Ready to Return to India
Wesley Chatla had an active, fruitful ministry in India for many years, but he sensed the need for seminary training to enhance his effectiveness in ministry. The Lord led him to Faith Baptist Theological Seminary in 2011, and he graduated this past May, ready to return to India.
1. Tell us about your parents and siblings and the ministries your family has initiated in India.
My parents, Dr. and Mrs. Chatla Devasahayam and Suguna, have been serving the Lord with Baptist India Ministries since 1975. I am a third generation Christian, and God blessed me with godly parents, three brothers, and four sisters. All of my siblings are believers, and five of them are serving the Lord in different parts of India. My grandfather started Baptist India Ministries in 1950 which has grown to include church planting, an orphanage, a Christian school, Mount Zion Bible School, gospel TV ministries, and widow care.
2. What kind of ministries did you have in India prior to coming to FBTS?
I worked in South Korea for three years and returned to India in 1999 to work as a general manager for Baptist India Ministries and director of the J. Frank Davis High School from 2000 to 2011. My wife, Sonia Chatla, worked as a school principal for ten years in the same school.
3. How did you hear about FBTS and how did the Lord lead you here?
I came to know about Faith through Dr. James Maxwell III, when my Dad met him in Bangkok, Thailand, during an IPFBM conference. I visited the United States in 2010 to participate in a leadership conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. During that trip I visited other schools and finally came to Faith in August 2011. Through my short visit and other circumstances, the Lord led me to come to Faith. I arrived at Faith on February 16, 2012.
4. When did you come to FBTS and what was involved in the transition? Tell us about your family and share how your family had to wait a while to come.
What I saw on February 2011 was quite different from my visit in August 2010. It really felt cold, and Dr. Maxwell sent me a big, thick coat to bear the cold, which I had never experienced in my life. Fortunately that was a mild winter and I really adjusted well. During this time, my wife and children applied for renewal of their passports, which took four months. Then they had to submit more paper work, but they finally got their visas to come to the United States. The whole process took seven months. It was hard on me being away from my family for seven months, but God taught me to lean on Him and wait for His time.
5. What were some of the challenges you faced here at FBTS?
Though there are many challenges ever since my arrival here, God in His sovereign grace met our every challenge during our stay at Faith. It has been a huge transition for my kids and wife, but we thank God for His faithfulness and meeting and providing our needs and equipping us for our future ministry.
• I struggled in the first year to pay my school bill. We were praying until the last day, and as an answer to my prayer, a friend of mine took care of the bill for me. I praise God for the scholarships and employment from FBTS from my second year for which I am so grateful. I came to Faith by faith and God once again proved His faithfulness.
• A couple in our church gave us their car to use for 15 months, until we got one of our own. Someone anonymously sent us $5000 to buy a car. Praise the Lord!
• One of the big challenges for me was cold weather, but thank God I made it. But for my wife, it was a childhood wish come true. She enjoyed walking on a snowy Christmas night with beautiful lights around.
6. What church were you a part of here in Ankeny, and how have you served in that church?
We were part of Community Baptist Church in Ankeny. I enjoyed Dr. Schmidt’s preaching and the loving people at CBC. Because of my frequent travels to churches, I was mostly involved as a substitute in all areas where there was a need. I am thankful for the opportunity to complete my internship at CBC by serving in teaching, preaching, outreach, children’s club, and youth group.
7. When do you plan to return to India?
We are leaving on June 9 to return to India. Our main goal is church planting and training the nationals who are already in the field. Down the road my desire is to establish orphanages and mission schools to reach the younger generation as 40% of the population in India is under the age of 25.
8. What role will your wife play in your ministry as you return to India?
I am so grateful to God for my wonderful wife. She has been a tremendous blessing to me in the ministry, and she will help me in every way possible in whatever capacity God places me. She will render her services in children’s and youth ministries.
10. How did your studies and teachers here at FBTS prepare you for more effective service for Christ?
It is a huge blessing to be under the teaching, training and guidance of FBTS faculty, who are well qualified, dedicated, and committed to train us with sound Biblical doctrines without any compromise. Their passion was to equip me to preach the Word and help me understand how people are being misled by incorrect doctrines. They not only teach, but they also live by the Word and I am grateful for their love, care and passion to train men and women for the service for the Lord. I have to admit that working with the Hebrew and Greek languages was like a “fine form of torture,” but I learned a lot through language studies and I am quite comfortable to use languages in my sermon preparations.
We wish Wesley and his family God’s richest blessings as they return to India, ready to serve the Lord more effectively.
More Precious Than Gold
“That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it be tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Christ” (1 Peter 1:7).
Faith alums Dan (’06) and Ann (Walker ’08) Barnett have experienced a year of testing like few other young couples have faced.
Dan and Ann were high school sweethearts from Creston, Iowa. Dan graduated from Faith in 2006 and Ann in 2008. They were married after her graduation in First Baptist Church in Creston, their home church.
In 2011 the Barnetts moved to Bethany, Missouri, where Dan started his career as a patrolman for the Missouri State Highway Patrol and Ann began teaching kindergarten.
On January 6, 2014, Dan suffered a stroke while at home. He had worked a late shift that night, and around 4:30 in the morning he woke up with no feeling on the right side of his body. At the time Ann was seven months pregnant with twin boys.
Dan was sent straight to Saint Luke’s hospital in Kansas City. Doctors discovered a blood clot on the left side of his brain that had caused the stroke. After removing the blood clot, another clot formed in the same location within hours.
The second surgery led to bleeding in the brain, causing Dan to lose speech and mobility temporarily on the right side of his body. While still in the hospital, Dan was able to work with many therapists. He was walking and had regained most of his speech before leaving Saint Luke’s.
On February 22 Dan and Ann became parents to Jason and Clinton Barnett. Ann was able to deliver in Saint Luke’s where Dan was staying. All four were released on the same day—February 24!
Since leaving the hospital almost a year ago, Dan and Ann have been learning to balance caring for twin boys, Dan’s therapy, and Ann’s teaching. The boys will be turning one soon and are doing well. Dan works tirelessly at regaining more and more use of his right side.
Both Dan and Ann are thankful for the support they received during this time. Communities, churches, employers, and many more individuals have helped and prayed for them. A special blessing is that Dan and Ann’s mothers are able to alternate spending the weekdays with the family to help care for some of their needs.
Dan and Ann know that God planned this circumstance in their lives for a reason. They commented that “God is good and faithful in our trials, even when we are not. There is good in our circumstances and the outcome will be good too." In fact, the outcome will be something “more precious than gold.”
Gene Matlock Home with the Lord
Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary held a special memorial service for Gene Matlock on Wednesday, October 29, at 9:00 a.m. in the Nettleton Center. Gene's wife, Judy, was with us for that service. Those of you who were unable to attend the service can view it here.
Gene Matlock, Faith's vice president for advancement and church relations, went to be with the Lord on Tuesday, October 7, after a short battle with cancer. The memorial service was held at Shiloh Hills Baptist Church in Kennesaw, Georgia, on Saturday, October 11, at 11:00 a.m. Dr. Ernie Schmidt and Don Anderson represented Faith.
Gene was born on November 20, 1952, in Chicago as the 11th of 13 children. Gene lived in various places during his lifetime of Christian ministry. He was living in Woodstock, Georgia, when he went to be with the Lord. He was 61 years old.
Gene is survived by his wife, Judy, and seven siblings. He was preceded in death by his parents and by five siblings.
Gene’s life is a testament to the grace of God, Who took a kid from a dysfunctional family on the south side of Chicago and used him in effective Christian ministries for more than 35 years.
Gene was only 15 years old when his father died of a heart attack in the fall of 1967. His mother passed away three months later. Six children were still living at home when his parents died, so the children went to live with their married brothers and sisters. In God’s good plan for Gene, he went to live with his brother James and his wife who lived in Romeoville, Illinois, and who attended Bible Baptist Church in Romeoville. There Gene heard the gospel and received Christ as his Savior. He became involved in Sunday School, the music program, youth work, and the camping ministries at the church.
Upon high school graduation, some members of Bible Baptist Church encouraged him to attend Bible college, and he chose to attend Faith Baptist Bible College. He graduated from Faith in 1977 with a degree in Christian Education. During his years at Faith, he met Judy Fuller who was an administrative assistant at the college. They were married in March of 1973.
Gene and Judy then began a lifetime of ministry in several different churches. For 7 years after his graduation, they served at Ankeny Baptist Church in a lay capacity where he served as a Sunday School superintendent and teacher, deacon, youth leader, VBS worker, and trainer of teachers. During the summers of 1976 and 1977, Gene and Judy worked as the summer camp director at Beechwood Lake Camp in Bloomington, Indiana.
In 1984 the Lord led Gene to First Baptist Church in Faribault, Minnesota, where he served as the associate pastor under Harold Constant. This church took on the responsibility of planting a church in Burnsville, Minnesota, a city in the southern Twin Cities area, and called Gene and Judy to plant that church, which came to be known as Suburban Regular Baptist Church. He pastored that church from 1987 to 1994.
In 1989 he began to work part-time as a Christian Education Consultant for Regular Baptist Press. In 1994 he left the church and began serving full-time for Regular Baptist Press. In that role he traveled the United States, as well as in Australia and Canada, meeting with pastors and Sunday School leaders and conducting training conferences. Regular Baptist Press later moved Gene and Judy to the Atlanta, Georgia, area where he concentrated his ministry on the southeastern part of the United States.
In 1996 Gene was asked to join the Advisory Board at Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary. He later was selected to the Board of Directors where he served with distinction for many years as the chairman of the Advancement Committee. He faithfully attended the Board meetings though he lived nearly a thousand miles away.
In 2007 the Lord led Gene to accept the position of associate pastor of Christian education and outreach at Lebanon Baptist Church in Roswell, Georgia, where he served under Pastor Paul Mann. In 2009, due to his outstanding work as an assistant pastor, Gene was recognized as the Alumnus of the Year from Faith.
Gene served faithfully at Lebanon Baptist Church for 5 years. Through his work on the Faith Board he became aware of the need for someone to lead the Advancement Department. In 2012 the Lord led Gene to take the position of vice president for advancement and church relations at Faith, where he served until his Homegoing. Gene tirelessly traveled for the school he loved, making friends and raising money. People who knew Gene well knew that often he used his own money to pay for his travel as the school’s advancement officer. Even in the past few months Gene tried to focus his attention on his ministry at Faith and do what he could to advance the school.
Gene Matlock spent more than 35 years in ministry as a pastor, associate pastor, Regular Baptist Press representative, and Bible college administrator. He distinguished himself as a hardworking, capable servant of the Lord. He was a godly husband who loved his wife and cared deeply for her needs. He was a loyal supporter of Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary.
Those of us who knew Gene will miss his friendliness and his friendship. He served well over the years and made major contributions to several ministries. Certainly the words of our Lord in Matthew 25 apply to Gene Matlock: “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord.”
Memorial gifts may be sent to Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary, 1900 NW Fourth St., Ankeny, IA 50023. You may also donate to Faith online.
You may send cards to Judy Matlock at 5014 River Rock Way, Woodstock, GA 30188.
Prepared for Ministry
Caleb and Amie Bowman are two examples of how the Lord uses Faith to prepare people for ministry. Find out more about how the Lord used Faith in their lives and then directed them into full-time ministry.
How did the Lord lead you to Faith?
When I visited Faith as a high schooler, I had a great experience meeting several of the guys in the dorms and really enjoying the classes. Also I knew James Reynolds, a local pastor, and his wife Heather. Pastor James encouraged me to come to Faith and invited me to work with him as one of his youth leaders at Nevada Baptist Church. I really liked the school and thought working with Pastor James would offer valuable experience.
Where did the two of you meet, and how did the Lord bring you together?
We don’t really know when we first met because we went to the same church since we were little kids. Our families hung out quite a bit when we were younger but we didn’t get along at all. We fought all the time; but somewhere between sixth and seventh grade our opinions of each other changed dramatically! We’ve been best friends ever since!
Tell us about your family.
We were married in 2005, two weeks after we graduated from Faith. We spent two more years in Ankeny while I attended seminary. We then moved to Derby, Kansas, where Amie and I serve as the youth pastor and wife of Calvary Baptist Church. In December of 2012 God gave us our first child, Maria Ann, and we’re expecting our second sometime early January 2015.
What were some of the highlights of your years at Faith?
Looking back on our years at Faith, we are so thankful for the great times learning both in the classroom and through our local church. We also had a lot of fun! The spirit and environment at Faith provide great opportunities for exciting extracurricular activities.
How did the Lord direct you into ministry?
The summer before my junior year in high school God showed me I was putting football before him. I decided to put God first by quitting football. The Lord then had free reign in my heart and worked through my parents and youth pastor to grow a love for the Bible and desire to serve in the church. A year later I felt God calling me into ministry and committed myself to pursuing pastoral ministry.
How did Faith help prepare you to serve in ministry?
We are so thankful God led us to Faith. Our time there helped prepare us for ministry by providing a great balance of instruction and practical application. At Faith we learned to understand the Bible and think for ourselves while getting hands-on experience working in the local church. The professors were godly examples in this area, faithfully serving in their own local churches. Faith gave us a solid foundation of Bible and doctrine with a philosophy of ministry that puts Christ first.
How did the Lord lead you to Calvary Baptist Church?
At the start of my second year in seminary, we began sending resumes to churches and state associations, mainly near Michigan where we grew up. We were praying for God’s direction but needed to start looking somewhere. Seemingly out of the blue (but all in the Lord’s good plan) we received a call from Pastor Kent Holcomb of Derby, Kansas. Pastor Holcomb attended Montana Institute of the Bible where Dr. John Hartog II was one of his professors. Pastor Holcomb had called his former professor in search of a youth pastor, and Dr. Hartog gave him my name. After candidating at Calvary, we were confident that God was leading us to this wonderful church.
What are your ministries there?
Our main focus of ministry is with the 7th–12th grade students. We are also involved in many other aspects of the ministry such as VBS, hospital visitation, nursery, preaching and other teaching ministries.
What kind of connections have you maintained with Faith through the years?
Since moving to Derby we have stayed connected with Faith by taking advantage of the module classes that are offered in the summer. Also, our teens love coming to the spring youth conference.
From the Classroom to the Pulpit
David Cotner graduated from Faith Baptist Bible College last May and immediately began serving full-time as the pastor of Prairie Flower Baptist Church in Washington, Iowa (He had been serving the church as the part-time pastor for several months before graduation.) So in one month he went from a chair in the classroom to the pulpit of the church. Here is David’s story.
What program did you graduate from at Faith?
I graduated from the Pastoral Training program with a minor in Greek.
Tell us a little about your wife and kids.
Absolutely! My wife, Heather, is the love of my life. We met while I was in the Army, serving overseas in Iraq. We started off as pen-pals, and the rest is history! We have two kids (a girl and a boy), and we just celebrated four years of marriage on July 10! And let me tell you, four years of marriage is just as effective as Bible college (if not more so) in teaching you how to be a shepherd-teacher. Let me explain. Bible college will teach you what theology is; a wife will teach you how to put that theology into practice. Bible college will teach you what to preach; a wife will teach you how to practice what you preach. Bible college will teach you what really matters in life; a wife will teach you why it really matters in life!
Where are you from, and how did the Lord lead you to Faith?
I am from Pensacola, Florida. Basically, God used a music CD from Faith to impress upon me the need to look at Faith for my schooling. As I looked at Faith, I realized that Faith’s core values were the same as mine. That is to say, Faith is committed to producing effective Christian leaders, maintaining excellence in the realm of academics, and following Jesus no matter the cost. These things are important to Faith, they are important to me, and I benefited greatly from the Faith experience.
How did God use Faith in your life to prepare you for where you are today?
Without the Faith experience, I would not be where I am today. In other words, it was at Faith that I learned that preaching is more than a fancy alliterated outline. Preaching is theology that catches fire! At Faith I learned to preach with passion. It was at Faith that I learned that leadership takes hard work and that sometimes things are more complex than they initially look. At Faith I learned to trust a sovereign God, point people to a Book with all of the answers. At Faith I was reminded that at the cross of Christ we can always find forgiveness, hope, and all the grace we will ever need!
What do you think was the most beneficial aspect of your program?
My pastoral internship and my involvement in my local church in Ankeny were the most beneficial aspects to my program. In the classroom I was equipped with the knowledge of ministry, but it was during my internship and the time spent serving in my local church that I actually got to put into practice the things I was learning in the classroom. These experiences were invaluable and prepared me well for life and ministry as a pastor.
How did God lead you to Prairie Flower Baptist Church?
Basically, I took opportunities as they were presented to me. I was given the opportunity to fill the pulpit at Prairie Flower, and the Lord continued to move us toward that church. We are a church located in the middle of a cornfield, but don’t underestimate us! Exciting things are happening here, and I am thrilled to be a part of what God is doing in southeast Iowa!
In your transition from student to pastor how did you see God . . .
At work? God provided wisdom, discernment, energy, and strength all along the way. I definitely prayed like it was all up to God, but I worked like it was all up to me. In the end, God orchestrated all the events of my life (big and small) to bring me to where I am today.
Answer prayer? Halfway through Bible college, my prayer was that God would transform my desires to align with His will for my life. At the beginning of my training at Faith, I desired to be a big city church pastor. God had other plans. He answered my prayer, and I can safely say that I am most satisfied with being a pastor in the middle of a cornfield. Is this where I thought I would end up? Absolutely not! But it’s exactly where God wants me, and I’m truly content with that.
Show His faithfulness? God is faithful. I don’t need to have the next fifty years mapped out; I just need to be faithful to Him today. Ultimately, I am reminded, day after day, that God requires faithfulness of His servants, not outward signs of success. So I will be faithful in a cornfield, during the sunshine and the rain, and no matter what happens I know He will always be faithful to me!
Presidental Installation ServiceSeptember 17
Join us as we install Jim Tillotson as the new president of Faith.
Come back to your alma mater to meet the new president and reconnect with friends.
Make plans now to bring your teens to the premier youth event this fall.
Refresh ConferenceFebruary 9–12
A specialized conference for pastors and wives to refresh you in your ministry
Gary Sammons, a former professor at Faith, entered the Lord's presence on August 20. Read More
Mark Davis, the director of admissions, has been appointed to be vice president of enrollment and student life. Read More
Faith welcomes Leanna Acree, Karis Cole, Bri Harrier, and Nick Payne to the staff. Read More
Dr. Paul Hartog, professor and librarian at Faith, has edited and contributed to a book on the early church fathers. Read More
Sherri Nicholson, an accomplished pianist and piano teacher, will join Faith's Music Department faculty this fall. Read More