21 June 2018


By John Ollis


We arrived in Singapore in late December 1997, was picked up at the airport and taken to our Public Housing apartment. As we stood on our seventh floor balcony, we both felt “we are at home”. We had to go searching for a Supermarket as there was no supplies of any kind in the apartment. Once again in hindsight although my eleven years at the College in Australia, had trained me in every factor of running a Bible College, as always the Lord has a bigger picture and sure wanted to teach me some things. There is one Missions subject I love to teach “Cross Cultural Communications”, in simple terms we who are married know that male and female thought processes are very different, now when you add the cultural differences  of for example  the Chinese and Indians  that have developed over many hundreds of years, it was an interesting learning process. It is one thing when you come in as a visitor to a culture they are very accepting (and forgiving) but when you live in the culture it is another story. Even in the West, we must watch that we don’t let our lives be dominated by our national culture but ever seek to embrace Kingdome Culture.
The College had a much smaller student body than the College in Australia, and neither was it residential, so that was a considerable adjustment.
Margaret was invited to become the College Business Manager so again we were working as a team, her Secretarial and Accounting skills were used to the full in the time we were there. She loved (and still does) Singapore and always felt totally safe anywhere on the Island. As I was travelling each Sunday she began worshipping at Centre of New Life which had been pioneered by a brother of the two sisters who attended our church  in Sydney which was called New Life Chapel. Very quickly I saw why the Lord had brought us to Singapore, and there were two things I needed to do.


The Asian Mission Field was very much influenced by American Missions, which included their Academic Education System which was a 4 year Liberal Arts degree of which over 25% was not Bible/Theology related. I was used to the British system of education  that offered a degree which took three years to earn and included good research and reflection. The regional Accrediting Bodies had recognised this but the denomination hadn’t. Even the mindset amongst my Faculty was  “how can a three year degree be as good as a four year degree”? The Singapore lifestyle was so such a busy one, most people could not afford four years of study. It took well over a year, but we at last could offer a pure three year degree. I notice by the College website after 20 years it is now a  well established degree and they now offer a Master’s program as well.
The College had functioned in various rented properties for probably twenty years or more, and large rents had been paid over all these years. I searched high and low all over Singapore and eventually found a property well into our second year, the renovations were complete just prior to our leaving. I note it is still the College property today.
You may remember my only request of the College Board was that I be able to minister across the Body of Christ in Singapore and not be locked into our denomination. I had received an awesome vision of the Body of Christ and could not limit myself.  I had the awesome privilege of preaching in many different churches of numerous denominations in my time in Singapore. Not long after we arrived I met Rev. Kong Hee who was building a  Charismatic mega church in Singapore, we “clicked” and although our  busy schedules meant we did not see each other much a connection was made that would later be another important step in my journey.
At the end of our first year, a Singaporean friend that I had met in 1976 (22 years before) was migrating to Australia and he very kindly donated to me his 9 year old Volvo, so now I could minister further afield including crossing the Causeway and ministering in the state of Johor in Southern Malaysia. Even commencing an Extension campus in Johor Bahru for the churches in that area.
I also continued my Missions ministry in Vietnam which was also such a blessed time.
I developed some health problems and although the College Board wanted me to stay we decided to return to Australia believing I had accomplished what the Lord had sent me to do. Fortunately the health problems  were minor and did not hinder us on our return  home.
Like in the 1970’s we resigned not knowing what was the next step, it was not very long before the Lord quickly opened doors for us and again we moved forward in the purposes of God.