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Final Session for CLAP 4 Group
September 17, 2018

 The fourth group of the Northern Asia-Pacific Division’s (NSD) Communication and Leadership Advancement Program (CLAP) culminated its activities in July 2018 after two years of activities. The last of four intensive training sessions was held between June 25 and July 8, 2018. A group of 22 participants, coming from China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia and Taiwan, gathered for the last time at the NSD Leadership Training Center (LTC) on Jeju Island, South Korea. The participants concluded the session with mixed emotions, happy because of their achievements, learning, growth, new friends and new experiences, and sad that it had come to an end and that it was time to say good-bye. 

Since its beginning in 2008, CLAP has established as its goal to stimulate, encourage and motivate young, potential leaders to understand the importance of learning English and the development of their leadership skills. Four cohorts, with approximately 130 leaders, have gone through CLAP training in the last 10 years. This last group, CLAP 4, carried out its training for the last two years, from 2016 to 2018, with four intensive sessions and three in-between session periods of independent study. 

The last of the four intensive sessions was designed to provide additional opportunities to practice and improve their English and leadership skills. Every activity and event was planned and selected to provide experiences that promoted interaction and growth in an environment of trust, encouragement, and challenge. Thus, the session contributed with opportunities for increased responsibilities, dependence on God, service, improved communications, teamwork, and character building, as well as encouragement for a continual learning and growth mindset.

Each day the activities started early in the morning and went on until the evening. The session’s theme, “Transformed by the Spirit,” was a daily group prayer request as part of the program and objectives. Exercises, such as walking or jogging, were also part of the program to enhance the physical condition, preparing the mind, body and spirit to face the day’s challenges and demands. Healthy meals were provided by skilled cooks from NSD LTC. Eating together proved to be a wonderful opportunity to mingle with those from different countries, encouraging English-speaking practice as well as learning from and about others, understanding each other better.

During the major part of the day, participants were busy with English and leadership classes and conversation time with tutors, for speaking practice was one of the most requested activities. At other times, planned activities and events, such as worships and service time, also contributed toward the goals of CLAP. The Leader of the Day plan challenged the participant’s public speaking skills (in English), leadership administrative skills such as decision-making and conflict solving, and other essential skills for leaders (vision, faith, empowering others, considering cultural perspectives and opinions, and others).

The program concluded with a special Communion Service (Lord’s Supper). It was a meaningful “agape” experience among CLAP participants, staff and teachers, and some of the union leaders that attended. All the preparation and the program itself was done by CLAP members in English, working together with the teachers and staff. Sabbath was also special from morning to evening. It started with a Sabbath School led in small groups by teachers and Union leaders, and the sermon was given by NSD president, Dr. Kim SiYoung. Afternoon time was spent immersing in small group discussions on practical ways to “Reach the World” with God’s message. The closing event for the Completion ceremony included a sundown worship, testimonies by participants, a summary video of CLAP 4 and the awarding of a certification plaque to each participant by leaders and administrators from Mongolia Mission (Kim YoHan, president), Japan Union Conference (Masumi Shimada, president), Korean Union Conference (Nam, SooMyung, associate secretary), and NSD administrators (Kim SiYoung, president, and Yutaka Inada, secretary).

During this last intensive session, the level of trust and confidence in speaking in English was more noticeable and evident than during previous sessions. This allowed participants to communicate more, to do it more freely, to be more comfortable than in the past, and in most cases particularly fluent with others. 

In conclusion, improving personal skills for service to God and others is a personal choice. However, CLAP has proven to be a unique and successful program of leadership development.