I am currently in the tenth year of my ministry with MINTS. Where has the time gone?
I am thankful for the many opportunities I have for developing Hispanic church leaders in Central America in my role as Associate Dean for Miami International Seminary (MINTS) in Central America. This year I have travelled only (in February) because of doctors orders to evaluate some health concerns related to my diabetes and some gastro-intestinal issues. This “change-up” has become a blessing, because my efforts have been focused more specifically on providing “armchair consultation” for a marvelous team of national leaders as reported in my September Newsletter. Reviewing myriads of course papers sent in to me by students has given me an opportunity to watch the growth of students in their theological development and it is exciting to watch this growth have an impact on a more effective ministry in the local churches of the students. I am looking forward to resuming my travel schedule as of January 2015.
My hiatus from travelling during this year has also given me an opportunity to concentrate more time and effort on the three PhD projects that I have been working on during this year. I anticipate having two of those projects completed by the end of the year and the doctoral dissertation is scheduled for completion by the end of February of next year. For my educational project I’m doing an analysis of the Miskitia indigenous region of Honduras and Nicaragua in order to apply the MINTS Global Theological Education principles to their unique and challenging circumstances. For the research project I am developing a website (with a lot of technical consultation and data input support!) that will provide digital study resources for Spanish speaking students geared specifically to the MINTS curriculum. I anticipate having that website open for use by the end of November. For the PhD dissertation, I will be writing a MINTS course on the book of Leviticus which will include a 200 page commentary and course study guide.
I am also excited (though a bit overwhelmed!) to announce an upcoming transition in my ministry with MINTS. I have been asked to serve as the International Academic Dean for MINTS as of March 2015. By God’s grace, MINTS has been growing exponentially during the last several years and has increased its student registration to 13,000. This growth has led to a re-structuring of the academic oversight of the seminary. Dr. Neal Hegeman has served as the founding Academic Dean for the last 14 years and will continue to serve as the Vice-president of Academic Affairs in addition to his itinerant teaching ministry with MINTS. He has appointed about 50 Associate Academic Deans who function as regional and national deans. I have been serving in that capacity in Central America in co-leadership with Rev. José Ramírez (also an Associate Academic Dean) who will be transitioning into my current position as Coordinator for MINTS-Central America. During my tenure in that position, MINTS has grown from 75 to 500 students and from 4 MINTS Centres to 51 MINTS Centres in the region. As José has been groomed to take on that responsibility, he has been grooming one of his students, Marvin Argumedo, to take over his position as director of the MINTS Seminary in El Salvador. Marvin will begin his duties in January 2015. It’s exciting to see this example of the development of leadership in MINTS being reproduced around the world. In my role as International Academic Dean I will be responsible for the academic oversight of MINTS through the training and supervision of the growing number of Associate Academic Deans worldwide. These leaders, most of whom are national leaders in 62 countries, have completed their Masters program with MINTS and are enrolled in the Doctoral program.
Please pray for this time of transition and for the on-going missionary efforts of the training of church leaders around the world through MINTS.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support.
Rev. Eric Pennings
Missionary of Covenant Reformed Church of Toronto
Miami International Seminary (MINTS) Central America Regional Coordinator
Canadian Donations: Hispanic Christian Ministry, c/o Covenant Reformed Church, 265 Albion Road, Toronto, Ontario M9W 3P1
US Donations: Hispanic Christian Ministry, c/o Faith United Reformed Church, 8270 120th Ave., West Olive, Michigan 49460