Ronald grew up in a Christian family in South East Asia, with his parents, five brothers and two sisters. When he was 15, there was a gospel rally in his area and that was when he first understood the Gospel, and what it meant for his salvation. Not long after this, Ronald started to act out and said he was behaving ‘badly’ to the point where his parents almost gave him up. But over the process of two years, the Holy Spirit worked in him and convicted him of his need for the Lord.
“I turned myself to the Lordship of Christ and I asked my parents if I could go and study theological education. And so I came back for my education and that’s how my actual transformation happened when I turned 17,” he says. “My submission to the Lordship of Christ was very conscious. I didn’t see any light, I didn’t have any dreams. There was no strange interaction with God but a very profound and clear understanding that without Jesus, life was not worth living.”
Ronald shares that he first heard about Langham Partnership when he studied for his Master’s:
“I heard about Langham Partnership and the Langham Scholars program as some of my friends applied for scholarships,” he shares.
In 2007, Ronald was introduced to Langham once again, by Paul Barker who told him about Langham Australia. Through this introduction, Ronald was able to begin his partnership with Langham in Australia and went on to do his theological PhD studies in Melbourne.
Ronald says the experience of partnering with Langham has opened up many doors and opportunities for him.
“I wear several hats here in South East Asia and being a Langham Scholar has opened quite a wide door for me, in terms of ministry and scholarships, theological education, also internationally, whenever I go out representing my college,” he says.
Varied and Rich Ministry
Ronald is currently involved in a number of ministries including his role as the Dean of Academics at a theological college in South East Asia, pastoring a mission church and ‘theological education by extension’ which is church-based training for people who want to learn to run Bible studies.
Through all these ministries, Ronald looks back at Langham and sees how it is a unique ministry. The people and the leadership are powerful, it is an organisation that is known, respected and trusted. “Langham has had a huge impact on me and what I do now in terms of ministry; I’m very proud to be one of Langham’s Scholars,” he says.
One of Ronald’s biggest challenges and goals is to help raise the standard of theological education in his home country. “I have a strong conviction that our Church really needs God’s Word to grow. The Church is growing but it is not rooted in the Word of God.”
My submission to the Lordship of Christ was very conscious… without Jesus, life was not worth living.”Ronald, South East Asian Langham Scholar
Ronald says that a lot of the Christians in his home country are cultural Christians and so part of the challenge is to build the believers up in the study of the Bible. This is one of the reasons he says he got involved in church-based theological education. “I pray for the Church, growing in Jesus Christ by studying God’s word, and also theological seminary students, growing their knowledge of the word of God. That is my main prayer for the country and my future,” he shared.
Ronald sees a gap between the people with higher education and those without, especially when it comes to theological education and understanding. He believes that a lot of the curriculum that is taught at the seminary would benefit those in churches and help to narrow the gap. “Our learning and teaching should be serving the Church,” he says. His work in academic study is having an impact on the Church at a foundational level, and his various paid and volunteer roles are complementary to each other.
Ronald says that if what he is doing for the intellectual community by writing academic papers and conducting further theological study doesn’t also serve the church, then it’s not worthwhile doing.
Ronald has been working in Christian ministry for 25 years now and says that, along with his Langham connection, it has been an amazing journey.
Please pray for Ronald as he continues to teach both in higher theological education and at a ground level in churches. Pray for the gospel to continue to transform lives in South East Asia, just like it has for Ronald himself.
This article was written by Ngaire Buckley, Langham Partnership Australia.