Asia Biblical Theological Seminary Faculty Teach Classes at the Mae La Refugee Camp in Thailand
For the past year, Asia Biblical Theological Seminary has had the privilege of bringing its master's level program to the Mae La Refugee Camp in Thailand. This unique cohort is made up of 10 students, and since it began, the visiting faculty have been blessed by how the students have flourished in their learning.
We caught up with Professor Tim Miskimen on how the cohort has been going.
What is the learning environment like at the camp?
Tim: "Overall I was impressed with what they had done to create a space where we could hold class. Tables, chairs, air conditioning, projector, these are all luxuries not seen elsewhere in the camp."
Given the circumstances of the students being in a refugee camp, how do you find their mindset and attitude towards learning?
Tim: "I'm impressed by the enthusiasm of the students. Some would say a master's degree in their context is really icing on the cake—a waste of time when so many greater needs are evident. But these students don't seem to think so.
"They are focused and determined to serve their people better in a variety of contexts. To have greater credibility in and outside the camp are of high values to them."
How does the ABTS program contribute to their existing learning experiences?
Tim: "Being able to offer them a high view of Scripture as the final authority for Christians is an important concept and something that applies to both their daily living as well as their ministry. They have studied liberal, theological options such as feminist theology and liberation theology so to be able to show them what it looks like to take the Bible seriously and at face value is an important opportunity for them.
"We also had some frank discussions about what church looks like to them, how the hierarchy works in their churches and how that compares to what we see in Scripture. Many things are simply cultural differences, of course, which the Scriptures do not address directly. But some of the things we discussed had more to do with power plays and pride. These are things the Scriptures do address."
What's next for you with this cohort?
Tim: "I am looking forward to seeing how the students process what we studied. In a few weeks, I will begin receiving rough drafts of their assignments. Those will tell me how well I was able to communicate in English and how much they could understand."