Work, wealth, conformity and duty to family are highly valued in East Asia, where many are longing for the grace and freedom that can only be found in Christ.
Across East Asia there are hundreds of millions of people who have never heard the gospel of Christ. Most adhere to traditional religions and philosophies, such as Buddhism, Shintoism, Taoism and Confucianism, together with veneration of ancestors and official (state) atheism. Many people face immense pressure to attain success, material wealth and status, in order to live up to the expectations of family and peers. In this complex environment, it is difficult for people to break out of the cultural mould and yet there is a hunger for spiritual truth that is allowing God to lead an increasing number of people to explore Christianity.
The Japanese people are among the most gospel-poor people groups in the world, with Christians constituting less than 1% of the population. University is a prime time to reach young Japanese people with the gospel, as it is one of the few windows when they have time to question issues of faith. Of the 780 colleges and universities across Japan, there are currently 200 with university student ministry groups. CMS missionaries are among those working with students on campus and they have witnessed small but encouraging signs that some students want to learn about Jesus.
CMS missionaries are also working in churches across Japan to strengthen and disciple Christians, and equip them to share their faith in their local communities. Some of these missionaries are working with partner organisations to help plant vibrant new churches in Japan that will attract non-believers, and develop the faith and understanding of new believers.
An opportunity for the gospel to go into Taiwan has existed for many years and the country has a strong legacy of missionary involvement. While the majority of the population still identify with traditional religions, the Church is growing. It is an opportune time to disciple Christians in Taiwan to combat the influences of false teaching, and strengthen biblical and theological foundations for the Church. CMS is also working to reach the gospel-poor people groups in Taiwan, particularly among the working classes in the south, who are yet to hear about the gospel of grace and salvation through Jesus.
- Population: 1.61 billion
- People Groups: 695
- Area: 11.84 million km2
- Countries: 8