. Five students will have a mini-internship focusing on missions. This has been done twice in the past eight years. Many years ago bequest money was set aside (according to the designation of the giver) to be used specifically for training in missions. That money enables us to offer second-year students the opportunity to live on a mission field for a time in order to get hands-on experience. Five students responded with enthusiasm. Accordingly, two will go to Pittsburgh, one to the Philippines, and two to Spokane (a small, young congregation with extensive outreach activity).
Last, and surely not least, seminarian Ryan Barnhill has completed his fourth year of seminary training. The faculty wholeheartedly recommend him for examination at the synod of 2015. Another minister will soon take his place in the ranks. How good our God is to us.
We thank God for His grace abundantly bestowed to the students and the professors alike. And we thank God for the continued support of the churches.
Prof. Russell Dykstra, Rector