SparkLit | As iron sharpens iron
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As iron sharpens iron

As iron sharpens iron

Thanks to SparkLit supporters, graduates like Jehrus Bien Bastawang Laconsay leave St Andrew’s Theological Seminary in Manila with a copy of the IVP New Bible Commentary and Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary.

You can help equip students like Jehrus Bien Bastawang Laconsay for a life of ministry.


“You are called, and I am here to guide you.” The sun began to rise and its gentle rays washed over me. I knew I needed to respond to the call to ministry and prepare for a life of service. With a restless heart, I entered St Andrew’s Theological Seminary.


Ora et labora


Seminary life was warm and welcoming. I enjoyed working, worshipping, eating, playing and praying with other students. We came from different parts of the country, different traditions and different cultural, social and theological backgrounds but we shared one common purpose. An invisible thread bound us together as brothers and sisters in Christ.


When one succeeded, we all celebrated their victory. In times of sorrow, we held each other close. In life’s storms, helping hands reminded us of the power of kindness, solidarity and perseverance. I never felt alone.


A crucible


But diversity can be a double-edged sword. While different traditions and interpretations broadened my perspective and enriched our collective journey, they also presented obstacles to unity and mutual understanding. At times, uncertainty and chaos consumed my mind.


Patience, I discovered, is not passive acceptance but an active and intentional stance that fosters learning and growth. Listening deeply, challenging preconceptions and engaging rigorously with complex and competing theological claims were disciplines I had to learn and master.


Preach, teach, heal


Like the theological students with whom I studied, the people I will serve live in a diverse and complex world. Many will be poor, marginalised, oppressed and vulnerable. My ministry will be more than delivering sermons and administering sacraments. I will need to be present and active in their lives. I will need to share their struggles, setbacks and triumphs.


Reading develops empathy


Books are crucial for building a harmonious community. They hold not only knowledge, but also experience, allowing us to understand and appreciate different cultural and theological backgrounds. Knowing how others have navigated similar paths in other times and places is a solace, inspiration and encouragement.


During our field placements, our theory was tested in practical application. It is clear that our training in wisdom, compassion and grace has only just begun. Your gift of books will enable us to continue to learn and to teach with conviction and compassion.


Please pray that, like Jesus, I will seek to minister to the whole person, to both their material and spiritual needs. 


Jehrus Bien Bastawang Laconsay graduated from St Andrew’s Theological Seminary, Manila, in 2023 with a master’s degree in divinity.


$160 will provide a Bible dictionary and Bible commentary to a graduate from St Andrew’s Seminary in Manila.