FIRST MEETING WITH DR. DAVID J. CHO
I first met Dr. David Cho in 1989. I was privileged to be among some forty delegates from Asia, Africa, and Latin America who met at the Western Theological Seminary in Portland, Oregon from May 1-5, 1989, to formally constitute the Third World Missions Association (TWMA). The meeting was called by Dr. David J. Cho and hosted by Dr. Donald Smith, a retired American Missionary to Africa, who was then lecturing at the Western Conservative Seminary in Portland, Oregon.
The delegates attending that consultation were selected from the growing number of emerging missionaries from the Third World or what was formally described as Mission receiving nations. Criteria for selection included cross-cultural Mission Agencies, National Missions Association and two Continental bodies namely Asia Missions Association (AMA) and COMIBAM of South America. More than 20 countries, and twice that many missionary societies were represented. The number of missionaries serving under these mission umbrellas run into thousands. The India Missions Association for instance had a membership of 52 agencies. Brazil’s Association of Trans Cultural Missions included 28 agencies.
The consultation held at the Western Baptist Theological Seminary was a follow-up on a preliminary meeting held one year earlier, at the same location. In that meeting, leaders of these Third World Missions had agreed to move ahead with some sort of association and had appointed a seven-man steering committee to come up with concrete proposals for the next step.
THE BIRTH OF TWMA
At the 1989 meeting the group worked over a formal constitution, changed the name from “Third World Mission Advance” to “Third World Missions Association.” The group then elected a permanent executive committee. This committee of twelve members, allowed only one member from any each participating country, with three each from Asia, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean, the Arab world, and the “Diaspora”(a term applied to Third World ethnic churches located in the West). The new Association was directed by Chairman David Cho (Korea), Vice-Chairman Jonathan Santos (Brazil), Secretary Reuben Ezemadu (Nigeria), and Treasurer Minoru Okuyama (Japan). Other members came from Peru, Guatemala, Ghana (Dr.Seth Anyomi), Kenya, Indonesia, Lebanon, Guyana, and North America. Thus the TWMA was born.
Dr. Cho, in his nicely forceful way, charged delegates who represented single Mission Agencies, to consider uniting other existing mission agencies into National Associations. At the time, of that meeting Nigeria was the only country in Africa represented at that meeting with a National Association. Rev. Dr. Panya Baba, the incumbent President of the Nigerian Missions Association (NEMA) at that meeting.
GEMA was Born
Dr. Cho’s charge ignited a vision for a Ghana Missions Association and later expanded to an Africa Missions Association (AfMA). This writer left the May 1-5 meeting in Portland with a burning desire to unite mission efforts in his home country, Ghana. The opportunity came that same year when, a New Zealand Missionary, Ross Campbell, of the Ghana Evangelism Committee, presented a report on unreached peoples of Ghana. Rev. Reuben Ezemadu was one of the speakers,with his assistance, a call was made for all who were leading Mission Agencies in Ghana at that time, to remain for a brief meeting. In short, the Ghana Evangelical Missions Association (GEMA) was born at that meeting with delegates voting Dr.Seth Anyomi as founding President of GEMA.
The Africa Christian Missions Alliance was to follow later. At the Tokyo 2010, Ghana’s GEMA President met the newly inducted NEMA Chairman, Rev. Gabriel Barau. It was divinely an appointed meeting, for these two men were destined to play a major role in the formation of the Africa Missions Alliance (AfMA). Not long after Japan 2010, the two men met again at the US Center for World Missions in Pasadena, California. A situation arose at that meeting which prompted the two leaders to see the urgency for an African Missions Association. A vision was cast followed by several exchanges centered on an Africa Missions Alliance (AfMA). At another meeting in London in 2012 Gabriel Barau and Seth Anyomi shared a hotel room. The two resolved to pursue the dream of an Africa Missions Association (AfMA). The opportunity came when Ghana 2013 follow up meeting for Tokyo 2010 was held in Kasoa, near Accra, Ghana from 25 to 28 September 2013. At that meeting the name “Third World Missions Association (TWMA)” was changed to “World Link Association” in solidarity with the World link University, which is a brainchild of the TWMA.
WORLD LINK UNIVERSITY
Following the 1989 meeting in Portland, Oregon, a meeting was called to the East-West Center for Missions in South Korea, where Dr. David Cho’s ministry was headquartered. At that meeting, five Commissions were put in place including an “Educational Commission.” This writer (Seth Anyomi) was elected to be the Chairman for that Commission. Two elderly renowned Educators were part of the Commission which soon became the pivot revolving around the entire TWMA. The primary task of the Educational Commission was to respond to the urgent need in the countries with representation in the TWMA to improve the quality of cross-cultural missionary training. With the rapid growth in the number of missionaries coming from the Third World, the Mission leaders from these countries have given priority to proper training and preparation of personnel in order to increase effectiveness on the field and to reduce the number of casualties due to a lack of adequate training. After several meetings in Portland and the US Center for World Missions in Pasadena, California, the Task force from the Education Commission headed by Dr. Seth Anyomi decided on a World Link University to operate from Portland, Oregon with Dr. Seth Anyomi as interim President, working closely with Dr. Donald Smith and a group of dedicated Missiologists, among whom was Dr.Galen Currah, who served as a special academic assistant to Dr. Anyomi.
While applauding and cooperating with existing international efforts, the World Link University Task force members cited a number of concerns not adequately addressed by most traditional and Western-dominated training programs such as:
- Maintenance of the spiritual dynamics characteristic of many emerging missionary movements.
- The necessity of perspectives sensitive to Third World leadership in mission.
- Appropriate curricula which can respond to local needs and demands.
High educational standards, yet with freedom for content adaptability to different cultures.
- Model curricula incorporating wider knowledge and experience, yet with a focus on local cultural issues.
- A true international partnership in mission which avoids economic or cultural dominance.
- International and intercultural student and faculty exchanges within a coordinated program.
- Integration of sound theoretical instruction with field experience and spiritual maturity
- Development of educational and administrative expertise among gifted Third World personnel.
Initially, eight mission training centers already in operation, in Africa, Asia and Latin America, “linked” to share information and resources. Current programs at the centers continued, but available resources in the area of intercultural studies and Missiology were augmented. Experienced instructors in Intercultural Communication and Missiology were contacted and being made available to the centers, to serve as trainers, who would aid in staff development and also consult on the contextualization of resource materials.
World Link affiliated centers become participants in the overall development of the institution through using and contributing to several services:
- A model intercultural missionary training curriculum consisting of core syllabi with guidelines for contextualization.
- An international network of intercultural trainers, missiologists and master teachers.
- Library resources available on microfiche, CD-ROM, and through Internet links.
- Standards and reviews applied internally for the accreditation of qualified centers and programs.
- Exchanges of human and material resources, research information, subject or area specialists and field experience.
The East-West model of cooperation played out very well in the partnership between Dr.David J. Cho and his western friends, Dr. Dale Kietzman and Dr. Donald Smith.
In order to facilitate efforts to establish the World Link University, Seth Anyomi moved his family to live and work in Portland, Oregon for duration of four years (1991-1994). During those four years, Dr. Anyomi worked very closely with Dr. Donald Smith to provide leadership in the effort to lay a solid foundation for the World Link University. A lot was accomplished during those four years with progress made in the following areas.
- Identified curriculum “Distinctives” for the two-third world.
- Recruited master teachers for the centers.
- Developed an initial resource library.
- Networked with participating centers and
- Worked towards a self accreditation association for member centers and appointed a Board of Trustees for that purpose who include, Dr, Won Sang Lee (of South Korea), Dr. Kenneth Pike (of Wycliffe fame) and Dr. Bendor Samuel (Who was President of the Wycliffe organization).
At the end of my four years stay in Portland, I returned to my home country Ghana. The TWMA leadership introduced “Chancellor” roles to the World Link University. I became Chancellor for Africa, Dr. Kietzman was assigned to the USA/South America, Dr. Bendor Samuel, became Chancellor for Europe, with Dr. Cho as Chancellor for Asia and as well as Inter-continental Chairman. A position he held for three years, working out of the US Center for World Missions in close collaboration with Dr. Dale Kietzman. After three years as inter-continental Chancellor, he handed over to Dr. Dale Kietzman, who also handed back to Dr. Anyomi after six years. During that time a WLU Graduate School for Missions was opened in Portland, with Dr. Don Smith as Dean. These two men, Dr. Dale Kietzman and Dr. Don Smith played very major roles in the life and ministry of our late father, Dr. David J. Cho.
DR. DAVID CHO’S LEGACY
Outcomes from Dr. David Cho’s life and work in and through Third World Mission are numerous. The growth and expansion of grass root missions in various parts of Asia, Africa and South Africa are a direct and indirect result of Dr. David J. Cho’s vision and encouragement for multiplying Mission Agencies and National and Continental Alliances. The birthing and the empowering of many mission agencies, alliances, national, region and continental may therefore be traced to Dr. David J. Cho. One of the abiding contributions to this generation is his role in the Tokyo 2010 and its impact on world mission. This contribution is in addition to the formation of the Third World Missions Association as a whole and the World Link University in particular.
Seth Kofi Anyomi
Dr. Seth Kofi Anyomi is the International Chancellor of the World Link University. He is a Ghanaian-born visionary leader used by the Lord in pioneering many works in God’s kingdom. He founded the African Christian Mission in 1983. From 1989, Dr. Anyomi represented Ghana in Third world Missions Association which is now renamed World Link Missions Association. With encouragement from Dr. David J. Cho, Dr. Anyomi led in the founding of Ghana Evangelical Missions Association in 1990 and became its Founding President.