Crossing Cultures Digitally Today


Cross Cultural Team Internships: Cambodia, Philippines, & Timor Leste

One of the highlights of the school’s program is that students are required to participate in a Cross Cultural Team Internship (CCTI) program.  This is EAST’s ‘hands-on” experience for our students to experience ministering in a cross-cultural setting. Even though the students have experienced this in Singapore but we believe a different exposure will allow them to experience the diversity of ministering across borders and culture. The recent cohort of students were divided into two CCTI teams but with borders constraint, they can only do the trips digitally.

The teams:

  1. Cambodia

Lee Poh Chin (Team Leader), Suan Ngiap Eng and Joseph Park formed the team that worked with Siloam Xperience and Kampong Speu ministry in Cambodia from 22 May to 12 June. Even though it was via zoom, they conducted different online training and ministry programs. Joseph conducted guitar lessons. He also conducted a fundraising session for the Kampong Speu ministry. Suan did prayer sessions and also shared different strategies in memorizing Scriptures. Poh Chin taught Sunday School and used stories to do outreaches. The team enlisted the help of two others, David Tang and Bob Mok, who conducted sessions on Life/Mentoring and Christian Leadership skills respectively. The team was so thankful that God helped them to achieve their mission objectives “to transcend cultural as well as digital barriers to collaborate with existing mission work.”

When asked to share his CCTI experience, Joseph Park said “CCTI ministry was a big challenge for me. As English is not my first language, it was a burden and faith-stretching experience for me. With the encouragement and support of my team members and with God’s help, I overcame my inadequacy and felt that I have done well.  The second lesson I learnt is diversity. Each of us has our own style of doing things and being different does not mean it is wrong. So, during this ministry, I learned to accept and work with people who are different from me. The last lesson is experiencing grace. No matter how hard we work, we cannot do anything without God’s grace. So, looking back at the CCTI ministry, my team members and I have experienced God’s grace during the entire ministry time.”

The staff from Siloam Xperience were excited for the training they received from Team Cambodia. They said, “Sunday school teaching is good but not enough… hope to have more trainings on Sunday school teaching.” The missionary couple at Kampong Speu were grateful for Team Cambodia’s fundraising efforts saying, “We’re so thankful for the team’s effort to raise funds for us. Through the funds raised, we can buy more guitars and train more Cambodians. Also, our family can continue to serve here in Cambodia because of the funds raised.”

  1. Philippines and Timor Leste

Five members – Hannah Ong (Team Leader), Mikeel Arana, Rebecca Chen, Timothy Li and Jack Zhu ministered with a church from Iloilo City in the Philippines and with the Timor Leste Training Centre. The members are from Singapore, Philippines and East Asia.

Before they embarked on this journey, they had a personal retreat to prepare their hearts and also their personal objectives. Rebecca reflected that it was a special beginning for her. It reminded her of the importance of “being” rather than “doing” – that CCTI was God’s project and the key was to serve from a heart of rest.  “Our ministry in the mission fields is an outflow of our relationship with the Lord. Therefore, the silent retreat helps me to realign my focus to the Lord and continue to abide in Him.” Rebecca shared.

In Hannah’s reflection, she was awed by the work of the Holy Spirit. “God used our ‘five loaves and two fish’ to minister to the people in Iloilo and Timor Leste. We ministered first to the training centre at Timor Leste and it was especially impactful for us. Due to the lack of network connections, all the 25 students were using one zoom account. This had greatly limited our interaction with them. Yet, when Janice (the field director) made an altar call after our evangelistic program, most students responded by raising their hands. A number of them came forward for prayer and cried while Janice laid hand to pray for them. All we could do was to intercede and be awestruck by the mighty work of the Holy Spirit.”

Mikeel shared, “This CCTI was a great learning experience for me. I’m truly grateful and thankful for my team. We worshipped and prayed together, supported each other as we prepared for our sessions, gave each other constructive feedback, and witnessed God’s work as we served together. I’m also grateful for the local teams at both Iloilo and Timor Leste. It was so encouraging that we were able to work as one family.  I feel more confident in our ability to do these “online missions” because of this ministry experience. I pray that we will have more opportunities to share the gospel and help people grow in their walk in the Lord using digital platforms in this highly connected cyber-world.”

We received many positive feedback and appreciation from our partners in Team Iloilo & Timor Leste. The Iloilo church had this to say, “We appreciated your teamwork as seen in the different sessions… each of you lead in your area of strengths. We also appreciated the videos you have prepared for the small group ministry and follow-ups. Thank you for the slides and videos. We will share them with future group leaders.” And from the team @ Timor Leste Training Centre, “The Lord used each of you to minister to us in powerful ways.  People were crying when they came forward for prayer. Many felt the love of God. A girl felt unwell and the minister prayed for her… then she heard some windy sound in her ears, as if something has left her. We believe God’s special deliverance was upon her.  All glory to God!”

We really thank God for using both CCTI teams to minister to many people in Cambodia, Iloilo City and Timor Leste during May and June 2022.

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