Friday, March 6, 2009

Singapore - Day Six Every Tribe, Every Tongue

I am not sure that I can put in words how much this week has meant to me. Today closed the Missions Emphasis Week at Singapore Bible College. It was everything I hoped for, and much, much more. Per the schedule the first event of the day was chapel. Attendance was strong and they again seemed to respond to the Kingdom challenge. A friend of mine had put together a PowerPoint presentation of names and faces from about 60 unreached peoples from across the globe. He added an additional set of just faces representing the rich diversity of the world who have little or no access the gospel. The presentation ran on screens to each side of me during the duration of the message on Revelation 7:9 and our commission to move from a heavenly promise to an earthly reality. The combination of word and images seem to strike a cord with many of the students because the response to the morning through the rest of the day was tremendous.

The friend that produced the presentation for me was able to stay for chapel and a time together afterwards. This allowed me to introduce my long time friend to some of the students and faculty. I think that these connections will have long term impact.

Dr. Albert Ting, the President/Principal of the seminary had invited me to join with he and his wife for dinner. He is a very good leader and I believe that he has this seminary moving in the right direction. I appreciated the time with the two of them and was glad to learn more about their story and some of Albert's vision for the seminary's future. There is one particular project he has in mind that I would love to help raise some of the funding for. More on that another day. I truly believe that SBC is the most strategic/important/vital seminaries in all of Asia and that the students from here have the potential to turn the world upside down for the sake of the gospel. I am thankful for my new friends (and the exsisting ones) here.

The early afternoon offered additional one-on-one conversations with students and faculty members. I still can hardly believe how welcoming both the students and the faculty have been to me. They have invited me into meaningful conversations on life and ministry.

The early evening hours provided a great treat. The students hosted a cultural fair displaying items and offering tastes from their individual countries. Each dressed in the traditional clothing of their country/people. It was amazing to be in the midst of such dramatic diversity while still feeling a powerful sense of connectedness and family. They seemed to truly want to share the best from their cultures with one another.

The evening concluded with International Night. It is a grand program where they put the music, dance, or even the humor from their cultures on display for one another. They begin with the parade of flags representing their home nations. I had seen a similar parade in churches before, but they were symbolic of where some distant missionaries lived and worked. These flags represented the mix of nations amongst the student body. It was a very visual reminder of the potential missions impact the students can have with they return to the places they call home. The various songs, dances and other cultural displays drew both laughter and applause. it was great to celebrate who God had made each of us. I closed the event with a short message on the fact that while we are shaped by God into a diversity of peoples, we become one in Christ. In that oneness of faith we reach out to the rest of the peoples of the world. When it was all over everyone celebrated and broke into another photo-taking frenzy (a similar moment had occurred during the International Fair). I thought it was fun and encouraging that a number of students asked me to have my picture taken with them.

My next task in packing up so I can shift locations in the morning and join the FBC OKC team. I will meet them at their hotel shortly after they check in. I have had a good experience at Singapore Bible College and am thankful for the week. I also look forward to seeing my family and the others from the church in the morning and beginning the next phase of the trip.

Thanks for coming alone with me.

Grace and Peace, Tom

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