Published May 5, 2011
LILBURN — The first commencement celebration for the Georgia Baptist Convention’s Arabic Bible Institute was held at First Baptist Church in Lilburn on April 16. Nicolas Murr, pastor of Briarlake Arabic Fellowship in Decatur, presided over the graduation ceremony.
Eight Arabic-speaking students completed 30 credit units to earn the basic diploma in Christian Ministry. One of the students, Adel Mikahil, died just days prior to the graduation exercises. Those receiving diplomas were: Dany Ayoub, Sylvia Ayoub, Basem Sahawneh, Nazek Sahawneh, Ram Nasrallah, Rita Sabbagh and Farid Komery.
Murr, who taught New Testament introduction and church history at the Institute, challenged the graduates, stating, “Don’t waste your knowledge. We want you to be a blessing to all Arab believers. We also need you to help us reach the Arab community for Christ.”
Richard Dodge, the GBC missionary for continuing education, addressed the graduates and attendees and used Luke 5:4-11 to challenge those present to be “fishers of men.”
Fayiz Saknini, the GBC missionary to those from the Middle East, taught systematic theology at the Institute. He remarked, “I wrote the material for my class, printed it and taught it.”
Saknini addressed the graduates from a message from John 12:26, declaring, “You cannot be a successful servant unless you deny yourself and take up your cross and follow Christ. Let Jesus captivate your heart so that He is Lord of all.
“We must not minimize any servant of God. The Lord will honor all those who serve Him whether they do it by cleaning the church or by proclaiming the Gospel.”
Nazek Sahawneh, a pharmacist and one of the graduates, is from Irbid, Jordan. She and her husband, Basem, are members of Crossview Baptist Church in Marietta. Obviously proud of her educational accomplishment, Nazek commented, “I have already led a ladies’ Bible study. I have learned how to be more effective in defending my faith. I also know how to be a better witness to Muslims.”
The graduation ceremony was followed by a banquet featuring delicious Middle Eastern food enjoyed by all.
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