By Dn Law Le Li
The EquipAsia 2022 program was completed early this May. I truly give thanks to God for blessing our church with many excellent teachers who have the gift of teaching. Our teachers received wonderful reviews from our overseas attendees (this second batch hails from Bali, Bhutan, India, Laos and Mongolia). As I sat through the sessions, I could not help but praise God for the men and women who are not only gifted in teaching, but have enhanced their gifting through the pursuit of God’s Word in their own time and were very willing to impart its truth and wisdom. I personally benefited much from the sessions.
The pastors and ministry workers in attendance will, after completion of this year’s modules, move on to recruit their own students in their respective home countries, and pass on the knowledge. Their commitment to the program is to train at least 2 batches of students in their home countries. Last year, we saw EquipAsia reach 40 pastors in India, 15 in Indonesia and over 40 in Mongolia, including the minority Kazak people’s group.
Just as the Apostle Paul recognised his responsibility to train up others such as Timothy, EquipAsia trains pastors and ministry workers in countries where opportunities for theological training are lacking or false teachings are rife (cult churches in Mongolia, for example). We give thanks for these committed EquipAsia trainees who set aside 3 weeks each year for 3 years for this intensive training. And thereafter move on to teach and train others on home ground.
(There are many ways we can pass our faith on, in church, within our own family, amongst friends and in the workplace. Every Christian has a story – a testimony – to tell. I was inspired to relook at how I articulate my own testimony after attending sessions on effective evangelism. And I would encourage everyone to do likewise.)
Timothy was discipled, trained and taught by the Apostle Paul. The teachers of EquipAsia collectively made up “Paul” from my perspective and it is wonderful to be able to connect with the many Timothy’s in various countries. The EA program continues to connect with, support and pray alongside these Timothy’s through regular meetings and prayer meetings via Zoom (one of the benefits stemming from the pandemic is that no one, even in remote places, is a stranger to this technology).
I have been involved in the EquipAsia program since last year and I want to testify to God’s guidance and providence. Those participating in EquipAsia mostly work in teams of 4 for practical reasons – fellowship and support to be effective and minimize burnout.
Last year was a pivotal year, with COVID forcing the program to be held online. For everyone involved, getting used to attending a 3-week long teaching program online was a whole new experience, both for the trainers and trainees.
This year, the program was still held online. We grew from 3 countries to 5 countries as we had to groom new master trainers in Laos and Bhutan (countries from the first batch of training). The challenges started to surface even before we started the program proper. Family, ministry and health challenges, including COVID, forced some of the trainees to work in isolation. Some of the trainees’ children caught fever and there was a serious case of appendicitis. There was even a case where the inn owner of the inn the trainees were living in turned nasty and threatened to evict the trainees just days before the program’s completion, causing disruption.
However, we saw God’s healing and providence at work. The testimony of God answering our prayers served to encourage and strengthen the faith of all involved and grew our bond of fellowship as we prayed for one another.
I am reminded of the believers’ prayer in Acts 4:24-31. I pray that we will have the experience of the early church, to be filled with the Holy Spirit and speak the word of God boldly.