photo credit Audrey Rejas

Another first in history is happening in a week- IGSL is welcoming the new academic year fully online!

So many familiar sights and sounds will be missed as this new school year starts. For faculty and continuing students, it’s hard to imagine IGSL classes without the homey campus, the clean and comfortable classrooms in the ALC building, the library with its vast collection of books, the prayer garden, ALC and Ezra Gym, Ate Susan’s Cafeteria, the student and faculty lounges, the soccer field, the Light House, Bright House, and ALC dormitories, and even Dynamic Learning Center.  But more than the facilities and the surroundings, it’s the community experience that will be greatly missed this year!

It’s surreal to attend the first day of class without the warm presence of the students, the faculty, and the staff. It may feel a little lonely to start the classes without being greeted by the welcoming smile of our ever-courteous Kuya Guards and Ate Louie at the reception area and to not hear the laughter of the children in the soccer field or campus grounds. We can’t help but long for what was, but at the same time, we are excited and hopeful about what will be. More than a response to survive the crisis, the shift to online education is stewardship for now and for the future. For us to go where we want to go and to touch who we want to touch, we have to learn and adapt and pioneer new things in faith. The pandemic may have closed the campus, but education continues! The crisis may have sent many back to their home countries, but the equipping does not stop. Instead, as IGSL diaspora community, we bring with us the IGSL DNA anywhere we are in the globe.

Now online, we have so much opportunity for a wider reach, being accessible to more students throughout Asia and the world. With fewer logistics concerns, more servant -steward leaders will benefit from the life-transforming training right where they are in the mission field through the IGSL online offerings. We continue to explore strategies to scale our training and to position ourselves to partner with others for increased life transformation and Great Commission impact.

This academic year is a year of transition, a springboard to how we envision IGSL beyond 2021. And while change is good, the process and the experience that goes with it is not always pleasant. It’s hard, even painful at times. That is why it requires faith, community, support, and resilience, especially in the face of the current pandemic realities. Nevertheless, we look up to God and remain steadfast in our mission amid this unstable and chaotic times because God is at work.

We welcome the new school year, and the challenges that come with it, assured of the same warmth and support of the IGSL community. We welcome the first-year students and our new faculty– the newest members of the growing IGSL family. We welcome the returning students who are likewise trying to cope with the new set-up. We welcome the faculty who, in more ways than one, have embraced the challenge and adapted, no matter how hard they struggled. Whether the training happens online, in the field, or on-campus, and whether we are tech-savvy or just coping with basic online skills, ultimately, we will thrive together as a family!

In the days ahead, we are excited to see how God will continue to move in and through IGSL, transforming more servant steward leaders for Great Commission impact across key sectors in the community all over the world.