Report: Launching an MA Program in Thailand and Graduation Ceremonies in Phnom Penh
Launching an MA program in Thailand and Graduation Ceremonies in Phnom Penh: A First Person Account, November 2018
As the Academic Dean of Asian School for Development and Cross Cultural Studies (ASDECS), I was part of the team that went to Phnom Penh in Cambodia to preside over the commencement ceremonies for the graduating class of SY-2018. On our way to Cambodia I took the opportunity to drop by Rayong, Thailand to visit Grace Communion International (GCI) community in the area. Called Rayong Believers International Ministries or RABIM the community is made up of GCI members mostly coming from Mindanao and Bicol areas.
In going to Cambodia via Thailand, I was with an I Am Redeemer (IRM) church couple, Pastor Andy and Deaconess (Deac.) Amor Ibanez. Deac. Amor serves as registrar of ASDECS and president of the IRM Bible School. We left the Philippines on November 26, landed in Bangkok international airport and went straight to visit an IRM missionary couple based in the city of Bangkok. After a time of fellowship, interaction and lunch, I and the Ibanez couple next took a three and a half hour trip by van for Rayong.
We arrived in Rayong close to midnight, took a light dinner and retired for the night. The following morning, November 27, I met the group who is interested to take the Master of Arts in Formational Counseling program developed by Odyssey in Christ ministry and offered through Philippine Missionary Institute in partnership with ASDECS. There were seven members of RABIM who have expressed interest in enrolling in the program, but only four were able to attend the orientation meeting and the introduction to the first class, “Nature and Dynamics of Conflicts”. The orientation was highlighted by a video presentation of Dr. Larry Hinkle, founder and director of OIC ministry, explaining what the program is all about. The offering of the program in Rayong looks very promising and hopefully more would take it as regular students.
Our presence in Rayong was also highlighted by a dinner fellowship in an exotic Thai restaurant to honor one of the members who was then celebrating her birthday. Right after, at midnight, we left Rayong for an early trip from Bangkok to Phnom Penh. Prior to the graduation event in the area, the ASDECS team composed of myself, Deac. Amor, and the ASDECS president, Dr. David Lim, as panel conducted oral exams for those graduating in the Master of Development Management program. There were a total of eight candidates who graduated from this program. Several other received their graduate certificates and graduate diplomas in Development Management.
There were two other significant activities we have had while we were in Phnom Penh. The first was a dinner meeting with the manager of a restaurant catering to organic products. The restaurant is operated by a Korean mission agency which also manages an organic farm in Cambodia. The second was another dinner event hosted by a Canadian-Cambodian couple who has become parents-in-law to a member of the Royal Family of Cambodia. Their daughter got married to nephew of the current king of Cambodia. The couple related to us the interesting story how their daughter and the prince met and became engaged.
Overall, the trip provided us with a lot of insights on how Odyssey in Christ, as a ministry, can be engaged actively in the future in Thailand. As well, the trip provided a number of opportunities for connecting and networking in the area of mission for the expansion of the Kingdom work in Southeast Asia in the days ahead. - (Dr. Rey Taniajura, OIC Asia representative)