We are in the States right now for a brief time. We had to come home for two reasons: our visa to stay in South Africa was expiring, and Bob had some meetings he needed to attend. We are currently in the process of visa renewal for South Africa. It has taken longer than it should because Jackie's fingerprints are too worn down for a quick FBI background check. That means we had to try more than once. Older women tend to have that problem (smile). She is FBI checked now, and this week we traveled to Chicago to turn in our paperwork in person at the South African Consulate there as required. Now we just have to wait for them to issue our visa, which could take up to 2 weeks.
While we are in the States, Bob is continuing to read dissertation proposals submitted by African doctoral students. The graduate school is in Togo, and Bob had been invited to teach part of the research course last year. He is now part of the team helping those students successfully navigate the dissertation journey. As is often the case in missionary work, taking on the new responsibility has not mean letting go of old responsibility, so until further notice this function will follow us to South Africa.
Jackie is preparing to teach an MA class that introduces students to the Hebrew and Greek languages. She is also helping the school back in Cape Town by grading papers that are sent to her.
The Bible school in Cape Town opened for this school year on 13 January. The school is using block sessions now instead of the semester system, so once a month we offer one or two courses students can attend. By offering courses in block session format, we hope to help many who work but would like to study Bible and theology. Each block session lasts 7 class days, 8 am to 1 pm, so a student can get time off of work and attend class. Often that is enough to help someone over that hump of “I don't understand this” or “I cannot do this”. We also offer evening classes, and are conducting classes off campus in local churches.
Please pray with us about our visa situation.
Also, the school is facing a huge challenge this year. Last year we went through the reaccreditation process. The Bible school has been accredited with the South African government since 2005. However, South African accreditation requirements have changed and there are some big decisions the church and school leadership have to make regarding major changes that are now required in the school.
Please pray also for our family here in the States. One of our daughters has been having daily migraines. We would appreciate your prayers for her and her family (she has 3 children).
We thank God for you. Thank you so much for making it possible for so many in Africa (not just South Africa) to receive the training they need to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to their nations and communities.
-- Jackie Braswell