Imagine packing 500 hours of Bible college training on a $13 chip that plays from a cell phone. Add speakers to the cell phone for only
Cybermissions training in the Amazon
$20 and a group of pastors can be trained in places far-removed or unreachable by conventional means.
“I don’t need a visa to get into these countries,” says John Edmiston, founder of Cybermissions. (www.cybermissions.org) “We tunnel in and then we blast away.”
Edmiston started Cybermissions in 2001 to serve the church in Southeast Asia, especially pastors who had no training. Now their reach is global, with more than a million people each year making use of training materials they provide.
Through one of their contacts in Bhutan – a country governed by a Buddhist-dominated monarchy hostile to the Gospel, Cybermissions materials are training dozens of pastors. “We’re reaching underground Christians,” Edmiston notes. “Through one man we’ve reached Bhutan.”
A retired businessman based in Australia has used their program to start 100 Bible colleges in the Amazon River basin. “Pastor Jose” Keegan started developing a rapport with Latin American pastors via the internet in 2002. Now he oversees pastors throughout the Spanish-speaking world, who lead training groups ranging in size from 15 to 70 people.
“We don’t teach Hebrew and Greek, but the quality is on a par with Bible colleges in the U.S.,” Edmiston says. Harvestime International Network developed their college materials, which consist of 21 modules. Each module is between 150 to 300 pages long, with a “fill-in-the-blank” style commonly used in Theological Education by Extension.
Pastor Jose – originally from Argentina – has seen 14,000 people take the Harvestime courses in the last nine years. Initially, he talked up the courses using internet forums, but now he uses Skype, Facebook and any other available technology to guide the Spanish-speaking pastors he oversees.