AFTER MINI STROKE! News from Samuel Berberian
Instituto Federico Crowe, 4 Ave. 9-66, Zona 1, 01001 Guatemala
Guatemala, May 31, 2016
Our dear close friends,
Near the beginning of this year we had surprises that invited us to think deeply about the years gone by, considering that they were not lived in vain and eventually sent us the “bill”! I graduated from the Buenos Aires Bible Institute in 1965 (Rev. Myron Voth gave me my diploma) and since then my life has been pretty much on “fast track” in the ministry.
News from Samuel Berberian
During these past three months we have seen the blessing of God in various activities. Martha and I traveled to Mexico City over Easter Week for special meetings in the Centro Cristiano Calacoaya (North of Mexico City) where God worked in the lives of many of the 3,000 who attended the three day event (Thursday through Saturday) plus the regular Sunday meetings. I had 5 conferences related to God’s order for the family, the Biblical basis for the topic which was: Machismo and Matriarch influence in Latin American society (foto top left). José L. González was the other speaker.
As to meetings in Guatemala in recent months, I led a breakfast meeting with the leadership of a Church of God Full Gospel (foto left) pastored by Rev. Juan José Pérez (foto above right) who graduated from the Frederick Crowe Institute and went on to the University to become a psychologist. His wife also graduated with us. Continue reading
It’s hard to believe that I am 70 now, and I thank God for so many years occupied in serving the Lord, beginning with Sunday school teaching, playing my accordian in meetings, teaching ladies’ Bible studies in Beirut, and 27 years of training Christian leaders in two schools of theology in Guatemala. Since I met Sam, he asked me to type letters in English to ask for tracts for evangelism in Argentina. After we married, I wrote letters in English and Spanish, reporting on our ministry. Sam saw my interest in writing and paid for the Christian Writers Guild course where, guided by my tutor, Norman Rohrer, I practiced writing fiction and non-fiction. Before I finished the 48 lessons, I had published 3 articles in different magazines, later writing and publishing 18 books, 14 still in print. Praise the Lord! But just two in English: Mystery of Stained Glass, and Majorette to Missionary.
TRULY A BOOK CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE!
After 32 years of publishing books in Guatemala, I continue writing, editing, correcting and motivating others to develop as writers. Ediciones SA BER (Saint Berberian Editions) has 114,000 books published, with 20 titles in the catalog and an average sale of 130 books a month. There are 8 books available on Amazon for those who don’t live in Guatemala. You can see the complete catalog at www.edicionessaber.wordpress.com I enjoy accompanying Sam to his meetings, setting up a book table in the back as a service for the folks who like to learn through reading. The picture top right was taken in an event in Quetzaltenango.
TEACHING AND PREACHING
Since May 2014 I am no longer teaching in the University, and keep busy with ocasional speaking. For example, in August I led a devocional with the staff of the Bible Society in Guatemala (foto on right). In September I participated in two filmed programs for Youtube in Spanish: Alto Mire y Reflexione. In October I led a devotional in a pre-wedding activity for a young friend of ours, and in November I had two ladies meetings in Nazareth Church (Roosevelt). In December, I spoke in a youth retreat.
During 2014 I dedicated lots of time to advise, revise, or edit about 10 theses in the levels of B.A., Masters, and Doctorate. As a friend said “you have eagle eyes to see what no one else sees!” I consider it a blessing to help students improve their writing skills, punctuation, spelling, as well as managing quotes and footnotes correctly.
CHURCH-CLASSROOM (IGLE-AULA), IFC
Since March 2013 (when the Ministry of Education approved it) we have supervised this program which functions in 26 churches, with some 850 students studying elementary, junior or senior high. This is part of the reinsertion program for the many Guatemalans who dropped out of school and want to begin again. See picture on left.
DR. NÚÑEZ LIBRARY
In recent months I picked up donations of books and encyclopedias in Zone 11, 7, and 9. Most are textbooks that folks don’t need and want other people to be able to use them. In the Frederick Crowe Institute all is evaluated, some are selected for our library (which has 14,000 volumes), some are sent to other 3 libraries, and the discarded books are recycled as paper.
We have spent pleasant times with Elizabeth’s family who live in Guatemala (picture top left). With the rest the communication has been by Facebook and e-mail. Susy and Ivan (and their 4) arrived February 11 for a 3 week visit which is delightful!
Thanks for praying,
Martha (Saint) Berberian
It is time for an update and with interesting changes as of April 1st. Thank you for taking the time to read the newsletter. Did you like the pictures? Feel free to forward the letter to others who might be interested in reading it.
God bless you, and thanks for praying for us.
Sam and Martha
DOULOS FOUNDATION IN GUATEMALA
Founders: Samuel and Martha Berberian
Doulos Foundation (Fundación Doulos) is fulfilling its mission serving the Guatemalan community through education in the Frederick Crowe Institute (Instituto Federico Crowe), through investigation in the Doctor Emilio Antonio Núñez Library, and since March through what is called “Igle-Aula” – education in the churches.
Doulos Foundation began in April 2006 when it was approved by the Ministry of the Interior (Agreement No. 509-2006), nevertheless, Doulos projects began in 1989 when Dr. Samuel Berberian, backed by visionary professionals, opened an institute to provide junior and senior high education for pastors and leaders of Guatemala (foto on right). A library was established at the same time for the use of the students. This became Doulos Association in 2000, and since 2006 it operates as a Foundation.
THE FREDERICK CROWE INSTITUTE
The Frederick Crowe Institute provides a solid education for the students, preparing them for the university. In 2013 there were 97 students in the week-day program (with junior and senior high); the largest class had 26 students and the smallest had 11. There were only 46 students in the Saturday program. 981 students have graduated from high school since FCI opened its doors in 1989, and 80% continue with university studies, including students in the Saturday program, because they are well prepared academically. In November 2013, 14 students graduated from the week-day program and 14 from the Saturday program. Among the graduates were Janneth Aguirre and her son, Rubén Aguirre.
THOSE WHO BENEFIT FROM THE FOUNDATION
The beneficiaries are principally the students of the Institute, who receive a high level education at low cost, which includes access to the extensive library. Also, 54 students received a scholarship, because they come from a very low income family. Each is helped according to the proven specific needs, a full scholarship for a very few, and half a scholarship for most of them. These students couldn’t have studied if a sponsor didn’t help by paying part of the tuition. Donors provide $350 per year per student ($35 a month for 10 months).
14,000 BOOKS IN OUR DOCTOR NÚÑEZ LIBRARY
Other beneficiaries of the Foundation are those who use the library (with a symbolic pay of $1.30 dollars per visit or $13 dollars per semester) having access to the 14,000 volumes, 100,000 classified articles, and DVDs of different topics. The students use the library to do homework related to reading and research. Mrs. Lesslie Ruiz has classified the books as they were donated or bought, and has guided all the process of the library since 1989. She has motivated the students to form the habit of reading, which in Guatemala is calculated at 2%.
PROJECT: EDUCATION IN THE CHURCHES (IGLE-AULA)
Doulos Foundation was authorized in March of 2013 by the Ministry of Education to begin the program of reinserting people back into the school system, through the evangelical churches of Guatemala, which are located in rural and semi-urban communities. The goal is that each evangelical church that has 25 or more members who abandoned their education, can take up their studies, by attending class one day a week in a classroom set up in the church, to study primary level in two years, junior high in two years, or senior high in one year. The church names a tutor to supervise the activity and is responsible to pay $45 dollars per month to Doulos for each group of 25 students, to cover the cost of administration and paperwork. The Manager of Doulos Foundation, Margarita Rodriguez, coordinates this project with 3 assistants. Six churches are now participating, others will join in 2014.
THE DONORS OR BENEFACTORS
During 2013, generous donors provided for the projects of the Foundation, especially for the students of low income. According to the Manager, from January to December there was an income of $9,900 dollars, an average of $825 per month. There are 75 donors, of which 35 are “active”. Most donors designated funds for scholarships, others to help with the mortgage, and others for the library, or the general fund. We thank God for each donor. Each donation is tax deductible (sent through Community Church in Topeka, Kansas).
Apart from the donation of money, many people have contributed to the Foundation with goods and services that provide a valuable contribution. The library received each month donated Spanish books, either used or new. Businesses that renew their equipment have donated the discarded equipment, and with the technical ability of Gilberto Marroquín, many things have been repaired. If the articles are not needed for the institution they are sold in the garage sale and the income designated for scholarships.
OUR BUILDING IN DOWNTOWN GUATEMALA CITY
We began renting this house in November 1993, located on 4th Avenue 9-66, of Zone 1, Guatemala City, paying $900 dollars per month. The property measures 15 by 35 meters. The classrooms are the “bedrooms”, which can fit from 15 to 26 students each. In November of 2011 a contract was signed with BanRural for a ten year loan to buy the building, paying $2,300 each month. The building has been remodeled as funds permit. Gilberto Marroquín has made the modifications under the supervision of Engineer Heri Muñoz, President of the Foundation. As God provides funds, there are projects to enlarge 3 classrooms removing the attached bathrooms (now used for storage), and building a storage unit on the roof or in some other place.
MEET THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
During 2013, different professionals have served with dedication, to make the decisions that an institution like ours needs to make each month. At present on the Board: Engineer Heri Muñoz (foto left), President, Dr. Samuel Berberian, Vice Presidente; Arq. Eckard Schumann, treasurer; Mirna Mancio-Schumann, secretary; and the other board members: Hugo Ruiz, Martha Berberian, and Dr. Romeo Estrada. Besides the Board, we have two members of the Fiscalization Committee, Ricardo Ubico and David Castañón. They are all committed Christians.
MEET THE ADMINISTRATION AND EDUCATION STAFF
We thank God for each one who works in the Institute, doing his/her part so that all functions in harmony. On staff we have those who work in administration, others are teachers, others work in the library. Edy Joselo Martinez (foto left) is the Technical and Administrative Director of the school, and the general coordinator is Mónica Sandoval (foto right).
The biggest challenge that we have is to manage carefully the expenses of the institution, considering the economic limitation of many of the students, also the low amount of students in the Saturday program. This forces the administrative staff to operate at a very economic level. Our dream is for the institution to become self-supporting through student tuition.
PROJECTION FOR 2014
1. Continue paying the monthly mortgage of $2,300 with the help of generous donors, including members of the Assembly and the Board.
2. Publicize the services the Foundation offers through its three institutions, the Institute, the Library and the Church-Classroom, to extend the service to more people.
3. Promote more economic stability with more donations from generous people (within and without Guatemala) and through improved administration.
4. We continue to dream of acquiring the empty building next door to the Institute (the Stahl building) to have more space for the Institute and Library.
So, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially those of the family of faith. (Galatians 6:10). He who sows generously will harvest generously… (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)
Great teachers spend time with their students, and point out their skills and talents. – Bruce Larson
In December we published a new edition of my book: La Mujer y Su Ministerio (the woman and her ministry), and in February a new edition of Cómo Ser Escritor (How to be a writer), just in time to use it in the Writers Seminar I coordinated for Feb. 17-19 with guest speaker Joyce K. Ellis from Minnesota, and about 30 participants. There are 18 titles in the catalog, and about 160 books are sold each month. Only two are in English: Majorette to Missionary, and Mystery of Stained Glass. Several books are available on www.Amazon.com. You can see the complete catalog on www.edicionessaber.wordpress.com
Exciting things happen in our institute. In the picture above are a mother and son graduating from high school in the same ceremony November 2013. Ruben studied in the weekday program while Janneth studied in the Saturday program for adults. A new academic year began mid January, and we find that 22 students from very low income families need a sponsor. We invite you to sponsor a student, giving $35 dollars a month for 10 months, thus helping a student pull himself up out of poverty. As Prov. 3:27 says: “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.” We are very thankful for the 10 sponsors who signed up in October. Thank you! Another exciting thing is the Ministry of Education has given us approval to open a “classroom” in every evangelical church in Guatemala that requests it, to reinsert students back into the educational system to complete elementary, junior high, and senior high.
Wednesday afternoons is when I pick up Lisa’s four children at school and bring them home for lunch and fun times together for several hours before Lisa picks them up. Table tennis is a favorite (see photo). The grandkids are growing up so fast! Love them each one! Four grandkids live in Houston and four in Haiti. We miss them!
We have 75 new students this year, 35 who study on Thursdays (see photo), and 40 who study on Saturdays. My job is to teach them how to write a formal research paper, and I have 13 classes, two hours each, to do it. One student commented that it was the third time she was taking the course but the first time she understood it!
During the week spent in Topeka, I was able to reconnect with many prayer partners from our sending church, Community Church, where we were members before leaving for Guatemala. I was able to make many visits, and share in several meetings, including Sunday morning worship (see photo with pastor Tommy Scott), with a combination missionary message and a challenge to “Get out of your rut, find a new mountain to climb” using power point for the first time, with pictures of the Saint family, who in some way got out of their routine to follow God in new adventures and challenges. I stayed with Meg Atwood, a dear friend, whose mother (age 94) we visited every day, and I would give her a daily massage which she loved. She passed away Nov. 6. In Houston I spoke at a ladies meeting in Lluvias de Gracia church Oct. 26. Then Steve delighted us by giving us boat rides on Lake Houston, bringing back memories of Word of Life Island where in 1961 I had my first formal job waitressing in the cafeteria, and my definite call to serve the Lord at a campfire meeting. In the photo above I am with three sweet granddaughters in Houston.
We keep in touch with family and friends via Facebook where I have posted interesting items, such as when my parents, Phil and Ruth Saint, sang in trio with me years ago. I use the name Martha Berberian in case you want to look it up.
Yours because of faith in Jesus Christ,
LETTER FROM SAMUEL BERBERIAN – From June to October, 2011
As we conclude another year of academic activities at the Frederick Crowe Institute, we can see the progress of the students, whether adolescents or adults. This year we had 96 students in the weekday program, and 30 in the Saturday program. Several are pastors’ children, whose parents have been very grateful for the good formation their children have received. As they are sponsored, some of you have made possible their studies. Thank you.
FROM THE FREDERICK CROWE INSTITUTE TO THE UNIVERSITY. Pastor Gerber García (picture on the right) who graduated last year, is finishing his first year of Psychology at the university, being one of the best students, thanks to the preparation he received. He commented that having learned to investigate in the library and the habit of turning in papers on time, made it easier to study in the university. His wife told me: “The first to benefit from our studies are the members of our congregation.”
FROM THE GARBAGE DUMP TO THE UNIVERSITY. Hector graduated from the Saturday program in 2004, (picture on left). He had a full scholarship because he was born and raised in the garbage dump in Zone 3. During the 3 years he studied with us, he married, formed his home, and learned to repair computers to earn a decent wage. After graduating from high school, he felt in his heart to help youth in danger and in conflict, and with his wife they organized a non profit organization. To do a good job, he signed up at the university, and now he is completing fourth year of Business Administration. This year, in the Saturday program for adults (18 or above) there are four young people from the program he is directing. It is wonderful to see him, as if he was their father, checking up on them and how goes their studies. This is the fruit of the faithfulness of many of you to sponsor needy students.
DOULOS FOUNDATION. I am thankful to God for the Board of Doulos Foundation, for their help every moment; we meet the first Wednesday of each month for breakfast. I also appreciate the members of the Foundation; they are very busy people, but they generously back us up as professionals.
PANAMERICAN UNIVERSITY. As Dean of Theology we are closing the year of studies Nov. 24, and we are in full promotion for the New Year that begins January 21. Remember that our school year begins mid-January and ends in November. We are asking the Lord to send us students motivated to serve the Lord, with desire to prepare themselves. It is a joy to provide help to each student according to their need.
MINISTRY IN THE CHURCHES. Each weekend I am preaching in different churches in the capital and surrounding areas, and sometimes in the interior or out of the country. In June I travelled with my son-in-law, Iván, to San Pedro La Laguna, Sololá (facing Atitlán lake) for a special event (see picture top left). In July I travelled to México to share in the International Convention of Pastors of the Centers of Faith, Hope and Love. In August I was in Cobán for three conferences in a pastoral actualization with Nazarene pastors. In September, with my wife, we travelled to Patzicía for a special service in the church called “House of Prayer”. In October, with Martha we shared at a couples’ dinner in a Central American church in Colinas de Minerva. October 23rd we shared about the Role of the Father, the Role of the Mother in the Training of the children, in a joint meeting of leaders of Church of God Full Gospel, near Boca del Monte. October 9th I had the priviledge of baptizing my grandson Daniel, at his request.
Thanks, dear friends, for praying for our ministry, which is priority. Thanks also for investing in our work as the Lord leads you to do so. If you need a tax receipt, please use the enclosed envelope, and write your check to CMM. If you don’t need a receipt, you may make direct deposits into our Bank of America account number 9010 00668613 to the name of Samuel Berberian. God bless you abundantly! I would love to hear from you.
LETTER FROM MARTHA BERBERIAN – From May to October, 2011
The years are passing by so fast. Last Sunday I turned 67 and to celebrate it we played the piano with three generations! Elizabeth, Daniel (age 12), and I. I was 33 when we arrived in Guatemala, you can see the picture when I taught music at the Calvary Bible Training Center, with two of my piano students, Julio Sosa and Luis Morales. It has been a blessing to invest in the lives of young (and not so young) people in our dear Guatemala.
MINISTRY OF TEACHING. At the Panamerican University, School of Theology, I taught Alternative Techniques of Teaching in second trimestre, to the second year students, using my book Enseñando con Eficacia (Teaching with Efficiency). One of my students is using the book to teach a similar course in his church, his first formal teaching experience. At present I am teaching Introduction to Pedagogy to the first year students, at the Central Campus, Zone 16 on Thursdays and Naranjo Campus, Mixco on Saturdays, 18 students per group. I see in them potential to teach formal courses in their churches, or become university teachers in the near future. Even though the course says “pedagogy” the focus is really the formal teaching of youth and adults. On June 25 I gave a conference to Nazarene school and Sunday school teachers presenting “The 10 characteristics of teachers that impact their world.” My grandson, Andy, age 16, accompanied me, filmed the conference and helped me with the book table. (Thank you, Andy!)
WRITING, PUBLISHING AND EDITING. Since October 2008 til now there were over 8,000 visits to my web site for writers: www.ComoSerEscritorGuatemala.blogspot.com It is a blessing that people in various parts of the world are reading the capsules. The last one was on: “The use of the interview to write history.” In July we did a revised edition of the book En Busca del Cónyuge (In Search of a Life Partner), a useful tool for teenagers. October 15 I formally presented to the autor, Dr. Edgar Menéndez (Rector of the Nazarene Seminary), his first book, Desafíos para el Ministerio en un Mundo Complicado (Ministerial Challenges in a Complicated World). I worked with Edgar chapter by chapter as editor, and I am very pleased with the eight deep but very practical chapters. Also in October we published a brand new book written by a Christian banker, Saúl Contreras Hernández, titled: 12 Principios para salir de la pobreza (12 Principles to rise out of poverty), with only 24 pages, but a great and useful content.
FAMILY: Susy has been a substitute teacher for two months at Christian Academy of Guatemala, and is expecting her fourth child for April 2012. Lisa is elementary coordinator at CAG, her four children study there, and on Saturdays she is studying School Administration in the university. Steve and his family came down in September for a delightful week; his many patients keep him super busy in Houston. In the picture below I am with my twin brothers, Jim and Joe, Pennsylvania, 2009. I am the eldest of five. Do you notice how small I appear next to them? Ha! In Guatemala I am considered tall!!!
SPECIAL EXPERIENCES: May 20th I was invited, with two students who graduated from our Frederick Crowe Institute, to participate in a one hour radio program on Radio Voz Evangélica de América. The program, called “The Healthy Home” is directed by Luis Morales Orellana (my student back in 1978). We discussed the importance of education to have a healthy home. The two graduates from the IFC adult program, Boris and Felipe, shared their experiences as adults studying high school. I presented four excuses many give not to study: “If I didn’t study, you shouldn’t either.” “Work is more important than study.” “To serve the Lord you only need anointing of the Holy Spirit.” “I don’t have money to study, I am poor.” I talked about the scholarships available for low income students, and how a home is more stable when both parents have completed at least high school.
Proverbs 19:17 says: “He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done.” I invite you to consider sponsoring a student at IFC in 2012. $270 per year, and you can send it in installments.
Your sister in Christ, Martha Saint-Berberián Berberians
GENERAL NEWS AND UPDATE ON BUILDING SITUATION
Samuel Berberian, April 19, 2011
Dear beloved friends,
At the Panamerican University my contract as Dean of Theology was renewed for another five years for which I am thankful. I have some 26 teachers under my responsibility, and I am glad to see older teachers hanging in there with excellence, and some newer, younger teachers doing a fine job. My salary covers about 50% of our expenses, for which we are very thankful. And the difference comes from our prayer partners who contribute as they are able, in various parts of the world. Thank you, dear friends, for investing in Guatemala, especially for praying.
I have had unique experiences recently. For example, mid March I was contacted by Prensa Libre staff, Guatemala’s largest daily newspaper, inviting me to write a weekly column in their Sunday paper (two pages long), for their section called Opinion, on page 21. Feeling that God was guiding this, I accepted, and the first column came out March 20. It has been a blessing to receive positive comments even from total strangers, saying how the column has helped them understand, for example, about forgiveness. You can access the column by going into the web site, www.PrensaLibre.com
Another unique experience was to participate in the 25th anniversary of the pastor of a Nazarene church way out in San Marcos, not far from Southern Mexico. Rev. Enna Giron-Ríos was my student at the Nazarene Theological Seminary almost thirty years ago, when she was single, determined to answer God’s call to enter the ministry, but having many obstacles blocking her way, including the fact that she was a woman. She founded the church 25 years ago, and raised up a solid church. She married in San Marcos and has three children. It was a joy to see her church, her family, and remember her as a determined student.
I have the personal obligation to inform you on how things have advanced about the buying of our building here in downtown Guatemala City. On March 16th we were able to pay the $5,000 dollars to initiate the process with the owner of the property (thanks to donations sent from Kentucky, Kansas, Virginia, Argentina, France, California and Texas).
Also we are in the final phase of the paper work to obtain the mortgage from the bank, BanRural, with monthly payments to the bank for 20 years. In this phase we are praying and asking God to give us 10 people, organizations or churches, who can help us with $65.00 dollars a month, to help pay the mortgage. Three have signed up already, and three more with smaller monthly donations. Of course, God never looks down on the widows’ mite; whatever amount before the eyes of God and before our need, has an eternal value. We invite you to consider a monthly gift for one year, as a start. Let us know your decision as God guides you.
Once the building is ours, we will be enlarging the classrooms, and eventually adding a third floor. May God bless you for being a part of this project, and personally, in a periodic way, I will be informing you of how things are, so that you, united with us in prayer, can rejoice in the faithfulness of eternal God, that until today has never failed.
For an income tax receipt, send your check to CMM, P.O. Box 7705, Charlotte, North Carolina 28241, with our name on the envelope (or inside). For a touch of humor, here’s a picture of me teaching in 1980! In a blue suit! I count it a privilege to teach and train Guatemalan leaders.
Always holding on to the hand of God, and counting on the solidarity of the people of God, we are at your service with a grateful heart. Your friend,
Dr. Samuel Berberian, founder
THE MINISTRY OF TEACHING.
At the PANAMERICAN UNIVERSITY School of Theology, we have new students since January, and I taught one group at the main campus in Zone 16 on Techniques of Research. Surprisingly, this group has five couples who are studying theology together! In the Saturday group there are new students sign up each year to studytwo couples. In a country where 30% of the population can’t read or write, and many pastors have only a junior high education, it is a joy to see theology, many who have a second profession. The lady behind me on left is a medical doctor. Next to her is a young girl, whose father was my student 30 years ago! About half of our students are either pastors or leaders in their churches.
Do you remember this picture of Pastor Boris Mendoza from the last newsletter? He graduated from our high school last November, and when I walked into the classroom in January, there he was in first year of theology! He is in the center back of the larger Saturday group. Several of the older students have told me that returning to the classroom has been difficult for them, but they were trying their best. So besides the course on learning to write formal research papers, I throw in tips about study, reading, agenda management, etc. And via e-mail I write letters to inform and motivate them. They are also sending homework via e-mail. It costs the students $55 dollars a month to study and even so, some have a hard time to pay it, forcing some to drop out.
HISTORIOGRAPHY PROJECT Dr. Clifton Holland visited from Costa Rica and Sam and I organized a session April 14th to help get the ball rolling in collecting information and writing the history of the evangelical church in Guatemala. God has done marvelous things in this country, and we have several mega churches, though very little has been documented. As brother Cliff said: “If we don’t study our history and its flaws we will repeat our mistakes.” We invite you to pray for this new project. I invited Cliff to teach my Saturday class on research techniques, with the 4th year students joining in. It was a well-spent hour and a half.
WRITING AND PUBLISHING.
My new book, out mid January, has been of much help in my courses. It is being used in other universities also, and 360 books have been sold in three months. I plan to write a course on Introduction to Pedagogy, to fill another need for textbooks in Guatemala. Books published by Ediciones SA BER and selling well are: Cómo Predicar, Enseñando con Eficacia, and Sam’s Hablando de Frente.
Susy is kept busy with her three little ones. Lisa continues working at Christian Academy of Guatemala, with school out end of May, and studying School Administration at the University on Saturdays. Steve continues taking care of lots of patients in his clinic and at various hospitals in Houston. I am very thankful for my Mom and Dad, Phil and Ruth Saint, who with their example motivated me to Christian service. Here is a picture of them from 1980.
1 John 3:17-18 “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”
Your sister in Christ, Martha Saint-Berberian
Sam Berberian at Especialidades Juveniles, Aug. 9, 09
Sam is one of the favorite speakers at the anual event to train youth pastors in Guatemala, called Especialidades Juveniles. Similar events are held yearly in Argentina and Texas with much participation.
August 9 he participated in a forum discussing the habits of Bible reading among youth today, and how vital that is. See 2 pictures.
The day before, Aug. 8 he spoke for an hour in a similar workshop (packed full with young people) discussing how to choose your vocation or profession. Sam is 68, and Dean of Theology at Panamerican University.
Praise God for these opportunities to bless others and help them grow in the Lord.
Martha Saint-Berberian Oct.19 2009
I wonder if you are seeing 2009 as I am, looking back at Easter, and looking ahead at Christmas. If we have been as productive as the Lord requires from each one of us, never mind about time going by. But I hope I don’t affect you with my guilt, if I haven’t been as productive as I should; anyway the time is gone. As I grow older (I am almost 69), I have learned to be careful to put time and duty in the balance, and try to evaluate priorities from God’s point of view.
Training Christian leaders has been my main ministry since 1977, when we arrived in Guatemala, so I have taught many Bible courses in different Bible Schools in this Central American country of almost 10 million people. I thank God for my wife, Martha, who backs me up in teaching, transcribing my books, and keeping the home fires burning. In the picture above we are with our three children, Steve, Lisa and Susy, who are married and gave us ten grandchildren. The picture in front of the Brotherhood Church in Beirut was taken back in 1973; they were certainly learning years, blessed by God.
As we come to the close of the school year in Guatemala, with blessings and conflicts mixed up, we thank the Lord that He enabled us to be part of many lives of those who are accomplishing their goals.
Taking advantage of school vacations, I’ll be flying to Pasadena, California December 3rd (after a good many years), to see and fellowship with many of you, and remembering God’s faithfulness and the friendship we have developed in Jesus Christ. I am praying that being there will be more than just being busy, to be a help through God’s grace to each one of you. I will leave Pasadena December 14th. Brother Mike Youssefian is coordinating my agenda.
In the Panamerican University (where I am Dean of Theology) we have 170 students studying theology, in the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels. About half are pastors and the other half are professionals serving in their churches. In the picture to the left Hugo Ruano received his PhD in Sociology of Religion. The other PhD offered is Applied Theology. In the picture below I am leading a teachers session.
In the Frederick Crowe Institute (where I am founder and Director), we have 145 students studying in the junior and senior high levels. More than 800 have graduated from high school since 1989 when the Institute was opened to provide education for pastors and leaders. 40% of our students are from very poor families, but have been able to study thanks to generous sponsors who give $300 per year per student ($30 per month for 10 months).
In both the School of Theology and the Frederick Crowe Institute we see in the coming months a time of enlargement, which requires more responsibility as well as wisdom, so things are not done because of the volume, admit needs, which the Lord can multiply, through his grace and power.
The enlargement of the School of Theology involves opening three new extension programs, as well as affirming the three extensions that we already have. Most of our extension students are pastors.
In the Institute, there are plans of enlarging more services to the needy people, on the level of individuals as well as communities, believing that this is a direct way of Christian witness and not simply solving people’s problems. The Dr. Núñez Library is an important part of the Institute, providing access to 13,000 books, that otherwise would be impossible for them to buy because of limited resources. In the picture to the right, a group of students are reading in the library. Below, a good friend from Great Britain, Arthur Willis, visited our library. Both the Institute and the Library are under the supervision of the Doulos Foundation.
How gratifying it is to cross paths all the time with people on the street, who recognize me and express appreciation for a Bible course I gave them years ago or a sponsorship that made possible their studies. And they tell me what they are doing, the church they are pastoring, or what studies they were able to accomplish. Some of them tell me how they got to meet the Lord in the Institute, and now working in a church ministry, or helping in a very poor neighborhood of the city. This gives me much joy as you can imagine. That is why we are in Guatemala, to make a difference.
For the graduation at the Institute this year, scheduled for November 7, we invited a former student of ours, Rev. Juan José Pérez, to give the speech. He graduated from our adult high school program in 1993, being already a pastor, and today he has graduated as a psychologist, and is pastoring one of the leading churches of the Church of God Pentecostal. The majority of our students keep studying and reaching for more training, doing the best they can. For example, an Assembly of God pastor, Byron Mazariegos, after finishing his high school with us in the Institute, today has closed his Master’s program in Theology and is one of our teachers in the School of Theology, teaching systematic theology.
If you wonder why all these details of the people we work with, it is just because you are a part of it through your prayers and giving, and we want to be thankful. We want to be like the Samaritan who came back to thank Jesus, not like the other nine who never were thankful. As you pray for us, we pray for you, so the Lord can make the difference in your life in these days of uncertainty that the world is going through.
As to my autobiography/testimony that came out earlier this year, Señor, Hazme Útil (Lord, Make Me Useful) young people have commented how the book encouraged them to follow their dreams. One person told me: “When someone meets you, they never think of all the things you have been through, to make you who you are now; so I can believe that God can use me too.” The book has 47 pages, and includes many photographs of 50 years of ministry in Argentina, Lebanon, the United States, and visits to many countries, 36 in all. There are plans to translate it to English.
Luke 24:15 says: “As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them.” The Lord today wants to walk with us, and inspire us to greater service for Him. I invite you to continue to be a part of our multifaceted ministry in Guatemala through your prayers and generous donations. Funds are needed to sponsor needy students, plus funds for the building that seems just out of reach, like this beautiful Guatemalan volcano, but ever more necessary to provide better service. If you need an income tax receipt, make your check out to CMM, Christ’s Mandate for Missions, P.O. Box 7705, Charlotte, North Carolina 28241. The Director of CMM, Jorge Parrott, is a close friend.
Dr. Samuel Berberian
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Letter from Sam Berberian – April 26, 2009
Making a difference through preaching, teaching and writing. April 26, 2009
After going over my agenda since November, and seeing the diversity of ministry, I remember what I prayed when I was a newly converted teenager: Lord, make me useful! That is a dangerous prayer, because the Lord takes us seriously. Even today the Lord calls us: “Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt.4:19).
I never imagined the wide variety of ministries God would lead me into over 50 years of serving the Lord: fishing for men through street evangelism, tract ministry, literature distribution, traveling speaker in 36 countries, pastoral ministry (in Lebanon and in Kansas), and now in Guatemala: training Christian leaders since 1977. Martha has been updating and editing my life story, adding more photographs, and, you bet! The title is “Señor, Hazme Útil” (Lord, Make Me Useful).
So, what “useful” activities filled my agenda in recent months? I have traveled five times to the interior with responsibilities as Dean of the School of Theology, because pastors from several major cities have been requesting extensions of theology in their area. Three extensions have already started with much enthusiasm in Zacapa, Jutiapa and Puerto Barrios. My present goal is to train enough teachers who can teach in these extensions. I think you agree with me that a pastor who reads and studies makes a better pastor, and serves his congregation more efficiently.
On the other hand, the Instituto Federico Crowe (Frederick Crowe Institute), graduated 27 students in November, including a pastor’s wife, Irma, a grandmother, whose husband, Fermin Cuyuch, graduated from the IFC a few years ago, and recently graduated from the School of Theology (see foto). We are proud of these Guatemalan leaders who didn’t give up, but decided, with effort and determination, to complete their high school education and more.
A new school year began mid January, and at the end of February we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Institute and Library, that my wife and I, with a group of Christian professionals, established in 1989. With my wife, my daughters and their children, and a host of former students, we celebrated this unique effort to train leadership, in a country where education has been so limited. One after the other, our graduates (now university students or professionals) expressed the meaningful impact the Institute had in their lives. This is just the hand of the Lord that makes it possible, using donations from many of you to provide sponsorships for needy students.
And the Dr. Núñez Library? Begun with my personal library, it now has 13,000 titles. Let me tell you something: every time I get a call that someone has books to donate for the library, the question is: where do I put them? The library is growing and we expect a miracle of the Lord to give us the right facility (a building of our own) so we can serve God and His people through education as well as through the facilities of the library. There is no greater gratification than when you see someone walking out of the library with a smile and a spark in their eyes, expressing appreciation because they found what they were looking for and promising to come back because there was a lot more available.
The more meaningful for my heart is the privilege to serve the Lord, preaching the Word and counseling with people in different ways. Believe it or not, I am 68 already, an old man, and now I have volunteers to drive for me, taking me to my preaching engagements in the interior. In one of the cases, my son-in-law, Ivan, offered to drive for me to Cobán which is 200 kms away, and then drive back the following day after the preaching engagements were over. It must be God’s grace.
Last Sunday our home church had anniversary activities, so I was asked to preach in the three services. Man o man! The third round was a “knock out” for me! Gone is the time when I could preach five times a day and no problem! Today the pastor gave the comment that it was a real blessing, that my being worn out in the third service didn’t show. What was so gratifying was that in the services people came forward to accept the Lord as Savior.
Thanks for your prayers, so this old “machine” can still function and be productive on the basis of God’s requirements. My prayer for you is that this crisis that we are going through, can reveal in you the Mighty One that can give you maturity to adjust your life and not miss your responsibilities.
Dr. Samuel Berberian
LETTER FROM MARTHA BERBERIAN
Guatemala, April 28, 2009
Dear Prayer Partners,
Life is always full of things to learn, and Sam encourages me to keep learning. With the crisis in the world today, we have ample opportunity to study about what happened, how it happened, and pray intensely that God work mightily in the hearts and minds of the world leaders today. It is said that the United States is in trouble because its leaders left aside the Word of God and its teachings, and are harvesting the consequences.
WRITING AND PUBLISHING
It seems that I spend 8-10 hours a day at my desk writing, editing, correcting. Personal letters are part of my ministry. For several years (until he was set free in December) I corresponded with a Christian inmate, unjustly incarcerated, encouraging him to write; God has given him a wonderful writing ministry now. My weekly column comes out in La Palabra newspaper, where I answer questions related to family, studies, church ministry, health, all kinds of topics, and folks comment how they are helped. Who knew when I took that elective typing course in 10th grade that I would get so much good out of it! November 26 I graduated with my Masters in Pastoral Theology (see the picture above), and the following day I began a blog to train Christian professionals to write, with 53 now signed up.
TEACHING. I just finished teaching another course Techniques of Research to the first year students at the Panamerican University School of Theology. I am honored to invest in the intellectual lives of pastors and leaders who are excellent preachers and teachers, but few know how to write a research paper. Actually my job is to help them organize their thinking as they analyze a Guatemalan problem such as domestic violence, adolescent pregnancy, or a church problem. Four pastors weren’t there the day the picture was taken. I have enjoyed photography since Sam bought our first camera in 1967, and consider it a ministry because it blesses people.
FAMILY. I enjoy baking with the grandkids, and attending school events, seeing the kids participate in various activities. But mostly we sit on the rug, get out the blocks and make a garage, and put cars inside it. With some of the family living far away, we installed Skype in our computers to be able to chat with Lydia in Argentina, and Steve in Houston.
DOULOS FOUNDATION: Frederick Crowe Institute and Dr. Núñez Library. Many of you know about the Institute that we founded with so much love and effort 20 years ago. Over 800 students have graduated successfully from the excellent high school program we set up, oriented to pastors and leaders. Sam is there every day supervising and guiding. Our constant prayer is that the many Guatemalan adults who never completed high school, will have the determination to study in our Saturday program.
About 40% of our 170 students are from extreme poverty level families who live on less than $250 dollars a month, such as Florinda (see picture right), who completed her studies with honors; her mother is a Bible translator. You can make a difference in a student’s life being a donor. We continue to rent a large house in downtown Guatemala City; the 6 classrooms barely hold 15 students each when our goal is 23. We are considering a building in downtown Guatemala City valued at $160,000 dollars and we have 20% in hand. You can be a part of this important project by designating a gift.
THANK YOU for your prayers and gifts. We invite you to be a part of our ministry by praying and giving, perhaps sponsoring a needy student ($300 per year per student), or a gift towards buying a building.
For a tax deductible receipt, write your check to CMM (Christ’s Mandate for Missions) directed by our close friend, Jorge Parrott, and mail to P.O. Box 7705, Charlotte, North Carolina 28241, USA. Telephone: (704) 225-3927. If you don’t need a receipt and it is more convenient, you may deposit your gift directly into our Bank of America account. Write us for details.
1 Chronicles 4:9-10: “Jabez cried out to the God of Israel ‘Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!…’ And God granted his request”. God wants to bless you with a larger territory for His glory.