Today is Tuesday, May 22, 2018

An Enriching Experience In Haggai Institute

by: J. Jose C. Reyes

Haggai is the name of a person who founded an institute for enhancing leadership skills for evangelism. Dr. John Edmund Haggai is a Christian world statesman who has pastured four churches, held crusades around the world, established a unique international ministry, and written many influential books. During his first trip to Asia in the 1960s, he saw the need to mobilize nationals to reach their own people. Christian leaders in the developing world were identified and given top-level training to organize and communicate the Gospel, and eventually pass on the training to others.

Dr. Haggai saw to it that chosen Christian leaders receive the best training in the best facilities, in stable locations with reliable transport facilities. Hence, he established the Haggai Institute (HI) in a high-tech learning complex in Maui, Hawaii and in the RELC International Hotel in Singapore. Since Haggai Institute began in 1969, it has trained over 60,000 leaders. I was fortunate to have been chosen to undergo a one-month training in Maui, from June 6 to 30, 2006. In our batch, there was a total of 110 participants from Asian, African and Latin American countries. There were six (6) Filipinos from various religious sects. In fact, I was the only Catholic Filipino and the other Catholic was from Nigeria.

The training on evangelism consisted of sessions for the body, mind, and soul of leaders stressing balance, excellence, and openness. The subjects taught included:

  • Biblical Mandate for Evangelism: Personal Obligation and Urgency for Evangelism

  • The Leader and Integrity: Communicating the Gospel by Your Life

  • The Leader and the Family: Evangelizing In and Through the Family

  • Communicating Effectively for Evangelism

  • Effective Christian Leadership: Effective Witness in Leadership

  • Goal Setting: Setting and Achieving Goals for Evangelism

  • Biblical Stewardship: Raising Resources for Evangelism

  • Biblical and Contemporary Methods for Evangelism

  • Motivating, Mobilizing and Training for Evangelism

  • The Use of Audio-Visuals for Evangelism

  • Communicating the Gospel in Different Contexts

We were exposed to an international peer group and were able to foster high-level organizational and communication skills for evangelism. For our part, we brought our respective country reports and exhibits. Together with the other Filipino participants whom I met only when I arrived in Maui, we presented the socio-economic situation of our country and put up with pride an exhibit of tourist spots and local products. Towards the end of our training, we were able to develop and present a detailed goal plan for bringing the Gospel to our country.

During the training period, we were housed in a big building that used to be a hotel. The place was not just beautiful but also complete with facilities such as swimming pool, gym, function rooms, and comfortable bedrooms. The whole place is being run by volunteers from different countries. These volunteers are rich retirees with a servant heart. They answer our phone calls at the front desks, clean our rooms and the common areas such as the kitchen and dining rooms and made us feel at home.

Although a typical day would start early and end up late listening to lectures, preparing individual reports and discussing our group presentations, we were well taken care of with plenty of healthy food from breakfast until evening snacks. Although we had only one day off each week, we were able to see almost all of Maui’s scenic beaches and bargain shops. On Sundays, we attended church services.

I really can’t thank God enough for this wonderful experience. God has been so generous and loving for giving me this training as well as the enriching experience of meeting people from various parts of the world. I can only deepen my commitment to evangelize in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This wonderful experience all started in 2005 when the late Justice Eleazar delos Santos nominated me to undergo this rigorous training in HI. He himself was a graduate of the same training and so are other colleagues in the Court of Appeals, namely, Justices Portia Aliño Hormachuelos and Rodrigo V. Cosico.

Just recently, Dr. Haggai came to the Philippines and tendered a testimonial dinner in honor of Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno, who himself is a Haggai alumnus.

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