They come from far and wide, each one with a story to tell. Meet some of this year’s foreign School Of Theology students.
The past six months, I have had the privilege of sitting in class with fellow students from 17 countries—those that come from Malaysia and Indonesia as well as halfway across the world such as the US, South Africa, Japan, Myanmar, New Zealand and Zimbabwe.
This is a story about people who were bold enough to leave their own countries to come to City Harvest Church’s School Of Theology. All of them have one thing in common: a single-minded determination to equip themselves for Kingdom work.
First, there’s Nakanishi Osamu, 29, from the Land of the Rising Sun, Japan. His SOT classmates call him Osa. Before joining SOT, he worked as a legal assistant for three years. But he knew something was missing in his life. He wanted to find a purpose.
His friend, an SOT graduate, encouraged him to come to SOT this year. Osamu says, “Last year I lost my confidence and had many relationship problems. So even though the decision to join SOT was very challenging, I couldn’t choose another way. At SOT, I learned to have a good attitude and to always be joyful.”
Then there is Joice Gombami from Zimbabwe. She is 50 years old, a widow with three children and three grandchildren. She worked as a pastor at her home church, helping the senior pastor. What amazed me was that despite her age, she decided to come all the way to Singapore.
“I heard about SOT from my senior pastor. What made me travel so far was that I was already serving the Lord at church but I was not trained. I know that the Lord called me to full-time ministry but I also knew I had to be equipped. So when this door opened for me, I did not think of the distance because I wanted to fulfil my calling,” she explains.
Supernatural intervention from God into the life of Monique Coetzee, a 19-year-old from South Africa, is what brought her to Singapore. After she graduated from high school, she started her own business while involving herself in local missions work.
But her life changed one day, when she met a lady at a shopping mall who told her to go to Singapore to study at SOT. It was a divine encounter because Coetzee had never met the lady before. Coetzee asked God for a confirmation; if she was really sent by God, she would call her in two weeks. And the lady did call her—precisely two weeks after they met.
Another sign of confirmation that shewas to go to SOT was the surprise approval of her parents, who at first were not receptive to the idea of her going to Singapore. Not wanting to disobey them yet genuinely desiring to pursue the call of God, she asked God to give them a change of heart if it was His will for her to come to Singapore. Not long after, the green light came.
“I am here by faith,” she says. “At SOT I experienced the power of speaking in tongues and was strengthened in my faith. I learned how to make an impact in the marketplace because I am a business
woman. I also learned not to despise my youth and to preach the Gospel. I saw that God can use anyone from young to old and that opened my eyes to see that if you are truly willing He will be your guide in every little step you take.”
Australian Lachlan “Locky” Madsen, 18, was a fresh graduate out of high school and a youth leader. He decided to come to SOT to get himself better equipped. “I cannot list all the things I have learned
because the list would be too long,” he says. “But I am experiencing God everyday and can feel Him molding me into the man He wants me to be. I’m already so excited to go back to Australia and impart the knowledge I’ve received.”
It is very amazing to see so many people from all around the globe coming to Singapore with one goal—to become more effective in establishing God’s Kingdom on this earth. The Bible says there is
no-one who has “left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life”
Anatoly Ivanov is a 31-year-old from Kazakhstan who quit his job as a business development manager for Toyota Tsusho Corp. in order to pursue the seven- month course.