Most of my growing up years were spent among the tribal peoples of Venezuela, South America, because my parents were missionaries. It was while we were living with the Panare tribe that I also asked Jesus to save me.
I was four years old at the time, and my parents were having their daily family Bible reading when the topic of sin and salvation came up. I understood that I was a sinner, confessed my sins to God, asked Him to save me, and He did!
I was baptized five years later in a Baptist church in Pennsylvania where my parents were members. Assurance of salvation was a real struggle for me, however, until I began a daily quiet time with the Lord in my early teen years. The Holy Spirit was obviously working in my heart to help me understand the Scripture, because doubts about the reality of my salvation faded away.
While I was finishing high school in Venezuela, I began to consider what Bible College God would have me attend. My plans were to go to the Bible Institute in Venezuela for two-year, and then go to the USA to get my Elementary Education Degree. I wanted to study both Bible and Education, because I knew that both of these majors would be a tremendous asset if the Lord would call me to be a missionary or a pastor’s wife.
As it happened, Venezuela had some political problems, and my family moved back to eastern Canada after I had completed just one semester at the Venezuelan Bible Institute. We settled in Moncton, New Brunswick, where I began classes at the newly formed Emmanuel Baptist Bible Institute. I loved the godly teachers, the family atmosphere, and the intense study of the Bible. I stayed there until I graduated three years later, learning much about life, God, and a needy world.
After my June 5 graduation I move to the USA to work in a children’s ministry in a Pennsylvania church this summer. My plans are to attend International Baptist College in the Fall to complete my Education degree. God may change my plans again, but if every change God makes turns out to be as good as EBBI, then I will welcome them all.
I was very privileged to grow up in a Christian home where my parents took me to church three times a week. For the first five years of my life, we lived in the city of London, Ontario and attended Westminster Hope Baptist Church. This is where I first heard about hell and it made quite an impression on my young life. After hearing my Sunday school teacher talk on the subject, I became quite concerned that I was going there myself. Later on that Sunday night, my dad came to my room and showed me from the Bible why I deserved this punishment. He also showed me how Jesus provided a way of salvation through his sacrificial death. That night on my bed, at the age of five, I repented of my sin and put my trust in Jesus to save me. Throughout my years of public school I gave little thought as to what I was going to do in the future, and then all of a sudden graduation was upon me. People were asking me left and right what I had planned for a career. Fearing a negative response if I told them I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I claimed that I had goals of being an accountant or an optometrist. The more I thought of those vocations, however, the more I didn’t want to follow through with them. Instead of taking further schooling that fall, I worked for a year. Throughout that year my dad kept encouraging me to take at least one year of Bible College because it is a good foundation that every person should have. Knowing the price of good Bible Colleges, I was a bit hesitant. That spring I heard of a Bible College in Moncton, N.B. that might be starting. I contacted the people involved; found out that it was true, and applied to attend.
The adjustment to the new city, people and school was hard and there were times I didn’t feel I could go on. Though it was tough, it was very worthwhile and by the end of my first year at EBBI I knew that I was going to stay for the full four year program. I loved studying the Bible and was made more aware of the need for people to serve in full time ministry. During the summer after my second year at EBBI, I interned at Fundamental Baptist Church in Saint John, N.B. It was during my time there that I felt the Lord calling me to full time service. A year later I did a second internship at the same church. The time spent under Pastor Hunter during both these summers was of inestimable value and made my desire to serve the Lord that much stronger.
My fourth and final year flew by, and as graduation approached I felt both the anxiety of the unknown and the security of being able to trust in the Lord for all things. I knew He had directed my life, and would continue to do so as I relied on Him. After graduation, I saw the value of furthering my training and applied to Northland Baptist Bible College. Though my studies at EBBI are now completed, the time spent in preparation will continue to profit me the rest of my life.
Jonathan Gibson – Testimonial
I was born and raised in the little town of Ripples, New Brunswick. I grew up in a Christian home and attended Bethel Baptist Church in Minto with my family. When I was 6 six years old I realized my need for a Saviour. I understood that I was a sinner before God and therefore condemned to go to Hell unless Jesus saved me. I was in my bedroom with my mother one evening, and she showed me how to place my faith in Jesus Christ for my salvation. I continued to attend church, and grew in the Lord through the teaching of the Bible.
When I finished High School, I still was not sure what I would do with the rest of my life. I had the opportunity to attend University to study science or become an airplane pilot, yet the Lord did not lead in those directions. Instead I ended working in Construction for two years. During that time I had a desire to go to Bible School and get a foundation in Bible, but did not have the money to attend one of the good Bible schools in the USA. When EBBI was founded in 2002, the Lord provided the opportunity for me to study the Bible right here in Atlantic Canada. The school was in Moncton – just a couple hours from home!
I enrolled as part of the first freshman class at Emmanuel Baptist Bible Institute, and continued for four years, graduating in 2006. This has been a very valuable experience because I was studying the Word under men who were actively involved in ministry. I was also able to practice what I learned, because I had opportunities to minister or intern in local churches around New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. I did not learn everything I will ever need to know about the Bible, but I did receive an excellent foundation and the tools I needed to study the Bible on my own.
Now that I have graduated, I take with me two things from my experience at EBBI. First, I feel that the Lord has confirmed His call in my life to preach the Word. Second, I realize that I would profit from more training and experience. This is why I have applied to Northland Baptist Bible College and hope to begin their Masters program in the fall.
During high school, I didn’t study at all and was a terrible public speaker. However, in June of 2000 I started visiting Emmanuel Baptist Church and God got a hold of my life. After committing my heart to Jesus Christ, I became a new creature and things began to change. The Lord saw to it that my future wife, Melodie, was attending Emmanuel also. Shortly after we were married, God made it very clear He wanted us to serve in full-time ministry. While Pastor Friesen was sharing that next Sunday evening, he mentioned that he was involved in starting a new Bible Institute. I told him, “Sign me up! I’ll be your first student!”
Classes began in the Fall of 2002. Studying was not easy for me. I also had to work to provide for my wife and family as the children came along. I was definitely stretched physically, mentally and spiritually, but I knew God was molding me.
This last year, we really began to pray that God would show us specifically what He wanted us to do after graduation from EBBI. In January, the pressures of school, work and family were mounting. I began looking at my circumstances and doubting my abilities for Christian ministry. During a chapel message, Dr. Fosmark read II Corinthians 3:5 which says, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;” That verse was just what I needed. I was reminded that serving God is not about what I can do for Him, but depending on Him to enable me for service.
I am thankful for EBBI and all I’ve learned here. God is still at work in preparing me for His service – wherever that may be. We are currently looking at the possibility of beginning Pastoral ministry in Canada this Fall.