Asia Gateway has successfully launched its 2016 Residential Training, which is a key initiative of AsiaCMS to train and equip workers and leaders for cross-cultural mission.
The six-week training at Malaysia Theological Seminary in Seremban attracted 16 students from six countries – Malaysia, Nepal, Myanmar, Pakistan, Singapore and Turkey.
The programme, which runs from July 16 to Aug 26, combines lectures and field trips to give students the best of academic training and exposure in a multi-faith and multi-cultural environment.
In between lessons, discussions and devotions, the students visited a mosque, a Hindu temple and a Buddhist temple, and participated in an interfaith dialogue.
Some of the students also went on a weekend mission trip to Orang Asli settlements in Cameron Highlands.
Midway through the programme, the students were asked for their feedback on the course.
“The subject matters offer good cross-culture exposure to participants. I could see the incarnated Christ in the lecturers I met. They were interested and prepared for people of different cultures,” said one student.
Another student said he had learnt how to fit himself in a new culture and now has a better understanding of the mission of God from the beginning to the end of the New Testament.
“We should be mission leaders not just to preach but also to attract people in our sphere,” he said.
Asked how he intended to apply the lessons learnt, one student said: “The Bible in mission lessons complement the Kairos course that I am conducting. I will integrate cross-cultural issues in my ministry, teaching and preaching.”
Another student said he had learnt to respect and appreciate other cultures and to use contextualisation lessons on “unreached people groups”.
The learning at Asia Gateway has certainly helped these church workers and leaders by increasing their sensitivity to local cultures wherever they may be or serve.
Sometimes, the gospel is compromised by such ignorance.