ABOUT 90 participants from Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, China, the Philippines, Singapore, Korea and America (Korean Americans) attended the Asia Christian Women’s Leadership Training and Dialogue in Incheon City, South Korea recently.
The theme was “What Does the Lord Require?” The trainers, from the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church in the US, are veterans at conducting leadership seminars.
At the Opening Worship Service, Dr Heasun Kim challenged the women to fulfil Jesus Christ’s purpose. Basing her exhortation on the passage from Matthew 9:14-7, “New Wine for New Wineskin”, she said: “Jesus performs His miracle when we totally surrender our whole being – spirit, soul and body — to His absolute control.
“During our six days here, a life of complete obedience is the key – to hear, see and follow His leading. Only then come understanding and the unfolding knowledge of the character of God. Hence, the most blessed thing that can happen to us is when ‘God is at work in us to fulfil His purpose’.”
Each morning participants from the various East Asian countries took turns to lead in the worship service in their unique ways. Yet they were united in praising God, expressing His Sovereignty through His Word and Songs as they committed the day’s training into His hands.
The first session was led by Dr Kim on the topic, “In God’s Image” (Genesis 1:27). Working in groups, we were asked to note down as many images of God as we recalled and then to claim some of these images we wanted most for ourselves. If we chose the image of God ‘‘To be the Light of the World’’ (Matthew 5:14-16), were we shining with full brightness for the Lord? We were cautioned to remove the shades that prevented us from shining with full brightness for His glory.
Ms Sandra Ruby took the next session on “Four Women and a Girl” from the story of baby Moses (Exodus 1:6-21). She emphasised on the role of women who “Delivered a Nation”. Workshop discussion was on the role of each of these women. Each had a significant role to play. Each role was of vital importance. Likewise we were to look at every individual as a special person, able to contribute according to her gifting.
She also elaborated on the term ‘‘birth’’. Birth, she said, was historically significant in the Bible. Birth of a nation, birth of Christianity, birth of Christ, born again.
The birthing process is long, tiresome and painful. Birth is a struggle between life and death. But it is a creation of something new. The joy that is experienced at the end is exhilarating.
Field trips were arranged to provide a foresight into the prevalent issues that needed our action. These educational field trips were arranged under three categories: Migrant workers and HIV/Aids Ministry, Youth shelter and care for Ex-sex workers, and Environmental issues.
The Cultural Evening was an event that highlighted the diversity amongst us. All the participants were attired in their colourful national costumes, danced and sang excitedly, exhibiting their talents.
We were overwhelmed by the generosity, fellowship and hospitality shown by the Korean host community, the pastor and members of the Church Board at Bupyung Methodist Church, where the training was held from Oct 16 to 21, 2005. They went to great lengths to make our stay at the church premises comfortable and enriching.
Though the participants at the training centre came from diverse cultural backgrounds, spoke different native languages and exhibited different talents, the common link was that we are followers of Christ. Our mission is to know Christ and make Him known. We love the same Lord Jesus Christ.
It is our goal to reach out to those who have not known our Saviour’s Love and Salvation. We are to obey His Great Commission as in Matt 28:19.
Irene Jeevaratnam is the Vice-President, General Conference Women’s Society of Christian Service.