As I further reflect upon the most effective way to be involved with Global Missions, I am reminded of some of the experiences working with Asian Outreach in one particular Asian nation (names withheld for security reasons).
The local workers there really had an appreciation for what could contribute helpfully to their work from our end in Australia. One initiative was to facilitate a two-day conference for Pastors and Business Leaders (50 representatives each). The local leaders mentioned that in this particularly large Asian city, this was the first of its kind. (Innovation is always fun!) The attendance was outstanding and the involvement top class. AOA’s goal is to always work with locals wherever we go. So two of us - facilitators on church ministry & the other on business - were invited as speakers, along with the local leaders. This turned out to be providential. We had government permission to run the event. However, on the second day of the conference, and perhaps because the government officials became nervous that a local leader overseeing 500 churches was with us, the officials tried to shut the Conference down. They also threatened the locals with imprisonment and us, as Westerners, to be banned from returning to the country. Our local people, guided by us & local leaders, simply said: “We are seeking to do good for the community.” “That is all.”
After filming the conference for 3 hours with various presentations of how local businesses set up by our pastors and business leaders have helped the local communities, we were told that all restrictions were dropped! The officials recognised that “We were seeking to do good for the community” and in fact continued by saying that “We want your Conference next time to be 10 times larger and we will protect you from any who would oppose you.” This was God’s favour.
What we have discovered is that the role of pastors and business leaders are COMPLEMENTARY for the advancement of the Kingdom of God. Both roles have an “apostolic” edge into the community and we should be working hand-in-hand.
What a privilege to be involved!
You can be involved too by praying for the work of Asian Outreach throughout the many nations we are involved in or by joining us for an exposure trip to see the work of Asian Outreach. Potentially, one trip is being earmarked for January 2018 to Cambodia (plus one other nation).
You can also financially support the work of Asian Outreach by clicking https://donations.asianoutreach.org.au/.
Your financial support, prayers and physical involvement really do make a difference.
Thanks for your support and graciousness to read this and pray for us.
Dr Brian Birkett
For Asian Outreach Australia team.