Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Tuesday, May 21, 2024
HomeAll The NewsCO:MISSIONED in Southeast Asia - Plowing Hard Ground

CO:MISSIONED in Southeast Asia – Plowing Hard Ground

By John Meriweather, Regional Director for Southeast Asia and VP of Operations

“We are local-church driven. We believe local congregations are both the source (sending and supporting) and the goal (planting and multiplying).” This value statement is the heart and vision of BMA Missions and is represented in our theme for World Missions Day — CO:MISSIONED — a shared mission, a shared responsibility.

Churches sending. Churches planting. That is both our duty and our privilege. God’s mission is my mission, your mission, our mission. It’s the reason for our partnership… to send, start and support churches in every nation. While this mission both motivates and energizes us, it also faces a challenging reality when we leave the comfortable confines of our culture.

Carrying out God’s mission is much like farming — you prepare the soil, plow the field, plant the seed and cultivate the ground with prayers for reaping a harvest. Now imagine the field you were given to farm was a rock quarry. Preparing and plowing the ground is tedious and takes longer and requires more effort than you ever imagined. You plant seeds only to realize the ground isn’t ready. Will you ever reap a harvest? That is what it feels like for our missionary teams in the countries of Southeast Asia like Thailand, Myanmar, India and Nepal.

In Southeast Asia, the challenges are diverse and unique, yet very real. These countries are dominated by firmly-steeped religions like Buddhism, Hinduism and a growing Muslim influence. In some cases, there is overt oppression and anti-Christian opposition. In all cases, there are cultural and religious hurdles unlike anything we experience in the United States. When entire countries adopt a religion that is centuries old (Buddhism, Hinduism), the perseverance required just to see receptive ears and hearts can feel like climbing Mount Everest. It can take years of preparing and plowing before you see the sprouts of those first seeds.

However, through your partnership and perseverance and with God’s power, praise the Lord we are seeing the harvest!

• God has called a new BMA missionary team in the Himalayas that has already built relationships and will focus on planting our first church there.

• In Thailand, after many years of plowing and planting, our church in North Bangkok is growing beyond their current capacity. Discipleship and leadership development efforts there are bearing fruit. They are working with a disciple on plans for a church plant in a different region of the country.

• In Myanmar, the People’s Defense Forces are at war daily with a militant government. Our churches are going underground but continue to meet, pray and spread the gospel.

• In India, we have mission work in both the north and the south. While the government is moving toward a more radical Hindu faction, the gospel continues to advance. In the next two years, we will be planning a new effort in a different state.

Thank you for being our CO:MISSIONED partner in Southeast Asia. We have exciting new opportunities in every country with a new country just around the corner. I am asking for your financial and prayerful support on World Missions Day. Specifically, I ask you to pray for the following:

• Protection as our missionaries share the gospel,

• The people of these countries — that God would soften their hearts and open their ears to hear his message,

• The physical and financial needs of our existing churches,

• New mission fields we are pursuing in each country as we seek to multiply,

• Local leaders to rise up in these countries to pastor new churches and

• More missionaries (maybe you!) to respond to God’s call to go to these and other countries that desperately need the gospel.

How long would I be willing to plow? How much perseverance would I have with little harvest? For our missionary teams across Southeast Asia that answer has been given — as long as it takes!