Now I have to confess – I had to spell check naval because there is a big difference between Naval Impact and Navel Impact! In the video above, you can watch the graduation testimony of Lieutenant Colonel Eileen Domine of the Philippine Navy. Eileen graduated at the top of her class with a MA of Transformational Leadership and also was one of the recipient’s of IGSL’s President’s Award for the student who best exemplified both academic excellence and the mission, vision, and values of IGSL.
Eileen and 6 others associated with the Philippines Armed Forces or Government graduated this year, joining our 11 previous graduates. Having had most of those 19 in my classes over the past 4 years, I can testify that it has been a work of God to see how these men and women move from general motivation for spiritual growth to passionate commitment for being Christ-like agents of change through the platform God gives them. They add so much to the IGSL community and God uses the multi-national community to transform their lives and their vision as well.
In February we signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Philippines Marine Corp, due in large part to 2016 IGSL graduate (& basketball buddy) Captain Vince Salmingo who is now the Director of the Marine Corps Center for Leadership Excellence. God has given Vince a platform that has influence over 10,000 marines and God has opened up a door for us to partner with him and the Marine’s to help shape these leaders and many more. Please pray that we would steward these opportunities well and that God continues to cause IGSL to be viewed with favor from the government and armed forces here in the Philippines.
Thank you for your partnership!
Brian & Christine
One of the powerful moments from us during the graduation banquet this year was hearing the testimony from a couple from India who lost their 9-year-old daughter suddenly to an aneurysm 1 month before arriving at IGSL. We have shared about them in the past. It has been a painful journey, but powerful to see God’s healing hand on their lives, even using them mightily to encourage another young student couple who suddenly lost their 1-year-old child this year to pneumonia.
They became very dear to us and we saw them and their young son heal in their time at IGSL and now they return equipped with even greater vision for reaching Hindu’s for Christ in India. Please click their photo above or this link to see their 7-minute testimony of how they grew and changed at IGSL.
One of the great experiences of being at IGSL has been to be exposed to some phenomenal leaders who truly love God. IGSL’s President, “Kuya” Tom Roxas has been with IGSL for over 30 years and his passion and sensitivity to the Spirit of God is a big part of IGSL’s spiritual compass. We’ve learned so much, especially Brian now that he is serving with Tom on IGSL’s Executive Leadership Team.
God has opened many doors of ministry for Tom in Manila, and one big reason is his personal testimony of forgiveness. We’ve attached a recent video where he shares his personal story of dealing with forgiveness after his brother was murdered. God has used Tom and this story to see hundreds of people come to Christ and most recently he shared this with the whole support staff of the President of the Philippines’ Senate.
We’re so grateful for his leadership and wanted you to get a taste of what we get to experience on a regular basis. This is 8 minutes worth your time!
Thank you for journeying with us, praying, and making it possible to raise up leaders for God’s church and mission in Asia. In Christ!
Brian & Christine
This week we are watching graduate after graduate leave IGSL for their countries or places of ministry. We’ll share more about some of those stories soon, but Christine and I were more personally invested in one family going home this week that DID NOT graduate.
We mentioned long ago a family where the student just could not pass his English Proficiency Test to officially begin his degree program. Umesh, pictured above, is a church planter and pastor in Nepal and came with English good enough to get accepted. He took English courses his first year while beginning to take some of the easier classes. However, he just could not every pass the final required exam.
It was a difficult journey for him and his family, but over the past 6 months since it became clear he would not fulfill his goal of getting an IGSL degree Umesh and his wife have demonstrated incredible teachability and humility, even in the face of a lot of shame (a big deal in this part of the world). From a discipleship standpoint, this experience took Umesh andI into some very deep parts of his life and past in Nepal that were very painful, but it was incredible to see God reveal his love and goodness to Umesh and his wife in pretty personal and powerful ways.
This all culminated yesterday when we sent Umesh and his family back to Nepal. Kuya Tom and myself and others were able to present a simple certificate to Umesh to honor his teachability and the classes he did get to take. Most of all – it was an affirmation that as it relates to character development, Umesh got from IGSL what God wanted him to get. It wasn’t a degree, but it is so much more valuable!
In a final dinner with our family over “momo” they shared that they were disappointed, but were confident that God had given them what they need to be faithful in their calling to reach the unreached peoples in the mountain ranges of their province in Nepal. Umesh shared humbly,“I don’t go back with a degree, but I go back with all God has done in my life here and all I have learned. We go back with God.”
What a lesson for all of us! Umesh took great comfort in the examples of the disciples as “uneducated” men, but who had authority because they had been with Jesus. No matter our education or status, it’s a great reminder that God bestows His authority and power on those who truly walk with and depend on Him. It’s a reminder too that the classroom is not always where the greatest transformation occurs!
Please pray for Umesh, Yoshida, and their two children – that God would provide for them and work through them powerfully as they ministry to mostly Hindu people groups.
The big news for our family this past month was that after waiting patiently as most of her friends and cousins were losing teeth over the past year, Kaelyn finally lost her first couple of teeth. She’s a tough one. She walked up to me and told me to “Get it out.” Love these fun family moments!
What’s a Boodle Fight?
As part of our efforts to facilitate faculty – staff bonding in our reorganization, we hosted a “boodle fight” which basically is family style eating with your hands off of a long table of rice, meat, and vegetables. We’ve heard that the origins of this is the Philippines military, where it’s the one experience in which military rank goes out the window and power dynamics are suspended for a short time. For us, it was a fun experience and definitely a new cross-cultural experience to add to the many we’ve had here!
Maybe you can do a boodle fight for your next family dinner together!
It’s been about a year since I (Brian) joined the executive leadership team at IGSL and became the Director of Leadership Development and Human Resources. This role has meant that I oversee the development and care of not just the fifty or so IGSL full-time faculty, but also the fifty employees who help administrate the school. I was nervous at first because this is a more extensive cross-cultural leadership experience than working with most of the faculty here, but these people have really endeared themselves to us in our time here and especially the last year.
These are some amazing people and servants of the Lord. Seven are bi-vocational pastors and all of them participate in our ministry week outreaches alongside the faculty and students. It’s an incredible blessing to have mechanics, gardeners, construction workers, administrative assistants, registrars and IT workers who not only support IGSL through their daily service but who live out the IGSL vision of helping fulfill the Great Commission through disciple-making in their communities.
We’re highlighting this great group above because they are a part of our ministry and yours! It’s our privilege to steward their gifts and abilities while also providing spiritual development, care, and professional development. This is an investment in them that touches IGSL as well as the many churches they are helping lead and ministering to in Quezon City, Manila.
In the last six months over half of our staff have shifted in their roles or taken on very new job descriptions as a result of our reorganization. Please pray for them as they learn on the job and continue to grow with us as co-laborers in the gospel.
Also pray for me and my team – that we would shepherd them wisely and help each of them, along with the faculty, to maximize their unique contributions to IGSL’s vision. And please pray that we would care for them well and provide quality leadership to help our faculty and staff partner well cross-culturally.
We have an amazing team of almost 100 faculty and school staff that serve the students of IGSL together. It’s a great picture of the body of Christ in that we all have different roles, but when we all do our parts with the motivation of honoring Christ above all the results are beautiful and God shines through. As God leads, please pray with us for our employees and their families – they are a huge part of our school’s impact!
Brian & Christine
Last weekend we took our kids out of school for a day to join the IGSL retreat. This is the one time of the year that all the families of faculty, school employees, and students all gather out of the city for a weekend of refreshment, fun, and Bible teaching. This year’s theme was “More of Him, Less of Me” and centered on the John the Baptist narratives with Jesus.
The kids had a great time in the pool. My highlight was playing cricket with the South Asian students (an annual tradition!). And Christine loved getting a lot of extra time to connect with students without having to worry about traffic. We had some great conversations and it always is a highlight.
KK and her good faculty friends from Tonga and the Philippines had a great time as you can see 🙂