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Country Manager: Richard Toh, ICM (Singapore)

Executive Director (2001-2018)


The Lord called Richard Toh, at the age of 50, to serve Him full time: a call that came to him through his wife Kathleen and several church leaders. And it was further confirmed by a New Zealand pastor, prophesying over him. While seeking God’s direction, the name of Cambodia kept popping up in Richard’s mind.


            In June 1999, Richard resigned as head of business development with a local financial institution.  Thereafter, he worked as a freelance financial consultant to support his family, as his two children were still studying: one in university and the other in polytechnic. 


            Two months later in August 1999, together with another pastor, Richard flew to Cambodia, without an inkling of how to start God’s work in Cambodia and without knowing a local contact. However, upon landing at the Phnom Penh airport, he felt a tremendous tug in his heart: instantly Richard knew God called him to start a ministry in Cambodia. Thereupon, when he was in Hotel Cambodiana, Richard knelt in his room and cried out to God, “Lord, I know you’ve called me to Cambodia. Help me.”

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God promptly answered his prayer that very day, for Richard met two men who would later become invaluable partners in his ministry in Cambodia: Steve Hyde, who later teamed up with Richard to teach the Church Planting Institute (CPI) programme, and a Cambodian brother.


            Two years later in 2001, Pastor Richard Toh joined International Christian Mission (Singapore) full-time as its Executive Director.


Church Planting Institute (CPI) Programme

The Church Planting Institute programme was introduced to Cambodia in 1999; and over the next five years, it trained more than 500 church planters who founded 200 churches. However, CPI training came to a halt when Richard discovered the training was confined to a specific denomination.  Eventually, Steve Hyde went on to establish a bible school and the training of church planters continued under him.


Hope International Primary School (HIPS)

HIPS, which was renamed “Glad Tidings International School, is a joint project between International Christian Mission (Singapore) and the Glad Tidings Church.

It’s vision is to transform a community to transform a nation through Christian education.


Richard was actively and passionately involved in this school project. In 2005, in the course of building a church-cum-orphanage, Richard discovered that a vacant piece of land behind the church, measuring 11,000 square feet (0.1 hectares), was available for sale. While looking at the land, the Lord prompted him to buy it and build a school there. The purchase of the land was a miracle: the owner reduced the initial offer of US$18,000 to US$1,000. Another US$35,000 was spent on constructing Hope International Primary School, a two-storey building with four classrooms on top and an open-space assembly hall/office below.


            The school opened its doors in 2007 with only three students; but within a few years, the student population ballooned to 350. The fact that English and Mathematics were taught at the school prompted many parents, including a public school principal, to enrol their children there. (English then was taught only at university level).


            The school fee was initially pegged at US$1 for all grades. Poor children and orphans were (and still are) fully and partially subsidised; they constitute about 40 per cent of the student population. Thus, school expenses are heavily subsidised by well-wishers and members of the Glad Tidings Church in Singapore.


            As the HIPS student population continued to grow, the children began to pray for bigger premises. And God answered their prayers: the Glad Tidings International School (GTIS) was built just in time for the first batch of graduating HIPS students.


Glad Tidings International School (GTIS)

Back in 2010, the Lord had inspired Pastor Richard with a vision to build a secondary school for the graduating HIPS students. And he shared the vision with an architect who was greatly inspired. Without hesitation, the architect not only paid for the 1.7 hectares land, he also drew the blueprint for a four-storey building to house a combined primary and secondary school. A dormitory, consisting of three blocks of two-storey buildings, was also completed on an adjacent piece of land to provide accommodation to the school staff.


            In 2012, HIPS was merged with the Glad Tidings International School (GTIS); and a year later in 2013, the integrated school opened its doors to its first batch of students. Now the enlarged GTIS has 498 students. In 2015, the architect added an auditorium (seating 600) with a canteen below it. The dramatic transformation of a small project of the Hope International Primary School to an integrated Glad Tidings International School was indeed beyond all expectations.


            The school employs an expat Principal and 26 full-time teachers and staff who receive regular, on-the-job training in Pedagogy. In addition, every September during the two-month vacation, the teachers also attend a month-long upgrading training programme, conducted by voluntary professional teachers from Singapore. Furthermore, they are given annual incentive trips to visit educational institutions in Singapore to learn how schools are run there.


            Every year, before the new semester begins, the staff attend a 3-day spiritual retreat: a time of feasting upon the Word of God and a time of prayer. GTIS believes that teacher-development starts with the teachers’ spiritual and emotional wellbeing. Thus, the training and building up of the teachers has always been GTIS’s top priority.


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