“I want to serve the purpose of God in my generation.”
These words filled the worship hall of JIL Prayer Garden last April 2, 2022 as the 138 graduates from the Shepherding Ministry Course of the Bro. Eddie School of Ministries International (BESMI) sang their song of commitment during the graduation ceremony.
For ten years now, BESMI has been training JIL pastors, would-be pastors, and future leaders. But this year’s graduation was monumental because this was the first batch to be composed of entirely young people. All the graduates were either from the Kristiyanong Kabataan para sa Bayan (KKB) or the Young Adult Network (Y-AN).
Bro. Eddie Villanueva, JILCW’s President and Spiritual Director, graced the ceremony and delivered the commencement address. Meanwhile, Ptr. Joey Crisostomo, BESMI’s Director and Dean for Spiritual Affairs, and Ptr. Bobot Bernardo, JILCW’s Executive Director and BESMI’s Dean for Academic Affairs, gave the opening and closing remarks respectively. Also present were Ptr. Noel Casimpoy and Ptr. Dino Tobias who represented the faculty.
The graduates’ pastors and family members were also in attendance. A number of their relatives and friends were likewise accommodated via a live streaming of the event on social media.
Behind the grandeur of the momentous occasion is the story of their extraordinary journey—a holistic training of the mind, heart, and hands through classroom discussions, examinations, spiritual gatherings, ministerial assignments, and extracurricular activities—which lasted for almost three years. This is their journey.
Regardless of the Place
Their classroom lectures and discussions were held in different JIL facilities: the North Edsa Headquarters in Quezon City, the Jesus Is Lord Colleges Foundation, Inc. (JILCF) Audio-Visual Room, and Prayer Garden in Bocaue, Bulacan.
This proved challenging because the students had to travel weekly from different parts of the National Capital Region (NCR), Central Luzon, Southern Luzon, and even as far as Northern Luzon. Still, they remained zealous and braved distances just to attend every class.
Regardless of the Task
The graduates were not only confined within the four walls of their classrooms, they were also sent out to apply the lessons they learned. One of their assignments included ministering to the sick through a hospital visitation. Additionally, they served JIL pastors and members as volunteers in various JIL events like the JILCW anniversaries and Pastors’ Congress from 2019 to 2021. These experiences instilled in them that pastoring is not just about teaching and preaching, but also about serving and shepherding.
Regardless of the Circumstance
BESMI lectures and schedules were greatly affected by the blows of the pandemic. Lockdowns and restrictions, both national and local, tested the students’ persistence in studying as classes, activities, and, even examinations were conducted online.
Add to that the rise of COVID-19 cases in the last two years. Many of the students had also been infected, some even asked for prayers of healing, financial provision, and comfort for their families. These situations empowered their faith and further strengthened the camaraderie of the batch despite the distance.
Indeed, no distance, no task, and no pandemic stopped the 138 graduates from giving their all to the Lord.
While their BESMI journey ended on their graduation last Saturday, their journey in serving the Lord in the JIL ministry has just begun. While many miles are still ahead of them, surely, just as they had endured, finished, and triumphed in their BESMI story, they will again do so in their life story, not for a certificate this time, but for the Master’s sweetest words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” #