Daniel Tom is a lecturer (in the USA tradition, this means he has the honorary title ‘Professor’) at the University of Hawaii’s Language School. He was one of the many delegates at the Baptist World Congress in Hawaii interviewed by the Australian Missionary News IPTV.
His speciality is teaching Mandarin, but he also knows both German and French – as well as English, of course. These are among the 20 languages taught at the university, which cover those from Europe, Asia and the Indian sub-continent. Students can also take English as a Second Language.
Daniel explained that Honolulu is the capital city of Hawaii, which has a mild climate, a multicultural population and a more laid-back atmosphere than mainland USA culture, and is therefore a popular tourist destination for vacationers from all over the world. In this context, he personally welcomed the delegates from 105 nations to the Baptist World Congress.
“Having such a well-publicised Christian witness Baptist Congress in the city during the last week of July, with huge flags and banners around everywhere, has borne Christian witness to the whole population,” said Daniel Tom. “It has been a huge boost to the local evangelism and worship of Jesus Christ.”
The history Christianity in Hawaii is very interesting. Daniel told Mark Tronson, Chairman of Well-Being Australia, that many Chinese missionaries came during the 1930s from a wide range of denominations, and initiated a huge boom in Christian witness in Honolulu and to a lesser extent the other islands of Hawaii. They were an enormous blessing, and developed the Christian community and also impacted on community standards in the city.
However, the Japanese forced the missionaries out in the 1940s, and as a consequence, his own church, the University Avenue Baptist Church was not formed until after the War, in 1947.
Daniel is convinced that the social stability of Hawaii today, as well as its many churches with multi-ethnic congregations, are legacies of these pre-war missionaries. He thinks it is one reason for the more recent migration of peoples from the South Pacific and Asia, particuarly Japan. For example his church now has services in several languages including Vietnamese and Cambodian.
“In my view, the future of Baptist work in Hawaii was very bright because of this ethnic cultural mix where there are churches and pastors of many national backgrounds,” thinks Daniel Tom. “This is a wide field ready for harvest, and we are in the perfect position to target the Pacific Island nations and Asian countries in particular.”
This interview of Daniel Tom on the Australian Missionary News IPTV can be viewed at either tv.bushorchestra.com/BWC/videopages/daniel_tom.htmlor www.safeworlds.net
Daniel Tom: professor of languages, Hawaii
Tuesday, 28 September 2010, 7:38 (EST)
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