Missionary work as a professional in one’s field

Missionary work can be done in many ways, including the use of professional skills. You can hear more and discuss this type of missionary work at a Fida webinar on August 28, led by Sofia and Jani-Matti Korpela. The webinar is aimed at teachers and other education professionals. Registration is open until 25.8.

The high quality of Finnish teaching and competence has been noticed in Asia. Sofia and Jani-Matti Korpela, who have served as missionaries and teachers in Bangkok since 2018 noticed this among the educated local population, but it came as a surprise that even taxi drivers knew this and commented on it in a positive way. This prompted Korpelas to consider how professionals could be involved in missionary work.

The idea arose that it would be great to get Finnish teachers to work in Thailand – and later on in other parts of Asia as well – and specifically with the idea of ​​Global Professionalism. GP’s, or global professionals, works normally, but with a clear vision of missions. The principle is that salaried work is done with competence, professionally, and as a calling. Coworkers are shown neighborly love, and GPs can serve in the local church in their spare time if they wish.

– Bangkok, for example, is a big city where it can be difficult to make social contacts because people spend most of their day at work. The traffic jams in the big city are huge, and many people who work can no longer head to the church in the evening. So many people commonly experience loneliness and exclusion. That is why we Christians must connect with people in everyday life.

The work of a teacher itself is valuable and by developing education it’s possible to prevent many social problems. Even internationally, Finnish teachers have strong professional skills, which contribute to improving the level of education in those foreign educational institutions where Finnish teachers work. Thus, the effects can extend widely in society and have an impact for generations.

There are probably a lot of teachers in churches who have great ideas, and God has certainly spoken to many about how to work for the best of children and families. We are confident that God will lead us in the future in the way that things should go.

Sharing experiences and providing opportunities

From their own experience, the Korpelas have noticed great opportunities to get to know Thai people at work and learn about their culture. The idea of arranging ​a webinar in Finland for education professionals rose from this insight. The Korpelas want to emphasize that all education professionals are welcome to attend the webinar. They can include early childhood teachers, classroom teachers, curators, lecturers, or professors. Through the webinar, Korpelas want to share their vision with a wider audience. Possibly later on, other members in various professions moving to Thailand could also be part of the GP community. Perhaps there would even be a Finnish engineer in the crowd.

– In this first webinar, we will map out how many people are interested in this type of work. We can review and think about what opportunities there are in Asia for those interested. This is the core idea for the webinar, Jani-Matti explains. Similar events will be organized in the future.

The webinar will discuss the possibilities of combining missionary work with one’s own professional skills and provide a framework for considering global professionalism, or even what exporting education experts through Fida might look like. The purpose is to talk about the GP vision and make it more known. The webinar will also provide an opportunity to discuss what future missionary work might look like in reality – for example, as a teacher in Bangkok or Kyoto. Fida’s leadership will also be present. Deputy Executive Director Jyrki Palmi and GP Manager Henry Mononen will share their own perspectives on the GP theme.

The Korpelas have already identified some destinations where willing professionals would be able to go to work as missionary trainees. Finland’s reputation for good education opens doors.

– The aim is for each teacher to make their own employment contract with an institution, but the teachers form a support network with each other. So, there is a strong idea of ​​teamwork, as well as working together with a church, Sofia explains.

Under God’s guidance and walking side by side

There are probably a lot of teachers in churches who have great ideas, and God has certainly spoken to many about working for the best of children and families. We are confident that God will lead us in the future as things should go, Jani-Matti says.

Schools are strategic places in all societies. They bring the children of a community together and through them, entire families. Children go to school in most countries, so the opportunity for impact and influence is very broad.