I was asked by someone a couple of months ago why I was studying at BGST since I was from an Assemblies of God church. I pondered for a while and wondered what that question really meant. So I told him what I really felt. The flexibility in study schedule was an attraction, the sound grounding in the Word was apparent, and the diversity of students and teachers was appealing.
I first got to know BGST in 1993 as a young impressionable 19-year-old fresh out of junior college. While awaiting enlistment for army, I worked for 2 months at BGST in the library, wrapping and stamping books, vacuuming the floor and even watering the cacti. Those were the days at Jalan Peminpin and I still remember Sow Yoke, Anthony and Kok Weng from those days.
I had a taste of my first module: Biblical Hebrew back then in 1993. But further studies were short-circuited by army and then later by my medical studies. Yet somehow I knew I wanted to come back to biblical studies. The timing was just not right yet. And so began my sojourn in the ‘wilderness of work and world’ until 2005 when I received the clear call from the Lord again to return to biblical studies.
The journey back to BGST was a convoluted one as I had already taken a few night modules at another bible college which was near the hospital where I had worked. I must have scoured through and visited all the local colleges before coming back to BGST. And I remember the apprehension in my heart as I made that first visit back to BGST after such a long time. But I also remember how that apprehension faded away when I stepped into the library again. The familiarity of the people and the smells of the old books (yes, I have allergic rhinitis) all came back. It was a heartwarming homecoming of sorts for me after all these years, although I think I was barely recognised after so long. I had since grown in more ways (and directions) than one.
Interacting with brethren from different traditions, especially those which are more conservative, have given me a breadth and depth of experience that I would otherwise not have had. It has given me opportunity to reflect on my own theological stand and practices, and to appreciate those from other traditions. There is much to learn and to share.
So what’s studying at BGST like for me?
To all who are contemplating biblical studies either
part-time or full-time,
Kenny is still ‘swimming’ in the Graduate Diploma program at BGST and aims to complete this ’lap’ by June 2007. Since drowning is not part of the curriculum at BGST, he hopes to continue into the Masters program after that.
Theological learning is not new to me. I remembered my varsity days in Australia, when I carried commentaries and theological books to the seaside to read on Sunday afternoons during my free time. I enjoy reading commentaries as leisure. The LORD has enabled me to befriend the principal of Westminster Theological College (Perth), who allowed me to borrow volumes of reference books from the College library.
Please don’t mistake me as a bookworm. I love reading, but I enjoy appreciating the nature created by God too. That has made me a seasoned backpacker, facilitating me to travel to various parts of the world visiting people and missionaries, observing various people’s lifestyles, and even living in certain parts of the third-world ministering to the people for years.
Back in those days, there has been a deep desire within me to study the word of God and the related subjects deeply in a systematic manner. It had been my prayer, but for several years, I did not know when God might grant me the concentration, opportunity and luxury. Perhaps being young, energetic, outdoors and without a family, I had wanted to explore the world and try out different things. No doubt, God has given me opportunities to do some courses with a local bible school and an American seminary through distance learning.
BGST --- I came to know it through a missionary friend who recommended me to use its library facilities when engaging in my distance learning. Having used its library for a couple of years, it did not occur to me that I might enroll in full-time studies with it. My distance learning was laid aside for years when I struggled to cope with my wife and then my daughter who came into my life, as well as taking up the administration work for the foreign missions of the Singapore Baptist Convention. When I attempted to return to my distance learning, it was to my surprise that my registration had expired and I had to resubmit all the assignments in order to continue. Taking my wife’s advice and with earnest prayer, it was expedient for me to enroll with a local school. Only one school pop up in my mind --- BGST!
I embarked on a new journey of full-time studies in January 2006. God’s goodness always dwells. My learning process over the past year has been fruitful, despite being tremendously tough. The more I walk this journey of learning with BGST, the more I realise that I’ve got so much more to learn, and so much more that I can learn through BGST. I’m looking forward to more exciting learning experiences here and benefiting from God’s blessings through the school.
Wong Choon Yew
Share your story
Encourage someone through your story. You never know who will be inspired by what you have gone through or are going through. Don’t keep your God-given experiences to yourself!
Calling BGST students, both past and present, who have a story of their own to share. Though neither credits nor grades will be allocated for your contribution, you can be sure that someone somewhere sometime will be thankful for your encouragement. No word limit required!
Be a blessing!
You can email Kenny at firstname.lastname@example.org