RTI: The Unforgettable Memories Of A Great Institution — 003

Once Miss Treasure gave me a walk through of about a kilometer through the Rehoboth campus, we reached her “Missionary Bunglow”. I was amazed to see the dilapidated building in which she had been staying for decades to serve Indians.


Picture: An informal discussion between Miss Treasure, Dr. Saneesh Cherian, Dr. Johnson C. Philip during the Missions Program at RTI in 2010

While many mission-leaders are known for living in luxurious Villas, Miss Treasure continue to live in the old building with tiled roofs that are well-known for developing leakage after a few decades of use. I was surprised also because when someone came forward with an offer, she opted get a massive multi-storey building for the inmates of the Orphanage, not for her.

Once we sat down for food, she introduced to me her call, how she came to India, and how the Lord has been using her. She also mentioned how the launch of RTI would be a great blessing for the over-all Rehoboth ministries. I was simply amazed at her commitment to people in a land totally different from her people in language, culture, and general outlook.

I then shared my testimony as to how I was born in Kerala to parents who eventually became pioneer evangelists in Rajasthan and MP. I told her how I was brought up in North India so that I was a Malayalee by birth and a North Indian by culture. I also related how a large number of Indians and non Indians, assembly people and non assembly people, mentored me over the years.

That was also the first time she came to know about my secular background at the Jiwaji University, Gwalior. She was also happy to note that I had been connected with the Brethren Bible Institute, Pathanamthitta since its inception. I was the Acting Principal of BBI at that time. The talk that we thought might last for thirty minutes lasted for several hours. Several such meetings and discussions took place during the next few months.

She exclaimed several times during our discussion that the Lord had sent the right person to them as a consultant. She said that the group that has been praying for RTI desired to establish an outstanding institution, both in terms of academic activities as well as in terms of the spiritual atmosphere, and she said that these consultations would surely help them much.

The consultations went on for months. Finally Rehoboth Theological Institute started taking a clear shape in front of all of us. The blueprint was there for all of us to discuss the details about what goes where.

Meanwhile Dr. Ian Payne, an eminent scholar and architect from New Zealand came to Rehoboth at the invitation of Miss Treasure. He was invited to study the property and design the blueprint for a campus.

He carefully pored over the map of the 50-acre property and designed a campus based upon the most accepted principles for modern college campuses. I was then invited to go through the map with him and suggest improvements/modifications. Dr. Payne is no ordinary architect, and what he tentatively designed was unbelievable. Together we went over the tentative blueprint building by building and brick by brick and I was able to visualize the campus of brick and mortar as it would one day be.


Pic: Dr. Ian Payne, Judith Payne, and Jiju Ninan in 2007 inside the RTI Campus

Miss Treasure had earmarked 15 acres of land for this project. The institutions where I studied and worked had very large campuses and I already knew the advantage of having a very large campus. So my first action was to request that this be increased to a tentative 25 acres. She said that the Trust would surely consider allocating 25 acres of land for the eventual use of RTI. Based upon this assurance, I suggested many modifications and additions to Dr. Payne. This included the addition of vast areas of cemented plain land which would become playgrounds (Basketball, football) and parking space for hundreds of cars. This also included a very large artificial lake where water from the entire 50 acres of land would be harvested and stored.

By next day Dr. Payne redesigned the whole campus and I was stunned to see it. I realized that in front of me was the picture of one of the best Bible Seminary campuses that I had ever seen in India or outside. I also knew that it might take decades for this campus to develop and that I might not be on the earth to witness it but I had the satisfaction that I was able to join Miss Treasure and Dr. Payne to create a plan that (after necessary modifications in future) would be used to build the most outstanding Bible College in India. [To Continue…]



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