President Report – 2021 NSD Annual Council
1. Introduction All is full of God’s grace. I praise God and give glory to Him for taking the lead and guiding the Northern Asia-Pacific Division (NSD) every step of the way in 2021. I deeply thank the local church pastors, lay leaders, and the devoted service of church members on the frontlines who faithfully sacrifice for the church and put great effort and devotion into winning souls. May the Lord richly bless the faithful leadership and enthusiasm of the officers from Unions and Conferences, as well as the leaders of schools and institutions, including the directors of NSD.
2. Mission Continues During Crisis
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a great challenge and a huge mission barrier because churches have had to close on Sabbaths and gatherings were restricted. But even as the situation presented these challenges, entities such as the Sahmyook Health College responded and began conducting Bible studies in small online groups through various social media and initiated the Virtual Mission Festival enabling them to continue their mission work. Through their efforts, 54 students accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. In Mongolia, despite the strict national lockdown, 32 churches held online evangelism meetings this year in October, demonstrating their strong mission enthusiasm. Amidst the pandemic, Japan Union Conference continues to march on with the gospel as they focus on the Mission Unusual Tokyo Project. And Beitun Church in Taiwan despite this challenging situation continues to move forward in its mission ministries. They continue to run various mission programs such as small group evangelism, summer Bible camp, university campus evangelistic series, and more to reach the young people. And finally, in Korea, the South East Korean Conference (SEKC) held its Big City Evangelism last week in 12 different churches. Directors from NSD served as speakers for the event as SEKC boldly held evangelistic series for millions of people spreading the gospel in the big cities. We are touched by the leadership of SEKC in holding this event in the face of pandemic challenges.
But God is mightier than the crisis and can perform miracles in the middle of a crisis. When we depend on His power and go forward in faith, God accomplishes great things. I appreciate the leaders and church members who are creating innovative mission methods and moving forward even during this crisis.
3. “I Will Go” Mission Initiative, Evangelism, and Post COVID-19
All the signs of the Second Coming of Jesus are everywhere in the world. It is imminent. But many areas of the NSD territories remain untouched by the gospel and are full of people in cities who have not heard the message of His Second Coming. The Bible says, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).
We are grateful for the work of Unions and Conferences under the NSD territories who have created their own I Will Go strategies for each field according to their circumstances doing their best for mission work. NSD is promoting its I Will Go strategy with the slogan, 10/40 With Christ! and aims to increase church attendance to 100,000 every Sabbath, baptizing 40,000 new members into the church. We believe this goal can fully be reached as the church leaders and members unite while earnestly working for the winning of souls. The world is shaking due to COVID-19 and the mission environment has changed. Church gatherings have been restricted and even banned, and it has become more challenging to meet with people for Bible studies or share the gospel due to social distancing restrictions. However, we thank the local conferences and churches for showing their enthusiasm in evangelism by creating different mission strategies which fit into the post-COVID-19 environment. Now there is a need for strategic changes from large group meetings to small group meetings. We need a breakthrough by strategically focusing on a digital mission that combines on and offline meetings.
4. Session—Unions and Conferences Beginning from the Korean Conference (KUC) holding their session in December 2020, there were sessions for Japan Union Conference (JUC) and Taiwan Conference (TWC) in January 2021. The local conferences of KUC, Middle West Korean Conference (MWKC), South East Korean Conference (SEKC), and South West Korean Conference (SEKC) also held their Sessions. As a result, the new leadership of Union, Conferences, local conferences, as well as Mongolia Mission (MM) has been chosen. With new directors’ leadership under NSD territory, there was an NSD Leadership Council from July 5-8, 2021, for the I Will Go Mission Strategic Plan intensive meeting. The newly appointed GC Executive Secretary, Elder Elton Kohler, GC Adventist Mission Director, Elder Gary Krause, and Hope Channel International, Elder Vyacheslav Demyan, who greatly support the I Will Go Mission Strategic Plan, were invited as speakers. There is an anticipation that the enthusiastic service of the new leadership will bring great revival and growth within this quinquennial.
5. NSD Directors’ Election The Session of the General Conference has been postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the GC EXCOM approved to elect directors of each division according to each division’s circumstances. NSD appointed its new directors during the 2021 Mid-Year Meeting. Before its new changes, NSD took into consideration the direction of the following four aspects: Mission to the Cities, Youth and Children Evangelism, North Korea Mission, and Digital Evangelism. The term for the new directors is until the 2025 GC Session. Newly elected directors immediately began their service starting with GC advisory meetings deciding the direction of each department. Dr. Jacob Ko, the new Health Ministries director, arrived at NSD in early August and began his work. Dr. Jonas Arrais, the new Ministerial Secretary, and Mrs. Raquel Arrais, the new Women, Family, and Children’s Ministries Director hope to arrive by the end of December 2021 to start their ministry. We are hoping that all the new directors, who have various experiences as leaders at union and conference levels, will bring active revival as they begin their ministry as NSD department directors. In addition, I deeply appreciate the great effort of the retired directors who worked hard throughout their years of service at NSD, and may the Lord’s special blessing pour upon them in their plans.
6. North Korea Mission There are 26 million people living in North Korea. For the past 70 years, they have been thoroughly blocked from the outside world and unable to enjoy the freedom of religion. It only takes about 20 minutes from the new NSD building to reach the border, but North Korea still remains the last unentered gospel territory. The mission strategy thus far has been “to enter and evangelize North Korea when God opens the door” but we have altered the strategy to “God will open the door when we are ready.” The North Korea Mission department was a minor department under other departments but from this quinquennial, we have appointed a new director for this department so it can fully function as an independent department. The General Conference is also interested in this change and has agreed to subsidize wages for the North Korea Mission director during this quinquennial. The North Korea Mission together with the Korean Union Conference has started their mission work by making their first goal to train 1,000 missionaries for this mission and to organize 100 mission teams to plant 100 churches in North Korea. Please pray for this mission so the gospel door can be widely opened to the 26 million people in North Korea so they can immediately know Jesus and be saved by becoming children of God.
7. Mission Unusual Tokyo Tokyo is one of the largest cities in the world having 40 million people living in it. It is also one of the richest cities, full of secularism and materialism. Therefore, it is a great challenge to spread the gospel in Tokyo, but I am grateful that the Mission Unusual Tokyo Project has begun at Japan Union Conference with support from the General Conference. Three ISE missionary families have arrived in Tokyo and together with the two missionary families who came ahead of time have started their mission work. Now they are already in contact with people and have started small group disciple training all while learning the language and culture. By God’s special blessings and guidance, we pray and expect that the mission doors will open. I thank the leadership of JUC for their vision and devotion to the Mission Unusual Tokyo Project, and the GC Secretariat team, as well as the Adventist Mission team who demonstrated their great interest in this mission through their full support. I especially deeply appreciate the missionaries who have gladly accepted God’s call to come to the frontlines of a foreign land showing their effort and sacrificial service. May God bless their ministry.
8. Tithes and Offerings Thanks goes to the church members for their faithful stewardship spirit. There are financial difficulties and challenges due to the influence of COVID-19 but through blessings from God and the faithful devotion of church members, we are thankful to receive a report of the growth of tithe. The increase of tithe as of August 2021 is KUC 18%, JUC 5% (July), TWC 6%, MM 30%. Although there was concern at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic of a decrease in tithe due to restricted gatherings, we praise the Lord that we can report an increase in tithe. It is especially impressive to see a growth increase in Mongolia Mission—they have been showing continual growth and we thank the leadership and the church members of MM for their faithful and devoted stewardship spirit. May God continue to bless the church members and bring prosperity to each family.
Mission is not optional, but it is a God-given mandate. “Evangelism, the very heart of Christianity, is the theme of primary importance. The Advent message must swell to a loud cry reaching the uttermost parts of the earth”(Evangelism 5.1).
There are still many challenges ahead of us. But all those challenges are mission opportunities. As we focus on our powerful God and go forward, God will be with us and He will bless all the mission activities we are involved in. “God will do great things for those who trust in Him” (Patriarchs and Prophets 493.2).
May all the leaders and church members under our NSD territory accept the call of the Lord and complete the gospel ministry as we go forward shouting, I Will Go!