Together on the edge for 10 years
We celebrate the impact of Asia-CMS’s decade “together on the edge in God’s mission”
Peter (outgoing CMS manager for Asia) reflects on the importance of collaboration, introducing some of the local partners he met along the way.
Mission is a profoundly mutual activity, a global interchange and partnership, encountering Jesus in others and discovering together the reality of this Christ we share. During my four years as manager for Asia, my greatest joy and encouragement has been meeting people in mission, understanding their contexts and seeing the impact of their work at the edges.
At the 1910 World Missionary Conference, Bishop VS Azariah (the first Indian to be a bishop in the Anglican Communion) called for the church to “give us friends” – and I thank God for the friend CMS has in Asia-CMS as we collaborate on the edge in God’s mission.
In Pakistan I met Dr J, who heads up a theological seminary. In addition to empowering the local church through theological education by extension, they also embody integral mission through relief work including helping those most affected financially by lockdowns and during recent catastrophic flooding.
South Asia: I had the privilege of attending two meetings of the South Asia Christian Youth Network (SACYN), a network of young people representing different denominations. This network helps to break down misunderstanding and build friendships across divides, and encourages leaders of the future church to be the light in their home countries.
In Sri Lanka I met Nevedita, who heads up the child protection programme for LEADS, caring for children after abuse and advocating to prevent it. LEADS creates a safe space for children to learn to live again, through counselling, teaching school subjects and helping them out of bad behavioural cycles.
It’s a challenge for many to fit training around other responsibilities, but most are supported by their churches. I met a teacher who started as a student, was inspired to complete a theology degree in Kathmandu, then returned to teach.
Dhana Lama is United Mission to Nepal’s (UMN) first Nepali executive director. UMN have been serving the people of Nepal since 1954 and at one time were the country’s second largest employer. How God has used them throughout these years is beyond measure in human terms.
In the Mekong region, I met A. He has many ministries: three schools, 20 kids’ clubs, 17 church plants, 20 outreach plants and runs the Dream Centre, which includes children’s ministry, a church, a clinic, Bible school, retreat centre and farm!
I also visited H in the Mekong region. H, his wife and their children have lived there for over five years. With the permission of the local church, they have been working with Vietnamese people. They have planted a church and I had the pleasure of joining them for Sunday worship. In addition to the church, H has an ongoing ministry to Vietnamese prison inmates.
On my final visit to Thailand, I met Helen, who, with her husband Vincent, established an NGO engaging with sex workers. I wondered if bars and businesses that benefit from the sex industry felt threatened. Helen replied, “No, they’re not threatened, because we’re not trying to pull [the women] away; we’re just loving them with unconditional love, meaning regardless of what they do, our heart is for them to know they are seen, heard and loved.”