Cross-cultural immersion

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Avondale scholarship funds Malaysian outreach

A single scholarship has helped a team of ministry and theology students from Avondale College of Higher Education change hundreds of lives in Malaysia.

Baptism Malaysia

Avondale ministry and theology students participate in the baptisms of those attending their evangelistic series in Malaysia.

Led by lecturer Pr Mike Parker and by Pr Vadim Butov of Avondale Memorial Seventh-day Adventist Church, nine students presented five evangelistic series in the state of Sabah during their semester break. Thousands in overflowing venues came to hear the students preach.

Leathan Fitzpatrick, Simon Gigliotti and Nigel King preached in the town of Tenghilan and were overwhelmed by the response. “One man drove for four hours to come to the final night of our series and would not stop hugging us afterwards,” says Nigel. One elderly woman adopted the three students and asked them to call her todu, which means “grandmother.”

Not all went as expected, though. When Vadim could not preach for a night at the main site in Kota Kinabalu, Nigel took his place, a potentially daunting experience with crowds of up to 1700 people. “God certainly puts us on the spot sometimes,” says Nigel, “but He always pulls through.”

In the town of Tamparuli, Alex Green and David Toogood were invited to present a Week of Prayer at the local Seventh-day Adventist school. Initially hesitant—the two had been preaching at the local Adventist church for a week—they accepted the invitation. The relationships Alex and David developed with the staff members and students increased attendance at the evangelistic series—they were preaching to crowds of up to 1000 people by the end of the week.

After making an appeal during the final week of their series, Alex and David were approached by a teenage girl who wanted to be baptised. Her father opposed the decision. The students explained the necessity of honouring her father’s decision and the power of God to change hearts and committed to praying as a threesome after the meeting each night. Their prayers were answered—on the final Sabbath, the girl was baptised along with 242 others. “If I’ve ever believed in the power of prayer, it’s now,” Alex says.

Making the cross-cultural ministry immersion possible: funding of $12,000 from the Ministerial Training and Scholarship Fund Management Committee, chaired by alumnus and retired minister Pr Vern Parmenter.

The School of Ministry and Theology is planning a similar trip to Vanuatu in 2015.