Danny & Fanny – Eastwest College of Intercultural Studies

Danny & Fanny, together with their children, spent a year at WEC’s Missionary Training College (MTC), Eastwest College of Intercultural Studies in New Zealand preparing themselves for missions…

How was your time in MTC? What were some of the highlights & low points?
When my family first arrived at Eastwest College, we struggled with homesickness, cultural differences and community life, but now we struggle with departures and farewells because of the precious bonds that we built with everyone in the community. Everyone is now like a family member to us. The time in Eastwest has been so enriching and unforgettable for us.

Some highlights for us were:-
1) Being able to invite and host almost everyone in the college for a home-cooked meal at our unit. We had the privilege of hearing so many life stories that broadened our perspectives about God.
2) Being able to journey and support a kiwi family in the college through a difficult time in their lives when the wife and daughter met with a near-death car accident.
3) Being able to relate and care for many of the single young people in the college who were away from their families.
4) Being able to organize and participate in various outings and events that brought us closer together as a community.
5) Being able to have heart-to-heart talks with various families in the college and become closely knitted within such a short time.

Some low points for us were:-
1) We struggled badly trying to fit into the community due to various restrictions and cultural differences in the initial month.
2) Our children, especially our son, struggled for about half a year with homesickness, a lack of friends and purpose in life because the rest of the children in the college were much younger than him and he was initially uncomfortable with the youths and young people in college and in youth group.

What did you learn during your time there? What were some of the spiritual lessons? How were you able to apply them practically in your lives?
As we stretched ourselves out of our comfort zone, we discovered that being a Singaporean gave us the opportunity of being the bridge to relating and linking people from the Asian and Western cultures together as we are a blend of East and West.

It’s here we experienced the love of God which transcends culture and age. People we had found challenging to relate to became easier when we held back our judgement and listened to their life stories and understood what made them who they were today.
It’s here we became awed by the amazing creativity of God through the diversity of people whom we met and have come to know so dearly. We have come to understand that every culture has their strengths and weaknesses and God loves it when we learn to be understanding and work with one another for His purposes.

It’s here we understood that faith in God means going forward even though you were not sure what was ahead, even though sufferings and losses were inevitable. The countless testimonies we heard from ex-students and visiting missionaries encouraged us in the ongoing life lesson to trust and obey Him.

Did you find the lessons helpful in preparing you for your future ministry?
Various modules such as Biblical Theology of Missions, Community Development, Pastoral Care and World Religions were useful in providing insights and understanding. However, we found that quite a fair bit of what we learnt were rather theoretical at that moment. We did give feedback to the staff that we hoped to see more practical skills and situations that we may face as missionaries being covered in our training. But we also understood the college’s constraints as they are being accredited by the NZ government as an academic institution, hence readings and written assignments have to make up the main bulk of course work.

Where do you sense God is leading you at this point in time? Do you have a time-line to work towards that?
At this point in time, we feel that God is leading us to North Asia. We are hoping to go on an exploration trip and if possible and hope to move to North Asia if God is willing.

How do your children feel during these periods of transition?

They felt sad about leaving Singapore when we first came and now they feel sad about leaving NZ. They are starting to understand what Third Culture Kids (TCKs) go through. Not fully at home in a particular country anymore but having parts of their hearts torn between places because of the friendships that they have made. They have thoughts of coming back to volunteer at Eastwest College.

Thank you Father for including this life-changing chapter into our lives at Eastwest.

We are very grateful to all the staff for their genuine love, godly examples, generous encouragement and gracious support. Eastwest is an awesome place to learn and grow in Christ because of their strong dedication.

We are very grateful to all our fellow course mates for all the unforgettable memories of worshipping God together, of petitioning to God together for individuals, families, churches and nations, of going through difficult times together, of encouraging and praying for one another together, of loving one another through gifts and practical help together, of having meals and tea breaks together, of listening to one another’s life stories together, of speaking and listening to English of different accents together, of going out and having fun together, of celebrating birthdays and baby showers together, of running the Amazing Race together, of laughing and joking with one another together, of watching movies and playing games together, of doing ministry, duties and pract together, of walking around the college together, of having bonfire together, of dancing together, of dressing crazy together, of studying in the library together, of struggling with assignments together, of presenting and discussing in class together, of taking exams together, of going to Chartwell (weekly shopping trip) together, of bidding farewells and crying together…

We are thankful to God that we are now connected with brothers and sisters from all over the world because of this amazing college in the little town of Gordonton!