International Ministries

A Letter from Judy: A New Semester at Nanjing Union Theological Seminary, Thanks and an Invitation

September 27, 2010 Journal
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Dear Friends and Partners,

As a teacher, I think in terms of the academic calendar and love the opportunities and challenges of a new school year with new classes and new students.  The student body at Nanjing Union Theological Seminary (NJUTS), where teaching Biblical and Theological English is my main responsibility, has now grown to around 250 students as the new campus enables more and more young people to come and receive training to serve in their local churches and in leadership throughout the church in China. 

Of course, the students' major focus is on studying the Bible and theology and on developing skills in preaching, teaching, pastoral care and offering vision and leadership to their churches.  So why is English required?   English serves as an important tool.  It gives students access a wider range of biblical and theological scholarship than would be available in Chinese alone.   It enables seminary students, pastors and other church leaders to dialogue with ordinary believers like you and me and with biblical scholars, theologians and church leaders from around the world, enhancing mutual understanding and offering opportunities to learn from one another.  Moreover, English can be a tool for evangelism.  Churches with English Bible Studies and Worship Services, in addition to their Chinese ones, have seen people, particularly young people, come with the sole purpose of practicing English to find their lives touched by the Holy Spirit and come alive with faith in Christ.  Seminary graduates with a good command of English can organize and lead this kind of outreach ministry.  The pastor of one church in Nanjing spoke with excitement about the number of people reached by the English Fellowship and shared that eleven from that fellowship have joined the current baptism preparation class.  What a blessing it is to see in action!  What a blessing to have a small part in helping future church leaders with one of the tools to make these things possible!  What a blessing to have your presence, support and participation in this ministry through your interest and prayers, as well as other tangible gifts!

This year Biblical and Theological English have been combined into one class.  The 78 freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors in it are ready for the challenges of this higher level English class.  Creating an interactive language environment for so many brings challenges and many rewards as students develop their abilities.  My other course, General English C, has 43 students.  There, too, I try to incorporate some of the biblical and theological vocabulary in English to prepare students to deal with these concepts more in depth in the following year.   In addition, I often try to show how the general vocabulary they are learning is used in the English Bible as well.  Next week they will write some stories about believers in their home churches throughout China. I feel privileged and blessed. 

Now, just as September has begun the school year, October and the World Mission Offering kick off the new fiscal year for our ministry around the world through IM.  You are invited again this year to be a part of the ministry here in China and all over the world through your interest, your prayers and your participation in the WMO.  Know that you are a vital partner in this ministry that we share together! 

God Bless you!
Judy Sutterlin

P.S.  Within a couple of days you will also receive an e-mail message from my MPT with a variety of other updates and additional WMO information.