It costs money to send missionaries and establish an Adventist presence in new areas around the world. But for the past 22 years Seventh-day Adventists have found an effective and efficient way of making disciples and planting new churches among unreached people groups and in previously unentered areas.
Global Mission, an initiative of the General Conference, has funded local lay volunteers as “pioneers”—from the 10-40 window to big-city suburbs and tiny atolls—to grow new churches. The Annual Sacrifice offering, which will be collected on September 8, the last Sabbath of the Week of Prayer, will again support these Global Mission projects across the world.
Your generous offering on September 8 will help to plant new churches and make disciples in all parts of the world.
“Global Mission projects have raised up at least 42 new church groups within the South Pacific in the last three years and seen 287 people baptised in 2011 alone. We have received $A1.3 million from the General Conference in just two years to support these new church plants,” said Pastor Ray Coombe, coordinator for Global Mission in the South Pacific Division. “These funds are made possible by the generous giving of our members around the world, and most Global Mission projects would never get started without this injection of money.”
In Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific we see exciting developments among new people groups. Because of immigration there is an increasing number of large ethnic populations in Australia and New Zealand that have never been reached before, and these represent an opportunity for the Adventist Church. Recently, Global Mission has established a new church group among Filipinos in Christchurch, Indians in Auckland, Indonesians in Sydney, Asian students in Melbourne, Karen Burmese refugees in Melbourne, Bendigo and Perth, and African refugees in Perth. There are also new church plants growing in Matamata, NZ, at Flagstone in Brisbane, at Melton in north-western Melbourne, Coober Pedy in central Australia, Bourke in western NSW, and on Saibai Island in the Torres Strait.
In Papua New Guinea, Global Mission projects have opened new Adventist work in the Mekeo district of Central Papua, at Wutung on the border between PNG and Indonesian Jaya, and many new churches in the remote highlands. New areas have been opened in Vanuatu, Fiji, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Samoa and the Solomon Islands and the most recent challenge is to begin Adventist work among the Chinese communities of Honiara, Port Vila and Nuku’alofa.
The new church groups developing among the Karen Burmese community in Victoria are a good example of what Global Mission is able to do in fulfilling the Gospel commission. Nan Shwe Yi is a lay pastor supported by Global Mission funds, who, with her husband Mervin, has run Bible study groups among Karen young people and seen groups grow in Werribee, Geelong, Bendigo, Springvale and Ringwood. They have seen 35 baptisms in four years. Many of these people have come to Australia from refugee camps. Some are from Christian backgrounds and others were Buddhists.
The large cities of Australia—where thousands of new immigrants now have the freedom to change their religion and where secular modernists are looking for certainty and hope—are the challenge for Global Mission in the 21st century. Your generous offering on September 8 will help to plant new churches and make disciples in all parts of the world.
Ray Coombe is Global Mission coordinator for the South Pacific Division.