GS Letter July 2019
On 3-11 July I had the privilege to travel to Bela-Bela, South Africa to attend the IFES World Assembly 2019. IFES World Assembly takes place once every four years, gathering IFES students, faculty, staff and board members from all over the globe. Below is the group photo of the Singapore delegates: 2 board members, 3 staff workers, 17 students, and me.
Allow me to share two points which I have learned from this World Assembly. First, I learned that God continues to work despite our feebleness and vulnerability. Many of the new student movements affiliated into IFES amid adverse and challenging situations. From these movements, I witnessed many stories of the resilience and perseverance of students and staff workers who silently endure their troubled times. It is as if I heard the echo of Paul saying: “we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4: 8-9, ESV)
Second, I realized that though every movement is unique and different (we are talking about 170 nations around the world), IFES has always been striving to work together for a common cause – the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am heartened to know that what most movements want to see is not uniformity, but unity. What we want to avoid is division, not diversity. Our interdenominational nature should not be an inconvenient reality, but an indomitable strength. And so, we should strive to see that the differences among us ultimately enrich us and unite us more for the Gospel.
Therefore, I am elated for one of the IFES Resolutions passed at the General Committee meeting during the World Assembly. That Resolution tasked the board to develop a way to preserve the space where theological conversations and mutual learning with the other on differing views could be carried out in fellowship, integrity, and love. More highlights and stories can be found at: https://ifesworld.org/en/worldassembly/
As FES is preparing for the six decades of God’s faithfulness in student ministry in Singapore, may my above reflections of resilience amid adversities and unity in diversity sow edifying nutrients in the ground during this fallow year.
In His grace,
FES General Secretary
PS. Remember to come and join us at our coming FES 60thAnniversary Dinner. More details at www.fessingapore.org/60th.