Mission First in the Most Challenging Field
A report from the Northern Asia-Pacific Division president
The Northern Asia-Pacific Division (NSD) serves China, Japan, Korea, North Korea, Mongolia, and Taiwan, countries that have an extensive history and rich cultural heritage. With almost a quarter of the world’s population living in the NSD territory, there are enormous mission challenges. Christians make up only 4 percent of the total population of 1.6 billion people. Buddhism, Shintoism, Confucianism, and many other traditional religions are deeply rooted here, while secularism and materialism block the hearts of many.
In spite of these challenging circumstances, during the past five years the Lord has blessed His work in the NSD in many remarkable ways. But only with the power of the Holy Spirit will we accomplish the gospel commission in the near future.
Under the motto “Mission First,” workers and church members within the NSD have dedicated their lives to God to advance the gospel work by participating in mission outreach activities at home and abroad. Since the 2010 General Conference session, 77,693 people have accepted Jesus Christ and joined the Adventist family, for a total membership of 688,106 in the NSD territory as of December 31, 2014.
Ted N. C. Wilson, president of the General Conference (GC), visited Korea and Japan in October 2011 and China in April 2012. He shared “Revival and Reformation” messages, which brought great spiritual blessings and encouragement. Through his visit, members understood better the importance of spiritual revival and recommitted their lives to the mission of telling others about God. Church members throughout the NSD territory continue to focus on the need to experience a personal spiritual revival and reformation through the word of God and by earnest prayer.
When our leaders visited China, Chinese church leaders appealed for assistance with spiritual training in a systematic way. China has 1.35 billion people, and less than 4 percent of them are Christians. Churches are struggling for revival and reformation, and pleading for spiritual training.
To meet this urgent need, the NSD executive committee voted in May 2012 to develop a spiritual leadership training center on Jeju Island in Korea. On September 1, 2013, the groundbreaking ceremony took place with Wilson, union presidents, and about 100 church members. Within nine months two dormitory buildings, a cafeteria, classrooms, and a director’s house were constructed. Since June 2014, groups from different countries, including China, Japan, Taiwan, and Mongolia, have received a weeklong spiritual training. Beginning in 2016, our goal is to provide spiritual training to 700-800 people every year.
Mission—Our Top Priority
Mission is our top priority at the Northern Asia-Pacific Division and is strongly emphasized in all church activities.
To inspire church members with the mission spirit, the NSD International Mission Congress was held at the International Convention Center in Jeju, Korea, in August 2013. About 4,000 people from all over the NSD territory enthusiastically participated. Many prominent church leaders, including Ted Wilson and G. T. Ng, GC executive secretary, were present, and inspired people with powerful messages from the word of God. With united hearts the participants talked, listened, and contemplated the mission of the church. They spent time praying together for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and were united for mission.
Today more than 500 cities in the world have a population of more than 1 million. One hundred five of these cities are found in the NSD territory. Mission to the Cities evangelistic meetings were held in major cities of the NSD starting with “Tokyo 13” in Japan. Tokyo is one of the most populated cities in the world, and 42 evangelistic meetings were held in various churches there. Most of the meetings were packed with people. In addition to Tokyo, 16 other large cities were selected within the NSD territory for the Mission to the Cities initiative. Sharing the message of the soon coming of Christ with millions of people living in large cities is a big part of our mission focus.
In Mongolia, Mission to the Cities evangelistic meetings were held in 13 locations in Ulaanbaatar City September 5-13, 2014. On Sabbath, September 13, 2014, everyone gathered in one central meeting location with about 700 people present to worship God. As a result of “UB14,” 130 people were harvested for the kingdom of heaven. The NSD will continue the Mission to the Cities emphasis until all city inhabitants are reached by the three angels’ messages.
NSD Mission Projects
For mission outreach activities, the NSD initiated several projects involving pastors and lay members in foreign countries as well as homeland activities.
The Pioneer Mission Movement (PMM) has been the NSD’s Global Mission church-planting project since 2002. During the past 13 years 102 PMM pastors and their families have left their home country to serve for six years as church-planting missionaries crossing cultural barriers. Some have returned home after serving a successful six-year term. Currently 48 PMM missionaries are planting churches in the following 16 countries: Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Korea, Mongolia, Congo, Uganda, Tanzania, Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia, Russia, India, Turkey, Kosovo, and the Philippines. Through their dedicated service, 148 churches and companies have been established, resulting in 13,935 people being baptized.
The Golden Angels are eight talented young people who volunteer for a year as singing missionaries for the purpose of supporting the evangelistic activities within the NSD territory. Besides singing at evangelistic meetings, they visit people door to door, make friends, and give Bible studies. Since 2004 thousands of people have been touched by their ministry, and a great number of people have been brought to the church through their dedicated service.
The 1000 Missionary Movement (1000MM) continues to train and send hundreds of Adventist young people every year to many parts of the world. After receiving intensive training for five weeks, these young people devote one year in the mission field as volunteer missionaries.
There are 6,588 young people from 59 countries who have participated in the 1000 Missionary Movement since 1993. The fruits of their labor include 66,099 baptisms, 763 church buildings constructed, and 1,366 churches and companies established in 39 countries.
Not everyone is called to serve abroad, so His Hands Mission Movement mobilizes our church members for homeland mission. Since May 2007 there have been 3,771 individuals in Korea, Mongolia, Japan, Taiwan, and China who have joined this movement.
Going two by two, they knock on doors, hand out literature, build relationships, and share God’s love, committing 10 hours a week for a three-year period to this mission. This outreach method of evangelism has proved to be an effective way of soul winning for many churches.
On July 1, 2011, Hope Channel’s thirteenth satellite-based Chinese Hope TV (CHTV) began broadcasting on the satellite Telstar 18. CHTV has more than 5,000 half-hour programs on health, family, cooking, education, music, as well as sermons and religious issues. Through these TV programs, which are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, we are now able to approach 1.4 billion Chinese-speaking people with the gospel message. Hope Channel Korea started broadcasting through the Internet, with Hope Channel Japan starting to broadcast on the Internet in July.
Centers of Influence
Evangelism in the big cities is not an easy task, because many city dwellers are heavily influenced by materialism and secularism. Despite these challenges, centers of influence are playing a significant role in reaching out and showing the love of Christ to people who live in the cities. There are hundreds of centers of influence in the NSD territory. Our contacts with people through these centers of influence exceed 5 million a year. We invite many people to our centers and share with them the value of our teachings and Christian lifestyle.
The NSD established the Multicultural Family Service Center (MFSC) in the city of Ansan, Korea, where 150,000 of the 760,000 people are foreigners. The MFSC provides various services, including welfare, education, and legal, cultural, and medical services, to help multicultural family members settle more easily into life in Korea.
Through the sincere love and the sharing of the gospel message, 136 migrant workers and multicultural family members have accepted Jesus Christ and received baptism in the past five years.
Within the NSD there are 117 church organizations and institutions, including universities and colleges, primary schools, hospitals, clinics, publishing houses, and food factories. These institutions have grown remarkably in this quinquennium. There are 1,700 employees and 21,510 students attending our educational institutions, which include two universities, three colleges, 25 junior and senior high schools, and 22 primary schools. Every year we see the influence of Christian education through the baptisms of students accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.
God is also leading at our medical institutions of 11 hospitals and 20 nursing homes and clinics in marvelous ways. More than 1.9 million people receive medical care from these facilities every year. Through the dedicated efforts of medical staff, and by God’s grace, some of our hospitals have overcome their financial difficulties. Our food industries in Korea and Japan produce soymilk products and health foods. Products of Sahmyook Foods in Korea and Saniku Foods in Japan have enjoyed increased success and are highly acknowledged in both local and global markets.
The Lord has graciously blessed and enriched our humble efforts so that we could reap wonderful harvests. He led our people in the Chinese Union Mission, Japan Union Conference, Korean Union Conference, and the two NSD attached fields, Mongolia Mission and Taiwan Conference, in a mighty way to spread the three angels’ messages to the millions of people in our division territory.
By the Power of the Holy Spirit
The NSD serves for the accomplishment of the gospel commission in its vast territory. The mission challenges are enormous, and it seems almost impossible to finish the gospel work with the limited personnel and financial resources we have. We understand, however, that the work will be accomplished “not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit” as the Lord Almighty said (Zech. 4:6).
In spite of all the challenges, the Lord has blessed His work in the Northern Asia-Pacific Division in many remarkable ways during the past quinquennium, and we rejoice in seeing thousands of precious souls join the church every year. Praise the Lord!
We will continue to do our best in spreading the three angels’ messages to the world until Jesus comes. The pen of inspiration wrote, “We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord led us, and His teaching in our past history.”*
May the Lord continue to bless His work in the Northern Asia-Pacific Division and through the world! Maranatha!
* Ellen G. White, Life Sketches of Ellen G. White (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1915), p. 196.