The recently concluded Asia Gateway Residential Training, held in the month of June 2018 at the Seminari Theologi Malaysia, brought together a colourful combination of cultures and personalities from seven nations across Asia. Prairie Vo, a freelance translator from Vietnam shares her experience…
At the first hello, it is easy to conclude one pertinent fact about Prairie; she is shy. One might even perceive her to be a tad timid and quite quiet. But after a month amidst strangers, who would go on to become her friends, Prairie emerged strong, brave, bold and rather chatty!
It seemed as if her month-long stay allowed her to discover more of who she really is and can become – through God and the comforting community of peers He had placed her in…
During her brief testimony at the Asia Gateway Training, she admitted that she came from a family of chronically shy people, who most of the time shunned spending time strangers. Yet, this demure, young beauty from Ho Chi Min City braved crossing the borders to spend a whole month, learning and living with complete strangers. Why?
It was a simple heart’s desire to know more about God’s mission. Prairie wanted to understand the biblical context of missions, particularly within the background of her own country, life, and ministry.
“What I learned at Asia Gateway was transformative and eye-opening in so many ways. I discovered all the dimensions of God’s heart for mission throughout the Bible.”
“I understood that mission starts with God and is fulfilled in Him. As the Church, we are called to partner with God in His mission. God wants to redeem not only human beings but also the animals, nature, culture, i.e. the whole creation,” Prairie said.
Her time at Asia Gateway also proved to be a contemplative one. She began to take a closer look at her own church’s traditions and practices more critically, and “more lovingly at the same time.”
Prairie added that she learned to have a more open and loving attitude towards people of other faiths in her country. “I’ve extended my understanding of God’s heart and will for mission,” she said.
Another transformative aspect of the Asia Gateway Training program was having the time to become more introspective. Prairie began to recognize that her love for God and others, as well as her understanding of God’s Word, were all limited by her own culture, society, church traditions and personal mindset.
“There are so many visible and invisible boundaries to cross to share the love of God. I hope to live and love more broadly and deeply like the example given by Jesus Christ,” she said.
“I want to invest myself more in partnering with God in His mission, particularly sharing with my youth ministry about mission and God’s heart for mission, for the redemption of the whole creation.”
“My hope is that we can start to build up a more holistic ministry to reach out, through the environment, social, charity, etc. activities and especially, interfaith dialogues with people of Buddhism and other faiths in Vietnam,” she added.
Asia Gateway 2018 began on June 4 and we hit the ground running… Here are a few snapshots of the weekend, orientation and Day 1 of classes.
This year, AsiaCMS also welcomed Dr Qaiser Julius as our Co-Mission Partner. Dr Qaiser teaches at the Open Theological Seminary (OTS) in Lahore, Pakistan. He is currently the Director of OTS, provides leadership to the institution along with teaching and preaching roles, and represents OTS on different platforms nationally and internationally.
Dr Qaiser teaches Hermeneutics and New Testament Greek every Fridays to M.Div. and B.Th. students at the Gujranwala Theological Seminary (GTS). This can be challenging as he has to travel around 4 hours to and from GTS on the same day each week.
He also provides assistance at the Langham Expository Preaching program in Pakistan as a volunteer coordinator. This program helps the preachers in Pakistan to expose biblical text with faithfulness, clarity and relevance in their preaching. This quarter he led the Langham Expository Preaching Training Level-1 in Sahiwal.
In the first quarter of 2018, Dr Qaiser spent time training new staff members that were hired in the Youth Department and Communications Desk at the seminary. He also invested a significant amount of time fundraising for OTS, which comes under the direct purview of the Director.
Dr Qaiser received an encouraging testimony this quarter from one of the Pastors that he taught during the Langham Expository Preaching program. The Pastor admitted that prior to this program, he did not spend enough time preparing for his sermons and more often than not, merely recited what he knew instead of preaching. This program taught him the tools he needed to invest more time in preparing for his sermons. In essence, this program sowed the seeds he needed to preach the Word of God more effectively.
Please Pray: for Dr Qaiser’s safe travel as he journeys extensively throughout Pakistan for the ministry of OTS. Pray also for wisdom, clarity and good preparation as he leads sessions in various training programs.
If you’d like to know more about Dr Qaiser’s ministry at OTS and what he does as our Co-Mission Partner, visit his Profile at asiacms.net
God is always at work; He is always changing circumstances that may seem impossible to us and stirring hearts that may face the most challenging situations. Ashish and Karuna, our new Co-Mission Partners, are witnesses to God’s faithful hand in their ministry, as they teach various Diploma, Bachelor and Master theological courses at the Nepal Theological College (NTC), as well as other neighbouring bible colleges.
In the past few months, both Ashish and Karuna have been increasingly heartened to see God using their skills and ministry to mould others. They see a deep hunger to learn God’s Word in every place they teach.
Ashish recently had an encouraging encounter with one of his students, who was determined to complete his M.Div. course, despite the struggles in his family and finances. The student, who has to take care of his ailing father, had no choice but to start learning his father’s profession as a tailor to sustain and provide for the family.
Instead of setting aside his theological studies or taking a break to work and make ends meet for his family, the student chose to pursue both. Each day, he travels over one and half hours to attend his classes at NTC. God has been stirring his heart with a hunger to learn the Word, despite the challenges at home. The student’s enthusiasm is nothing short of inspiring.
Karuna has also been witnessing God move amongst her students. Aside from her teaching engagement at NTC, Karuna also teaches a counselling course at a training centre in Kathmandu and in March this year, she tutored a Diploma in Mental Health (DPHM) course, organised by the Elijah Counselling and Training Center, in Lalitpur and United Mission Hospital Tansen, Nepal. This is a counselling training for pastors, leaders and those involved in hospital ministry.
After the DPHM course she taught, Karuna received positive feedback from her students, who say that they are now able to use the skills they learnt when dealing with people at the hospital daily. In fact, many doctors have begun referring patients to these students for counselling! This in itself is a testament to God’s move, as counselling is rather new and not really embraced by society at large in Nepal. But God is changing circumstances and the field of counselling is slowly beginning to impact the churches and society in this nation.
Please Pray: For the ministry of Nepal Theological College. Plans are underway to start their own Master of Divinity programme beginning in July 2018. Pray that God would bring more people to study His word.
If you’d like to know more about Ashish and Karuna’s ministry at NTC and what they do as our Co-Mission Partners, click on their Profile at: asiacms.net
Kumar & Hoshea
Three years ago, Hoshea Felix began a new journey at the International Global School of Leadership (IGSL) in Manila, Philippines. He was only in his early 20s and the youngest student in his batch. In that same year, the Philippine Campus Crusade for Christ commissioned him as a missionary, which in itself was a testament of God’s call and faithfulness in Hoshea’s life.
Despite his young age, he passionately pursued God’s call for his life and relied on God’s grace every step of the way. During Hoshea’s time at IGSL, Kumar Aryal (Director, Life Mentoring) and Kats Aryal (Faculty, Leadership Studies), both who are AsiaCMS’ Co-Mission Partners, mentored and taught him, respectively.
Kumar and Kats watched Hoshea grow and mature, as he continually sought God to mould him. He once said, “The path to becoming a better servant never ends. God’s affirmation is overwhelming. His call is always sure.”
Throughout his time at IGSL, Hoshea remained steadfast in his pursuit of God and remained dedicated to his call. In the course, God has not only blessed his journey but also led him to his life partner to minister alongside with. Hoshea finished well and received the Great Commission Award for multiplying disciples that reached up to four generations.
Just last month, Hoshea graduated from IGSL and has now been invited together with his wife, Charis to join the faculty team of IGSL. He was also commissioned to become the Lead Pastor of his local church. Truly, when God calls, He enables and equips. In the end, serving and following the Lord is still a work of His grace and for His glory. As Hoshea’s earnest prayer goes, “Lord, let me be the pastor, Bible scholar and missionary that You want me to be. Make me a better servant, like Your Son Jesus Christ.”
If you’d like to know more about Kumar and Kats’ ministry at IGSL and what they do as our Co-Mission Partners, click on their profile at:
The South Asian Christian Youth Network (SACYN) is a network of young leaders from South Asia with a mission to build connections. AsiaCMS partners to inspire, prepare and strengthen young Christian adults to cross bridges to encounter and share their faith and lives with others, across boundaries and borders. Since 2002, SACYN has facilitated various training, conferences and exposure visits to equip its leaders and in October 2017, SACYN organised a Leadership Training and Core Group meeting in Negombo, Sri Lanka. The theme for this 14th SACYN gathering was ‘Tides that We Swim Against: Leadership in Difficult Times’ and it brought together 34 young adult leaders from nine countries within South Asia. These are two voices of SACYN leaders, sharing on the impact of the gathering…
“Bold. Brave. Brilliant” by Wanda Christy
Over my few days attending SACYN 2017, I met a few of the boldest and bravest women. I was very honoured to be friends with women who were a true testimony to what they believe in, not only through their work, such as doing prison ministry and as a mental health awareness activist, but also as role models to youths, especially women.
These women are living examples that age, culture and most importantly, gender are not barriers to doing ministry. As girls in Sri Lanka, we face a lot of sexism and gender-based discrimination, violence and abuse on a daily basis and sadly, in certain parts of the country, these are not addressed and are even completely covered up.
In places where awareness and prevention is preached, it is not practiced and unfortunately when women do speak up, we are either shushed, ignored or laughed at.
Meeting these wonderful women at SACYN, including our female resource people, hearing their stories, seeing how they are the absolute bosses of their lives and how they are sharing the Gospel through their work and lives, are truly inspiring for me as a young woman who is just stepping into the waters.
So, thank you for just being so bold, brave and badass. May God bless you all and your ministry!
“A Reflection on the Exposure Visits” by Prasansa Suba
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” I can’t tell for sure if the Sri Lankan government in 1977 had good intentions but it definitely seemed a good initiative when it announced employment opportunities for 100,000 women to address the problem of unemployment that plagued many youths in the country.
Despite making a good step, the government failed to give the best to its citizens, as it failed to take its laborers’ welfare concerning health and safety, and other benefits into consideration. Later, when the laborers stood against this, the government silenced voices of the laborers, subjugated them, treated them inhumanely and made them work for their benefits.
As we look back at the country’s history, we can see the struggle of their laborers, which never made its way to victory. I actually appreciate the Sri Lankan government for coming up with this strategy to tackle the problem of unemployment but had it been more sensitive to its citizens and thought more thoroughly from the perspective of its workers, then its history would not have been tainted by violence and blood.
The exposure visit through this SACYN gathering made me realize the importance of preparation before making a step. Most of the times, we just step hastily and cause unforeseen damages to others, even when our intentions are good. If we follow the simple rule to just STOP and THINK, we can prevent a lot of problems.
A foundational truth that I constantly remind myself – God precedes us in that which He has tasked us to do. To speak of “God’s mission” is to assume that He is actively involved in our world. He is already intersecting into the paths of individuals and in the affairs of communities and nations. In no way is He absent or passively looking down from the heavens, with folded hands.
When we say that we partner with God in His mission, our foremost task is thus, to ‘hear’ Him and ‘see’ that which He is already doing. Then, we do the things He has privileged us to perform for His cause.
In Acts 8:26-39, God preceded Philip in his encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch. God had already opened the heart of this Ethiopian. He was a seeker of God. At that juncture, he just needed one last piece of the jigsaw to usher him into a dimension of spirituality that is only possible through a revelation of God in His Son, the Lord Jesus. That required a Philip.
Philip was busy with the fruits of a spiritual revival in Samaria (Acts 8:1-25). But when God’s angel spoke to him, Philip obediently walked away from it. He made his way to the Jerusalem-Gaza desert road. God had assigned him to share the Gospel with just one individual. This high-ranking individual was one of the keys that opened the doors for an entire kingdom; Ethiopia embracing the Gospel in the later centuries.
God preceded Ainul, a Nepali Christian leader in a church that I previously pastored. He first came to Malaysia in 2002. To send money to his family, Ainul would remit it through a family friend, based in Nepal. Unfortunately, this ‘trusted’ friend not only absconded with the money, he eloped with his wife!
The affair ended tragically with the death of Ainul’s wife, leaving Ainul with three mother-less children. Some years later, Ainul found out that his betrayer was now working in Malaysia. With revenge in his heart, Ainul hired several Indonesian men and together, they embarked on a bus journey to Johor.
On that trip, a Christian Nepali man sat next to Ainul and began what was to Ainul, the strangest of conversations. He said to Ainul that God told him someone in that long trip to Johor was grappling with life and death. He felt God pointing him to Ainul and so emboldened, he spoke his mind.
Ainul was livid but the man did not relent. Over a prolonged heated conversation, Ainul and his cohorts nearly beat up that man. The events that day ended in a manner that Ainul did not anticipate. He encountered Christ. It was through a man, who did not know that God preceded him, yet was bold enough to act on it.
Our stories are probably less dramatic but as we seek to pray, give, and do our part in His mission, this is our assurance – God precedes us!
Peace and Grace,
Chan Nam Chen
As we settle into the second quarter of the year, we are excited to build upon our existing foundation of advancing God’s MIssion.
This is our new tagline and a glimpse into our direction for the months ahead…@AsiaCMS
PLEASE CLICK ON THE BROCHURE FOR FULL PAGE VIEW
That’s right! we are just 7 Weeks away from getting together with students and missions workers from all over the world for a time of classroom learning and practical outings. Our team is already hard at work behind the scenes to prepare for a blessed time of reflecting and growing together.
From June 2 – 29, Asia Gateway, our residential training programme will be underway. Students will learn about the five marks of mission and receive a firm foundation in intercultural mission – to be better equipped to further increase the effectiveness and impact of God’s mission.
Asia Gateway started in 2013 as a vision where several mission agencies of Asia came together out of a desire to train and equip mission workers to a high standard enabling them to live out their calling and mission from God.
Our partners include – The Methodist Church of Malaysia, The Anglican Diocese of West Malaysia, OM, OMF, Interserve, STM, SIM and Asia CMS.
We encourage all of you to keep this programme, our team and all our students in prayer, even as they prepare to travel and attend Asia Gateway.
If you’ve missed enrolling this year, don’t fret! Stay tuned and visit http://asiagatewaytraining.net/about-us for more information to register for 2019!
Bringing God into your every circumstance is as easy as ASKING him to. Jesus showed us through the gospel the way to PRAY to the Father is to simply TALK to him.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 encourages us to “pray without ceasing”. When we do this, we bring God into our every situation throughout our day.
This is how we can share our every moment with Him and when we do, we spend time with God all day long. We allow Him to guide us in all that we do…
What situation are you facing today where you need God to guide and strengthen you? Pause a moment and simply ask. Your Abba Father is waiting to hear from you…