Adjunct Faculty: Cambodia EEC Teaching Reflections


4th November 2022 was a special day for me. Not only it was a day where I took to flying after close to three years of pandemic restriction, it was also the day that EAST Extension Centre (EEC) could conduct classes on location. The class in Cambodia was probably the first to meet face to face since the pandemic.

I was there to teach New Testament Narratives class to a cohort of students taking Master of Arts in Leadership and Graduate Diploma. This cohort started in 2018 and they are mostly Christian workers. There are organisation leaders, church planters, teachers, Crusade staff and even a missionary from Singapore who has been in Cambodia for 19 years. Before the pandemic, EAST sent instructors to Cambodia several times a year to cover the modules necessary for them to complete their programme.

Every module was held as a block class and the students would have to be absent from their work place and ministry for up to a week. The classes were held in the Cambodia Campus Crusade for Christ office in Phnom Penh. Some of the students who lived or had their ministry based elsewhere would have to travel to the capital for their classes. During the pandemic, the EEC switched to online classes with each module taking place over 10 Saturdays. It was indeed a challenge to them.

There was excitement in the air as this was the first face to face meeting for the students and teachers in almost three years. However, the students had to make huge sacrifice for this class as it fell on three consecutive holidays. Not only did they need to study and do their assignments during the holidays, they also had to be away from their family therefore sacrificing their precious family time. I was deeply touched by their commitment and the cost they paid to equip themselves for ministry.

Since they had been together for the past few years, there was no lack of interaction and comradery in the class. The class was lively with enthusiastic discussions during sessions. They had rich ministry experiences and so shared openly and deeply on issues they have faced at work. They came alongside and shared their insights when other classmates were at their wit’s end on ministry problems faced. As I instructed them on the course, I found myself learning so much from them through their life experiences. I developed deep admiration for each one of them and was glad that I was able to humbly contribute to their learning journey as a cohort.

Besides learning together, we had fellowship over meals. They were really hospitable as they brought me to sample some local cuisine. They brought me to supermarkets to stock up on essentials during my stay. Although my accommodation was only a short walk away, some of them who had cars would drop by my place in the morning to offer me a ride to the training venue.

Another highlight of this trip was my meeting up with a student from another EEC. He was in my online class during the pandemic while he was in Phnom Penh. He had started a business in Cambodia, but his heart was to reach out to overseas ethnic Chinese. The profit from the business went into funding churches set up by him and some partnering churches. It was a joy to fellowship with him, to hear updates in his church ministry, and to attend a worship service of the church where he is pastoring.

Time flew by while I was there. As I waited for my return flight to Singapore, I felt a sense of pride for all the students who had taken the step of faith to equip themselves. They had poured out their lives to serve God and they could already be satisfied with it. They humbled themselves, however, and decided that they needed to learn more in order to serve God better. As they do their assignments after the onsite class, most have also gone back to their regular work. I pray for God’s strength as they balance their time to complete their assignments while still serving in ministry.

The above reflection was written by Adjunct Faculty Ng Khim Fatt who graduated from East Asia School of Theology with a Master of Divinity in Teaching and Exposition in 2016, and a Master of Theology in New Testament Studies from Trinity Theological College in 2019. Khim Fatt has taught in various EAST Extension Centres in East Asia, India, and Cambodia. He is married to Wei Har and they are members of Covenant Evangelical Free Church

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