Apollo remembers the excitement a pair of shoes to share between him and his three brothers brought him. Every third day, each of the boys would get a turn wearing the shoes. Born to an Anglican pastor and the kind of adversity that constructs or crumbles faith, he learned early on what faith in God meant. When civil war in his home country of Rwanda erupted, Apollo fled to Uganda with his family, later returning to care for the wounded country.
As he grew, and passion for serving the Rwandan people with him, Apollo went off to study biomedicine, but when he was done, felt God call him to ministry instead. This is how Apollo arrived at Tyndale Theological Seminary in the Netherlands.
Named after William Tyndale, first translator of the Bible into English and martyr of the early Anglican church, the school was founded by Bob Evans (also GEM’s founder) with the help of Art Johnston to be an international English-language seminary in Europe. The Dutch school offers the same degree programs that you can find in the United States, but Tyndale, being in Europe, is more accessible and often more relevant for many students. In addition, because classes are taught in English, international students do not assimilate to the Netherlands. Unlike the 80% of students who go to seminary abroad in the US and stay, the same 80% of Tyndale’s students return to serve in their home countries.
Situated in a town near Amsterdam – one of the most international cities in the world where 120 languages are spoken – the multicultural setting at Tyndale is welcomed in the area. 72 different countries are represented at Tyndale, making it a strategic tool for participating in the Great Commission. Matthew 28 tells us to “make disciples of all nations”, a value and goal GEM holds highly, choosing Europe as a mission field because it is connected, influential, and unreached.
Tyndale is obeying this command literally – every day making disciples of individuals who return to their countries to do the same.
One of the most notable side-effects of a multi-cultural seminary like this one, professor and GEM missionary Peter Hays shares, is the bigness of Jesus that everyone gets to see. All the students (and professors – who are usually foreign as Tyndale is 100% staffed by missionaries) have met the same Christ through very different situations, and face very different ministry and living difficulties in their home countries. Professor Hays remembers a Pakistani student at Tyndale who was looking for a wife who would marry him knowing he could be thrown in jail for his public declarations of faith. He also shared about a Serbian couple who graduated and moved to Cyprus to work with refugees.
All students while they’re studying participate in outreaches in the Netherlands, ministering to Europeans with unique needs of their own. Professor Hays says it is an honor to be with such motivated servants of Christ who will impact places for Jesus that he will never get to go to.
Since graduating from Tyndale in June of 2016, his student Apollo has returned to Rwanda to serve training rural pastors who have no book training at all (almost like traveling mini Bible school) and has been asked to teach courses at a seminary in the country. He has developed partnerships with two US organizations, Biblical Education by Extension (BEE) and Crossway.
Apollo and the students like him at Tyndale are something to be excited over! The spiritual work being done and investment being made for people all over the world is playing an important role in fulfilling the Great Commission. If you would like to be a part of supporting it, the most current need Tyndale has is funding for a new building. There are so many students, they are running out of space! Please also pray with us for the work the Spirit is doing in students and – by extension – the nations through Tyndale.
Find more information about Tyndale Theological Seminary by visiting www.tyndale-europe.edu