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A Safe and Nurturing Christian Community 

By interserve
  • Impact Report |

    Ralph and Dagmar serve at an international boarding school in South Asia with a long history of providing an International Christian education and home away from home. The school serves mainly the children of full time Christian ministers of the gospel in Asia, but is also open to children of other backgrounds who want an international education. 

    One week, in our weekly staff meeting, our time of worship was followed by hearing over Zoom from parents of two of our local students. We were inspired by their ministry which started 20 years ago when they moved to a spiritually and economically needy city and began a small school for ten slum children; the ministry has now grown to include medical, educational and job training projects in other very needy states in this vast land. Over the years the opposition to ministry in the name of Christ, especially in South Asia, has grown, and persecution is real. They explained that this is a big part of the reason they decided to send their children to our school to enable them to live, learn and grow in a safe and nurturing Christian community.  

    A good number of our students are also from Korea or the West and their parents serve in a variety of countries in Asia, such as Bangladesh, Nepal, Japan, Central Asia and the Gulf – as well as in all parts of South Asia. Twice a year parents join us at school for parents’ week and this is a highlight for us all as we learn more about the impact of the parents’ ministries across the region.  

    Day to day, our ministry is focused on the 330 plus students, most of whom are teenagers. As we live, learn and teach in community, this is 24/7 youth work with limitless opportunities to mentor, disciple and develop the whole child. Through our interaction in classes, in the dorm settings, during sports, drama and music, treks and community, we rub shoulders and grow together in a Christian community. Students attend church services, run their own Youth Fellowship, attend age appropriate groups and Bible studies, student-led prayer breakfasts, and informal dorm worship times.  

    This year we have had the privilege of running our weekly ‘alternative service’ for the year 10-13 students who do not feel comfortable attending a normal church service. Each week about 25-30 students attend. We have been exploring scientific evidence for God’s existence; the historical evidence for the reliability of the Scriptures; and will soon move on to the question ‘Who then is Jesus?’. Students also bring their own questions of faith and identity for discussion and to learn from each other – such as, ‘Did God hear my prayers?’ or ‘Why are people not healed or raised from the dead these days?’ 

    Our calling as a Christian staff body here is to serve the youngsters in our community – whether their parents are in full time ministry or not, and whatever their faith background – by living out our walk with the Lord as we nurture and teach them. The long-term impact we entrust to the Holy Spirit: we rejoice in encouraging contact with, and visits from, ex-students serving in challenging places around the world. We also rejoice in those from non-Christian backgrounds who are now following and serving Jesus – some came to faith while at school, and others took that step at university or later! Last summer one of our local year 9 girls from a non-Christian background was so influenced by her experience of living in the dorm, and seeing how her Christian peers were being transformed through worship and study of the Word, that she voluntarily attended dorm devotions and Youth Fellowship camp. She then decided to ask her dorm parents for help in giving her life to the Lord.  

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