Asian Americans continue to show interests in the annual Overseas Missionaries Fellowship's Bay Area Missions conference, according to its Northwest Region director.
In the conference’s 18 years, 85 percent of the participants are Asian Americans, explains Dick Andrews, though he was quick to point out that the conference never specifically promoted itself towards Asians.
He added that he was not surprised that Asian Americans would actively participate in the conference. Asian American, Andrews says, have advantages in that they feel a certain familiarity and closeness to the people they evangelize to in Asia.
"We know that San Francisco and Sacramento have many Asian American churches," Andrews said. "That is a very powerful area to challenge Asian Christians to serve Christ in Asian countries."
According to a U.S. census, California possesses the largest number of Asian Americans than in any other state. One in seven people in California is Asian American.
According to findings released by City University of New York, Protestants make up 9.6 percent of the total Asian American population in the U.S., while Catholics make up 21.1.
Many of the people who attended at 30-year-old graduate, professionals, computer specialists, church mission team committee members, layman and laywoman, and pastors, says Andrews.
This year’s conference will cover themes and issues surrounding church planting movements in places such as the Middle East, Cambodia and Thailand.
A returning speaker from three years ago is Pastor Hormoz Shariat, senior pastor of the largest Iranian American church. Asian Americans, the NW director added, would have some interests in learning more about people from the Muslim world.
“As you know, there are large numbers of Muslims in Indonesia and different parts of China,” stated Andrews. “So, we want to be sure that we give an accurate picture who they are, so that there will not be any misconceptions for Muslims living there.”
Response from participants at the conference, concluded Andrew, has been good for the last two decades. "We are trying to help people see their next step to serve Christ," he said. "That is what people seem to appreciate when they get a hold of that."
The 2006 OMF Bay Area Missions Conference is scheduled for April 28-29. Dick Andrews has been the OMF Northwest Region Director for the last four years.
The plenary speaker for this year's conference is OMF's First Asian Internatonal General Director, Dr. Patrick Fung.