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28 June 2019 | St Albans, United Kingdom [Tor Tjeransen, Thomas Müller / tedNEWS]

A group of 18 representatives from the Northern Asia-Pacific Division (NSD), the administrative region which includes China, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Mongolia, had Norway as the first stop on a ten-day journey through some of the countries of the Trans-European Division from 14–23 June. The purpose of the journey was to learn about the work of the Church in another region.

VMarley and SYKimPastor Victor Marley interviewing the president of the Northern Asia-Pacific Division, Dr Kim, at the Day of Fellowship. [Photo: Tor Tjeransen/ADAMS]Despite all the countries within the division having different languages, according to Dr Si Young Kim, President of the NSD, there are two things that unite these Adventists – everyone is engaged in mission and they use chopsticks. "Therefore, our division is referred to as the ‘chopsticks division’," he said when speaking to the congregation attending the East Norway Conference Day of Fellowship at the Norwegian Junior College (Tyrifjord videregående skole).

The area covered by the Northern Asia-Pacific Division is home to a population of 1.6 billion people. That represents 23% of the world's population, of which only 4% are Christians. Christian mission is obviously facing major challenges in such an area. Dr Kim mentioned the traditional religions such as Shintoism and Buddhism as well as secularisation, as the main factors for the low proportion of Christians in these countries.

The Adventist churches in the region are engaged in targeted mission activities to inspire Christian faith. Every year, the churches organise a mission day where everyone is engaged in witnessing on the streets of megacities, towns and villages. These outreach activities always yield results. In 1991, the regional leadership initiated the ‘Thousand Missionaries’ campaign, which is still in operation. The goal is to equip and send out a thousand missionaries each year. Through this programme, youth are engaged in mission, they help spreading the advent message, and they strengthen local congregations.

In 2004 the Northern Asia-Pacific Division organised the Golden Angels singing group to assist in evangelistic efforts. Since then, every single year, eight musically talented young people have volunteered to serve the Lord for a year.

NSD at NORUCDelegation from the NSD visiting with the Executive Committee of the Norwegian Union Conference. [Photo credit: Tor Tjeransen/ADAMS]On the Sunday morning after the Day of Fellowship, the delegation from North Asia was present at the Executive Committee Meeting of the Norwegian Union. There, the Executive Committee exchanged thoughts on evangelism with the guests from Asia. Union president, Victor Marley, wanted to know more about the specific goals set for evangelism within the NSD. The division president emphasised that the concrete goals were a result of the input from all the local congregations. “All goals must come from grassroots. Top-guided goals have no power”, said Dr Kim.

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NSD in denamrk1The NSD delegation visiting DUChC office. [Photo credit: DUChC]Leaving Norway, a packed itinerary waited for them in Denmark. It started with sightseeing, continued with a visit to the Danish Union of Churches Conference office where lunch had been arranged and a presentation given on the work of the Church in Denmark.

As they see clear signs of materialism and secularism flooding their society, “our guests were very interested in what we do to retain our young people in Church,” said Union president, Thomas Müller. “We have a strategic focus on discipleship and intentionally involve young people in our evangelistic work”, continued Müller. One of these evangelistic initiatives is a centre of hope organised as a second-hand shop called ‘HappyHand’. The guests from the NSD were later taken into one of the ‘HappyHand’ stores so they could see and feel what it was about.

“The success of these stores is found in the commitment from the grassroots. We have created a space the church members are proud of and can identify with and this leads to the many voluntary hours put in to run the stores”, said Müller.

A visit to the Queen’s palace, The Little Mermaid statue and a handful of other typical tourist sites were also in the programme, but the guests were more interested in seeing how God works and how the Church implements its strategic plan in this part of the world.

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nsd visit ted officeThe NSD visiting group at the TED office. [Photo credit: Audrey Andersson]This past weekend saw the group travel on to the UK for the final stop of their journey before returning home. Staff in the Trans-European Division office were encouraged and blessed by Dr Kim’s devotion on Friday morning, where he told the amazing story of how a church member in Scotland, unbeknown to her at the time, had been used by God to answer his prayers.

nsd at newboldThe NSD delegation exploring Newbold College. [Photo credit: Carlton Platjees]The delegation then visited the British Union Conference office, viewed the location of our nearby schools and heard about the mission projects being carried out at Stanborough Park Church, Watford. They spent the afternoon at Windsor Castle before enjoying a delicious meal and a guided tour around Newbold College campus by Principal, John Baildam.

PHOTO 2019 06 23 09 22 37 1On Sabbath morning, Pastor Colin Stewart and the congregation of Central London Church were inspired by the presentations, mission spot and sermon, led by Dr Kim and other members of the visiting group. Many stories of God’s leading and the power of prayer were shared, which left the local church empowered and excited about their future plans to reach London and their local community.

PHOTO 2019 06 23 09 22 39 2Their time in our Division was ended by a walking tour around some of the famous sites in London followed by a farewell dinner where gifts were exchanged, and words of thanks and appreciation were shared. Everyone in the room left feeling grateful for the opportunity they had had to spend time together and be inspired by all that God has done and is continuing to do in both of our Divisions.

A section of this article was first published on the Norwegian Union Conference website


tedNEWS Staff: Victor Hulbert, editor; Deana Stojković, associate editor
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