2023 School Year Has Launched!
February is always an exciting time at the Bible Institute at Raiwaqa in Suva, Fiji, because it marks the beginning of a new school year. February means the return of past students who are looking forward to completing their studies and training with a renewed energy. It also means the welcoming of new students with their fresh excitement as they begin the journey of studying how to become a better Christian leader within the Lord's church. The classroom which for weeks has felt so empty is once again bustling with activity and eager students who are filled with a thirst for a deeper knowledge of God's word.
On Monday, February 20, we welcomed our most recent group of students back to the school for our orientation day. While our numbers are down from previous years (due mainly to past travel restrictions affecting the recruitment of internationals students), the quality of our students is not. We are truly blessed to have a new group of students who have already proven themselves to be eager and capable. Even in the first week, they are already asking deep and challenging questions which prove their seriousness about becoming better teachers and leaders in the Lord's church.
At BIR, we largely operate on a three-week cycle. The students take two courses (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) over a three-week period. At the completion of those two courses, they will begin another three-week section with two new courses. This year, the students are beginning with "The Life of Christ 2 (Mark)" taught by Emosi Sailo and "Language Skills and Research" taught by Jason Pierce. Additionally, one of the students is taking a make-up course via independent study with Rocco Pierce on "Biblical Introduction."
As we welcome a new school year, one of the things we are most excited about is that, for the first time in three years, we will be able to operate a full school year without restrictions in place due to the Covid-19. This means that we will be welcoming the return of visiting teachers for a full round of short courses for the first time since 2019. While we were able to close out the 2022 school year with two visiting instructors, this is the first time that we will have enjoyed a full slate of visiting instructors since the coronavirus outbreak began. Four visiting teachers are already committed to coming, and there are plans of adding at least two more for later in the year.
The start of this school year has not been without its challenges, however. Our director and full-time instructor, Rocco Pierce, has been delayed in the U.S. due to health problems with his wife. While there are still plans for his return later in the school year, the Bible Institute is turning to a couple of local Christians to fill-in for some of his earlier classes. In the meantime, Brother Rocco continues to remain involved in the work in various ways from his home in the U.S. The last few weeks have also seen the school's financial officer sidelined due to health problems. Thankfully, the Lord has answered prayers, and he is doing better. We look forward to his return in the near future. Another challenge has not ended as well as we had hoped. One of our international student recruits who was planning on enrolling at BIR this year had to back out at the last possible minute due to travel issues resulting largely from Covid-19 policies that remain in place in some of the countries between his home and Fiji. While he was able to work out a visa for entering Fiji, he was not able to work out all of the travel documents necessary for the various transit points along his route (actually, multiple routes) to get here.