In July of 2001, God laid a vision in the hearts of various leaders of the South Asian Diaspora for a new and relevant work aimed at the next generation of young South Asians. With this goal in mind, a core group was formed of South Asian ministry leaders and advisory council members from different countries and denominations. These individuals joined their hearts in fervent prayer for God's wisdom and creativity to turn this vision into a reality. And so was born South Asian Connection and plans for the first South Asian Global Convention.
From August 4th-8th 2004, the first international gathering of South Asian Christian youth, young adults, and ministry leaders from all around the world took place in Vancouver, Canada, at the South Asian Global Convention 2004 (SAGC 2004). The theme chosen for this first Convention was "Serving God's Purposes in Our Generation" based on Acts 13:36.
The objectives of SAGC 2004 were five fold: 1) to celebrate in worship our eternal God, 2) to challenge Christian South Asian youth and young adults to embrace the Great Commission, 3) to equip Christian South Asian youth and young adults to work locally but to think globally in evangelism, 4) to communicate ideas, strategies and resources, and 5) to provide opportunities for relationship building and networking.
There were fifteen different missions organizations represented at SAGC 2004 through informative Exhibit Booths. Each generously made their resources available to interested delegates. Some of these include YWAM, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Interserve, Creation Science Association of BC, Gateway Missionary Training, MGL/South Asian Ministries, and several others.
The SAGC 2004 experience was further enhanced through "Discover Vancouver!"-a half-day sightseeing tour including three of Vancouver's premier locations: Lynn Valley Canyon Suspension Bridge, Cypress Mountain, and Jericho Beach. Every delegate was given the "land, air, sea" experience of Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.
SAGC 2004 was experienced by 140 registered delegates between the ages of 18 and 35, varying from students to young urban professionals and ministry leaders, and representing over ten different denominations. The Saturday evening and Sunday morning sessions were open to the public and were attended by 1,200 guests who thoroughly enjoyed the program.
The South Asian Diaspora is spread out in many parts of the world thus making SAGC 2004 a truly global experience. Delegates came from Canada, Fiji, India, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Scotland, the United Kingdom and the United States. The following South Asian language groups were also represented: Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Malayalee, Marathi, Nepali, Punjabi, Telegu, Tamil, Sinhalese, and Urdu. SAGC 2004 brought socio-cultural and spiritual unity amidst a great diversity of the South Asian Diaspora to the glory of God.
SAGC 2004 was conducted entirely in the English language. It consisted of eight Plenary Sessions, thirteen Seminars, six different worship bands including some South Asian music. The keynote speaker for the morning sessions was L.T. Jeyachandran, the Executive Director of the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (Asia-Pacific). There were also four evening keynote speakers: Rabi Maharaj, Founder and President of East-West Ministries, Balbir Sheena, the Missions Pastor/Director from the International Punjabi Church, Rob Sinclair from the Dusty Sandals Society, and Dr. T.V. Thomas, the Director of the Centre for Evangelism and World Mission. Each of the speakers delivered challenging and relevant messages inspiring many of the delegates towards becoming visionary, mission-focused leaders, as they purpose in their hearts to serve their God in this Generation.
A large number of young people made public and private commitments to serve God's purposes in their Generation, wherever God may take them. The prayer is that God will birth many more visions, dreams and strategies transforming each SAGC 2004 delegate into world-changers and history-makers for the South Asian community and beyond.
It was unanimously expressed that SAGC 2004 was a blessing from God with inspiring examples to follow, practical ideas to implement, and lasting friendships to develop. Delegates were equally impressed with the organization of SAGC 2004. The organizers are commended for their spirit of professionalism and excellence. Hearts are full of gratitude towards all the pastors, mission agency leaders and brothers and sisters in the worldwide community, who have graciously contributed to see the gospel presented to the South Asian community in a culturally-relevant, Bible-based and Spirit-led way.
Future plans for South Asian Connection include holding local, city-wide or country-wide, South Asian events for youth and young adults in 2005 and 2006, in the delegates country of origin, followed by an International SAGC 2007 in the UK. Please click on the tab menu of Conferences to SAGC 2007 London.
For more information regarding South Asian Connection and future events, you are encouraged to keep visiting us at www.SouthAsianConnection.com. It is also possible to view the SAGC 2004 slideshow capturing the highlights and reflections of this historic event by clicking here.
"Remember us for this, O our God, and do not blot out what we have so faithfully done for the house of our God and its services. Remember us with favor, O my God". Nehemiah 13:14, 31b