ZEMA’s Zion Bible Schools…. An Overview
Zion Evangelical Bible Schools (ZEBS) began in 1995 and Zion Bible Colleges of eSwatini (ZBC) in 2004. The schools welcome any person who considers him or herself a leader regardless of their academic level of education. In the beginning, we had older pastors who had not completed high school; some were illiterate. Though many things have changed and we now have students of every academic level. From the seasoned yet, illiterate “umfundisi” who inherited his pastorate from his father, to the university graduate who is seeking a thorough Bible education. All are still welcome.
As in the past, if a student requires assistance to complete assignments that is not a problem. Anyone who considers him or herself a leader may participate. Taking home the class notes for a church or family member to read and write their homework answers is acceptable. If the leader attends classes and completes the requirements, we award that student a certificate for each year they complete. Upon completion of the final, fourth year, students receive a certificate of completion, or ZBC diploma. The requirements for these schools are regular class attendance, 90 completed lessons per year, and hand in homework for each of the lessons taught at the previous class.
Though the requirements are kept to a minimum, the content is comprehensive. The ZEBS curriculum was designed to be a straightforward but thorough compilation of modules that cover such things as systematic theology, hermeneutics, and church administration. There are even courses to address the churches’ response to AIDS, and how to lead a Sunday school.
After reviewing the ZEBS curriculum, a USA pastor recently wrote to one of our missionaries: “…I am very impressed with the curriculum. I have seen some seminary programs here in the states with less comprehensive approaches and organisation. This is an excellent system for teaching.”
Because ZEMA has determined that no person who considers him or herself to be a leader will be turned away, even though the schools were developed to reach the amaZioni, we have students from many denominations, and nationalities.
At this time ZEMA has 89 Bible schools. Many of our teachers began as students and translators, and have now become trusted and competent instructors and administrators.
Moving Into the Future
Because we intend to keep the Bible Schools available to every church leader interested, ZEBS cannot, and will not be accredited in South Africa. However, ZBC is seeking accreditation, and may qualify according to the academic requirements of eSwatini. In eSwatini the ZBC council has erected a building to house their school’s administration and the school located at Manzini. They are currently investigating next steps to accreditation.
For the past ~15 years some of our schools in KZN have been lead by pastors of Indian decent. Two of these in Newcastle and Dundee were begun by Pastor Seeva Pillay. Recently Pastor Pillay informed us that over a three year period he has taken the ZEBS curriculum to India three times. Having it translated into Urdu, on each of these trips he taught 50 local pastors a year’s worth of curriculum and awarded each their appropriate certificates. Sometime after one of these trips, the government in India, seeking to close Christian Churches in that area required that pastors “be qualified,” or close their church’s doors. The churches of these pastors with ZEBS Certificates in hand, are able to continue worshipping together!
Carlene is currently living with her sister and brother-in-law in Wadsworth, IL. This is the home where her parents have lived for many years. She will once again travel to South Africa on March 15th, and we will return to the USA together toward the end of April 2022. From that time we will be looking into setting up our home permanently in the USA. We will continue our ministry with ZEMA in the USA as home office directors. We are thankful for your continued support and that through our faithful partners in ministry we have been able to regularly travel as needed for our ministry. Basing in the USA, we will continue to travel as needed to further the work of ZEMA’s ministries in South Africa.
Our children are each doing well. Ryne and Amy work in Kenosha. Ryne is thankful for his job with ULINE. Amy is a substitute teacher for Kenosha schools. Their children are a joy. Ryne and Amy plan to bring their family to SA for 3 weeks in March/April.
Kyle and Maddie Grace live and work in Marion, Indiana. Both work at Justice Intermediate School, Kyle as an academic specialist and Maddie is the choir teacher. Both enjoy hiking, leading worship together, and walking their well-loved dog, Honey.
Corbin and Maddie recently moved to Corvallis, Oregon, where they have purchased their first house! But even more exciting, Corbin and Maddie are expecting a baby girl in May☺️ We are excited for them, and looking forward to welcoming this new little one into our family‼️
- Please pray for Greg and Paul Seelhammer. They are working together this year to transition the responsibilities of ZEMA Field Director to Paul who was elected to take over that position in January 2023.
- Pray for Seeva Pillay and the pastors he is training in Newcastle, Dundee and India.
- Pray for David Lock and the committee who will be updating the ZEBS curriculum.
- Praise God for new missionaries to ZEMA: Matthew Kuehl has completed his first year. Greg and Sarah Akers have recently joined our missionary family. Dennis and Caitlyn Boatman continue to raise support and hope to be on the field once Dennis has completed the application process for USA citizenship.
- Pray for Dennis Boatman as he prepares for his interview and questions required fo citizenship. His interview is March 29th.
- Pray for Safe Travels ~Carlene will travel in March, then Ryne’s & family for 3 weeks in March and April. Finally, Greg & Carlene will return to the USA together in April.Pray for our final transitions into and out of our homes in both SA and the USA. We are grateful for God’s provision through family and friends. Pray that we’ll find the right place at the right time in the US