We just concluded our 12th year at the Institute for G.O.D. We are thankful to God for giving us his Word, and allowing us to teach it to over a hundred students who are committed to living it out in lifetime service. It is such a privilege, and we are grateful for the fruit that has come out of this program in the lives of our graduates.
Gregg Garner, the founder and President of G.O.D. International, maintains his role as a lead instructor in both our Biblical Studies and Community Development programs. Students love Gregg's classes, which are at maximum capacity every semester. We're blessed to have him!
Jameson Parker, 1st year student, says, "I've found that all of the energy I put into my schoolwork produces fruit in my life that extends far beyond academic success. My favorite part of being a student here is receiving an education that doesn't dilute what the Bible says, but challenges me with its truth."
About two-thirds of our student body already have degrees from other collegiate institutions. They've found, however, that the depth and intensity of our biblical studies and our focus on personalized occupational development is unmatched and therefore worth their time.
All of our instructors are full-time employees of and development workers for G.O.D. International, allowing their time in the classroom to help shape a student's understanding of the vision of our organization as a whole.
Though we offer two degrees, biblical studies and community development, both place a main priority on learning the Bible. Throughout our undergraduate and graduate programs, we offer classes on nearly every book of the Bible.
Every participant in our organization is expected to take a class at the Institute each semester. Beyond enrollment in our undergraduate and graduate programs, graduates also choose to take an additional class that interests them or helps them understand the Bible on a deeper level--and they all love it!
One of the specialties within the Community Development program is our Maternal Health emphasis. This program, begun by Tara Garner (left), has produced dozens of childbirth educators and doulas, many of whom go on to expand their specialties in the fields of lactation and midwifery.
Heather Munoz, Certified Professional Midwife, teaches students in the Maternal Health program how to measure the fundus to track the healthy growth of a fetus. Students use such knowledge in their service as educators and doulas both in Nashville and in the international regions where we serve.
All Institute students are enrolled in Primary Health Care courses where they learn the basics of caring for those in need. Utilizing the textbook "Where There is No Doctor," we teach that everyone is a community health care worker when they live in the third world. Everyone needs to know the basics of wound care, malaria prevention, and how to recognize a problem when they see it.
Students in our "Occupational Development and Organizational Dynamics" course worked through third world case studies. We believe that the practice should be done on this side of the world, so that we aren't experimenting on people in poverty.
Classes at the Institute are collaborative, with many final projects including real-time, real-life implementation of the things they have learned within the five regions where we serve. Students have designed literacy programs, language-learning efforts, widow care policies and maternal health curriculums all during their study.
The Institute provides study abroad opportunities in our four international regions. Students engage in semester-long service opportunities that grow their capacities as teachers, youth workers, administrators and more.
Students don't only learn in the classroom, but also through various volunteer opportunities that grow their skills in things like bio-intensive gardening, cross-cultural teaching, building, soil and water treatment, working with youth and more.
Our projects are not just "practice" though. They benefit our direct neighbors living in Hopewell, where the Institute is located. This student works with our Director of Facilities to create a station for the food grown in our community garden to be washed, dried, and processed.
Each week, students and faculty gather for chapel, where they hear the Word in a less academic, more personal, way. Chapel ensures that our time in the Word is not just an academic pursuit, but a spiritual one.
Chapel is followed by community improvement projects, like this one where students organized a free clothing swap for neighbors in need in the cold winter months.
Through our Community Development Day (which includes chapel), students are able to sync their love of God with their love of neighbor, literally. Students perform not only practical projects but also just loving ones, like giving a neighboring widow a manicure.
Other students worked to improve the neighborhood skate park that hosts local teenagers and young adults.
We are truly grateful to God for the Institute, and all that transpires through it. Cultivating hearts that are attuned to the Lord, know his Word, and respond in service is our goal, and we are watching it come true before our eyes.