Dr Bryson Arthur and his wife May will retire soon and return to Scotland. While we are sad to see them leave the team, we also understand their need to retire after serving as missionaries for so many years in Africa and the Middle East.
Dr Bryson joined Mukhanyo’s team two and a half years ago for the purpose of setting up the Honours programme. This he did and did well – and this year there are almost 20 students in the programme.
Bryson’s wife, May, lectured on several formative subjects while also supporting her husband. Both have made a positive contribution in many areas within the Mukhanyo family.
Dr Bryson said “it took a while, but we got there in the end! We find ourselves again, leaving, as we have so often from so many places. It is very sad to leave Mukhanyo and South Africa. At Mukhanyo I added to my list wonderful people that I got to know. It is particularly hard for me to leave my Honours students who are truly a family group, and it has been a privilege to teach them and learn with them, as it has been in all of my BTh classes.”
“It normally takes about two years to settle into a different culture: getting out of culture shock, getting to know how things are done, beginning to learn the language, and generally finding a comfortable place within the new society. But this settling-in period has been punctured by COVID. For months we weren’t able to teach, and then finally classes started with social distancing. But with great suffering all round – for our students and for people we know and love.”
“I have work to go to which is a blessing of God, but it is difficult to look forward when we are lovingly immersed in our present circumstances in beautiful South Africa. We are saying ‘goodbye’, but not forever – and of course, there is heaven.”
There are still vacancies at Mukhanyo as the college ministry continues to expand in various areas. But we also welcome several new people to the team!
Dr Jacob Igba will join the Mukhanyo staff in July this year as Senior Lecturer based at the Pretoria Centre. He comes to Mukhanyo with years of ministry experience and several years of teaching experience. Dr Jacob completed his PhD at the North West University, after having received several other degrees in civil law and theology. He is married to Juliet and they have two young adult sons. Together they also serve part-time as missionaries with Africa Inland Mission (AIM) through which they continue to make strategic contributions toward mobilising, equipping and growing the mission sending capacity of the church in Africa.
Next month Mukhanyo will also announce the appointment of a new Senior Librarian. There are exciting improvements and expansions coming for Mukhanyo’s library services!
But more people are still needed. Here are several positions that still need to be filled:
Click HERE (https://www.mukhanyo.ac.za/vacancies.html) for further information about these and additional positions or to download job adverts.
The theme for 2021 is “Standing Firm for Truth in Bible Education within Africa.” Registration is now open at https://www.teasa.co.za/.
The annual Bible College Consultation is usually attended by well over a hundred representatives from many theological institutions and Bible colleges across Southern Africa. Last year it could not take place and was postponed. But plans are going ahead this year, although on a smaller scale. It will be held near Pretoria on 8-10 June 2021, God willing.
Fewer delegates are expected this year as travel across borders in Southern Africa remains difficult. But the organisers decided to continue with plans for 2021 since the fellowship and fruitful discussions are too valuable to postpone again (or to do in a zoom-only format), unless it is required by the circumstances. Many people have become zoomed-out and are tired of online conferences. So we will follow all necessary COVID protocols and continue with this event.
There is a great line-up of keynote speakers and workshop leaders again this year, including Dr Siegfried Ngubane, Rodgers Atwebembeire, Prof. Vhumani Magezi, Pastor Sipho Mfusi, and Prof. Henk Stoker. All the details and more is found at https://www.teasa.co.za/.
As in past years, all participants will received several free books and each educational institution will receive a whole box of free books to supplement their own libraries.
As is common, students don’t register until the very last moment, and sometimes even later. So the number of students starting the 2021 academic was only finalised in February – altogether there was a 12% increase from last year.
The first intake of 2021 was less than hoped for (considering the new programmes), but is satisfactory in light of all the continuing COVID-restrictions. Additional new registrations are expected for the second semester since a number of students have opted to apply later this year.
With five study centres and some 80 distance learning support centres, Mukhanyo is now in a position to accommodate far more students for theological study. There is no question that knowledge of the Bible and the spreading of the gospel is a huge priority, both in South Africa and beyond.
It has been stated often that in Africa only one in a hundred preachers have sufficient Bible knowledge and are preaching faithfully according to what Jesus Christ commanded in Mathew 28:19-20: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (emphasis added because this essential part is often forgotten).
God has given Mukhanyo the tools to do just that – teaching! But many people are not aware of the opportunities Mukhanyo has on offer. Therefore, Mukhanyo has started a communication drive to make more people aware of all the programmes in each location.
Traditionally this has been done through word of mouth, pamphlets, this newsletter, etc. Last year an experimental start was made to increase communication via digital marketing, social media, open days, attractive publications, such as the annual prospective and study guides, also involving students to tell the story of Mukhanyo.
Dr Brian DeVries, Principal, is thankful that what the team has done so far is already starting to bear fruit. Even after the lockdown-year the number of students increased: “This year we will build on what we started last year. If conditions return to more or less normal, we can expect continued growth, enabling us to fulfil our calling to teach to more and more students all that Christ has commanded.”
In early March, Mukhanyo was able to hold its annual graduation ceremony. Once again it was a very successful event, even in light of the COVID restrictions.
Altogether 104 students graduated countrywide, a Mukhanyo record, and about 75 were able to come in person to receive their certificates at Mukhanyo’s campus in KwaMhlanga. Students were asked not to bring any family along in the light of the COVID regulations. Even so, it was possible to accommodate outside those who did bring some along.
The ceremony this year had four significant firsts:
Dr Japie Malan, Academic Dean, gave the graduation address from 2 Corinthians 4:1-7. He emphasised the “treasure” of the qualification which students had now achieved: “For God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts so give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.’” The “treasure” of the students’ qualification of “to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” One is not allowed to use the qualification for any other purpose such as to serve oneself.
Visit www.mukhanyo.ac.za/graduation2020.html to watch a full-length video of the graduation.