Archive for the 'missions' Category

07
Jan
08

ACHTUNG!

WOW. How easy it is to allow time to pass by.
I know. I know. I’ve gotten messages wondering what happened?
It’s been over a month and a brand new year boys and girls. Other than the busyness of the holidays I’ve been engaged in ministry and rethinking some things about abcpastor.com. Sometimes we just need to press pause.
I promise there’ll be some exciting updates coming. Thanks for being faithful readers. Hang on for more.

ACHTUNG! **************************************************************************************
What’s really kept me completely occupied is a little labor of love called, ACHTUNG! the youth program of the Chinese Mission Convention (CMC) by Ambassadors for Christ (AFC). I have been privileged to coordinate this program for the third time. It’s just a blast for me to work alongside good friends like Peter Ong and Joseph Tsang. Also artist friends Neah Lee, Tim Be Told, and Victor Lin. Other stars include Philly natives, Hoon Kim and Dean Trulear. All phenomenal leaders that I had the pleasure of partnering with in challenging a new generation towards the cross. In ACHTUNG, we attempted to do things differently than your average youth conference. We don’t want the students to just sit in a convention center listening to talking heads, as good as they are, we try our best to take them to the streets.

The Chinese Mission Convention (CMC) is a premier tri-annual missions gathering for China following on the coattails of the Urbana Student Missions Conference. This year’s convention highlighted the 200th anniversary of Robert Morrison’s mission to China. CMC does what Chinese ministries do best, reaching the Chinese.

CMC ACHTUNG! 2007 Peter Ong

CMC ACHTUNG! 2007

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30
Aug
07

Update On South Korean Hostages: Free at Last! But…

Freed South Korean Hostage
It’s day 43 and the last of the remaining South Korean hostages are free. I’m thankful but still conflicted.
At what cost is this freedom? Is this what these brave volunteers had in mind?

I’m sure these relief volunteer workers like many who go in the name of Christ go knowing the danger and the consequences. Criticism of recklessness is unfair. They were there to help the poor and the helpless as Christians ought with reckless abandonment. They were there to build a hospital as Christians had done historically. This takes time and careful planning. Then it takes people who are willing to go in sacrificial love. They’re not suicide bombers on a mission to pursue personal significance and glory.

Now, all current Korean missionaries will have to pull out of Afghanistan and cease any future endeavors. What does this mean for other missionaries? Will this embolden the Taliban? Is this their new tactic? What does this mean for Germany? It’s been reported that there was money exchanged as well. So who wins? The Taliban for now.

And the church that commissioned these workers will be charged by the South Korean government for the expense of transporting them home and other related costs. hmmmm. sigh.

I’m left feeling very dissatisfied with these developments. So many questions on my mind. Where’s the US in this? Evangelicals?

According to the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade,

The government will first request compensation for the cost of airfare, the transfer of dead bodies, and expenses for the transportation and medical treatment of the captives.”

And get this…from the Taliban,

The men accompanying the last hostages freed gave an unsigned note to journalists accusing the South Koreans of coming to Afghanistan on a mission to convert the staunchly Islamic country to Christianity.
“They came to our nation to change our faith,” the handwritten note read. “The Afghan people have given their lives for their faith. This is the reason we arrested them.”

links
eugene cho updates
michelle malkin updates

news
ABC News: Taliban Free Last South Korean Hostages

29
Aug
07

Update On South Korean Hostages: 12 Hostages Freed! But…

12 South Korean Hostages Freed
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – AUGUST 29: A woman reads a newspaper regarding the release of the South Korean hostages in Afghanistan on August 29, 2007 in Seoul, South Korea. Taliban militants released three South Korean hostages today, the first of 19 hostages scheduled to be freed under a deal struck between the insurgents and the South Korean government. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

wow. after 40 days (interesting huh? but let’s not get crazy about these things ok?) not two but 12 hostages were released this morning and reportedly all the hostages are scheduled for release.
that is indeed great great news.
but it’s not over yet. keep praying.
i think we have to pray all the more harder now.

there is of course a price to this freedom which is never really easy or free.

“The agreement was reached on conditions that South Korea withdraw its troops stationed in Afghanistan by the year’s end and impose a ban on its Christian nationals’ missionary activities in Afghanistan,” Cheon said.

What’s this mean? No more South Korean Christians in Afghanistan.
I don’t know how to feel about this. While I’m excited and overjoyed that these souls are going home I wonder about what could’ve been. Some have already criticized South Korea for having no backbone. We’re probably going to hear a lot now from Christians about this new development.

Just how is this event shaping missions?
How do we or should we think/rethink missions in the 10/40 window?

South Korean Hostages Freed

read eugene cho’s regular updates
read michelle malkin

read the press:
NYTimes: 8 South Korean Hostages Are Freed by Taliban, 12:05pm
NYTimes: Taliban Will Release Hostages, South Korea Says
Time: Will the Korean Hostages Go Free?
Time: Korean Hostages Freed — at a Cost

14
Aug
07

costly commitment

eugene cho who has been following the south korean hostage situation very closely and raising questions as to the lack of response from the press and evangelical world has been noted in an article by christianity today posted august 13 responding to the hostage crisis. it was a mere few sentences that have nothing to do with all that eugene’s been in an uproar about. they were just using his good name.

i admit the article disturbed me. it actually kinda pissed me off. not only did it come across – to me at least – that the article just used eugene cho’s name citing that he “served on the staff of the 25,000-member Onnuri Presbyterian Church in Seoul” but the article reflects a certain problem that i see in christianity. in light of events, it almost sounds from the article that christians or missions sending agencies like the saemmul church that sent the hostages are now fearful, almost regretful – once bitten twice shy. it almost even sounds as if all the attempts to go out in the name of Christ that appeared to have failed are laughable and foolish. it sounds as if christians don’t know what they’re doing or probably that God doesn’t. at least to me these things make us collectively sound foolish, naive, ignorant even though in reality many have considered the cost and moved forward not just in obedience but love.

sure many situations that we find ourselves in are unexpected and not very favorable. that’s usually a given in missionswork. it is a costly commitment. the cost of the journey, the time, the preparation, and leaving behind possessionas, a professional life, family and friends all have some numerical value attached. the loss of life however is a cost that may be too unbearable for many to accept, christian or otherwise. a single life is priceless. but what about a single life given for others? isn’t that what the very foundation of the christian faith built upon? isn’t it the christian life?

i think we play our christianity too safe.
i think christians are too positive about life here on this side of heaven.
what do we offer the world? cheap versions of music, film, art, and literature that on a spiritual level are like products made in china but then again anything that has the label “christian” must be ok. we provide preaching that feed our self-loving hearts with ways to “improve our lives”. we build up churches like mega-cinema-plexes rather than people.

are you tired of cheap imitations? are you weary of the world yet? the world is not a nice place. life is negative. how can we be positive when there are wars (beyond just iraq) and people dying here, there and everywhere? we don’t get along be it a matter of race, religion or otherwise. our best efforts can be easily frustrated. our legacy may stop with us. in our churches we have squabbles over the smallest things when even our best worship are mere shadows of heavenly things (hebrews). it’s all hebel, says the writer of ecclesiastes. we’re dreaming the wrong dreams for our lives. christians ought to be the most disillusioned people in the world – that is to have no illusions about it. it’s a messed up place. we’re not ok.

all his life he had done all the right things. but something wasn’t quite right. he knew who to go to scratch this itch of a question he had – what must he do to find favor with God? how can he inherit eternal life? he approached Jesus with the utmost respect, calling him the “good teacher” but the teacher was not impressed. Jesus went straight for his heart and asked this young, rich kind-of-a-big-deal to give away everything he had, give it to the poor and then, “come follow him”. he turned around and walked away.
Jesus still holds his hand out today and asks us the same question.

what makes us think we’re safe?

Luke 21:16-17
You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me


John 12:25
The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

outgoing links
follow eugene cho’s following the south korean hostage crisis
read eugene cho’s post on costly commitment
read the christianity today article: costly commitment.

christianity today poll:
Are Missions to Dangerous Places Irresponsible? (screenshot taken 10:58am 08-14-07)
Christianity Today Poll

08
Aug
07

China: The Largest Christian Nation…In The World

Many folks have long considered America to always have been and still is a Christian Nation. Now there are many arguments surrounding that. One can argue about our values being much closer to those of the Bible than other countries. Others would argue, what semblance of biblical literacy do people still have in the most literate place on earth? Many are just referring to the sheer number of people who call themselves “Christian”. We then ask how many of those are true believers versus being culturally Christian? Well for sometime now the experts have been keeping their eye on countries like Africa, South America and of course China because of the massive number of “conversions” reported. The axis of faith has shifted to the margins, to the poor of this world. Forget the West and the idea that America is still the center of God’s redeeming work the Holy Spirit is vibrant in these other parts of the world. They are doing “more” than we are. Their numbers inrease daily. They are developing strategies to reach other parts of the world including the US. The Spirit moves with or without us. Let’s just focus on China for now. Right now, it’s somewhere between 80-100 million Christians and growing rapidly. If we simply consider mere numbers China would be the largest Christian Nation in the world by mid-century according to experts.

Looking merely at numbers and their implications, Michelle Malkin posted her find on the rapid rising of christianity in China – 10,000 Christians a Day

Ten thousand Chinese become Christians each day, according to a stunning report by the National Catholic Reporter’s veteran correspondent John Allen, and 200 million Chinese may comprise the world’s largest concentration of Christians by mid-century, and the largest missionary force in history. If you read a single news article about China this year, make sure it is this one.
I suspect that even the most enthusiastic accounts err on the downside, and that Christianity will have become a Sino-centric religion two generations from now. China may be for the 21st century what Europe was during the 8th-11th centuries, and America has been during the past 200 years: the natural ground for mass evangelization. If this occurs, the world will change beyond our capacity to recognize it. Islam might defeat the western Europeans, simply by replacing their diminishing numbers with immigrants, but it will crumble beneath the challenge from the East.

Rabbit Trail:
Commentary from Asia Times, Christianity finds a fulcrum in Asia
Original Source, The Uphill Journey of Catholicism in China

What is God doing in China? What are the implications? Numbers are what people think about first and most. It’s really much more complicated by that. This year actually marks 200th anniversary of the first protestant missionary to China, Robert Morrison. Missions to China actually goes back before Morrison to the 1500s with the Jesuits and prolly even before that. The process of the work of God in China has shown us many things not only about missions but the growth of the church (i’d rather not say church growth) and personal discipleship. It has caused us to reconsider our methodologies and even our securities.

Christian Statistics (according to Adherent 2005) – Top 10 Largest National Christian Populations

Also Read:
Christianity and the Chinese People, posted by DJChuang on L2Foundation’s blog
Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity Is Changing the Global Balance of Power by David Aikman
Also on David Aikman and China in The Weekly Standard, China’s Next Big Move
The Back to Jerusalem Movement
Back to Jerusalem, Three Chinese House Church Leaders Share Their Vision to Complete the Great Commission
Christianity Today on the Back to Jerusalem Movement

Consider:
Chinese Mission Convention 2007 [CMC], Valley Forge, Pa
also CMC Youth Program – ACHTUNG07

31
Jul
07

South Korean Hostages? Who? Wha?

South Korean Hostages Picture Found on BBC
i’ve been closely following through eugene cho’s blog the events surrounding the south korean hostages taken by taliban militants. i’m troubled by the 12+day situation but lifting up prayers nonetheless. however what is more maddening is that the coverage of this tragic news is practically silent amongst u.s. media and by evangelicals overall. the hostages are missionaries in central afghanistan as aid workers, a brave group of 23 souls. is this not newsworthy? so far 2 hostages have been brutally killed. e.cho’s blog is one of the few resources tracking the situation in the blogosphere and helping us all realize the severity of it all. i hope this post will also bring some greater awareness to the situation that will result in prayers rising up like incense and action that will bring these people home.

as for me i will continue to read, pray, prepare messages, conduct meetings from the comfort of my air conditioned office in philadelphia. i’m not saying that what i have to do here is unimportant. i’m very grateful that e.cho and others have helped me see outside of this box but sometimes reading news like this makes me feel like some of the things we do pastorally is just frivolousness and sitting here behind a screen, well i’m just helpless to do something…helpful. i’m not as engaged as i’d like to be.

some informative links
bbc international news
djchuang

some links to help us process
next gener.asian church
daniel so

controversy. i guess we need other viewpoints.
time.com article on camcorder missions? i don’t know even how to begin thinking about this one.
i think i’m just mad now. but i do think that this will spark a greater discussion about missionwork.
the question raised by time, “is it worth the risk?”
next gener.asian church has a discussion going on about it.

read this post from tentmakersbytrade.com the silence in the Godblogosphere is deafening expressing the outrageousness of the current cares and silence from the Christian community.

south korean prayer




abcpastor
[american born chinese pastor]
seeks to be that third place for those who are american born chinese [abc] in ministry.
[i]
here we may explore issues unique to the chinese church and doing ministry in that context
[ii]
expand the intersection of asian american culture and christian faith
[iii]
or simply expose what goes on in the mind of this abcpastor

this may be a bit ambitious or even naiive but i do hope that through the posts we can bring together different faith communities, passions for the advancement of the Gospel and the equipping of the body of Christ.

if you are an abc pastor or have any suggestions or would like to contribute to make this space evolve, just comment.

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