New Division Partnership Seeks to Revive Missionary Spirit

Initiative will connect the South Pacific with the Southern Asia-Pacific church regions.

Tracey Bridcutt, Adventist Record
New Division Partnership Seeks to Revive Missionary Spirit
[Photo: ktsimage]

While Adventism and Christianity has made significant inroads across much of the South Pacific, in many countries there are still thousands of people groups awaiting the arrival of the gospel message.

In response to the General Conference’s call to support mission in the least reached regions globally, the South Pacific Division (SPD) has initiated a partnership with the Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD) — its closest neighbor — to support and encourage mission endeavors. This region of Asia was at one time part of the Australasian Union (an organizational unit before the SPD was formed in 1985), from 1901 to 1911.

“We have been called to reach all nations — that means looking beyond regional boundaries to spread the love and hope of Jesus to other places,” SPD secretary Mike Sikuri said.

While the SPD has the highest ratio of Adventists in the population compared to other divisions of the Adventist Church, at 1:70, there are significant challenges for mission in the SSD, where the ratio is more than 1:1,000. The SSD encompasses sprawling cities and diverse people groups. Despite the efforts of church leaders to share the gospel in that part of the world, they need help. The SPD aims to provide resources — personnel, ideas, and financial assistance — to support their mission.

The partnership between the SPD and SSD aligns with the broader Mission Refocus initiative announced by the General Conference in 2022 to reignite the Adventist Church’s commitment to worldwide evangelism and outreach.

“Mission has always been the heartbeat of the Adventist Church,” Sikuri said. “In fact, 2024 marks the 150th anniversary of the first missionary sent out by the Adventist Church, John N. Andrews. It’s imperative for us to renew our dedication to global mission.”

The Australian Union Conference already has a partnership with the new Southeastern Asia Union Mission within the SSD, which includes Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. Also, the Papua New Guinea Union Mission is working with the East Indonesian Union to support God’s work in West Papua. The Trans-Pacific Union Mission and New Zealand Pacific Union Conference are working on strategic partnerships with other unions in the SSD.

“We want to revive and renew the missionary spirit throughout the SPD,” Glenn Townend, president of SPD, said.

“As a diverse division, we need to keep working with different cultures to foster mutual understanding and growth.”

The SSD comprises 11 countries: Vietnam, Laos, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Myanmar, Brunei, Malaysia, and Cambodia. The dominant religions of that division are Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism.

The original version of this story was posted by Adventist Record.

Tracey Bridcutt, Adventist Record