01 Oct GS Letter October 2018
In the past few weeks, I attended two sizeable student conferences that not only challenged me to think more deeply about ministering to the next generation of students but also refreshed my conviction that we are in a strategic position to shape students to become future leaders.
First, our very own FES National Conference. (NC18) was held on 28–30 September. When we started planning it 18 months ago, we didn’t expect it to be well attended. But God gave us 207 students, graduate volunteers, and staff workers in total.
In fact, when the steering committee decided that the NC18 theme would attempt to move students from apathy to empathy; from self-centredness to sacrifice and commitment, I began to ask myself whether any student would attend. The theme didn’t stop at shaking the “comfort zone” of our students, but also seemed to disparage them – and young people typically do not like to be told off or judged.
Furthermore, after the committee decided to take an experiential-learning approach, I became more worried. Will this unconventional approach work? Will it be too much of a hassle? Will the students take it seriously and be able to have a deep learning experience? Apparently, most of my worries were unfounded. By God’s grace, through a gruelling three-day and two-night programme coupled with intense interaction, our students responded remarkably to the unorthodox learning journey set for them at NC18.
In the second conference, I was invited as the speaker for a freshmen orientation camp for medical students of Perkantas (the FES equivalent in Indonesia) student groups from various universities in Bali. God not only helped me deliver the three talks on Relationships (God and I, You and I, The World and I) to 140 medical students, but He also refreshed me with many testimonies that the student participants shared with me at the conference.
One prominent story I heard is about their life calling. Though their future seems financially secure (like doctors and dentists anywhere in the world), many of them told me that they would like to go beyond just collecting their pay-check. One of them desires to start an addict rehabilitation centre, while another dream to be a ‘barefoot doctor’ who works in the remote areas of Indonesia. Some others aspire to work as doctors in community hospitals or, as dentists in small clinics, in the hope of bringing more tangible impact to the people in Indonesia. These are indeed noble dreams and honourable ambitions.
I am grateful to God that He gave me the above uplifting experiences. Pedagogical methods may change, but the vision remains the same. “Students Today, Leaders Tomorrow.” “Changing the World, One Student at A Time.”
Will you continue to join and support us to fulfil that?
In His grace,
FES General Secretary