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All articles in category Eastern Asia

Missionary Spotlight-A cautionary tale
July 2002
Mongolia

Missionary Spotlight-A cautionary tale

My wife and I came to Mongolia three years ago, to work in rural areas. We knew that much had happened in the country since the end of communism more than ten years ago. A fast-growing church was emerging. Mongolians were reaching out to neighbours at home and to people beyond Mongolia. We heard from some missionaries that we would soon no longer be needed! Having completed two years of language study we moved from the capital, Ulaanbaatar (UB), to a remote provincial town several hundred miles west. Expectations Understandably, we went with certain expectations. We envisaged that we would be strengthening a local church...

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Missionary Spotlight-Mongolia – land of contradictions
July 2002
Mongolia

Missionary Spotlight-Mongolia – land of contradictions

The Gobi desert paid me a visit today: icy wind, sand, rain and snow all arrived together, screaming off the steppe, lashing around me, boring sand into eyes, nose, ears and mouth. I am getting warm again in our apartment on the top floor of a building in the eastern sector of Ulaanbaatar. The sky is now deep blue and crystal clear, except for the trail of an international jet. The trees’ buds are a promising green, poised to make the sudden growth we’ve longed for all winter. That startling, vivid, clear blue Mongolian sky! The Mongols of old worshipped the sky as god above...

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January 2002
China

Chinese puzzle

It can be difficult to grasp the true state of a church from a distance. This is particularly true when we live many thousands of miles away and speak a different language! In recent years there have been reports of great movements of God in China. We hear of large numbers of converts to Christianity and frequent periods of persecution. It is therefore helpful when the situation is assessed by someone who has researched it first hand and can provide a biblical perspective. We reproduce below an edited version of a letter received from Phoebe Ma, former chief editor of the Chinese Reformed magazine Faith...

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Missionary Spotlight – Moving mountains in Mongolia
October 2001
Mongolia

Missionary Spotlight – Moving mountains in Mongolia

On the other side of the mountain lies a place of intense darkness. A place where for hundred of years Satan has owned ‘the real estate’, and the power of darkness penetrates the countryside.   Alcohol deadens the minds of the men and makes them easy captives of demonic forces. The most striking building in the village is the decorative Buddhist temple. This supports eleven lamas at the expense of the poor herders who travel miles to pay for prayers to a god who is deaf to their needs. Way blocked   It was April, and we found ourselves caught up in winter’s last throes....

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Missionary Spotlight-Japan Spiritual void
December 2000
Japan

Missionary Spotlight-Japan Spiritual void

As a newly arrived English teacher in Japan, I used to ask my students what religion they belonged to. I was surprised when the responses came, ‘I am not religious’. At first I thought these young people were so absorbed in materialism that they no longer saw religion as relevant. But in time I realised that, although my students professed to have no religious faith, their actions revealed the opposite. They were very concerned with religious matters! On the surface, people in Japan are not religious. There is no tradition of meeting weekly for worship, as in Christian churches. However, people do visit Buddhist temples...

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Missionary Spotlight-Japan Sowing in tears
December 2000
Japan

Missionary Spotlight-Japan Sowing in tears

Like thousands of other British teenagers called to do National Service in the early 1950s, I first arrived in Japan on a troopship. We docked at Kure, a few kilometres up the coast from Hiroshima. Since Japan opened its doors to foreigners in the mid-nineteenth century, Kure had become a major shipbuilding base. When ordinary Japanese citizens travelled through it, even the blinds of the steam trains had to be pulled down, because the port contained many secrets. Now it was open to us as a result of Japan’s defeat. We were members of the post-war peacekeeping force. Thrown together from island countries thousands of...

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Missionary Spotlight-Japan
December 2000
Japan

Missionary Spotlight-Japan

Protestant churches Protestant missionaries came to Japan from the United States and Britain during the later nineteenth century, with a clear understanding of the gospel and a zeal for evangelising the Japanese. They learnt the language and translated the Bible into Japanese, along with other Christian literature. Many people were converted to Christ. The first Protestant church was founded in 1872, and Christianity was no longer a proscribed religion from 1873. But during the early 20th century, intensely nationalistic Japanese governments became increasingly hostile to Christianity. This culminated in the passing of the Religious Organisations Law of 1939, which deprived foreign missionaries of the leadership...

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Missionary Spotlight-Japan
December 2000
Japan

Missionary Spotlight-Japan

From Buddha to Jesus I was born into a staunchly Buddhist and Shinto family. When I was three years old, my mother tried to teach me a long Buddhist prayer, but I made so many mistakes that she often scolded me and punished me by making me go without breakfast. Once a year in the winter my father, a stonemason, went up a mountain to a hot spring and sometimes took me with him. After warming up, we would go to the waterfall, with little clothing on, and recite Buddhist prayers under the icy-cold water. When I was 12 years old, my best friend suddenly...

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Missionary Spotlight-Taiwan
February 2000
Taiwan

Missionary Spotlight-Taiwan

Taiwan’s churches under pressure The Protestant church in Taiwan grew particularly during the final part of the nineteenth century as a result of missionary endeavour. From the 1890s, Taiwan was colonised by Japan, who controlled it into the first half of the twentieth century and throughout two world wars. As time wore on, Japanese persecution of the church increased and Western missionaries had to leave the country. When the missionaries returned after the Second World War, they found that the church had endured much suffering, yet had grown amongst the aboriginal tribes. This growth continued until the 1960s, by which time many aboriginal people were...

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February 2000
Taiwan

Missionary Spotlight – Taiwan Fact File

Taiwan Fact File Area – 13,900 square miles. Previously known as Formosa, it is about 100 miles from the Chinese mainland. It comprises the island of Taiwan, and the Pescadores, Matsu, and Quemoy islands.   Environment – A tropical climate, with typhoons during the monsoon season (June to August). Forested mountains (highest point 13,113 ft) run the length of Taiwan. There is a broad, fertile plain to the west.   Population – 22 million, mainly living in the western coastal plain, one of the most crowded parts of the world.   Urbanisation – 74%.   Life expectancy – 77 years.   Literacy – 92%.  ...

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Missionary Spotlight-Frontier between Faith and Idolatry
February 2000
Taiwan

Missionary Spotlight-Frontier between Faith and Idolatry

Taiwan, formerly known as Formosa, is situated in the South China Sea, approximately 100 miles from the Chinese mainland. It is a leaf-shaped island slightly smaller than Switzerland. Its population of twenty-two million is mainly urban and crowded into the western coastal plain, one of the most crowded parts of the world. Except for about 325,000 aboriginal people, the people of Taiwan originate from the Chinese mainland. Some emigrated four hundred years ago and consider themselves indigenous Taiwanese, while others moved across from mainland China after the Chinese Civil War (1949). The official language is Mandarin Chinese, although recently there has been a resurgence of...

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December 1999
China

MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT-House churches in China

Leaders of major house-church movements in China have issued a ‘united appeal’ calling on the Chinese Government to recognise the legitimacy of Christian groups outside the government-approved ‘Three Self Patriotic Movement’. The seven-point statement, issued from an unidentified location in Henan province and dated 22 August 1998, was reportedly drafted by twelve house church leaders from various provinces. Their repeated use of the term ‘Chinese House Church’ suggests that these leaders view themselves not as members of scattered, unrelated groups but rather as part of a larger body. In the first such statement directed at the Chinese Government, these leaders call on the government to...

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