When Pastor Barnabas Boon Kok San first told me about an evening course on hermeneutics conducted by a very experienced Bible seminary lecturer, Rev Tan Jin Huat, I was naturally excited.
Hermeneutics is something that I have always wanted to pick up for many years so that I can do Bible exegesis properly.
If I did not take it this year, I would have to take it next year. The course is conducted only once a year.
As a first semester part time student at Malaysia Bible seminary, pursuing my Master of Ministry at 52 years old, I was eager to learn how to dig into the Bible. It is never too old to learn a new skill. But, my problem was how to juggle between work, family and study.
For the first semester, I had already signed up two subjects – Introduction to the Old Testament Survey (OT 1 Survey) and Research & Theological Writing. On one hand, there were already a few assignments for both subjects; on the other hand, if I did not do Hermeneutics this year, it would mean I have to wait till next year to do it. Besides, between now and the next hermeneutics class, I would have already started using the new skill.
“So, why wait?” I thought. I initially thought it was tough with so many assignments, but with some consistent effort, I managed to complete them ahead of time. That gave me plenty of time to concentrate on a third subject.
It was not easy, as I had to look after my two very young children, especially our five-year-old Alyson, who has just this year started to be home-schooled. But, God was good. He made every possible arrangement so that I could attend the classes.
On Wednesday mornings, while I was attending the OT Survey class, Pastor Adelaine Lum offered to look after Alyson. However, I would have to rush home after the class, as Pastor Adelaine has to be punctual for her afternoon appointment every Wednesday at one o’clock. God, knowing that it was tough to be rushing home after class, provided a beautiful arrangement.
Since January this year, my daughter has stopped going to the babysitter’s place. I needed more time so that I could alternate between teaching contact hours and her leisure time.
Now, to solve two dilemma that I have, God placed in the babysitter’s heart that she began to feel she misses my daughter. When the phone rang, I could hardly believe my ear. The babysitter offered to take care of Alyson once a week!
After nearly a week, finally a thought flashed across my mind, “Why not ask Pastor Adelaine to send her to the babysitter’s place, so that she can go for her one o’clock appointment, while I can also spend some time in the library?” My plan was to make sure that Alyson had her lunch and a shower, before I picked her up at 3pm to attend an i-clay class at her former kindergarten.
Guess what? The Lord again provided. The babysitter complained that it was too short time for her to interact with my daughter and offered to take care of her until late in the evening when my wife would then pick her up on her way home! This worked out well, as I was then able to enrol for the class on hermeneutics from 7 pm to 10pm at the DUMC Dream Centre in Petaling Jaya.
On the night when my class was supposed to start on March 24, my wife told me that she would need to work very late at night. There was no way that she could change it initially but God again was gracious. They managed to complete their testing a week earlier. That’s why when class started on Feb 24, everything went smoothly. Praise the Lord!
Stephen Ng is a part time student at Malaysia Bible Seminary hoping to pursue his Master in Ministry (M.Min). He hopes to turn his assignment papers into articles that would benefit our readers.
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