By Wendy Jessen
Precept Bible Study Leader, Nanaimo, British Columbia
Nancy Hupalo and I are members of Calvary Fellowship in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. We have been attending there for about five years and in that time have seen the church, that meets in a rented gym, grow from 13 people to about 60 people. I was without a church home in 2006 when I became friends with Marie Mullen through attending her Precept Upon Precept (PUP) class. The Lord drew a few of us together to pray and listen on the internet to a Calvary Chapel pastor, Steve Hadley, who did expository preaching. This eventually lead us to find the tiny Calvary Chapel work of Graeme Shaw in Nanaimo.
Marie taught PUP courses for 17 years until a recent illness took her away from it. Nancy and I decided to fill the void and keep Marie’s group together with us teaching as a team. This works well as Nancy has health concerns too and I have a busy family.
This is our second year teaching and we have had some challenges along the way. We were encouraged to change locations and felt perplexed at that as the venue where we taught was perfect. We had a steady average of 16 plus people who came regularly and loved PUP under Marie. We were concerned about where to go and asked the Lord that it be free to keep costs down and we were concerned that changing locations would mess up an established work. We had to remind ourselves that this was the Lord’s work not ours and He would supply any needs as we prayed. This all took place in Spring 2012.
Nancy and I discussed doing a Precept Workshop in early September so we could minister to Nanaimo and let them know about the Precept Inductive Method of Observation, Interpretation and Application. People here need to be rooted and grounded in biblical Scripture in context so they could hold firm against the onslaught of false doctrine circling around our dark Island (which holds the claim of being a witchcraft center in Canada).
Again we encountered battles: Nancy with her vasculitus and foot ulcers, my husband’s business was hit and Tom Hart who was going to teach the workshop came down with lung cancer—can you believe it?! Satan really hates Precept!!
Both Nancy and I were fighting fatigue and were rescued by our Pastor’s wife Linda Shaw who took over the task of organizing the Precept workshop for September. Despite a heroic effort at advertising we were worried about getting the numbers, but we managed to do it. We had 40 plus enrolled, mostly from our small congregation, some came from Campbell River, Black Creek and Parksville.
Even though Nancy, Sandi Lyon and I taught Precept Bible Studies (“Lord” series and 40 Minute studies) to the women’s group in our church, many others were kind of still baffled about the Precept method of inductive Bible study so Mark Sheldrake taught “How to Study New Testament Letters”and Jane Hart taught “Structuring” to a few PUP students.
After the workshop on Sunday I had two happy ladies thank us profusely as the workshop was an answer to prayer for them on showing them how to study the Bible—it took the mystery out of “Precept!”
There is a renewed unity in our small congregation because workshops have united us in our love of the Scriptures. Our Pastor supports this method of study and because the men now understand what Precept is about they are beginning to embrace it. We see a willingness in the young adults to use the 40 Minute studies (because they like the method), our women are using the method and the Sunday School children study inductively too. It has blessed us and goes so well with our church’s commitment to expositional preaching/teaching, and our desire to be one in Christ. We are thankful to the Lord.
Now it is Fall and I am glad to report that our new class location is free, it’s perfect (with big white board), central, and even more people enrolled to study 1 Peter. We have about 23 people and are looking forward to teaching 2 Peter in 2013.
God has blessed us over and above what we could have imagined. He was pleased to stretch us and as 1 Peter says the trials of our faith proved it genuine. Jesus is sufficient to meet all that we could have asked or imagined and we are sure that His power within us will continue to work to bring Him glory in our church, in our teaching of Bible Study, and in our lives. He is being glorified in Nanaimo through Precept.
From the class that Marie taught for all those years praying for someone to take up the Precept mantle, God has been faithful to have produced Precept Leaders including Sandi Lyon, Linda Stalker, Nancy Hupalo, and me in Nanaimo, and also Lynn Yip in Parksville, and Mary Karlson in Hope. Jesus Christ has done far more abundantly than we have asked for and we know that He will continue His work until His return. Amen.
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