The Southeastern Asia Union Mission (SEUM) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church recently held a news writing seminar for communication leaders from the member countries of Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
The two-day seminar on March 12-13 sought to equip delegates with the skills needed to write and share stories from this challenging region.
Despite the challenges of writing news in English in this area, more than 20 delegates from the four countries attended the training and were enthusiastic about learning new strategies to share their stories with the world church. Trainers from the communication department of the Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD) shared their experiences and best practices to assist aspiring writers in their respective missions and conferences.
Led by SSD communication director Heshbon Buscato and SSD senior writer Edward Rodriguez, the training focused on newswriting and digital evangelism. Delegates also joined a workshop on collaborative news gathering and writing.
“It’s difficult to communicate Jesus in a language you didn’t grow up speaking,” Buscato said. “Yet, God has called us to provide hope and healing to people of every tongue, country, tribe, race, and people. We will reach more people with these narratives by telling God’s story,” he said.
The Adventist Church in Southeastern Asia is committed to empowering its members to share regional stories and experiences with the world church, church leaders said. The writing seminar is just one example of its efforts to support and develop communication leaders in the region.
“We are in a difficult region that is primarily non-Christian,” SEUM communication director Tran Quoc Khoi said. “We have a huge responsibility to share Jesus through inspirational stories of hope and healing from other individuals who have experienced God’s presence in their life.”
Inspiring Through Writing
The SSD is responsible for spreading the message of the gospel in a vast region that encompasses 16 countries, with a combined population of more than one billion people. It is a church region that includes Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.
Despite the challenges posed by the region’s diverse cultures and languages, more than 1.5 million baptized Adventist members worship in more than 7,000 congregations across the region. Many of these congregations are located in the 10/40 Window, a vast region where most of the world’s population lives but where Christians are a minority.
Regional communication leaders said that to share the inspiring stories of how God’s work is being carried out in these areas, the SSD is encouraging the writing of articles and stories that showcase inspiring narratives happening within the region. “By sharing these stories with the world church, the Adventist Church in the Southern Asia-Pacific region hopes to inspire and encourage other believers to join in the work of spreading the gospel throughout the world,” communication leaders said.
Writing these articles and stories is not without its challenges, they acknowledged. “The region’s diverse languages and cultures make it difficult to find common ground for effective communication,” they said. “But the communication department in this region is committed to finding ways to overcome these challenges and to share the incredible stories of faith and perseverance that are emerging.”
Communication leaders added that the opportunity to share these stories is not just a way to inspire others, but also a way to build community and strengthen the bonds of faith across borders and cultures. “As the division continues its work of spreading the saving truths of the gospel throughout the Southern Asia-Pacific region, it will be looking for new and innovative ways to share the amazing stories that are emerging from the faithful believers who call this part of the world home,” they said.