Baxter Institute Trains Preachers for Spanish Speaking Countries
by: Stafford North | November 5, 2018
Since 1964, the Baxter Institute, located in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, has been training preachers. Over the years, its facilities, faculty, programs, and services have grown to the point that they now have sixty students from ten countries enrolled. Currently their students are from Cuba, Columbia, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Venezuela, and Mexico.
Baxter offers a one-year correspondence course, a three-year weekend training course, and a four-year university-level program. For those who have completed the four-year program, they also offer fifth-year studies in marriage and family counseling and in strategic church growth. The courses at Baxter focus on books of the Bible, the study of biblical languages, the work of a preacher, and the use of computers to help them in their work. Those at the Institute believe it is important for students to be able to study in their home language of Spanish within the context of Latin American culture.
As is true of many preacher training institutions, the students at Baxter spend their weekends in working on church ministry assignments they conduct an annual evangelistic campaign. Once a Baxter student reaches his fourth year of studies, he is sent away for a six-month capstone ministry apprenticeship. All of his studies prepare him/her for this full-time experience. Hundreds are baptized each year by Baxter students as they participate in these activities.
Since its beginning, Baxter has had over 600 men and women to graduate from its four year program and these are serving throughout the Spanish-speaking world. Especially those in charge at Baxter have taken satisfaction in a team of two couples who came from Cuba have now completed their work at the Institute. Now these have returned to Cuba where they are working to plant a new church.
In addition to offering programs to prepare preachers, the Baxter Institute also has a medical clinic which sits adjacent to the main campus and serves the medical needs of not only the Baxter students, staff, and campus visitors, but also those of the neighbors from the poor communities surrounding Baxter.
The work at the clinic is overseen by a Honduran doctor, Dr. Xiomara Erazo, who is responsible for insuring that all medical work done at the clinic meets the requirements of Honduran law and that those who participate are appropriately certified in Honduras.
The Clinic provides medical, dental, and pharmaceutical services to over 10,000 patients each year including the work of medical mission teams whom the Clinic assists. These groups help in impoverished areas of Honduras. The Clinic works to send the medical teams to local churches of Christ to address the needs of those in the congregation and their communities.
Baxter also provides a nutrition program for malnourished children. Clinics and hospitals refer underweight children to the Baxter Clinic and, if admitted to the program, the family receives rations including rice, oatmeal, powdered milk, spaghetti, corn meal, oil, sugar, and beans. These basic staples are given every ten days, preceded by a devotional led by the program director, Eistey Mejía, and followed by a snack for the mothers and children. The Clinic also provides educational programs to teach the mothers how to identify unhealthy relationships, how to operate a water filter, how to save money, and other resourceful tips. In addition to food and drink, the children and their families are also provided free excellent medical and dental care. Mothers often come into the clinic for vitamins, cold medicines, and routine check-ups that would not be accessible or affordable to them otherwise.
Baxter Institute also assists Summer Mission Brigades. Usually in the summers, about thirty groups come from churches in the United States to assist in various ways. Sometimes they assist with construction projects, build houses, feed the hungry, provide medical and dental services, conduct vacation Bible schools, and spread the gospel through their love and generosity. Often these groups are housed on the Baxter campus.
The Institute has excellent facilities on its thirteen-acre campus. Two buildings remain in use from the original coffee farm, but the center of daily campus life is the Harris Goodwin Administration Building, a four-story administrative and teaching center. This building houses offices, classrooms, a computer lab, library, and chorus rehearsal room. On the top floor is the chapel where daily devotionals are held.
The adjacent Damas de Baxter Cafeteria, a two-story dining hall and student center assembly area, provides a hub for campus life outside the classroom. Food service is provided for the single students who eat all of their meals in the dining hall; married students eat with their families in their apartments. Situated behind these two buildings is the 1,200-seat, covered Armando Pacheco Amphitheatre. This is a great place for large youth gatherings and area-wide church worship services.
As a resident ministry training program, Baxter provides housing for students on campus. The Walter Frazier Men’s Dormitory can house up to seventy single men in double rooms. The men’s dorm also has an open courtyard and common area which is perfect for singing, studying, and even the occasional soccer match. The Burton and Sissie Coffman Apartments are home to twenty married student couples and families. Each of these apartments is furnished with a kitchen for family dining, and the close proximity to the other families creates a close-knit community.
Dr. Steve Teel, who holds a doctorate from Harding University, is the president of Baxter Institute. He works under a Board of Directors and the Memorial Road Church of Christ is the sponsoring church for this work. For more information or to contribute to the work of Baxter Institute, go to www.BaxterInstitute.org.