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Third Session of CLAP Run 5 in Thailand
January 06, 2020

The Northern Asia-Pacific Division (NSD) held the third session of the Communication and Leadership Advancement Program (CLAP) run 5 at the Asia-Pacific International University (AIU) in Thailand from November 17 to December 2, 2019. The theme of the session was “Baptize Them in the Name of God,” which implies that winning souls for our heavenly Father is the culmination of our mission. It is one of the missions from Jesus Christ written in the very last two verses of the first Gospel of the New Testament: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). These verses are known as “The Great Commission of Jesus Christ,” and CLAP adopted it as the theme for this CLAP run. This indicates that the mission, given especially to the remnant church, should be the reason CLAP participants need to be equipped as better communicators and more efficient church leaders. This slogan gives them the motivation and the direction of their intensive study.

The last two sessions of this two-year program, which started in November 2018, were held in the Philippines. The overall condition and environment of the Seventh-day Adventist Language Center in the Philippines were relevant to CLAP, especially for English education. On the other hand, Thailand gave us the opportunity to experience Buddhist society. According to Wikipedia, three countries in the NSD territory are included in the list of ten countries with the greatest proportion of Buddhists: Mongolia (55.1%), Japan (36.2%), and Taiwan (35.1%). Next on the list are Korea (22.9%) and China (18.2). In terms of Buddhist population, two thirds of the Buddhists in the world are living in NSD countries, including China. Thailand is the second largest Buddhist country in the world in terms of proportion (93.2%) and population (64,420,000). For this reason, having the third session of CLAP run 5 in Thailand was of importance. The participants were able to experience firsthand the same religious people group which will be the foremost target group for our mission in the NSD territory. 

AIU has a beautiful campus, with about a thousand students and staff members from more than forty different countries living there. On the first day after our arrival, we attended their annual culture show. Students from different countries presented their own cultural performance. The well-prepared performances and the distinctive costumes were very impressive. We were able to see a variety of cultures, but at the same time, we also felt a unified spirit in the faith of God.

The daily schedule was similar to previous sessions. We started the day with a worship service and prayer session. The reason why I say “worship” instead of “devotional” is because the CLAP participants were given a chance to preach English sermons for the worship services every morning and every evening. We were able to notice considerable improvements in everyone’s English speech. Both their English skills and their ability to convey the message in a foreign language had improved a lot. As the program coordinator, I was very happy when I saw the participants’ enthusiasm in sharing God’s word with one another. They also seemed to enjoy speaking in English.

We had fewer conversation classes because we had fewer tutors than the previous sessions. We had six tutors for one-on-two tutoring classes. However, everyone was still satisfied because all the tutors were graduate students or master degree holders. Erica Hole and Kellie Tompkins, the CLAP English teachers, ran four different English classes by levels. We also invited four lecturers for leadership classes. From the Division office, three directors introduced and taught about ministries they are in charge of: Pastor Han SukHee for Communication, Dr. Lisa Clouzet for Ministries of Children’s/Family/Women’s/Chaplaincy, and Pastor Kwon JohngHaeng for Stewardship Ministries. Dr. Jee SangHoon, a theology professor of AIU, gave a series of lectures on the ”Five Characteristics of Good Christian Leaders.” The leadership classes were meaningful and useful to the participants.

We attended the Friday vespers and Sabbath worship services at the college. One Friday, the CLAP members shared their testimonies. We also played instruments and sang a special song. One Sabbath morning, Pastor Kim SunHwan preached for the divine service, and all the CLAP members sang in choir. It was a wonderful experience of being together worshipping the same God. Yes, it is true that we all are from different places, but we see that we are heading for the same destination. This CLAP session reminded the CLAP participants of God’s special calling and the mission given to the leaders of this remnant church.