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V.I.S.A.

Rich and Jo Ann Davis on June 12, 2015

BBC GRADUATION, MAY 12, 2014 059BBC GRADUATION, MAY 12, 2014 BBC Board Member - Pastor Charles Hurlston

V - Vital 

On May 1 of this year, Tennessee Temple University (TTU) closed its doors after 70 years of preparing men and women for carrying out the Great Commission at home and abroad. The TTU board voted to merge with Piedmont International University of Winston-Salem, N.C. TTU had a student body of about 300 students when the announcement was made. 

One month later, Clearwater Christian College (CCC) in Clearwater, Florida also announced the closing of that college. Clearwater had been preparing Christian leaders for almost 49 years and had a student body of about 500 when the announcement came of the decision to close the college. According to the Clearwater College website, "Declining enrollmentincreased debt and the lack of a sizable endowment precipitated the closing." 

Add to these two fundamental Christian colleges, Spurgeon, Pillsbury, Atlantic, Calvary, and Northland which have closed their doors during the past decade. Kevin T. Bauder, Research Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Central Baptist Theological Seminary asks, "What is happening? Why are fundamentalist educations institutions closing at a rate of about one every two years?" (Bauder, In the Nick of Time, March 6, 2015).

In his brief analysis, Bauder mentions that there is a "sharp decrease of interest in biblical education on the part of fundamentalist adolescents. Rising numbers seem eager to prosper in careers that a Bible curriculum simply will not advance. For more and more fundamentalist students, business trumps Bible as an educational choice." He also mentions that with some exceptions "fundamentalist efforts at evangelism and church planting are bearing less fruit than they once did. The shrinkage of fundamentalist education mirrors the shrinkage of the fundamentalist phenomenon, but that in turn reflects the shrinkage of American Christianity in general" (Bauder, 2015).

Bluewater Bible College (BBC) is a small fundamental "mission" college primarily serving churches in the Caribbean for over 50 years. The college has never had an endowment and yet every need has been met by the Lord in His perfect time. The college has no debt to speak of, which is a wonderful testimony to the grace of God. Increased debt and lack of a sizable endowment do not seem to be a threat to BBC. Where is the threat then?

BBC PICTURE DAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2159 Lord: "enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me" 1 Chron. 4:10

I - Information 

In its best days, Bluewater rarely exceeded 40-45 students but it has served, and is serving, its purpose extremely well. Graduates from this college serve as pastors and missionaries in Baptist churches in the Caribbean, US, and Europe. Add to that, hundreds of graduates that serve faithfully in lay capacities in these local churches. Christian teachers have gone forth from BBC to impact the lives of children in Christian and public schools throughout the Caribbean. 

When we arrived at BBC to serve temporarily in administration in the fall of 2011, there were ten students enrolled. By the spring of the next year, two students were added and seven graduated. In our first year as the official President of the college (2012) we began fall classes with about five students. Today, there are eight students continuing their Bachelor of Religious Education (BRE) degree programs. 

Because Bluewater Bible College is located in the United States Virgin Islands, all students from other Caribbean islands must obtain student VISAS in order to study here. Last summer 4 student applicants were denied their student VISAS by the US State Department and as a result, no freshmen began classes last fall.

This summer, there are currently six students applying or reapplying for their student VISAS. If there is a repeat performance of denying VISAS this summer, again there will be no freshmen entering the halls of BBC for this coming fall semester. Seven of the eight current students are scheduled to graduate in the spring of 2016.Declining enrollment is indeed the biggest concern for the stakeholders of BBC and the biggest threat to the college in our view. 

We would love to see students coming from churches in the US Virgin Islands who don't need VISAS. We would also love to see applicants from other Caribbean islands. We came to Bluewater Bible College because this school filled a great spiritual need in the past, and we believed that it could continue to do so in the future. Please pray that student VISAS would be granted to all our applicants this summer.

DSC01507 Peter - From Dominica- is a Junior

S - Students 

The spring semester ended in the middle of May and the campus was quiet for a short time. Please pray for the students that have scattered to the four winds to seek summer jobs as well as ministry opportunities. 

Teams preparing for the camping season have begun to arrive, and soon the campus will be full of children and camp leaders until the end of July. Please pray that the Lord would use these summer camps to bring many children to saving faith and a renewed commitment to Him. 

Speaking of students, we will be returning to the mainland in mid June so that Rich can take the last two courses required for the ED.S. Degree, with emphasis on leadership in Christian Higher Education. The Lord has been so good in making these studies possible. Please pray that we can finish with excellence the final stretch of this academic work, then apply what has been learned to upgrading for the 21st century and building even more quality into Bluewater Bible College.

Bluewater Bible College (BBC) has a partner relationship with Horizon International (ABWE) and is offering online courses. Naturally, taking online courses does not require a VISA, which should make this option attractive to interested Caribbean students. Please pray that many Caribbean students would consider this option and register through BBC for access to this high quality biblical training. 

Did we mention the need to pray for freshmen applicants that each would receive their student VISAS

DSC01192 Billy & Cecilia Stone-Came to BBC from St. Croix

A - Actual

In our last letter we mentioned the need to raise $8,000 in order to make needed improvements on the campus. We are blessed to report that over $8,600 was raised between US and Caribbean churches and individuals. Thank you for praying and also to those who gave. We are now praying for the Lord to put together a team to come and help put on a new roof, and remodel the bathroom for one of the houses on campus. 

Speaking of maintaining and improving the facilities on campus, we are overjoyed with all the work that the Stone's have accomplished since arriving on St. Thomas. Billy has a special ability to see things that need to be done without requiring large expenditures. Cecilia has been a help in working with students and campus projects as well as in the office with Jo Ann. Please continue praying for this couple as they sacrificially serve the Lord here at the college. 

We are continually asking the Father to bring godly and qualified full time faculty to join our campus team. In order to legitimately revise the curriculum and improve the quality of training, it is necessary to have expert faculty available with the time and will to improve our curriculum. Now that we know what needs to be done, we are asking the Lord to put together a wonderful group of Christian educators who are called to give themselves to serving on the mission field in this special way. Do we need to mention some of the benefits of serving the Lord in the Caribbean? Please pray that the Lord would call and send godly Christian educators from the Caribbean or mainland to join the faculty at BBC and help us in providing high quality preparation for Christian leaders.

Did we mention the need to pray for freshmen applicants that each would receive their student VISA?

Thank you for praying for us in this challenging ministry, and thank you for giving that we might be able to continue serving the Lord in the harvest field of the Caribbean. Beside our administrative and teaching responsibilities on campus, we also have the privilege of serving as members of Calvary Baptist Church on St. Thomas. Rich has been elected as one of the teachers for the adult SS class and also has regular opportunities to preach on Sunday evenings. Jo Ann is serving on the hospitality committee at Calvary and enjoying being able to contribute in that way. Christ said that He would build His church and we desire to always be active in the local church by His grace.