Alumni Spotlight: Chakrita Tambunan

Tell us briefly about yourself, when you graduated from ADC, and where you are located now. 

I am from Jakarta, Indonesia and I was an international student at ADC and enrolled in the M.Div. Degree in 2010. I graduated from the program in 2013, and I am currently living in my home country of Indonesia. 
Prior to moving to Wolfville, I worked as an Intervarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) staff in high school ministry for approximately 3 years. I have a strong passion for youth and young adult ministry since my first year of my undergraduate degree at the University of Indonesia. That is the reason I joined IVCF in 2007 after I graduated with my engineering degree. 
During that time, I also had a vision to teach in a college or university. I am so grateful that God made my dream come true. I never thought that the opportunity to be a teacher would open immediately after I graduated from ADC. 
  
Tell us about your current ministry and responsibilities.
I am currently working as a faculty member at Trinity Theological College (in Indonesian: Sekolah Tinggi Theologia Trinity) located in Parapat, North Sumatera, Indonesia. I am teaching three courses: Basic Biblical Hebrew 1&2, Old Testament studies (Introduction to Old Testament and the Pentateuch), and Systematic Theology. 
In addition to teaching, I mentor six students who board at the college. As a mentor, I lead a weekly small group with them, and monitor their performance at the college and the development of their spiritual lives (such as helping them in finding solutions when they have difficulties in their studies). I also live in the female student dormitory where I ensure all things run smoothly. 
 
What challenges and opportunities are you facing in ministry right now?
There are several challenges that I am facing in my ministry right now. 
First, Indonesia has thousands of tribes, and each tribe has its own tribal language. There are at least three major tribes at the college: Nias, Karo, and Batak. Many of my Nias students do not speak, read, or write Indonesian very well. In addition, I am not fluent in the Batak language (even though it is my own tribal language). At times, there are communication challenges with my students. I must ensure that I use simple and basic Indonesian which can be understood by all my students. While I research and study to effectively translate and teach the course material from one language to another, I have also deepened my understanding about the language. 
Second, even though English classes are mandatory for Indonesian students in their high school studies, many of my students struggle with understanding and reading English. For this reason, I must use Indonesian when I teach Hebrew. However, when I studied Hebrew and Greek at ADC, the courses were taught using the English language and English textbooks. Therefore, I must translate all of the English/Hebrew terminologies into Indonesian. Fortunately, the college is addressing this deficiency with a strong commitment to build the students' English proficiency. In the college curriculum, there is a course entitled ‘English Theology’ designed to improve students’ comprehension and oral reading of the English Bible. 
Third, because the college is new (it began approximately two years ago), the library is very small with limited resources - less than three thousand books. The majority of the students also come from poor families, and in many cases, they cannot afford to buy textbooks for their classes. They depend on the books in the library. This is a challenge when developing a syllabus with reading assignments. As a result, I have created my own modules or slides and share them with my students. These materials often become “textbooks” for my classes.               

As you think back to your ministry training at ADC, what skills and experience have you been appreciative of?
First of all, I learned many methods for teaching from my professors at ADC.  For example, Danny Zacharias demonstrated how to use music as a teaching tool in his Hebrew course. 
Secondly, I am grateful for my Greek, Hebrew, and Biblical studies courses (such as Introduction to Old Testament and New Testament, Romans and Galatians, and Amos and Isaiah) as well as my Christian Theology course at ADC. These courses have prepared me to teach my classes.  The Christian Education class taught by Dr. Carol Anne Janzen specifically equipped me to understand that each student is different and each student has her/his own individual learning style (e.g., Imaginative, Analytic, Common Sense, Dynamic). I recognize I must be creative in my classes to teach effectively.  
 
A number of current and prospective ADC students will be reading this. What advice would you give them?
As a minister, it is very important to have a formal theological education. We need to have proper knowledge and skills when entering a ministry or mission field, not simply a degree. When I was in my first year at ADC, I thought that the 3-year M.Div. Program would be a long program. However, it went very quickly. 
My advice to students is to see your time at ADC as ‘kairos’ time (in Greek, which means ‘time in between’ or can be seen as ‘an opportunity’) and not only a ‘chronos’ time (minutes going by). View every single minute in your program as something that is precious, and always give your best to it. As a student and in ministry, you have a full schedule of commitments. You may be tempted to do a task in a rush to simply complete the task (such as writing a research paper). If you take that approach for all your classes, you will realize at graduation that you missed the full benefit of your time at ADC. 

Lastly, is there anything you would like to share that the ADC community could pray for?
Please pray for the college so it can continue to grow as an evangelical theological school in fulfilling its vision: “to prepare and send theologians and missionaries who are serving Christ with good character, morals, and skills in North Sumatera and other parts of Indonesia.”
Please pray for me in my further studies this coming fall (August 2014) at Yale Divinity School, Connecticut. I plan to begin my secondary master degree in New Testament studies. I am confident that this degree program will benefit the college as well as the ministry of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of Indonesia. (Although I am no longer an IVCF staff member, I am still involved with many of their programs.) My plan is to return to Indonesia when I have completed my studies at Yale.