Preparing for Missions: Asian Cross-Cultural Training Institute

The Asian Cross-Cultural Training Institute (ACTI) was started in 1984 by OMF to train prospective missionaries and church leaders to spark mission movements ultimately led by local Christians in Asia and beyond. ACTI became independent in 1989 and has continued to play an important role in fulfilling that mission.

ACTI in numbers

  • 6 weeks of training run twice a year

  • 23 experienced missionary lecturers

  • 28 modules dealing with cross-cultural issues with a focus on developing ways of planting churches that go on to plant more churches

  • 70 graduates in the last four years

Here are five stories from recent graduates:

A grandmother making waves in Thailand

‘In the two-and-a-half years since I came to Chiang Rai, we have baptised 36 people and in August 2018, another five will be baptized,’ Pannee said excitedly.

A Thai married to a Singaporean, Pannee decided to return to her hometown as a missionary after her husband’s death. It is a joy for her to see the amazing transformation in the lives of new believers who are now reaching out to other Thais.

In preparation for being sent out by the Presbyterian church in Singapore, Pannee, already a grandmother, joined ACTI as a trainee in October 2015. After six weeks of training, she was commissioned by her church and travelled to Thailand. She has since started cell groups in her village as well as other villages. Her pastors in Singapore have had the joy of traveling up to Thailand to help baptize Thai believers in partnership with this indigenous mission work. A church movement is beginning in Chiang Rai.

Photo: Pannee (on the right in red) and some of those being baptised.

Myanmar – crossing cultures within borders

Win and Sang, missions directors, came to ACTI in the same intake as Pannee in October 2015.

Under a special scholarship, both came to be equipped to set up a missions program with their partner Church denomination in Myanmar. Returning to Myanmar, they started the first ever missions training school in the country, with 14 missionary candidates from the many conventions in Myanmar composed of different ethnic groups. The training lasted six months with ACTI staff teaching part of the course. From there the graduates have spread out to many parts of Myanmar, crossing cultures to start missionary work.

In August 2018 they will run a 6 week training, with 40 potential missionaries expected to join the training to reach out to the many ethnic groups in Myanmar. So two people who received training are now equipping many in crossing cultures to win others for Christ.

Sri Lanka – strengthening local leadership

Steven & Peggy from the USA, joined ACTI in February 2016, taking a break from their work in Sri Lanka. Their goal is to help develop a strong, self-sustaining and sending body of believers in Sri Lanka. To that end, they have embarked on six strategies to help the local leadership of the church denomination to be self-sufficient as well as to send out believers in evangelism and discipleship.

One strategy is helping the churches to develop infrastructure, leadership and training. They also help pastors gain self-sufficiency in finances by helping them find and develop small business opportunities. Steven & Peggy see the raising up and training of leaders as a key strategy in this strongly Buddhist nation and their training at ACTI as vital to help them develop future leaders who can go on to equip others.

South Asia – from business to touching lives

Cath, a Malaysian working in the corporate world in Singapore, decided to drop her illustrious career to enroll at ACTI in 2017 with the aim of equipping herself to be involved in Business as Missions (BAM) in South Asia. Within six months, she started an enterprise that seeks socio-economic change with a kingdom perspective with 6 businesses providing jobs for 30 locals in that country. The enterprise also equips three pastors with small businesses so that they are able to do ministries while being financially self-supporting. One local pastor who is aiming to reach 400 households in his village, has seen first fruits in April with one household saved. Meanwhile, a salon business is ‘hiring women at risk and those that had been trafficked, rescuing and equipping them with skills and a livelihood.’

Making Disciples: from Singapore to Asia

In the last two and a half years, a large evangelical church in Singapore, which has over 6,000 people in its congregations has sent 11 of their missionaries and missions appointees to ACTI to be better equipped for cross-cultural missions. The church is well known for its discipleship conferences in Singapore. Using this experience and their wide networks in Asia, they have embarked on a partnership with ACTI to get their missionaries trained to play a strategic role in world missions in many parts of Asia.

Kat, the first of the 11 that came to ACTI, shares, ‘we have learnt many valuable lessons from the practitioners in the field and have certainly been equipped in our preparation to go to the field. Most of us are already in or will be going to the field in the Asia region, working with churches in their discipleship and disciple-making process.’

Praise God for how he uses ACTI to equip his people to be sent to further equip local Christians in various regions for the kingdom of God to grow within and beyond their borders.

Louis Lau

Dean, ACTI

For more information about ACTI see:

Will you pray for the East Asian Church?

  • Give thanks for how God has used ACTI over the last few years to equip cross-cultural workers.
  • Pray for Panee, Win and Sang, Stephen and Peggy, Cath and Kat in their ministries. Pray for close, vibrant walks with Jesus and fruitfulness in ministry.

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