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Ian and Judith have had an interesting journey as they have made themselves available for God to use in mission. India has been very much part of their lives and now they are back there involved in the training of significant leaders for ministry across South East Asia.

Ian was born into a missionary family, growing up in Kerala, South India. He returned to New Zealand at age 11. Judith (nee Falconer) was born and brought up in Rotorua. After marriage we made our home in Auckland, attending Eden Community Church.

Ian, an Architect, specialised in church buildings. However he felt that God was calling him to focus more on building people, rather than buildings! We love being involved in helping others in their faith journey, to see them cultivate their relationship and deepen their knowledge of God. Further study in the Western World was going to be expensive for a family, so we began praying and searching for alternatives. The outcome was that we discovered SAIACS in Bangalore, India! Going there would also give our family a glimpse of a world beyond the comfort of a familiar western culture – one which has had a life-changing impact.

So Ian, along with Judith and their three young daughters, returned to India in 1994 where Ian studied for a Masters in Theology degree at SAIACS (South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies).

We spent six years at SAIACS – two as students and four as Faculty. Ian established SAIACS Press, taught systematic theology and began a PhD programme through Aberdeen University, Scotland – something which would not have happened had we remained in New Zealand! As a family we were immersed in the community life on campus – setting up cell groups and other social activities. Ian also encouraged the faculty to establish a mentoring strategy with students. Judith supervised Karina, Shelley and Roseann with their NZ Correspondence School lessons. What an enriching six years!

We returned to New Zealand at the end of 2000 where Ian completed his PhD and Judith worked as Office Manager at Pathways College. In 2003 Ian took over as the Principal of Pathways College, little knowing how this was going to prepare us both for what God had in mind in the years ahead!

SAIACS was founded by a kiwi - Dr Graham Houghton, along with his wife Carol. Regional Christian leadership training is one of the most urgent tasks in world mission. SAIACS vision is to train leaders who will train other leaders – those who will be pastors, missionaries, evangelists, and educators. The Institute offers Masters and Doctoral degrees.

In 2007 Ian received an invitation from the SAIACS Trust Board to consider applying for the job as Principal. We were overwhelmed and sought the Lord about this. We said no, the time was not right. They came back to us a year later with the same invitation so we again took it before the Lord. This time events happened which clearly indicated that we should apply – the result being that Ian was appointed as Principal, taking up the baton in April 2008. We left home, leaving our three daughters in the house! We felt very inadequate for the task ahead but knew that God had called us to this work and He would enable us in every way – we needed to trust him and allow him to work out his purposes in our lives.

It is exciting to report that SAIACS now has over 650 alumni making a huge contribution to churches, missions and colleges in South Asia and around the world. Nineteen are now Principals and 250 teach in theological colleges. 160 are missionaries. SAIACS is also a perfect training ground for any seeking training for mission or ministry. Along with the academics, we learnt to relate cross-culturally, discovered more about ourselves and the world God has placed us in for his mission. Pray for this sort of impact in our ongoing ministry at SAIACS!! Website – www.saiacs.org

 

Tags: Ian and Judith | SAIACS | South East Asia | Training

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