In South East Asia, there are more than 500 million people who belong to gospel-poor peoples. As their near-neighbour, the Australian Church is well positioned to reach this region with the gospel.
In many countries in South East Asia, the tiny Christian minority is overshadowed by other major religions, such as Islam and Buddhism. The strong ties between culture and religion, combined with restrictions on direct evangelism, make it very difficult to share the gospel of Christ. And yet, God is working in new and creative ways to spread his word here.
Poverty is prevalent in many parts of South East Asia as countries suffer from a lack of resources, economic inequality and political oppression. By using their professional skills in health, social services and English teaching, CMS workers are strategically positioned to demonstrate the love of Christ and build relationships.
Persecution has been growing across the region. Faced with this challenge, local Christians need to be strengthened in the faith as they seek to reach their own community and beyond. CMS workers are helping to mobilise local Christians for mission by providing in-depth Bible teaching and training in churches, small groups and theological colleges, and by translating biblical resources into local languages. They are also seeking opportunities to mentor and disciple Christian leaders in churches, communities and on university campuses.
There is still an urgent need to reach Buddhist-majority peoples in South East Asia with the gospel. While some inroads have been made, CMS is calling for more workers in countries such as Cambodia, where gospel-poor peoples have limited or no opportunity to hear the good news of Jesus Christ in their own language and cultural context without outside help.
- Population: 643.5 million
- People Groups: 1,812
- Area: 4.49 million km2
- Countries: 11