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Asia update

This update is from Rod Matthews, GCI’s mission director for Asia.


Daniel Zachariah (pictured at right), pastors GCI’s congregation in Secunderabad, India. He was asked recently by the Director of Person-to-Person Institute for Christian Counseling, Samson Gandhi, to present two seminars on his behalf. Mr. Gandhi is recovering from an accident that dislocated his shoulder.

Mr. Gandhi, who has preached in the GCI Secunderabad congregation on several occasions, appreciates our approach and emphasis on counseling in church, and as a result he invited Dan to join with him to help the churches and people of the Hyderabad/Secunderabad twin city area.

Dan has been volunteering as a counselor ever since and conducting seminars for the Institute’s program to train counselors. Dan also reported that recently the Director of Agape Bible Academy (an informal Bible school ) asked if he could conduct some classes for them. Their leadership asked him to teach a class on “Essentials of the Christian Faith” and after one session, requested he continue with two classes a month until the end of the year.

Sri Lanka

Mohan Jayasekera (pictured at right), is GCI’s National Director in Sri Lanka and the Senior Pastor of GCI congregations in Western Australia. He was invited recently to Sri Lanka to be guest lecturer for a four-day course at the Colombo Theological Seminary (CTS), titled Views of Scripture. The course covered important attributes of Holy Scripture, addressing such important questions as: How did the scriptures come into being? Did God override the personalities and personal efforts of the writers? What does “inerrancy” of the scriptures really mean? Mohan also presented a condensed version of the course at the Calvary Theological Seminary in Colombo.

The Colombo Theological Seminary’s publishing division printed both the Sinhala and Tamil editions of GCI’s course Discipleship 101 and the booklet The God Revealed in Jesus Christ. Discipleship 101 is used as a text in one of CTS’s entry level classes, and the Sinhala edition of the booklet has been distributed to hundreds of Anglican pastors across Sri Lanka.

New Zealand

At a recent special dinner in New Zealand’s national capital of Wellington, the CEO of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), John Morgan, presented the first-ever NIWA Excellence Awards. These awards were established to recognize people who have made exceptional contributions to NIWA, New Zealand’s premier research organization. The final award of the evening was presented to GCI New Zealand elder Dennis Gordon. In a special Executive Update, John Morgan stated:

Dennis Gordon, Group Manager, Marine Biodiversity, Wellington, won the Research Excellence Award for his central role in the creation of the three-volume New Zealand Inventory of Biodiversity—documenting all the known species in New Zealand, over all time. Dennis instigated the project, managed the contributions of over 200 scientists, and oversaw the arrangement of taxa and editing, as well as making the inventory highly readable.

An article in The Wellingtonian reported,

For Mr. Gordon, compiling the catalog meant working with 238 scientists from 19 different countries to produce chapters on each living and fossil species of New Zealand’s plants, animals, fungi and micro-organisms…. He launched the project at a millennial symposium in 2000…. Volume one was published in 2009, volume two in 2010 and volume three earlier this year. He said it was challenging to find authors to describe all the groups of species, so he wrote 11 chapters himself.

The picture above shows Dennis (at left) being congratulated by the Chairman of the NIWA Board Chris Mace. Dennis commented later:

I was utterly stunned—there are so many excellent scientists in NIWA far more deserving and cleverer than I am. There was a financial reward and a bottle of Moët & Chandon that went with the award but that is small compared to the recognition by one’s peers (and the executive). I was overjoyed.

The boxed set of the New Zealand Inventory of Biodiversity is being made available to New Zealand schools.