The Mission Initiative program in Asia began in the early 1990s with work in Cambodia. Since then, Southeast Asia has become one of the fastest-growing regions of United Methodism ever witnessed. With efforts through the Mission Initiative program, Global Ministries has developed missions in the following five countries: Cambodia, Laos, Mongolia, and Thailand. Since the inception of the Mission Initiatives program in Asia, more than 600 new churches have been developed in these five countries. Currently, 21 missionaries are serving in the Mission Initiatives throughout Asia.
The purpose of the Mission Initiatives program is to develop UM missions in regions where there is little to no Methodist Church presence. For this reason, we have been addressing the implementation of mission work in the above five countries, which include faith community development, program development, and financial support.
Bishop Scott J. Jones and the Texas Conference are in year seven of serving in Laos and Thailand. Bishop Jones and a delegation from the BOM continue to provide leadership, resources, and support to respond to the theological training needs. They have attended Annual Meetings in both countries and heard about the amazing ministry going on there. Two more Local Elders in Mission were ordained! The expectation is to commission eleven and ordain five more post-pandemic.
In addition to the ministry of the Bishop and the Board of Ordained Ministry, members of the Missions Committee along with the laity visited Laos in 2019 where the passion for Christ is evident and the depth of sacrifice to spread the gospel leaves one in awe. It is a deep desire and goal of the Missions Committee to spread the word on how to best support the ministry of our brothers and sisters in Laos and Thailand as they desire to become self-sufficient. We look forward to sharing with you some exciting opportunities this summer of 2022.