Discovering self through God and community

The recently concluded Asia Gateway Residential Training, held in the month of June 2018 at the Seminari Theologi Malaysia, brought together a colourful combination of cultures and personalities from seven nations across Asia. Prairie Vo, a theological student and freelance translator from Vietnam shares her experience…

At the first hello, it is easy to conclude one pertinent fact about Prairie; she is shy. One might even perceive her to be a tad timid and quite quiet. But after a month amidst strangers, who would go on to become her friends, Prairie emerged strong, brave, bold and rather chatty!

It seemed as if, her month-long stay allowed her to discover more of who she really is and can become, through God and the comforting community of peers He had placed her in...

During her brief testimony at the Asia Gateway Training, she admitted that she came from a family of chronically shy people, who most of the time shunned spending time strangers. Yet, this demure, young beauty from Ho Chi Min City braved crossing the borders to spend a whole month, learning and living with complete strangers. Why?

It was a simple heart’s desire to know more about God’s mission. Prairie wanted to understand the biblical context of missions, particularly within the background of her own country, life, and ministry.

“What I learned at Asia Gateway was transformative and eye-opening to me in so many ways. I discovered all the dimensions of God’s heart for mission throughout the Bible,” she said.

“I understood that mission starts with God and is fulfilled in Him. As the Church, we are called to partner with God in His mission. God wants to redeem not only human beings but also the animals, nature, culture, i.e. the whole creation,” she said.

Her time at Asia Gateway also proved to be a contemplative one. She began to take a closer look at her own church’s traditions and practices more critically, and “more lovingly at the same time.”

Prairie added that she learned to have a more open and loving attitude towards people of other faiths in her country. I’ve extended my understanding of God’s heart and will for mission,” she said.

Another transformative aspect of the Asia Gateway Training program was having the time to become more introspective. Prairie began to recognize that her love for God and others, as well as her understanding of God’s Word, was all limited by her own culture, society, church traditions and personal mind-set.

“There are so many visible and invisible boundaries to cross to share the love of God. I hope to live and love more broadly and deeply like the example given by Jesus Christ,” she said.

“I want to invest myself more in partnering with God in His mission, particularly sharing with my youth ministry about mission and God’s heart for mission, for the redemption of the whole creation.”

“My hope is that we can start to build up a more holistic ministry to reach out, through environment, social, charity, etc. activities and especially, interfaith dialogues with people of Buddhism and other faiths in Vietnam,” she added

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