Reaching Out to Asian Students

man-reading-over-meal_0The potential for ministering to non-American Christians in a structured setting is the fourth tract of ministry that IGo foresees developing in Asia. In past issues we have looked at three diverse, yet integrated, tracts of ministry which we are prayerfully anticipating. The first tract is to establish a Bible Institute in which North American Christians can train for ministry in a foreign culture. In such a setting, the student will grapple more forthrightly with doctrinal and practical issues as they relate to a culture dissimilar from their native settings. The value of this training is crucial even for those who are called to minister in a western culture, such as the United States, since the Gospel positions all believers in a radical departure from the kingdoms of this world when becoming a part of the Kingdom of God. I and my family as well as Rick Rhodes and his family plan to be the primary teachers of this training ministry.

The second tract of IGo’s outreach is referred to as the Macedonian Ministry. IGo teachers and students will assist by traveling to the local churches throughout Asia to conduct conferences and seminars to nurture native Asian Christians. Brother Raymond Burkholder plans to give direction to this ministry as other IGo teachers and American pastors join him in traveling to the local churches of Asia with the life-giving message of the Gospel.

Thirdly, we anticipate adding another family to give leadership to church planting efforts, first in Thailand and eventually in other Asian locations. As students complete their training, this third tract will provide settings for them to engage in laying the ground-work for churches in open countries.

The fourth leg of IGo’s four-fold calling is to non-American students. Bible schools and institutes in the West must be set up with accreditation agencies in order for third-world students to obtain proper visas for educational training. America’s borders are becoming tighter and more restrictive, hindering entry to these students. In my past experience as a Bible institute administrator, we have had to repeatedly deny entrance to many sincere students because of the immigration difficulties. Beyond that, there is the temptation for foreigners to come to American soil and adopt its value system rather than deepen their experience with the Lord.

We look forward to providing an educational facility that Asian/foreign students can more readily access. The costs of operation of a school for foreign students would be significantly less in an Asian-based school than in a school based in America. Asian student class schedules would be designed to take place while American students are absent in their times of on-the-field ministry. These classes would either be taught through an interpreter or be held only for those who have some mastery of the English language. Due to the income levels of the average Asian, this program would need to be subsidized by our western churches.

As we enter the last year before the Institute opens, we covet your involvement in two major areas. First, we sense the tremendous need for prayer. All other things that can be done for IGo are secondary to prayer. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, yet, we are more than conquerors. Prayer makes the difference between defeat and victory.

Secondly, we ask for your young men and young women. How will the Asians hear unless a “preacher” is sent? God calls all His sons and daughters to build the Kingdom of Christ. He compels us to prepare and go. He leaves the question with us, “Who will go?” IGo would like to echo that call to the sons and daughters of our constituency. In reality, we are not referring to your neighbor’s sons and daughters, we are talking about yours! God gave His son to free us from the bondage of sin, now He calls us to give our sons and daughters to liberate others with the life-giving message of Jesus Christ!

Val Yoder, IGo Administrator (I Witness News/Spring 2006)

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