SAN FRANCISCO- Christians in Bay Area come to see the tremendous mission opportunities in East Asia through a two-day OMF (Overseas Missionary Fellowship) mission conference over the weekend.
Gathered at the Peninsula Covenant Church in Redwood City, some 260 Christians from Bay Area revived their hearts for East Asia missions as the OMF international general director Dr. Patrick Fung delivered messages from the Book of Acts for his plenary sessions.
Looking upon the diverse ethnical and cultural mix in East Asia, particularly in countries such as Thailand, Cambodia or those with a strong Muslim context, the challenge of church planting is huge. Fung aimed to mobilize participants to meet these challenges.
The book of Acts records the history of the Early Church and pioneering journey of apostles, believers nowadays are suggested to learn from the model in mission fields, according to Fung’s exposition.
On the mission field, co-working is very important and that enables missions to be advanced. "Evangelization" and "Mobilization" are described as two wings. Speaking about the requirement of being a coworker, Fung commented that more than the zealous for God, spiritual maturity is even more essential. As a spiritually mature person, one will be able to give up personal desire or favor, but to obey and to make themselves available for the sake of winning one more souls.
Fung gave an example: there were once two OMF candidates in England to be dispatched to China missions during the Qing Dynasty. One of them was very talented but he has refused to accept the so-called "pig-tail" hair style required by the government. He has almost lost his opportunity to become missionary to China at that time. However, he later changed his mind and obeyed.
"China is not lack of evangelists, but now they need to grow and become strong and deep in terms of theological training," said Fung, as another example to explain how individual spiritual maturity is important as a mission person.
Being able to see opportunities opened by God is another important aspect in church-planting, Fung explained, "We must see the opportunities that God has given to us. We don’t tell God which door to open. But as the door opens, God’s people should be able to see the opportunities."
Using the story from Acts, apostle received visions or dreams as they pray, so they determined the path of their mission journey by listening to the Holy Spirit, instead of their own agenda.
Fung believed that church planting is a people movement as based on the model of Acts. "Rather than just one or two people being evangelized, it’s through one family and then one group of people and one nation being evangelized," he said, as quoting the stories about Lydia, Crispers, and jailers.
"God does not work through perfect teams but passionate teams that respond to God’s vision," Fung said, once again emphasizing the presence of God’s hands over mission field and believers are the one who work obeying His will.
On top of the plenary sessions, a wide range of workshops are available with OMF missionaries telling real stories about how they are called to their commission and the challenges faced by each mission fields. Those testimonies have showed participants a powerful picture of God’s work in East Asia.
At the end of the Conference, Fung, OMF missionaries and all participants held their hands together in circle to pray for more people to be raised up for East Asia missions.