Tag Archives: Asia and the Pacific

Japan Celebrates Increasing Number of Women in Ministry

Gathering of pastors in Japan, summer 2019.

By Carl Stagner

So much took place during Convention 2019 and General Assembly, and so much has been said about our experience together in Orlando. In all the recap and review, we certainly don’t want to overlook the international component of this pivotal gathering. Sure, there were 180 guests and a couple speakers from outside the United States and Canada. More missionaries were present than at any convention in recent memory, and a global dialogue brought some exciting new ideas to the fore. But there were testimonies given and stories shared of God at work around the world, too. One was the report of the growing representation of women among clergy in the Church of God in Japan. Continue reading

Facebook Seminary: Pakistan Pastors-in-Training Plug In with AU Professor

Students in Pakistan gather around a laptop…

By Carl Stagner

God is on the move through the Church of God in Pakistan, and it’s a breathtaking sight to behold. On Saturday evenings, seminary students in the Middle Eastern country assemble to hear Sarah Blake LaRose teach hermeneutics and exegesis. But Sarah is not in the same room—not exactly, anyway. Ten time zones away, it’s Saturday morning in Anderson, Indiana, where the AU professor has logged on to Facebook Messenger. There she lectures on the topic of Scripture interpretation, fielding questions and interacting with her pastors-in-training in Pakistan. Continue reading

Church of God Missionaries to Sri Lanka Heartbroken After Easter Attacks

By Carl Stagner

Celebration of the risen Christ ended early and abruptly on Sunday, April 21, in Sri Lanka, as the deadliest violence in a decade devastated the island country south of India. More than 300 people were killed and another 500 injured in a series of bombings that struck churches and hotels in the cities of Colombo, Negombo, and Batticaloa. As investigations continue, the Church of God fervently prays for the injured, families of victims, first-responders, and churches affected both directly and indirectly. Steven and Peggy Beverly, missionaries for Global Strategy to Sri Lanka, were just beginning their home assignment at the time of the incident. Their updates on the situation reveal their broken hearts. They would prefer to be with the suffering people they’ve come to love than safe in the U.S. right now. Continue reading

India, Bangladesh Ravaged by Monsoon Floods

Devastating flooding in India.

By Carl Stagner

According to AccuWeather, 24 million people across India, Bangladesh, and Nepal have been affected by “the worst flooding in more than a decade.” While annual monsoon rains are nothing new to the region, the situation is compounded by unusually persistent rains and, in some locations, the release of water from local dams. Homes have been swept away, businesses and schools have been damaged, and families have been displaced. As the floodwaters rise, so does the incredible need. Another disaster abroad once again serves as a reminder that a swift disaster relief response requires the generosity of people like you. Continue reading

School at the Shelter Prepares to Celebrate 100th Anniversary

Photo: Shelter Primary School girls

By Carl Stagner

In 2014, the Church of God was reintroduced to the Shelter at the Church of God Convention. That year, the ministry, which began housing unprotected orphan girls a hundred years earlier, held a grand celebration of God’s goodness and provision. At the same time, the Church of God rallied around the Shelter and Church of God Trafficklight in the preventative role it plays in the fight against trafficking. A few years have passed since the spotlight was shone brightly on this life-giving work in Cuttack, India, but now they’re gearing up for another celebration with similar significance. This November, the Shelter Primary School, on the same grounds as the Girls Shelter Home, will set aside three days of centennial ceremony and activity to commemorate its impact on the church and community. Continue reading

Tapan Borman: Making Jesus the Subject in Bangladesh

Photo: Tapan Borman speaking in Bangladesh.

By Carl Stagner

When only about 1 percent of your country’s population identifies as Christian, little else matters. Does the Muslim majority really care about the description over the doors of the church? Are the Hindus concerned with the church’s longstanding Christmas or Easter tradition? Do believers have time to spend arguing over the style of music—or dance? Tapan Borman says No. Jesus is the subject, the focus, the target. Making his name known is what matters, and any method by which they can accomplish that goal is on the table. Since receiving a call to ministry in 1992, the national leader of the Lalmonirhat Church of God group in Bangladesh has been in the change-the-world business. A closer look at the life and focus of Tapan Borman offers a snapshot of transformative ministry possible only when everything points back to the person and teachings of Jesus Christ. Continue reading

When Teachers Become Learners: Barefoot and Humbled in Bangladesh

Photo: Cross-cultural footwashing in Bangladesh.

By Carl Stagner

If you’ve ever been on a mission trip, you know it’s a mistake to think you’re going to another country only to teach and bless someone else. More often than not, you end up learning more than you could offer. Instead of leaving feeling impressed by all the good you did, you feel humbled by the good people you met. When a group from Church at the Crossing in Indianapolis, Indiana; First Church of God in Marion, South Dakota; and Church of God Ministries in Anderson, Indiana, came together for a missions trip to Bangladesh this year, the teachers once again became the learners. Continue reading