Tag Archives: Asia-Pacific

Pakistan: Educators Celebrate Pastors, Invest in Leadership Development

Dr. MaryAnn Hawkins teaches in Pakistan.

By Carl Stagner

Earlier this year, we brought you the story of “Facebook Seminary”—an innovative, online approach to providing quality education to pastors-in-training in Pakistan. Every Saturday evening during their semester, they gather around a screen to learn under the teaching of Anderson University adjunct professor, Dr. Sarah Blake LaRose. The George Theological College in Karachi, Pakistan, originally hoped that a theological professor from the United States could actually come and teach for at least a year, but the costs were prohibitive. Thus, the Facebook idea was born. Sarah has now taught the Pakistani students for three semesters using the free video option of Facebook Messenger. Continue reading

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

Olympics and Orthodoxy: What it’s Like to Do Ministry in South Korea

Children’s choir leads worship at Mokpo Soonsung Church of God.

By Carl Stagner

Since the Winter Olympics began on February 9, South Korea has found itself at the center of global attention. While there is indeed much news streaming out of PyeongChang, perhaps the real story is how God is at work among the Church of God congregations spread across the country. A closer look at the Church of God in South Korea reveals the problem of religious pluralism outside the church and the need for sound theology and doctrine within. Perhaps it has been these and other challenges that have brought our South Korean pastors and congregations closer together, reinforcing the truth that they are not alone. 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

South Korean Chooses Generosity Over Knee Surgery

Photo: Pastor Moon and his wife with Bokja Lee (center).

By Carl Stagner

If you’ve ever stood in need of knee surgery, you know the kind of pain she was in. She’d saved approximately $17,000 (US) and used it all. Every last penny. Today she’s still in tremendous pain, but not because the surgery was unsuccessful or because she’s on a long road to recovery. She decided to forego the operation, but not because it was too risky or because she got cold feet. Instead of using the money for herself, she was impressed by the Spirit to give it all away. Bokja Lee chose to support a building project in the Philippines over paying for knee surgery, and she puts up with the constant reminder every day. This is the story of her radical generosity. Continue reading

Fishers of Men in Sri Lanka

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By Steven and Peggy Beverly

Recently we traveled to meet with several of our pastors across Sri Lanka. We had planned on a five-day trip, but due to the monsoon season and warnings about landslides, our trip was shortened to three days. During those three days, we were able to spend time with pastors in their homes and at their churches. We listened to their stories, prayed with them, and dreamed with them. At every turn, we continue to see God actively at work in the lives of our pastors and church leaders here. Continue reading

New Taiwan Mission Center to Train, Equip Chinese Pastors

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Image: Rendering of the new Mission Center.

By Carl Stagner

There was no other feasible option. To nurture and develop young ministers in mainland China, Pastor Alan had to carefully cross national borders with resources, tools, and insights. Though it wasn’t the safest route, it was safer than the alternative. As government restrictions have relaxed and international relationships have changed, God has presented the Church of God with an opportunity to better train and equip more Chinese pastors than ever before. Through Global Strategy’s Project Link, the Church of God is now in the early stages of making a Taiwan Mission Center a reality. For the first time in recent history, Chinese pastors will be able to gather in Taiwan to grow as Christ-centered leaders in Asia. Continue reading

CarolAnn North Announced as Special Assignment Missionary to Asia

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Photo: CarolAnn North

Global Strategy has an opportunity to send a teacher to Asia to work with the children of asylum-seeking refugees from a south Asian country. The children have been without schooling for over two years and, in some cases, three years. A small school using ACE curriculum has been set up expressly for them. Global Strategy and Church of God Ministries are pleased to announce that CarolAnn North has accepted a ten-month appointment as a special assignment missionary working with children in southern Asia. CarolAnn brings unique skills to help the students with their educational needs. Continue reading

False Perceptions of Church Crumble with New Ministry in Australia

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By Carl Stagner

He was born in Czechoslovakia to Christian parents in a Communist society. She was born and raised in Australia under the influence of the Uniting Church (Methodist and Presbyterian), as well as the Assemblies of God. But after coming together in marriage, Viktor and Juli Szasz were drawn to the Church of God, and ultimately worked side-by-side with Tim and Cindy West to help plant a Church of God congregation in Australia. Several years later, they’re responding to God’s call to plant a church on Australia’s densely populated Gold Coast. To make Jesus known to their community, Viktor and Juli are preparing to launch a ministry designed to bust people’s postmodern perceptions of what church is. Continue reading

A Fire in Dhaka: The Church of God Responds