by Megan K. Mertz
More than half of the world’s 7 billion people live in Asia, and a majority of these have never heard the Gospel message. To better meet these opportunities to live out the Great Commission, the LCMS divided mission work in Asia into two regions in 2012 — forming the new region of Southern Asia and Oceania.
This new LCMS region is headquartered in the small country of Singapore, the area’s economic and logistical hub. From here, LCMS staff work with wellestablished Lutheran churches and ones that are just starting to emerge.
Southern Asia and Oceania includes some of the LCMS’ first mission fields, such as India, where missionaries began working in 1895, and Sri Lanka, where work began in 1927. Although both countries have developed into established LCMS partner churches, they continue to seek guidance from the LCMS. Since 2007, the LCMS has provided about $200,000 to build or repair 54 churches of the India Evangelical Lutheran Church, with more projects slated for the future.
[quote style=”boxed”]A critical priority for future work in this region is the recruitment and sending of missionaries who will work alongside indigenous pastors and church leaders.[/quote]
Opportunities exist in countries where the LCMS has started working more recently, such as Indonesia and Malaysia. In Malaysia, the LCMS helped start the first Lutheran pregnancy resource center in Asia. There also are plans to reach out in countries where the LCMS does not currently work, such as Bangladesh and East Timor.
A critical priority for future work in this region is the recruitment and sending of missionaries who will work alongside indigenous pastors and church leaders. New career missionary the Rev. Roger James of Marshall, Mich., is presently preparing and fundraising for service in Sri Lanka. Darin Storkson, regional director of Southern Asia and Oceania, is looking for many more pastors, deaconesses and other church workers who, like James, are willing to serve in this part of the world.
“Regardless of their size, our Lutheran partners and potential partners in this region are well positioned to have a major impact on the way the broader Christian community understands and communicates the Gospel in the region,” Storkson said. “It is the blessed burden of the LCMS to be their preferred partner in the teaching and furthering of good Lutheran theology and practice, which, in turn, informs and supports their witness to their countries and the world.”
Please pray that God would bless the efforts of the LCMS in the countries of Southern Asia and Oceania and that He would raise up willing servants to do His work.
LCMS work in Southern Asia and Oceania
- 10 countries
- 2 partner churches
- 3 LCMS missionaries
Office of International Mission
Southern Asia and Oceania
Annual Budget: 1,556,339