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All articles in category South Eastern Asia

The road to Mandalay
May 2007
Burma

The road to Mandalay

The invitation came out of the blue. Addressed to the church website, it spoke of a recently formed group of churches founded on the doctrines of grace. ‘We feel we are still so young in the Reformed faith. We need more training. Please come and teach us’. Such are the wonders of modern communications that a group of rural Burmese pastors could contact a small church in West Yorkshire! And so it was that in January I found myself on a 12 hour flight to Bangkok en route to Mandalay. Diversity Burma is far from a homogeneous country. One needs to appreciate this to understand...

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Missionary Spotlight – Philippines; the William Carey School of Theology – Janet Billson
August 2006
Philippines

Missionary Spotlight – Philippines; the William Carey School of Theology – Janet Billson

The WCST has its first graduates! These are the first-fruits of a work begun in October 2001 when four men travelled to the Philippines to launch this project for the Lord. Born out of prayer, the school was created to train spiritual leaders – men who would shape churches and influence nations.   Responding to an invitation from Warlito Monsalud, president of the Conservative Bible Believer Ministers’ Fellowship, Dr Bob Penhearow and his team of lecturers began to prepare students in the Philippines for their Diploma in Theology. The first twelve graduated in May 2006 after five years of diligent study. There was a sense...

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December 2005
Cambodia

Missionary Spotlight-Spectacular growth in Cambodia

Dr Stephen Griffiths of OMF International writes:   I went to buy a school van. ‘By the way,’ said Mr Lak, the salesman, ‘are you a Christian?’ Waiting for the paperwork, we sat on plastic chairs, traffic thundering past just feet away. Waves of dust, heat and diesel fumes gently choked me while Mr Lak, completely at ease, sat back and told me his story of his journey to faith in Jesus through a tiny group of just ten believers in the south of Cambodia – but this exciting story of rapid church growth is a pattern we see repeated over and over again. Anna...

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The little man of Mindoro
November 2005
Philippines

The little man of Mindoro

Margaret and I began our ministry in the Philippines in 1970 on the small island of Mindoro. As new missionaries, we were discouraged. With no savings, and no income for three months, we struggled to learn a new language and a new culture. Early one morning during a typhoon, Margaret shook me awake, groaning in pain. Flipping through our medical book, I suspected acute appendicitis. But how could I find a doctor at this time of night? Perhaps the neighbours could help. I woke them at 2.00am and they told me of a Christian Filipino doctor who had a small mission clinic about 15 kilometres...

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Missionary Spotlight – House churches in Vietnam
September 2005
Vietnam

Missionary Spotlight – House churches in Vietnam

The evangelical house churches of Vietnam operate independently of the officially recognised Evangelical Church of Vietnam. The latter church represents 20% of Vietnam’s Protestants. Under the communist government, churches must register and comply with strict regulations governing their activities and teachings, the training and appointment of ministers, and contact with Christians from other countries. Vietnam’s house churches have opted not to register because of these conditions. As a result, they are forced to worship in private homes rather than church buildings. Police frequently disturb their meetings and slander them, forbidding them to carry out normal church activities. Many Vietnamese Christians must meet secretly in the...

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Missionary Spotlight – Rejoicing in tribulation
September 2005
Vietnam

Missionary Spotlight – Rejoicing in tribulation

The evangelical church in Vietnam, numbering some 1.2 million Christians, has experienced a six-fold growth in the last ten years. Many churches have weekly days of corporate prayer and fasting, and run programmes of reading and memorising Scripture. They also have a commitment to preaching the gospel – and not just in their own country. In one house-church denomination the pastors go through an eleven-year training programme before being ordained. While progressing through the earlier stages, a leader needs to have read through the Bible two or three times, started a home group of perhaps 8-12 people, and then planted a church of at least...

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September 2005
Vietnam

Missionary Spotlight

Christianity in Vietnam Missionaries of the Christian and Missionary Alliance began work in Vietnam in 1911. By 1929 their work resulted in the establishment of an independent Evangelical Church of Vietnam. Over the years other missionary societies joined in the work of church-planting and by the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 there were 154,000 Evangelical Christians. Many of these belonged to underground churches, which had sprung up alongside the ‘open’ Evangelical Church of Vietnam. The government of the now-unified communist Vietnam ordered all the missionaries to leave, and for the next 10 years few foreigners were able to enter the country – until...

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Encouraging believers in Vietnam
September 2005
Vietnam

Encouraging believers in Vietnam

  Over the past two years I have taken six trips into countries near Cambodia that do not have religious freedom and whose governments actively persecute the church of Christ. On a few occasions I have been able to join groups of people smuggling Bibles into Vietnam.   What a joy to be able to bring them God’s Word! Although by the letter of its law Vietnam has religious freedom, in practical terms this is not the case. Even in the capital city I heard many stories from Christians about how they have been persecuted. One pastor’s wife shared how she had grown to trust...

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September 2005
Vietnam

Missionary Spotlight – Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Area:128,000 square miles   Neighbours: Cambodia, Laos and China.   Environment: Vietnam has a tropical climate. There are northern mountains, central highlands, and flat river delta areas in the north and south (Mekong river).   Population: 83.5 million (plus 2 million diaspora).   Infant mortality: 26 deaths per 1,000 births.   Life expectancy: Males 68 years; females 74 years.   Ethnic groups: Vietnamese 86% — predominantly coastal dwellers with large cultural differences between the north and south; many other ethnic groups.   Languages: Vietnamese (official); English; French; Chinese; many indigenous languages.   Literacy: 90%.   Capital: Hanoi (3.5 million).   Major cities: Ho Chi Minh...

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July 2005
Laos

Missionary Spotlight

  Area:91,429 square miles.   Neighbours: Thailand, Burma, China, Vietnam and Cambodia.   Environment: Laos has a tropical monsoon climate. Much of its terrain consists of rugged mountains (Phou Bia 2,871 metres) with plains and plateaus. The Mekong River runs through the southwest of the country and most people live along its delta. There are floods in the rainy season. Laos is landlocked.   Population: 6 million.   Infant mortality: 89 deaths per 1,000 live births.   Life expectancy: 54 years.   Ethnic groups: A complex mix of 138 ethnic groups. Lao-Tai 59%; Mon-Khmer 31%; Hmong-Mien 7%; Sino-Tibetan 2.5%; others, including Chinese 0.5%.   Languages:...

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June 2005
Philippines

Missionary Spotlight-Pentecostals in the Philippines

ETwould not normally get involved in the work of Pentecostal churches, but this contribution from Reformed Baptist pastor Kent Philpotthighlights the fact that among such churches are some who genuinely seek the truth and serve the Lord.   A few years ago I spoke at a two-day conference for church leaders in Iloilo City, Panay. The meeting place was filled with men and women, with standing room only at the rear. They were mostly young people though a few had reached their forties. Pastor Joemarie Sulmaca, supervisor of Foursquare (Pentecostal) Churches in the Philippine District of West Visayas, was the conference organiser. He is 48...

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Missionary Spotlight
June 2005
Philippines

Missionary Spotlight

Opportunities in the Philippines It was a fine morning — warm and sunny — as 41 men and 4 women gathered at the William Carey School of Theology in Iloilo City in the Philippines. It was my privilege to teach the first part of their systematic theology course, lasting five days. The previous week Dr David Sloss from Canada had lectured on Old Testament Survey. The students meet like this for a fortnight on two occasions a year. Iloilo is the largest city on the island of Panay, in the Western Visayas — roughly in the middle of the Philippines. The students came from Panay...

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