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Issue No. 28 19 - 25 Jul 2010
A Personal Reflection Joy Pappachan

My Wonderful time in Singapore
Joy

I had never thought of writing a reflection until Dr. Aquila Lee asked me to do so. Part of this reflection was written while I was in Singapore and part of it during my flight back to India. It is a fact that time and tide wait for no man. I think time in Singapore flies but in India it crawls!

My memory goes back to 2007. I was in Jubilee Memorial Bible College, India. It was around 11.30 pm and I was about to go to bed when my Principal asked me to meet him at his house. I was wondering why he called at this time of night and whether there was anything urgent. After the preliminaries much to my shock he asked me whether I would like to go to Singapore for higher studies. Studying abroad has always been my dream and I never ever imagined that it would come so soon. I landed in Singapore with two purposes: to do my MTh in BGST and to pastor St. Thomas Evangelical Church of India Malayalam Congregation in Singapore. My heart is overwhelmed as I look back on the three years of my life spent in Singapore. Now I go back to India with a renewed confidence that the Lord Jesus Christ is able to fulfill all that He had started in my life. I am thankful to Biblical Graduate School of Theology and all my friends in Singapore for equipping me to be an effective servant of the Lord in India.

I shared a flat with students from China, Myanmar, the Philippines, India and Madagascar. It was truly an international community. I gained some unique experiences living together with people from different cultures and outlooks. Most of us cooked our own food at home and we enjoyed each others’ cooking as well. I realized how different we are but yet belong to one big family through Jesus Christ. Since childhood my life has always been spent in hostels away from family and relatives. Probably that’s the reason why I am closer to friends than to my family members. This is one reason I had no trouble at all sharing a flat with a group of “strangers” in Singapore. However, it was not plain sailing and I had my own struggles. This was my first international exposure and at times I had some difficulty understanding my fellow brothers who hail from different countries with unfamiliar cultures, customs and practices. But the beauty of God’s family is that people with these differences do not necessarily make them different as we have one common heritage of worshipping the one true God who enables us to live together in harmony and unity. As the days went by I began to enjoy my life here and studies. How wonderful it is when brethren of like-minded faith live, play and study together!

My academic life in BGST has been a challenge. Soon I realized that academic discipline is crucial if I am to have a consistent academic performance. As I discovered later the lack of it gave rise to many embarrassing moments. For example, I remember how I avoided Dr. Lee when I was not able to finish my Greek assignment on time. As I look back, I am grateful to all my teachers at BGST for their patience and all the good counsel I received from them. I realized that academic life without spiritual nourishment will not produce quality Christians and BGST provided space for such growth. Our weekly Wednesday chapel service is one such occasion where we can gather and worship together as one united family with brethren from different churches and denominations from Singapore as well as abroad. There were occasions when my friends and I used to sit near Tanjong Pagar MRT and spent time for prayer. In Clover Way some of the parks became our prayer places and we used to sit there and pray for various needs. However, my involvement with the Malayalam congregation in Singapore as a preacher on most Sundays together with my ministry to foreign workers in Singapore at Penjuru Dormitory helped to nurture my spiritual growth. Theological education has enriched my spiritual formation and has helped me to be a more mature Christian. BGST education has enhanced my critical and reflective method of writing papers. This is probably one of the more noticeable differences I see between Indian and Singapore education. I think BGST’s ministry is very much global in scope and reach as they train trainers from different countries. My worldview was narrow when I first came to Singapore, but now I realize that my life in Singapore and the kind of education I received helped me broaden my worldview. I realized and appreciated the different perspectives of human life and views of the world. It was truly a liberating experience.

While I think many of my fellow students would agree with me that most of us were uncomfortable visiting the ICA, we are compensated by the sheer joy of seeing and enjoying the delectable range of food found in Singapore’s numerous food courts and eating places – anytime, anywhere, you can find food. God has been good to me in providing all my needs right on time. Let me share with you one such experience. One day I was having lunch at Maxwell Road Food Court and there was a gentleman sitting just opposite me. Soon we got into a conversation and became friends. When I finished eating he handed me one envelope which contained money! (They call it “Ang Pow” in Singapore). God knew my needs and He was merciful to me by taking care of me in a foreign land. I overcame all my financial hurdles by God’s amazing providence through God’s people in Singapore.

I am grateful to God for enabling me to complete my MTh programme. Right now I am in Jubilee Memorial Bible College in Chennai. I am teaching four courses this semester. I believe BGST has equipped me well for training my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in India. My heart remains thankful to God for all the manifold blessings I received during my three years of studying and living in Singapore. I miss all my friends in Singapore.

I appreciate your continued prayer for my future. My desire is to train vibrant leaders for the Indian churches who will in turn bring changes in the life and mission of churches in India. I remember one of my friends who quoted Bishop Dr. C. V. Mathew of St. Thomas Evangelical Church of India as emphasizing that we must strive hard to be a servant, saint and scholar. That too will be my motto and battle cry for India!

Chapel
Dr Oh Boon Leong, Associate Pastor at the Mt Carmel Bible-Presbyterian Church will be our chapel speaker on 28 July. Chapel begins at 12pm. Come and join us for worship and fellowship.
Getting To Your Classes ...

We have put up the location maps of churches for your convenience. Check out this link http://www.bgst.edu.sg/courses-and-events.

Just a reminder and call for your cooperation:

  1. Please register latest by noon of commencement date so that we can prepare the manuals/handouts for you.
  2. No fee payment except for classes held at BGST@UIB. Please pay in advance by cheque or i-banking (email books@bgst.edu.sg with breakdown of payment, where applicable, so that we can issue receipt accordingly)
  3. No consumption of sweet drinks or food in the rooms.
  4. If you are driving, please park only in allotted spaces. Do not park illegally or in reserved lots. Display the car label, where applicable.
  5. Please help to stack up the chairs to the back of the rooms at the end of each class.
Tent Module

Religions of Asia
Aug 10, 17, 24; 7.20-10pm
Venue : Union Industrial Building
Facilitators: Dr Augustine Pagolu & Ms Irene Tay

Courses commencing in Jul - Aug

Jesus on the Silver Screen: Portrayals of Jesus & Christ Figures in Film (TS282/MM280, 1.5cr)
Aug 4, 11, 18, 25, Sep 1; (Wed 7.15-9.45pm)
Venue: Union Industrial Building
Lecturer: Mr Quek Tze-Ming

Biblical Hermeneutics & Interpretation (HE101, 3cr)
Aug 13, 20, 27, Sep 17, 24, Oct 1, 15, 22, 29, Nov 12;
(Fri 7.15-9.45pm)
Venue: Union Industrial Building
Lecturer: Dr Philip Satterthwaite

*Preaching in the Church: Homiletics I & II
(AT246, 3cr); Jul 27, Aug 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, Sep 7, 14, 21, 28;
(Tue 7.15-9.45pm)
Venue: Bethesda Chapel, 27 Lor Melayu
Lecturer: Rev Song Cheng Hock

*New Testament Greek I (BG111, 3cr)
Jul 22, 29, Aug 5, 12, 19, 26, Sep 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, Oct 7;
(Thu 7.15-9.45pm)
Venue: Zion Bishan BP Church
Lecturer: Mr Quek Tze-Ming

Christian Ethics (TS252, 3cr); (Group Tutorial)
Starting Jul 24, (Other dates to be announced in class)
(Sat 2-4pm) [Required for MDiv & MCS]
Venue: Zion Bishan BP Church
Lecturer: Dr Douglas Milne / Dr Quek Swee Hwa

Building Strong Families in the Local Church (ECF513, 3cr); (Group Tutorial); (3 sessions);
Jul 23, Aug 6, 20; (Fri 7.30-9.30pm)
Venue: Prinsep Street Presbyterian Church
Lecturer: Dr Danny Goh

What is Authentic Christian Spirituality? Studies in the Pastoral Epistles (NT262, 1.5cr);
Aug 6, 13, 20, 27, Sep 3; (Fri 7.15-9.45pm)
Venue: Prinsep Street Presbyterian Church
Lecturer: Dr Oh Boon Leong

*Courses marked with an asterisk are not offered on audit basis.

For more information on courses visit our website:
http://bgst.edu.sg/courses-and-events


37 Jalan Pemimpin, #06-05 Block B, Union Industrial Building S(577177).
Tel: 6227-6815 Fax: 6255-3686 Email: bgst@pacific.net.sg
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