Staff report on Asian Young Women’s Leadership Development Seminar in Singapore 2020
Seminar Theme: What is my purpose?
Theme Scripture:”Many are the plans in person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevail .”Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)
Period: February 12 to 18, 2020 (5-day study sessions in Singapore from February 13 to 17)
This year’s Asian Young Women’s Leadership Development Seminar was held in Singapore.
To think of
“What is my purpose?”
, 35 participants (from college student to mid-30’s) from 10 Asian countries – Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Vietnam – gathered together. There were 7 participants from Japan.
The Asian Young Women’s Leadership Development Seminar is held every year in an Asian country to learn culture, history and social problems of the host country.
Since the seminar this year was held in Singapore, a multiethnic country with a number of women who play an active part in society, it gave us a great opportunity to learn closely about the leadership of Christian women.
For COVID-19 was starting to spread in the world, we thought we might not be able to hold the seminar, but thanks to the cooperation of the Singapore Methodist Church and meticulous preparation and coordination of the women’s group, it was made possible. It sure was miraculous.
The participants are desired to be active, not passive, during the seminar for they will return to their home countries after the seminar is over. This year’s seminar started with the praise hymnals lead by the Singaporean participants and the opening message, titled “Bling!” by a woman pastor of the Singapore Methodist Church.
The service was followed by the Bible study session on the theme scripture from the Proverbs 19:21,
“Many are the plans in person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevail .”(NIV)
After the Bible study, followed a lecture by a Singaporean lecturer on history, culture and society of Singapore.
We also invited a Director from Christian based NGO, the Methodist Welfare Services – an NGO that carries out various social welfare services in Singapore – who talked about the organization’s activities and told us how she responded to God’s calling and made choices in her life.
Each participant was to submit a pre-seminar report on the current status and initiatives on 4 social issues: ‘aging society’, ‘sex industry’, ‘foreign migrant workers’ and ‘disabilities’, and had time to make a presentation on one subject. During the seminar, they learned about the 4 issues from the lecture and from a visit to an organization which has worked on the social issues.
In the lecture, they learned about the support that churches provide to the migrant workers from the Philippines and missionary work to the elderly people.
They also made a visit to the Autism Resource Centre where work training is provided to the autistic people and learned the way to create employment and merchandise developed specifically for the autistic people, and ways of developing merchandise with added values that are competent in the market.
They also visited the activity base in the officially approved red-light district
of Tamar Village, an Christian group that support people who used to work in the sex industry, and actually saw and learned the endeavor and thoughtful care that they give to their neighbors according to God’s word.
They especially enjoyed listening to the women workers in these organizations who shared their personal experiences of changing occupations from private enterprises to charity organizations.
The participants who are yet to find their future were very much inspired and encouraged.
During the seminar, the participants were given many opportunities to dig deeply inside their minds and think about the purpose of life given by God through the Bible study session, where they learned from the women in the Bible, the Lego-using study session, and the session to learn the work and legacy of the women missionary sent to their countries.
On Sunday, the participants attended the 135th memorial year service of the Singapore Methodist Church at the Pentecost Methodist Church.
By watching the movie shown in the service, they learned how the Singapore Methodist Church has contributed in education and social welfare. The participants sang ‘Amazing Grace’ in appreciation.
There was also a fun program of making Roti Prata, an Indian dish similar to pancake, for better understanding of a multiethnic culture of Singapore.
At the last dinner, all the participants wore traditional clothing of their own countries and gave some performances. It was a precious moment and they all enjoyed it very much.
During the 5-day seminar, the participants seem to have sensed through mind and body that they can become one by overcoming linguistic and cultural differences by sharing their opinions and thoughts in the study sessions, daily looking-back sessions, praises in the services and prayers.
Each and every experience in the seminar will surely be treasure for all the participants.
We are especially grateful for the faith, prayers and cooperation of the women leaders of Singapore for making the seminar a great success. We were also delighted to see a former participant of our young women’s leadership development seminar act as one of the host leaders.
【Voice of Participants】
- Now that the seminar is over, and since I was empowered by women in the AYWLD program, I strongly feel that I want to be somebody who can empower others using the power of love, courage, and belief. I want to become somebody who is not afraid of change or evolution. I will treasure the experiences of the seminar and also experiences in the past as weapons to drastically change myself, and make use of them in my college life. (University student, age 20)
- Even though we were from different countries, we were the same as Christian women. The week of seminar gave me an essential meaning for my life and was very meaningful in thinking about how I should be as a Christian. For me, faith is an important base that guides me in my life. We face various problems every day, but in hard times, I remember God’s words in the Bible to cheer me up, and in good times I thank God from the bottom of my heart. Faith is placed in the center of myself as an axis, but I realized through the seminar that I should not be satisfied by just having faith inside myself. I should gain power to send it outward like the women from different countries I met in the seminar. That I came to realize it is a big fruit I gained from the seminar. (University student, age 22)
- I came to find that it is essential to keep finding privileges and responsibilities given to myself. I still do not know what God’s calling to me is, but I should not worry about what kind of job I would have or how I would live my life. I should keep praying to know what God is willing to do through my life. (University student, age 21)
Voices of participants from Japan are posted on our Facebook page during each seminar.The below link is the article is a collection of such voices of those who participated AYWLD2020.