Evangel training pastors in Central America

Evangel Presbyterian Church member Carlton LeMond presents a laptop to a pastor in San Ignacio, Belize, to be used for seminary training during a mission trip to the country in 2014. (Contributed)

Evangel Presbyterian Church member Carlton LeMond presents a laptop to a pastor in San Ignacio, Belize, to be used for seminary training during a mission trip to the country in 2014. (Contributed)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Over the past two years, Alabaster’s Evangel Presbyterian Church has been transforming a simple piece of technology into a tool to better equip pastors in a developing part of the world.

Evangel Pastor Dr. Jeff Lowman and church members Carlton LeMond, Rick Evans and Steve Sanders are preparing to take an eight-day trip to Belize on Jan. 20 to distribute about 200 flash drives to local pastors, Christian schools and residents.

The 32-gigabyte thumb drives contain the Third Millennium curriculum, a Christian education program developed by Birmingham Theological Seminary equivalent to a three-year seminary graduation.

This will mark the second consecutive year for the program, and Lowman said the church is looking to build on the success it saw in Belize last year.

“We go almost door-to-door. Most of them have computers, but there is very little Internet access,” Lowman said. “What we do would be obsolete if there was widespread Internet access, because this program is freely available online.”

LeMond said 63 people in Belize have already completed the three-year seminary program since the Evangel group visited last year.

“I’m really thrilled to be a part of this program,” LeMond said. “We give them to everyone who wants one, regardless of denomination.”

Over the past several months, the Evangel congregation has been purchasing the thumb drives to send with the group to Belize. Although Lowman said there are many pastors in Belize, few of them have a formal seminary education.

“There is a real need for pastors in Belize to have this type of Biblical and seminary education,” Lowman said. “It’s a great joy for them to receive this. Some of them shed tears of joy when we give them the thumb drive.”

Because the Third Millennium curriculum is not copyrighted, pastors in Belize can share the information with their congregations and copy the curriculum for other pastors in the country.

“We want to encourage the training within the church so the people will be more educated in the Bible and theology,” LeMond said.