PENANG, Malaysia-One of the busiest times of the year for the First Lady of Southwestern is during the New Year-Christmas season, but a three-day trip to Singapore and Malaysia amid the hustle and bustle proved a worthy addition to the numerous tasks that annually await her.
First Lady Dorothy Patterson journeyed to Singapore in early December as the featured speaker for the annual luncheon for women at the International Baptist Church in Singapore.
“It’s a very diverse group, from a lot of different countries,” Patterson said. “It’s a time to share the meaning of Christmas with the Singapore community.”
Approximately 300 women were in attendance at the luncheon, Patterson said, including many who do not regularly attend church.
“I wanted to share the significance of this holiday for us, even though it was a very mixed group,” Patterson said, noting that she used the second chapter of Matthew as her text for the luncheon, specifically looking at the gifts of the Magi.
Patterson was especially encouraged by the numerous women she came in contact with who are using their talents wherever God has placed them, including the woman who invited Patterson to speak, Kristi Rothenberger.
“I was excited and I was encouraged to see a homemaker like Kristi who is in Singapore because her husband has a business assignment there,” Patterson said. “She has had to take her children all the way across the world and set up a household, but she has immediately become active in her local church, and she helps them in their women’s ministries.”
Coupled with Patterson’s speaking engagement in Singapore was a visit to the Malaysia Baptist Theological Seminary in Penang, Malaysia. Southwestern recently began partnering with the seminary, so Patterson took the opportunity to briefly visit with the faculty there. She took a tour of the seminary, and was the guest of honor at a dinner in the home of Malaysia Seminary President John Ong. Seminary faculty and spouses were in attendance as well.
“I was extremely impressed with their faculty and the sensitivity they have to missions and evangelism,” Patterson said. “That is definitely their heartbeat.”
Mrs. Patterson was also able to encourage the seminary community in Malaysia with an announcement that they will be receiving some 50 books as a contribution from LifeWay Christian Resources.
“It’s a very sacrificial investment of Broadman and Holman, our denominational press, and I hope other publishers will follow that example,” Patterson said. “They selected choice books.”
Patterson noted that the visit helped her to pray more effectively for the Malaysian seminary, but it also made her aware of how important Southwestern’s connection with the seminary is and will be in the future.
“Southwestern will have the opportunity to partner with such a committed institution, and institution that is faithful to God’s word and to our cause of evangelism,” she said.
Joy Cullen, who serves as the director for the Naylor Children’s Center at Southwestern, travels each summer to the Malaysia seminary to help teach a program in holistic child development. She was formerly assigned to work at the seminary in Malaysia through the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Cullen noted her excitement about the future possibilities as a result of the recent partnership between the two seminaries.“Although Dr. Ong would like for Malaysian Seminary students to have an opportunity to study at Southwestern (in Fort Worth), he also welcomes Southwesterners to go there and take some courses in order to become more aware of ministry opportunities in East and West Malaysia,” Cullen said. “The partnership has already proved to be a blessing, and we look forward to many opportunities to work together in the future.”