2024 HBBC Seniors

John, Sherman, Dickson, and Chance sat down with Pastor Walton this week to discuss their time at Harvest Baptist Bible College and their plans for the future.

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Episode transcript:

Chris Harper: Welcome to Harvest Time. My name is Chris Harper, and our host on this program is pastor Gary Walton, the lead pastor at Harvest Baptist Church. Every week on this program, we tell you the stories of our church by interviewing our members, and other friends of the ministry. We’d like to invite you to Harvest Baptist Church this weekend for Sunday morning services. We have 2 services, the first at 8:45 am, the second at 10:45 AM.

We offer Spanish translation during the 8:45 AM service, Japanese and Korean translation during the 10:45 AM service. We also live stream that 10:45 AM service on h bcguam.org, hbcguam.org. This week, we’re back in our series, just keep walking, how to live a refreshing Christian life, the second part of our study in Ephesians 4 17 through 24, renewing your mind. Here’s pastor Gary Walton to introduce today’s guest.

Gary Walton: I’m here with a group of guys that are pretty important to our campus here at harvest. These are 4 of our seniors at Harvest Baptist Bible College, HBBC. If you’ve listened to harvest time much or been around our ministry, you’ll hear the the, name HBBC stands for Harvest Baptist Bible College. And we’re coming up on graduation day where our senior class, after spending 5 years here, in school and studying together are getting ready to graduate, which is kind of a bittersweet time for us. We’re super excited for them, but also knowing that launching them out to the next phase of God’s call in their life.

So, but I’m really glad to have with me today John and Sherman and Dickson and Chance and, give a chance for them to be able to tell you some of their, their testimony of how God worked in their life and what God’s done with them here. So, first of all, welcome to you guys. Glad that you’re with us. Hey. Thank you.

Thank you. Let’s start with this. Tell us, where you are from, what island you’re from, and how did you get to HBBC? John, we’ll start here with you.

John Fithingrow: Okay. So I’m from the island of Yap. I’m from the main. How did I get to HBBC? I think it’s through my pastor.

I’m with, pastor Paul’s church down in.

Gary Walton: Pastor Paul Zimmer, is that, faith, Faith Baptist Church? Okay. And Yap.

John Fithingrow: Yeah. And, as I finished off from, I didn’t go to a Christian, school or anything in my high school years. But after I I finished from public, and then, I had to figure out what I’m gonna do for my my college, a year. So through the help of my pastor, he advised me to, check up on Harvest. And I didn’t really have a choice, so, I just went for it, and my parents pushed me also.

Great. So that’s how I made it to Harvest.

Gary Walton: Okay. Great.

Sherman Mathwelmang: Alright. So, I’m Sherman. I’m from the island of Yap, which, outer island of Yap, Fife. And I came here, at HVBC through my pastor. His name is pastor Roland, Luke.

He, he passed away.

Gary Walton: And, just recently. Right? Pastor Roland got sick on FICE and then unexpectedly passed away. Yeah. We, pastor Roland, your pastor was a HBBC graduate and went back church planted on the island.

Yeah. So, yeah, we care about him.

Sherman Mathwelmang: So I graduated from, a a Christian school, a faith Christian academy. And, so I I graduated from there and then spent, a year in Faiz, and that’s where, my I got to know pastor Roland, and he helped me to come here at HEBC Harvest. And I’m thankful that my parents, they also encouraged me and, they’re Catholic too. Both parents, they’re Catholic and thankfully that, they really encouraged me to come to, Harvest. Yeah.

So it which is really, like, it’s it’s a miracle.

Gary Walton: Mhmm. Yeah. It’s great.

Dickson Lawol: Hi. I’m Dickson. I’m, from, Yelp. The outer island of Yap, which is. I come to know, HBBC, from my, my uncle.

My pastor, Roland. He came when he graduated from here, HBBC, and, he stayed there, built a church there. And, the time I just graduated from 8th grade and going to high school. I didn’t go to, a Christian high school. I went to a public high school.

And then when I graduated from high school, I came back to Feis. And then he asked me first time, asked me if I wanna come here. And I say, Yeah. But in my heart, I didn’t wanna go. I wanna stay in.

So I didn’t, pass his recommendation that year. So he he told me you gotta do something with your with your life. We cannot just do whatever you want here on island. You don’t even help me with the church. You don’t even do anything.

So that year, I think about it, and even my parents forced me to to go help him with the church stuff and getting ready to come here. So he told me to go to Main, Yap, and, help pastor Mark there. So that year I went in 2019, I went to Maine and help Pastor Mark, there, and then he helped me to come here to HBBC.

Gary Walton: Dickson, I think I met you, in the islands. Right? Yeah. Before you ever became a student here, I I traveled and I think I met you on Ulithi. Is that right?

Dickson Lawol: I know. I think in Yap.

Gary Walton: In Yap.

Dickson Lawol: I was with pastor, Clinton helping them.

Gary Walton: Okay. They’re in. Yap. Okay. Alright.

Very good.

Chance Joel: Okay. My name is, Chance from the island of, Pohnpei. And how did I got to know HBBC is through my teachers, back at the school that I attended, Calvary Christian Academy. Some of them, they told they I heard, like, stories about HBBC and HBBI. But, I wasn’t really, like, interested in that.

So after I graduated from high school in 2017, I tried to go for College of Micronesia. I attended there for, like, few days, and then I got lazy, and I just left. So my relatives were they gave me, like, 2 choices. You either go back to CM and finish, or you go to HBBI or HBBC. So I didn’t know what to do, so I just went with HBBC.

I had to rest for a year because I wasn’t doing what I’m supposed to do in order to get the the recommendation from my pastor. So after I got the recommendation, and that’s when I flew flew out here in, I think, 2018. And that’s how I got an HBBC.

Gary Walton: Well, I’m really thankful that God brought, you know, all of you guys. It’s an interesting thing. We’re we’re in this process right now thinking about the next year freshman class for next year in the fall. And it really is something that we pray and ask that God would send us the right students that would fill our student body and would be used of God, in the future. We we our desire is to see the gospel grow and lives being changed on on the islands all across Micronesia.

Families strengthened and churches would have foundations. And so really praying for that and thankful that God brought you guys here. It’s hard to imagine that you’ve been here 4 years. I remember you guys coming as little freshmen and figuring everything out, but really proud of of each of you, the ways that you’ve grown spiritually and you’ve grown in your leadership. And I’m really thrilled for that.

Let me ask a couple of you just about your testimony. John, let me ask you that. Tell me about how you became a believer in in your life with Christ.

John Fithingrow: Okay. So, I grew up in a Christian family. Both my parents were Christians, and, I thank God that they’re they were always there to push me. So I I knew everything about the Bible. I knew I went to Sunday schools.

I barely missed Sunday. Even, like, vacation bible schools, I would I was all out. I would invite people. And I had the thoughts of being a Christian. But then, as I came to my older years, I think it was right after Shudal, the typh one of the big typhoons that hit Yap.

I believe it was after 2, I think it was 2,004 once it all hit. And then after 2004, my pastor had opportunities to go to another village and help out in the village, like, reconstruction some of the the damages that was in the village. And and the bible study grew out from that. And then, that’s cool. Yeah.

So, like, every Sunday evening, we would go I would go with my pastor and we would have bible study. And I think I was at, age of, I don’t know, maybe 15. And then, he was talking on the topic of heaven and hell, And, me and some of my friends were there also, and we wanted to accept Jesus because we heard about heaven to know. So we made the profession, but, it didn’t really, like, I didn’t really grow spiritually, the way I think about it. Mhmm.

It was actually when I came to my older years, when I came to actually here at Harvest, when I started to realize that, the the true meaning of, when actually when you become saved. And it’s not really about heaven on hell or anything like that, but it’s it’s a relationship you have with God. And, my spiritual walk, I would say, really grew when I came here. I guess my mind, got more open around the bible and just the teaching of it. Harvest really helped me throughout my my spiritual side.

And, so am I saved? Yes. I am. I made the profession of faith when I was at a younger age, but I think that, now that I got older, I truly know and understand that salvation is not just because of heaven or hell and just avoiding that, but it’s actually a relationship with, our father. And that were really grew as I came here to Harvest.


Gary Walton: That’s really good, John. I mean, really powerful truth for people. Of course, the Bible does talk about our eternity, that we have a choice of whether we wanna spend, you know, whether we will obey Christ, follow him, and spend eternity in heaven, or judgment that would come if we reject his gift of salvation. But, the Christian life is way more than that. God’s called us to be disciples of him, to be followers of him, and so it’s really powerful and helpful.

Thank you for that. Dickson, what about you? Tell us about your your personal story, your testimony.

Dickson Lawol: I got saved in, in Feis, 2017. That time, my pastor pastor Roland was, was talking about, heaven and hell too. And, was that I think there is something going on because we have a skit, like, after the thing we there’s a show that they will do, like, about, hell and heaven. And they’re doing that as I like watching that and list like, thinking about what pastor was talking about, like, hell and heaven, and I just think about what I’ve been through in my life. It’s just like, man, I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna continue this stuff.

I wanna do something with my life. I wanna, you know, follow God. Mhmm. Because I see I cannot go, like, just go in my way. Yeah.

So after the all of those things, and I talked to my pastor, and I I tell him that I wanna I wanna follow Christ. Again, that I’m tired of this thing. Been hurting my self with of stuff that I’ve been doing. And he he told me he talked to me about it and told me from the bible, and he gave me some, bible verse and told me, go read these things, and tomorrow, come back and we’ll talk about it. So he gave me some verse.

I still remember some first that he gave me in Romans. So I went there, and the next day, I came back.

Gary Walton: Do you remember what verses you went to look at?

Dickson Lawol: I look at Romans, Romans 6 30 2. The the witches of

Gary Walton: Yeah. 623?

Dickson Lawol: Yeah. 623. Yeah. And then I came back, talked to him about it, and he’s he told me, you you did the right thing. And,

Gary Walton: Romans 623 is the wages of sin. The wages of sin

Dickson Lawol: is death, and the the gift of

Gary Walton: Gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Yeah.

Dickson Lawol: So when he explained, the verses to me and he told me that, nothing can, save me. Not work, not, the quick thing that I do. So only Jesus Christ accepting Jesus Christ as personal lord and savior. So that time, I was I pray and I ask god to be my personal lord and savior. And I didn’t really, grow that year, like because I I got saved, but, I was, like, on fire after that with the Lord and helping me in the church.

And I do a lot of stuff, and I read my Bible. And it’s like there’s a lot of things that I go through, like, in stores, there’s peep like, discouraged. I did got discouraged there, and then I backslide a little. And then when I went back to, went down to pastor Mark Church, helped him with that. You know, I’m involved with the ministry, going down to the person ministry, and, was that help them with the kids ministry.

And it’s really helped me to, you know, focus on, on, God more and help me on, as a grow in my spiritual walk.

Gary Walton: That’s awesome. Thank you, for sharing, and I love what God’s done, you know, in your life and and hearing the stories of it. So God brought the 4 of you guys here to harvest, and, you’re involved in classes and, you’re you have jobs in order to, you know, earn the tuition that you need for classes and room and board and all of that. Sherman, let me ask you this. What’s the thing that you’ve liked most about being here?

Sherman Mathwelmang: Alright. So one thing that I really like, like, being here at Harvest is the fellowship.

Dickson Lawol: Mhmm. Yeah. I,

Sherman Mathwelmang: it’s hard to find this kind of fellowship here at Harvest, back home or wherever I go. So this really, like, unique for me to see, different, people from different islands that, like, really, like, sit together and they just, like, fellowship with each other. It’s just amazing to see it.

Gary Walton: Yeah. It’s pretty cool, isn’t it? Right? That, yeah. You guys are all from all of our students.

We have about 65 students that live in our dorms here on campus and are very involved in the campus life, but all from different islands. Right? From all across Micronesia. Your roommates are, you know, they’re not all from Feis. They’re from

John Fithingrow: Yeah.

Gary Walton: Lots of different places. Yeah. That’s great. Chance, I know that you guys kinda call yourself brothers and sisters. What what’s that all about?

Chance Joel: Everybody is, I mean, everybody here, like, we treat each other as, like, brothers and sisters and Christ’s or, you know, like, it’s just, the way the the way we treat each other.

Gary Walton: Yeah.

Chance Joel: And the way, especially in the dorms, when you’re a room leader, you treat all the other all your other roommates like your little brothers.

Dickson Lawol: Yeah.

Chance Joel: And they treat you as a big brother.

Gary Walton: Yeah.

Chance Joel: And I like that. Especially, I don’t know for the girl’s storms, but I think they’re the same same way. Especially when we fellowship together, you know, it’s like we sing nor even eat together. And that’s what I like about here. It’s different.

Gary Walton: I’ve told you guys this before. I tried to tell, you know, in chapels and different things. There’s such a unique spirit at HPBC because it really is like that. You guys are like brothers and sisters, and, you won’t, it’s unusual to find that there won’t be a lot of other times in your life where you have this kind of strength of relationship. I mean, I, I hope that you’re part, I believe that you’re going to be part of churches that are the family of God, and they’re going to be your brothers and sisters, but it’s still different than you guys have bent.

You’ve lived together. You know, stayed in the same dorms. You’ve eaten the same meals. You’ve shared around activities together. You really have been together like brothers and sisters would for, you know, for these times.

And there is a special relationship. Even in other colleges, it’s different than than what you guys have been able to experience here, and I think that’s I think that’s really great. Well, let me ask you guys this, after graduation, what’s next for you? Chance, I’m gonna start with you again. We’ll come just kind of right back across.

Tell me what I know you may not know everything, but what do you think or what do you sense God’s leading you to do in this next step?

Chance Joel: For me, I think I’m heading to Hawaii because, for my dad because my dad has medical needs, so he’s flying over there. So I think after, I think, close to August, maybe June July 30, something, somewhere late over there. That’s when I’m gonna fly there.

Gary Walton: Okay. Be able to take care of your dad a little bit there.

Chance Joel: Yeah.

Gary Walton: Yeah. Dickson, what about you?

Dickson Lawol: I’m, gonna go to the state. I’m, gonna get married this summer. And then after that, we’re praying to move back and help pastor Mark. We already talked about it, and we’re praying if God’s will for us to move there, then that’s what we’re gonna do.

Gary Walton: Yeah. We’re really praying for that, that God would give you clear direction, and we’d love to be able to see. I mean, he’s equipped you, prepared you for that kind of ministry, and there’s a big need, you know, in yap for men and women that will families that will be godly in serving. K. Great.

Sherman, what about you?

Sherman Mathwelmang: For me, my plan this summer is, after graduation is, I’m going to Marshall Island, and help out there, help, Pastor Lang. Maybe a year, still bring about it. So, yeah, help out in the school there in Marshall.

Gary Walton: Yeah. That’s fantastic. You’re gonna be a teacher there. Right?

Sherman Mathwelmang: Yes. Correct.

Gary Walton: That’s great. I you had just told me that a little bit, you know, a week or so ago, and I hadn’t heard it. I’m so excited. Of course, we, love that ministry there. Pastor Lang is also an HBBC grad.

He’s been serving faithfully as a pastor of the church there, in the Marshalls for a while, and they need help as far as their school and teachers. So, thank you for saying yes to that. Mhmm. Pray that God would really use you as a teacher there. That’s great.

John, what about you?

John Fithingrow: I have, ideas right now in my head. I’ve been thinking about it a while, because right now we have a school down at, Pastor Paul’s Church.

Gary Walton: Yeah. In the upper end.

John Fithingrow: Yeah. Faith Christian. So we’re trying or they’re they’re trying to get teachers, majoring in education. I don’t know if I’m gonna be teaching, but, I’m looking forward to see what they’ll have for me to do there at the church.

Gary Walton: Okay. Yeah. Yeah. That’s great. I know pastor Paul’s had a lot of, influence and mentoring in your life and same thing.

I’m excited about you being back there and serving Yeah. The church and God’s ministry there. Alright. Love love to hear that from all of you guys. Maybe one last thing.

Tell us one thing, maybe the top lesson that you’ve learned, while you’re here at harvest. Chance, we’ll start with you again.

Chance Joel: I think the top lesson that I learned from h v HBBC is patience. Because, you know, throughout this whole 5 years Yeah. If I were to summarize it, for me, it’s like complain complain complain complain and then, oh, it’s good. That’s how I see it.

Gary Walton: Yeah.

Chance Joel: Throughout all of those complaining, I learned something.

Gary Walton: Yeah. It is amazing. Right? When we when we get a perspective about how good God’s been to us, even sometimes when we don’t see it along the path. And so good patience.

That’s a good lesson. Dickson?

Dickson Lawol: There’s a lot of things that I learned here. I’m so thankful for, the ministry here, but one thing that I’ve learned is, like, what John said, patient. Because there’s a lot of times that I, you know, just decide to do something that, you know, from by heart or by, things, and

Dickson Lawol: I don’t really spend time praying about it. But God is patient. God is faithful in my life. He really work in a lot of, ways and things, and that’s something that I this is my my 5th year. I was look back as like without without that, without the vision that God God gave it to me, I’m I don’t think I’m gonna be here.

I’m gonna just yeah.

Gary Walton: College isn’t easy, and so to stay at it and keep working is, you know, it’s a big commitment from you guys. And so thankful for God’s strength. Sherman, what about you?

Sherman Mathwelmang: Same thing. I have I have a lot, but one thing that I I would pick from that is, beyond time. So Yeah. So that’s that’s one of the highlight that I I learned from here. It’s like always be on time.

Everything is on time on time. So that’s hard too from,

Gary Walton: from the island time. Right?

Sherman Mathwelmang: Yeah. It’s time. So that’s, one good thing that I really got from here.

Gary Walton: So I love that. It’s kind of funny, but it’s real. And we experience that over and over again. It’s one of the reasons why our graduates are easily hired, in, in the islands because employers know that an HPBC grad is going to be faithful. They’re going to be on time.

They’re going to show up. You can count on them. Sherman, to have somebody be able to count on you, to be where you’re supposed to be when you’re supposed to be there, it’s a really, really godly characteristic and that will serve you well. So I love it that you said that. That’s good.


John Fithingrow: I think something I learned is, Sherman, talked about it a little. It’s just the fellowship. Yeah. And he mentions that when we go back, we’re not gonna have that kind of fellowship anymore. And, here at harvest, we have that.

And not just between the students

Dickson Lawol: Right.

John Fithingrow: But we also have that close relationship with other staff members and our campus parents. And that’s something that, like he mentioned, when we go back home, I’m hoping that I’ll bring that same spirit Amen. To the staff that we also have at hopefully, that will grow that in at our church and our staff members down there.

Gary Walton: It takes effort in giving of ourselves to each other, but it’s such an important thing that we would share life together. Christian lives are not meant to be lived on our own separately. They it’s meant to be shared. So, yeah, I’m encouraged by each of your thoughts and your testimonies, here today. And I wanna tell you guys, man, I’m so proud of you.

I’m proud of you for enduring, through the good days and also the hard days. You’re not done yet, so don’t, you know, count your chickens, you know, too early, but you had another week or so, but you guys have your senior trip. This weekend is gonna be fantastic. Just remembering what God has done and and then graduation’s coming up. So we’re we’re proud of you.

I know I am. I know our church is and excited about what God’s gonna do. So thanks for sharing this time with us today.

Chris Harper: And thank you for listening to Harvest Time. We’d like to personally invite you again to Harvest Baptist Church this week. We meet at 8:45 AM and 10:40 5 AM every Sunday morning, Spanish translation during the 8:45 AM service, Japanese and Korean translation at 10:45 AM. We certainly hope you can join us. The 10:45 AM service is also heard live here on 88.1 FM and khmg.org.

Thanks again for listening to Harvest Time.

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