As the New Year has just begun, the Oversea Mission Fellowship (OMF) renewed its prayer request for the mission in East Asia.
Published by OMF Hong Kong, the January's monthly prayer magazine lists the new prayer topics for each mission field in East Asia. One of the very first prayer requests is the need to recruit more Asian missionaries, who are actually one-third of all OMF missionaries worldwide. The number of Asian missionaries is also rising in the world as a whole.
"In the past hundreds of years, western missionaries have dedicated themselves and served Asia, allowing the Gospel to be heard in the most unreached nations. We are truly grateful for it," stated OMF. "Yet, the culture and traditions of Asia is very deep with a mix of many religions. Comparatively, Asian missionaries can understand and adapt to the environment more easily, therefore they have played an important role in missions in Asia."
OMF explained the changing face of Asia missions as saying, "Previously, many Asian countries welcomed the use of English and the English-speaking western missionaries were therefore very popular.
"However, as the mission become more focus on discipleship and education after the gospel is planted, Asian missionaries enjoy certain advantage. Therefore, many Western missionaries wish to co-work with Asian missionaries."
OMF urges for prayers for the revival of Asian Christians particularly from countries such as Taiwan, Philippines, Thailand and Hong Kong, so that they can rise up and strengthen the army of overseas missionaries.
Mission fields in China, Taiwan, Burma, Japan, Mongolia, Thailand and the neighboring South East Asian countries also have special prayer requests.
It was reported that the Chinese population in Japan has increased to 30,000 due to the expansion of Chinese-Japanese business opportunity, OMF wishes these Chinese can take the chance to learn about Christianity.
In Cambodia, the church is growing and the native leaders are receiving leadership training to lead the church. OMF asks Christians to pray for the unity among church members, their knowledge on the Word of God and wise stewardship.
OMF has also pointed out the urgency to reach out to the 2 hundred million Malays in South East Asia, as they made up one-fifth of the Muslims in the world. It is important the churches in South East Asia to pray for the Muslims so that more of them will open their hearts to set up a personal relationship with the Lord.
On the other hand, in the Buddhist Thailand, the theological seminary at Chingmai now has 38 full-time postgraduate students studying Theology. This year, a special training course on evangelism has been opened for missionaries and around 35 missionaries have enrolled so far.