Panama

A Didactic Approach to Spiritual Formation:
Integrating Spiritual Practices to the Seminary Curriculum of the Diaspora of Chinese Students in Panama, Central America

Author
Jacqueline Siu Yin Lam D.Min.
Abstract
An awareness of God’s presence and a capacity to hear Him are two important elements to cultivate an intimate relationship with God for spiritual growth. This research portfolio seeks to answer the question: Will prayer encounters with God through the practice of praying with the Scriptures facilitate the participants’ capacities to hear God and increase awareness of His presence? The context for the research portfolio is seminary students and a small group of participants from the Iglesia Evangelica China De Panama from the Chinese diaspora in Panama, Central America.
This portfolio offers my spiritual autobiography (Chapter II), which traces the influences of three different Christian spiritual traditions (Foster 1998) and my professional training in various fields that have helped me hear God and experience God’s presence in my daily life. A four-year academic model and curriculum (Chapter III) is created from the experience of my spiritual formation and implemented for the Alliance Bible School of Central and South America. Finally, a field research project (Chapter IV) is offered to examine the effectiveness of Lectio Divina to facilitate prayer encounters in a small group of students from the Iglesia Evangelica China De Panama. The results show positive responses by the participants in their ability to hear God and experience his presence. However, practicing quietness remains a challenge for some Chinese Christians for their spiritual growth in the Panamian context.
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