“Ho, Ho, Ho! You must be wishing that you could be back home in Singapore,” said a smiling Ted Ward to me on a cold winter morning in Deerfield, Illinois. He was holding a mug with steaming brewed coffee in one hand and a briefcase in the other. He was walking toward his office on the campus of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS). I counted it a privilege to walk alongside the Director of the Educational Studies Department. Dr. Ward was instrumental in guiding me during my studies and especially during difficult times of dissertation writing from 1989 to 93.
An Encouraging Mentor: Professor Ted Ward was indeed a teacher and friend to many students. He was also a mentor to many young leaders coming from North and South America, Africa, and Asia to pursue their degrees in higher education.
In September 1989, I received my acceptance into the Educational Studies doctoral program with great excitement over the opportunity to learn from this man of God. Dr. Ward’s passion for teaching can be seen in his many creative approaches to the teaching-learning process. He had a brilliant mind. “You need to read widely,” was Dr. Ward’s exhortation to me. He constantly challenged us to probe ever more deeply into our fields of study through research and writing.
For my dissertation, Dr. Ward encouraged me to bring relevance to my research by interviewing Christian converts from the Majority World now living in Chicago. During a class on research methods, he encouraged me by announcing that my research on the experience and conversion of Muslims was especially important during that moment of the Gulf War.
A Lasting Friendship: As I reflect on my professor and friend, I am convinced that Dr. Ward was a tower of strength to students from various continents. Dr. Ward (which is how I usually address him, as an Asian cultural expression of respect) was hospitable in many ways. Together with my colleagues, I was invited to Dr. and Mrs. Ward’s lovely and cozy home for lunch after the Day of Prayer, and for refreshments during our school vacation.
In 1994, my heart was warmed upon receiving news that Dr. Ward with his wife Margaret would visit Singapore. I had returned home and commenced work as faculty at a theological college. Several of my colleagues were excited and wanted to meet him.
In 2000, when I was on the mission field teaching at Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (now Africa International University), Dr. Ward arrived with Mrs. Ward and a team of educators to facilitate at a conference with the faculty and alumni. In addition, several TEDS alumni were present for a special tea fellowship at the home of the principal, Dr. David Kasali (also a TEDS graduate).
A Transcultural Model: My deepest memory of Dr. Ward’s teaching and writing comes from his book, Values Begin at Home. For years, I have made reference to the “Hand” model in the classroom and during presentations at conferences. His model has inspired many trainers of teachers to aim for and focus on holistic education. This vital model also encourages leaders and educators to develop our own creative models from our different cultural contexts.
Our memories of Ted Ward as a person, teacher, and friend will remain close to our hearts. He was God’s servant who drew no “lines” between men and women, age groups, or nationalities. To God be the glory.