Hello Wycliffe! I hope you all are well and enjoying the fall weather! I can’t believe it’s been three months since I’ve landed in Singapore. My time here has been a great experience and I can’t believe that it’s almost over. So what have I learned so far?
Bieber fever is really an international phenomenon. I remember feeling very proud to be a Canadian as I walked past a Justin Bieber poster in a mall
I have an accent and Canadians do say, “eh”
You can’t escape Nickelback on the other side of the world
Besides observing cultural differences, I’ve been enjoying my time with my classmates and new friends. One of my favourite things about being in Singapore is getting to spend time with my classmates and hearing their different stories. Similar to Wycliffe’s student body, Trinity Theological College is also very diverse. During the school’s annual cultural night I counted 19 different national flags, which represented the different countries that students have come from. With such a diverse student body, I’ve been able to hear different classmates describe the specific challenges that the Church faces in their home countries as well as how God is uniquely working in those nations. Their stories reminded me of how big God is and how faithful he is to the world. These friendships have also reminded me the importance of unity in the Church. My friends and I have contextualized Christianity differently, being in community with them has helped me grow and expand my understanding of the faith. Being in commune with them and learning about the Church in the South has been my greatest experience in Singapore. I hope from this experience I can continue to maintain my relationship with my new friends and maintain and ecumenical global conversation of faith. We are one Body with one hope in the one Lord.
From Kenneth Orsburn...
When principal Sumner approached me about the possibility of an exchange last fall, it did not take much prayer before I felt very comfortable to make this commitment. As a chaplain candidate in the US Navy Chaplain Corps this sort of long distance cross-cultural exchange is good practice for any future deployments I could have in the Navy.
Before departing, I read many articles about Singaporean culture and history from Raffles to the present day. I thought that I would be well prepared for life here at TTC. However, perhaps nothing can fully prepare a person for such an interesting blend of east and west as displayed by Singapore. Coming from a very rural region of the United States where Christianity, whether cultural or practicing still dominates, to such a pluralistic nation with a large diversity of religions has provided much opportunity for reflection. My time in Singapore has been helpful in articulating a vision of Christianity that remains evangelical, classically Anglican, and yet vibrant enough to confront the growing cultural and demographic challenges that will face the faith in this critical century.
As I compare Wycliffe and TTC, the major differences are obvious. TTC is a union college with members of numerous Christian churches and professors that reflect this diversity. TTC has provided me with a perspective of Asian theology through course such as, Third World Theology and Asian Religions that would be difficult to replicate in the North American context.
Nevertheless, there have been struggles here in Singapore. Although the weather in Singapore is similar, even cooler, than Oklahoma’s typical midsummer, the lack of variety in weather is finally taking its toll. Everyday is Groundhog Day in Singapore, 33 for the high and 25 for the low with little variation. With every slightly cooling breeze, that I feel my body gets the sense that fall must be around the corner. Alas, tomorrow will be 33.