Theology of World Missions - Lesson 5

Asian Missions

Professor Doug Birdsall first discusses the work of the Church in Asia. He then talks about 3 aspects of missions work: 1. Forming partnerships, 2. Sending churches, 3. Funding. One of the fastest growing groups of the Church in China is composed of urban intellectuals. In India, Mongolia, Nepal and Cambodia, in addition to China, there are great opportunities as well as challenges.

Peter Kuzmič
Theology of World Missions
Lesson 5
Watching Now
Asian Missions

  • Dr. Kuzmic provides a framework for the class based on 6 specific statements about a theology of missions. Our theology determines our worldview. We must live as citizens of two kingdoms. We need a theologically grounded missiology and a missiological focused theology.

  • Dr. Kuzmic talks about how God saved him and about his cultural background in Eastern Europe.

  • Developing your spirituality and practicing prayer are important elements in achieving a well-balanced theology. The Creator of heaven and earth is Lord of the nations. God promised to bless the whole world through Abraham. Throughout history, different people have applied that promise as a right of privilege for themselves rather than a call to service to others. God calls people, then sends them.

  • The book of Psalms is one of the greatest missionary books in the world. Isaiah's description of Messianic fulfillment at the end of history is a reminder of the role of Messianic people within history, similar to the "already but not yet" of the "kingdom of God" in the New Testament. Quiz questions are included at the end to clarify what Dr. Kuzmic thinks are the important points and because he includes some commentary on central issues of missions.

  • Professor Doug Birdsall first discusses the work of the Church in Asia. He then talks about 3 aspects of missions work: 1. Forming partnerships, 2. Sending churches, 3. Funding. One of the fastest growing groups of the Church in China is composed of urban intellectuals. In India, Mongolia, Nepal and Cambodia, in addition to China, there are great opportunities as well as challenges.

  • Doug Birdsall continues by describing how to establish cross-cultural partnerships. Some of the most important considerations are determining what the needs are, selecting national leaders wisely, and planning for the national leaders to take complete control at some point.

  • 80-2000 project The scope of the Great Commission includes both the nation of Israel and the whole world. Matthew chapters 9 and 10 describe people as lost (sheep without a shepherd) and valuable (the harvest is plentiful). Jesus saw and had compassion. The heart of missions is seeing people the way Jesus sees them and loving them the way Jesus loves them.

  • Discussion of the meaning and application of this key passage of Scripture.

  • Joanne Harding about the AIDs crisis in Africa. It is a tragedy and a major challenge for world missions. A panel of experienced missionaries discusses the calling to be a missionary and practical ways to prepare to be a missionary.

  • Dr David Hilborn, Head of Theology Evangelical Alliance in the UK, discusses the theological framework of universalism, its historical development and the impact that it has on missions.

  • The political and religious climate in Yugoslavia creates unique challenges for people who are preaching the gospel there.

  • Dr. Timothy Tennent points out that the spread of vibrant Christianity in areas of the world besides the west, and the clash of Christianity with major world religions outline the framework for the focus of world missions.

  • Dr. Timothy Tennent shows how Christianity compares to other world religions by citing case studies of discussions with individuals of Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. Evangelicals must engage more seriously and more profoundly in the thought world of other religions.

  • What does Christ have to do with culture and what does the Church have to do with the world? Isolationists separate themselves and cannot have a significant impact on the world around them. Secularists identify with the world by compromising core beliefs to match the culture and don't have an impact because they are no different from the people around them. The Church often evangelizes from a distance instead of entering into the lives of people.

  • People will often respond more positively to the Gospel if you first find common ground in practical areas and use culture as a bridge for the Gospel into the world. The Gospel has to be forwarded to a new address for every generation.

  • Chuck Davis from Africa Inland Mission describes mission work in Africa and his personal experiences in Congo, Chad and other African countries.

  • The Gospel is a message that addresses sin in the lives of individuals and transforms society in areas like justice and charity.

  • World missions is a fundamental theme throughout the Bible. The book "Christ and Culture" proposes four models to explain the relationship between the Church and the world. Some people emphasize scriptures that focus on evangelism and others emphasize scriptures that teach the importance of meeting peoples' physical needs.

    Note: The David Bosch Grid and Hans Kung Paradigm chart may be posted in the future but are not available at this time.

  • The Lausanne Conference on World Evangelism provided a forum for Christian leaders from different countries and denominations to establish some common goals and principles for communicating the Gospel and caring for people all over the world.

    Note: The David Bosch Grid and Hans Kung Paradigm chart may be posted in the future but is not available at this time.

Dr. Kuzmič provides a framework for a theology of world missions based on a biblical worldview. We must live as citizens of two kingdoms. Our missiology needs to be theologically grounded, and our theology, missiologically focused. The documents that were written by delegates at the Lausanne Conference on World Missions have had a significant influence in defining and encouraging the practical application of a biblical view of world missions.

Theology of World Missions
Dr. Peter Kuzmič
Asian Missions
Lesson Transcript


My name is Doug Birdsall. I work here in the Mission Center of the J. Christy Wilson World Mission Center. Most of you probably know that Christy Wilson taught here from 1973 to the early nineties after he went to be with the Lord in 1999. A mission center was established to honor his life and to extend his legacy. I was actually a student here at Gordon Conwell from 1976 to 1979, and I came from Chicago where I had gone to school at Wheaton College. I came to Gordon Connell with every intention of being a pastor back in the Midwest. I wasn't planning on a career in missions. I wasn't even curious about missions. But during my third year here, God unambiguously and providentially redirected us to a career in cross-cultural missions, using a number of factors here, including the impact of Dr. Christy Wilson's life. And so from 1980 to 1999, our family lived in Tokyo, Japan, and we were involved in mission work there. Our first five years was involved primarily in student work. Tokyo is really the university center of Japan, as well as the economic and political center. The next five years we were involved in church planting work. The next five years I was actually back in the States. I assumed the leadership of a mission organization that I'm serving with. And then from 1994 to 1999, we were back in Japan again, involved in leadership development both in Japan and now involved in leadership development across Asia. There are 20 countries from Japan in the East to India, in the West, and from Mongolia in the north to Indonesia in the south. Those 20 countries are home to about 60% of the world's population. And that's where our work is centered now.


I continue with that ministry ministry called Asian Access full time, and I give about 25% of my time to the Wilson Center here on the campus of the seminary. I give you that just by way of background. Peter asked me to Dr. Koosman to ask me to introduce myself to you, to have some framework, because I also was asked by Peter to talk about Asia, the church in Asia, as a mission practitioner and as a mission leader. So the first half of the class this evening, until the break, we're going to be talking about the work of the church in Asia. Then we'll take a break about midway through and then the last part of the class, the last 90 minutes. There are three different aspects of mission work that I want to talk about. The first has to do with forming partnerships. The second area will be will have to do with sending as sending churches. And then the third will have to do with funding. And each of those will take time for presentation and also time for question and answer. As we begin this evening, I'd like to just read a few verses from Luke chapter ten, and then we'll have a word of prayer, and then we'll get into our first section having to do with the church in Asia. This is a familiar passage to you in Luke chapter ten. I won't read all of it. In fact, I will read only a few verses. But, you know, in the first part of this chapter, Jesus is sending out the 72. And of course, this is a very important dimension in the life of Christ, because obviously he has come in to initiate the global enterprise of the church, which God had in mind from before the creation.


But now in the right time, Christ is coming. By this time he's already gathered around him, the 12. And now he's beginning to expand the workforce. He's gathered these 72 and he's sending them out and he's giving them pretty explicit directions about where they're to go, what they're to take, what they're to do, what they're supposed to do in case they encounter hostility and rejection of what they are supposed to do if they receive a warm welcome and so on. So this is a very important passage for us to be thinking about and for you to be thinking about, especially as you think about preparing people for ministry. Then in verse 17, we read about the 72 completing this short term mission training exercise, and I'll read a few verses. The 72 returned with joy, saying, Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name. And he said to them, I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. Put your self in the position of Jesus. Think about his perspective for a minute, then think about yourself now as one of the 72. And I want for you to actually to take that vantage point. Imagine that you're one of the 72. You've been out on this trip, and for most of you, this is your first experience to be involved in this ministry of sharing the announcement of the breaking of the kingdom. And someone has spoken on your behalf. Maybe many of you are speaking and saying, Lord.


Even the demons are subject to us in your name. So there's a sense of joy here. Now think of how Jesus responds to them. I mean, how would you expect for your leader to respond if you came back? Sharing the fact that I mean, who knows what else they've told him. But even the demons are subject to us. How would you expect Jesus or your leader to respond to that kind of positive news? Julia made eye contact. So that means you're not trying to avoid the question. And how would you expect I mean, you've led trips and people come back and they share good news. What's the natural response of the leader? Great job. But Jesus really doesn't say great job. I mean, why would the leader be inclined to say great job at this point? What would Jesus naturally be trying to do at this point in his ministry? Get them going on mission. Encourage them. Motivate them. Get them more fired up. Next time, bring your friends and your neighbors. And we can get this from 72 to 144. And we can just keep growing and multiplying. And before you know it, the whole world will know of this good news. But that's not what Jesus says. And as a mission leader and as a missionary, this has always been this was initially a very puzzling passage to me, and it's one that, quite frankly, I would not employ. During the years that we were in Japan, though, those 20 years, every year we had teams of people coming to work with us. And my response was always to try to encourage them and to motivate them. But Jesus says, I think maybe even a little bit sarcastically, I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.


Can you top that? Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions and overall the power of the enemy and nothing shall hurt you. But then, as this transition in verse 20, nevertheless. Do not rejoice in this that the spirits are subject to you karma, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. What's the point that Jesus is trying to make here? What's more important than the work that they have accomplished? Their salvation. That certainly is true. It's interesting. And you know how the gospel writers edit material. There's a clue that comes in the same chapter. Another passage, which is also a little bit puzzling to me. How many of you would consider yourself type A people, kind of maybe a little bit driven, hardworking, goal setting, that kind of folks? I mean, don't be bashful about it. How many of you consider yourself to be a Type A person? Okay. I'm a type-A person. I like to use a day timer. I like to have the schedule full. I like people who initiate, who are proactive. And so this other passage here at the end of the chapter is not one that I would use an emissions conference because it's the Mary and Martha passage. Now, if you are a mission leader, if you're a pastor, if you're leading anything and you're looking for staff, who do you want to hire on your staff, Mary or Martha? Martha okay. Thank you. Why does she does stuff? 99 times out of 100. I want a martha on the staff without even being asked. She's gone to work. She senses the need. She's organizing. She's getting things ready. She's moving. Things are happening. And that's. That would be my inclination. Which is one reason why this passage kind of goes against the grain of who I am.


And then when Martha comes in to complain to Jesus, here's another clue. It's like, Martha, your sister has chosen the better thing. And what she has chosen cannot be taken from her. What is she chosen? Being with Jesus? Okay. I think in both cases here, Lucas trying to underscore the fact that relationship. With Christ. Relationship with the Father is more important than what you do for the father. And I think this is a fundamental principle. This is a theological principle that's important for you to have as bedrock for your life and for your ministry. Whether you're involved in missions, teaching here or there, pastoral work, counseling, government, education, whatever it is, is that doing flows out of being. Jesus does not say to Martha and he does not say to the 72 what you did was a waste of time. But he is saying the source of your joy should be the fact that you have a relationship with God. And he's saying to Martha, the most important thing is not all of your activity. And I'm not meaning to demean that, but Mary has chosen the better thing, not the good thing, but the better thing, because what Martha was doing is probably plenty good. And so for us to bear in mind. That who we are for Christ is more important than what we do for Christ. And as a person who is now 50 years old and has been involved in ministry since I graduated from Gordon Cornwall in 1979, and even during those years, that has been a life long challenge to get that into my head. And so I want to encourage you with this passage also that were to be doers who prior to that our beers who enjoy our being in Christ.


Okay. I can see that the attendance list is just about made its way around the classroom. And so let's turn to the father in prayer now. Or do we thank you that you love us. We thank you. That you brought us into your own family through Jesus Christ. We thank you that we have been grafted into this wonderful family of faith. Father, I thank you that you have given us the privilege to be partners with you in the global, eternal, redemptive work of sharing the good news of the kingdom, the good news of the Gospel with all the peoples of the Earth. Father, I pray that in our doing that good work, we would never lose sight of the fact that, first of all, we are to be people who learn to abide in you, who learn to sit at your feet, who learn to love and to worship you. We pray these things in Jesus name, Amen. Before we begin, I just want to ask, are there any comments that you'd like to make on what I just shared? Are there any questions that you have in terms of where we're going tonight, or is there anything that Dr. Koosman has covered in the first three weeks that you would like to just ask about? Okay, great. Well, then that that confirms that Peter has covered everything thoroughly and that I made myself clear. And so we'll move on. As I mentioned, I want to spend this first part of the class talking about the work of the church in Asia. And I want to just zero in on four or five or six countries that we'll talk about in particular, just so you're familiar with what God is doing in Asia, which is where I would say it's unquestionable.


You can't argue with the fact that the growth of the church today is most dynamic in that part of the world, that God has worked. I mean, you see the serial expansion of the church from the time of Christ right up until today with the church starting there in Jerusalem and then moving into Asia, minor, North Africa, then into Europe, Africa, South America, and now God working in our time in a great way on the continent of Asia. In fact, it's interesting. From the time of Christ until the beginning of the last century. From zero A.D. until 1900 A.D., the church in Asia grew from 0% to 1% of the population. So while the church was growing and declining in other parts of the world, the church had very little growth in that part of the world. It took 1900 years for it to get to 1%. Now, if you've studied church history at all, you know that the church was established in India in the second century and has continued there primarily in southwest India, the Martoma Church. You would know that the church also reached China by the fourth century. But pretty insignificant growth. But from 1900 to 1975, in less than a century, the church doubled from 1% to 2%, and very few people were noticing what was happening. But then from 1975 to 2000, in just 25 years, the church doubled again from 2% to 4% of the population. Now, when you talk about 4% of 4 billion people, that's a lot of believers. That's about 160 million Christians. And over half of them have come into the household of faith in just the last 25 years. And now it's projected that from the year 2000 until the year 2020, in less than 25 years, in just a span of 20 years, that the church will double again from 4% to 8% of the population.


So we're seeing something that's unprecedented in all of Christian history that never before in 2000 years. Has there been a movement anywhere in the world that has grown as fast and as large as what we are seeing in Asia today, and particularly in China? Are there any of you here who have lived or served or worked in China? Okay. What was your experience there? Well, then you may be able to be a resource person for me as we go on talking about China. And it's interesting, you notice her discretion in saying I worked in a large city in China because even today we have to be careful that you don't give away names of cities or names of individuals. You can talk about China, and it's unlikely that people are going to be able to identify that one person from that. But you give a city and this person and all of a sudden people who are overhearing on tape or radio or the Internet or whatever can pick things up. So there's a need to be careful. That's the one thing that I had not planned on mentioning. But you mentioned that in a way that's helpful. Anybody else who has experience in China? Okay, great. You know, in Asia, we say that a person is an expert on the country or the region. If you've been there are less than 30 days or more than 30 years. And so if you are just there for two days, you qualify as an expert. Okay. Do you understand what I'm saying? I'm joking, of course, But it's enough to have some impressions. And you have been there on the ground in China. As I mentioned, there has never been any country in the world where the growth has been as fast percentage wise and in actual numbers wise as what we're seeing today in China.


It's estimated that in China today. What does it mean? Well, exclude the two of you have been there and there may be others of you who are knowledgeable about China, but do you have any idea how many people there are who are coming to Christ on a daily basis in China? Any guesses? Eye contact. That means you're free to answer. Answer the question. Yes. What is your name? Jane. Jane. What would you guess? How many people coming to Christ in China on a daily basis today? A thousand OC. What is your name? Bill. Okay. Yes. Ten, 10,000 is actually the number that is most credibly used. And you hear estimates anywhere from ten up to 25,000 people a day. But do the math quickly. Those of you who are math majors. 10,000 a day is how many in a year? 3.65 million. Right. Real quick. Okay. Imagine. I don't know what the membership is of Park Street and Grace Chapel, but those are two churches that many of us would be familiar with. I imagine those two churches together might be 5000 members. Maybe they're bigger, I don't know. But imagine a new Park Street and Grace Chapel every morning and every afternoon on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday from the first to the 30th of the month and every day of the year. And that's what's happening in China today. Now put that against two dates that are very important, 1949. What happened in China? Those of you who have had Chinese history, that's when the Communist revolution took place. October 1st is the day that is celebrated. And in 1949, the foreign devils, which was another wave, were saying largely the Christians because there was antipathy for the believers, all foreigners.


But the foreign devils were expelled and there was immediate hostility towards the church. That in Marxist ideology, in communist philosophy, that there was no place for religion and there was certainly no place for foreign religion at that time, despite over 100 years of very outstanding missionary activity. You think of Morrison and Hudson Taylor and a host of other people, largely from England and in other parts of Europe and from North America, other Asians as well. But a hundred years of intense missionary enterprise both on the coast and on the inland and the Hudson. Taylor's mission was known as the China Inland Mission. Today it's known as Overseas Missionary Fellowship. But in the early stages of missionary activity from the late 1700s, the early 1800s is largely coastal missions. But then in the middle 1800s, people began to move inland. And so you had that China inland mission and the African Inland Mission. And many people, as were going beyond the coastal cities to the inland parts of the country. And that's what Hudson Taylor did to many of those densely populated provinces. Anyhow, and in 1949, it is estimated that there were about 800,000 Christians in China, and it was the explicit intent of the government to eradicate Christianity, this lousy foreign religion, from the soil of China all during the fifties and sixties, which were years that I was growing up. I was born in 1953, but I remember as a child hearing about the church in China. We lived in Los Angeles, California, when I was a boy, and that's where most of the news was coming from via Hong Kong and knew that this was this inaccessible place. There was just wasn't any way to get information, very, very limited access in or out of China and during the sixties as well.


And then in the early seventies, of course, through the Nixon Kissinger initiatives, things began to open up and people wondered, are there any Christians left in China? We just didn't know. Occasionally, we would hear stories of heroic faith, and we heard, of course, of many people who'd been able to safely make it to Hong Kong or to other other communities around the world. But by the mid seventies, reports began to come out that not only were there Christians in China that had survived, but there were as many as 10 million Christians or 20 million Christians or 30 million Christians. The numbers were staggering. Jonathan Chow established a research center in Hong Kong. He was born in northeast China and a number of other Chinese scholars, many of them from Hong Kong and many of them had been educated at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia, began doing research in the world, began to be aware that something dramatic had happened, and the Communist Party, which was beginning to show signs of decay and decline, had obviously been unsuccessful in eradicating the church. In fact, it had been thriving in the midst of these hostile circumstances. 1989 is the other landmark date in modern Chinese history. What happened in June of 1989 in Beijing, China, Tiananmen Square. Okay. And that really marked the death knell of communist ideology, for all intents and purposes. There had been people, many of the people who were there on that square that day were people who, in a sense had given themselves to the party, didn't want to eradicate it, wanted to reform it. And when there were students who were there and I have met many who were there on the square that day, and when they stood there in horror and disbelief and saw the tanks of their own army roll over their own fellow students.


Communism really died at that time. And so you had people who were disillusioned with that system. And as you look at growth charts of the church in China, there's a book by Lambert, an IMF missionary called China's Christian Millions. I think that's the title. And it's interesting to look at that book, just to look at the charts, because you'll see charts that show the growth of Christianity, let's say, from 1919 49, which is pretty steady and then from 1949 to 1989 is like this. And then from 1989 to the year 2000 is in almost every province, a province, It's like this, this and then this from 89 on that mark really sparked, I should say, a tremendous growth of the church in that country. Now, in order to understand the church in China, there are three streams to the church. There is, in fact the three self patriotic movement or the United Church or the registered church, as it's variously called. And so if President Clinton went to China, as he did when he was a sitting president, he could be shown the religious freedom that exist. He could be shown beautiful churches that have been built in the last year or two or or ten or 20 years because there are churches that exist in China. Now, they might not say that these are churches where there can be some tensions between the freedom of the gospel and the control of the government. But as you look at the three self patriotic church, which is a minority, a small minority of the church in China, it does exist. And there are government officials that recognize these churches and allow them to do their work. In some cases, they're watched and monitored very closely. In other cases, they are given a fair amount of freedom.


We'll come back to this in a moment. Then there is the house church phenomena. And it's estimated that today in China, there may be 75 million people in the house, churches of China, And many of the stories that you have heard. And the stories that circulate most widely and more quickly, because the most dramatic stories are stories about the house church. Now, when you think about the house church, what images or what words come to your mind? Secret small underground. Vibrant, persecuted, itinerant preachers. Anything else. They need Bibles. They need Bibles. Okay. Those are those are the stories that you hear. And they are true. Now, let me just. We're using that word true. Let me interject something here, because the population of China is 1.3 billion people, approximately a huge country. I mean, think of our country about four times. Think of the United States of America about four or five times over. Think of the complexity of our society and think of a country of 1.3 billion people with about 50 recognized ethnic minorities in the country. Think of the language differences that are there, and then think of the church that exist in a communist country which is both free and oppressed. You might have read something in Hong Kong. And so you had to describe the church in China like this. You might have heard something in Vancouver and you describe the church like this. You might have read something in a book and you describe the church like this. And there are people who are China observers who would hear stories say that is simply not true. Or you would say, it is true. And this is this is a common adage about the church in China or about China in general.


It's like no matter what you say about China, it's true. Somewhere just because of the magnitude and the complexity of the culture. So these things that you hear about China, if any of you have seen or read the book called Heavenly Man. Anybody familiar with that? Okay. It's a book written by Paul Hattaway, who also recently wrote a book called Operation China. Paul is a New Zealander, very well informed, but he's written this book called Heavenly Man, which is quite popular, evidently hasn't hit the East Coast yet. But in any event, when I encounter people who have read this book, I said, is this could this possibly be true? And I had read the book and said, Yes, I have no doubt. But what those things are true. But I also know of experiences that are contradictory to that. So you have the registered three self patriotic church. You have the house church, which as we mentioned, rural, small, poor, persecuted, itinerant ministers, native Bibles, all of those things. And then there's a third group. Which I think is one of the most important groups today, and that is the house church among the urban intellectuals. And this is largely a phenomena that has developed since Tiananmen Square, 1989. And Tiananmen is spelled many different ways. So if it comes up in an essay or on a test, but I think you can spell it T, IEEE and M.E.N. Tiananmen, of course, that's transliteration of Chinese sounds and characters. So it's a Chinese person may not they would recognize it because it's such a common word in their history and in their in their language. But this group of urban intellectuals is a group that I think God may be raising up to really help to develop the new China, because China is, in a sense, reinventing itself.


China is moving from being largely a rural agrarian society to an urban society. Here's another staggering fact for you to try to get your arms around. Can you imagine our country's population about, what, 285 million people? Can you imagine all of the United States, everybody in this country migrating from our country to Canada in a period of 25 years? You can't it's it's almost defies imagination. But that's what's happening in China, where you've got some 300 million people who've between 1990 in the year 2015, are moving from the countryside to the cities. So in the year 1990, China was 74% urban, 26% rural. By 2015 it will be 5050. So there will be as many people in the city. So imagine. The impact on today in China, There are 166 cities that have a population of 1 million or more. There are cities in China that have 10 million people that we've never heard of. I mean, everyone's heard of Beijing and Shanghai and many people have heard of Shiyan, Kunming and so on. But a city like Chongqing and everybody here familiar with Chongqing. Okay. Chiang Ching is a city of about 25 million people. And because they're building this huge dam on the Three Gorges River, they're resettling a lot of people. And they want there to be more development out west. And so the Chinese plan this city that wasn't really even there about 25 years ago and now has 25 million people. So you have people who are moving to the cities and you have people who are in the cities who are coming to Christ. Beijing is the academic center of China. And there's one quadrant of Beijing, which is a city itself of about 10 to 12 million people.


There's one quadrant of that city which is large, the university center. And there are between 1015 hundred house churches for urban intellectuals just in Beijing alone. I was just talking to Stewart, maybe some of, you know, Tony Davenport, who I believe will graduate in May and plans to go to China. He was just there and he was telling me about being in Beijing, where he was at the dedication of a new Bible school. And he's like a Bible school in China operating with relative openness. But but he was telling me about the fact that there were ten leaders of urban house church movements. And when we use the word intellectual, we're not talking about people who are like a C.S. Lewis or a Solzhenitsyn, but basically intellectual means a college educated person. He was talking about these people who had established a Bible college. And when you have that many new congregations that have come into existence, obviously there there's the need for training. So China is really the juggernaut of Asia. And in many sense it's the prize on the global stage. And we're talking today about missions, theology of missions. Actually, we're not talking about the theology of missions, we're talking about the practice of missions. And I would say that if you've got a good theology, you'll have a good practice. And if you have a good practice, it's likely because you have a good theology. And Peter could mention, I agree that all theological education should be missions focused in all missions, training should be theologically based so that the two are inseparable. One is built upon the other. I was just beginning to make a point about something in China that just slipped my mind. So maybe we won't even bother to proceed in that direction.


It'll come back to me as soon as we move on to the next thing. But why don't we just stop here for a second? If there are questions you have about. Oh, I knew I was going to tell you. The theology of missions in China today. There is a growing commitment to missions. And you think about a church in China, a country that really will be an increasingly influential leader in the world hosting the Olympics in 2008. They've recently joined the World Trade Organization, the WTO. We have the greatest trade imbalance with China of any country in the world, and it's growing quarter by quarter. So here you have this powerful country with this long history. And granted, they may have had a couple of bad centuries for our country. All we've had is a couple of centuries that has been primarily centuries of growth and expansion. But here you have a great country like China who've had a couple of bad centuries, and now they're on the move again. And you have a dynamic church with a missions history and emissions interest. There's a movement in China today called Back to Jerusalem. Now, we don't have a map up here, but I mean, if this is China and this is Jerusalem, back to Jerusalem, what lies in between? The Middle East. Okay. What's in the Middle East? Iraq. What religion is in the Middle East? Islam. The Islamic world. And we know that much of the Islamic world is intoxicated with almost a diabolical hatred of the West, and especially of the Christian faith. And this is one of those strategic challenges and missions that how do we deploy people into that part of the world? I was recently interviewed by somebody from the Christian Science Monitor about Christian missions in that part of the world.


And there was concern on a recent story that Time magazine did un-Christian missions in that part of the world, and many mission agencies were all worried and excited. My son was working in the State Department this last summer, working in the Office of Religious Freedom, and they were all concerned about this. And there were there were potential dangers. But I thought the work of the kingdom is so vast and so complex. The little story by the Christian Science Monitor, Time magazine, is not going to cause a big problem because there are thousands of Filipino maids working in households of wealthy and royal families across the Middle East. There are businesspeople from China and Korea and Japan, and among them are many Christians. Well, here you've got the church in China that has this back to Jerusalem movement. And their vision is for 100,000 missionaries to be deployed back to that part of the world. So it's not up to us exclusively as an American church or a North American church to try to figure out how to get the job done. God in his sovereignty at this time in history, is raising up a church, a church in China, which is preparing for perhaps the largest missions movement into that part of the world that we have ever, ever seen. It's really kind of thrilling when you see missions from God's vantage point and not simply from our vantage point. Okay. That was the story I want to tell you. Now it's time for a break. Not not a break break, but a little interlude here for questions. So any questions about remind me of your name. We've met before, Joy. Yeah. A lot of the Chinese people get. Converted to Christianity. A lot of them leave it to follow whatever religion.


Having the most payback. Okay. Yeah. What? I mean, remember what I told you earlier about China? It's like, no matter what you say about China, it's true somewhere. And so that exists. There are big problems with a certain kind of a heresy of what's the word, the phenomena that's existed here. Also health and wealth. That. What's in it for me? And so, yes, there are people who leave the faith, who hop from faith to faith. There are lots of heretical movements. And think of a of a church movement that's that vast that has not had the advantage of. Seminaries, Bible colleges, publishing houses, radio stations, all of these things that we take for granted. And so you'll have people in provinces who read a passage and think, this is it. And so there are heretical groups which are legion in China. So, yes, there's there's the bad with the good, but there are also churches where their faith is pure, their life is exemplary. Their growth is intentional and strategic. But, yes, I mean, those things do exist. So you don't want to romanticize a church anywhere in the world. I remember talking with with a man a few years ago, and he was telling me about his interaction with third world leaders. And basically he was disparaging missionaries because in his mind. Missionaries, all they do is quarrel and fight with each other. Whereas third world leaders, they're they're gentle and kind and humble and honest and truthful. Well, I mean, they are and so are missionaries. But you'll have similar kinds of challenges most anywhere in the world. Yeah. Other. Why? Mm hmm. What? Yeah, because they're not registered. This raises a good point, Julia, on China. And I don't want to I want to move on pretty soon.


But that's a very good point. Good question. You have this group that was allowed to exist by the government. So in a sense, they were given safe haven and in some ways they had to compromise. It's like, okay, we will acknowledge the role of the state, a godless state if you're a White House worship. So there's room for lots of compromises. So after 1949, whereas you had room eventually for a registered church, there were a lot of people who said register under the communist government, and they appoint our pastors and our bishops and our elders. They determine when and where and if we can build a church. No way. And so we're going to go on our own because we don't trust those people. Okay. So you had people who let's say you folks over here decide to register and maybe you have to compromise a little bit and maybe your theology gets weakened down. I mean, who knows? But for these people over here who don't register, it's like you guys have sold out. These people over here like we hate the government. We don't trust the government. And so immediately they become public enemy number one. And so they're continually at odds with a local official. And rivalries develop. I mean, these are people who live in small towns. Let's say that you're the pastor and you. You're right there in a red shirt looking like a red official. And so you happen to represent the government in, you know, by his uniform that he's a policeman and he knows by your mustache that you're a pastor, let's say, for example. But anyhow, whereas over here you're registered, so you're okay. And oftentimes the church, which is rural, is uneducated, and oftentimes they're just not politically savvy.


And so there are times when they're almost provoking the government. That can happen. And then there are times when there are people who are there in the registered church who are reporting people in the underground church. And so there's tremendous sense of betrayal and hatred. So all kinds of things have happened. And that's why you have a registered church and an underground church. But now it's interesting with this new group of urban intellectuals. They're savvy politically and organizationally and every other way. Again, when I was in Beijing, I think in April. I was having lunch with a friend at a hotel and he got a call on his cell phone and he said, Oh, it's somebody from PSB, the Public Security Bureau, the police. Well, then I better leave. It's like, No, it's fine. I mean, he knows I'm a pastor. He'll be interested to meet you. And so in comes a guy in a uniform who's a part of what previously would have been the worst possible sight that a Christian could encounter. So these are just part of the realities of the church in China. But it's a very dynamic, very big church with, I believe, a great future. And I think that China is a country that could become a Christian country in a sending country of huge proportions. Some of you may have Korean heritage. And when the church in Korea grew to past 10% and then towards 20%, even though it wasn't anywhere near 50%, the society began to tilt. The influence of people in business, and government in the military was disproportional to their size. And Korea began to be Christianized in many ways culturally. And so I think that there's the same potential for the church in China.


Now we're talking about the future, and we don't know how things will go because there can be tremendous reversals and the church could just as easily begin to implode or unravel. But looking at current trends and talking to people who are in China who have positions of influence, I'm quite optimistic personally about the future of the church in that country. In either questions or comments. The. Yeah, that's another word for the United Church. Yeah. So same thing. Yeah. Yeah. Three. So. Yeah. And actually, a three self patriotic movement is not used as much as the registered church or the United Church or the Chinese Christian Council. Yeah. Okay. How many of you here have taken a class with Dr. Tennant? Okay, well, then, maybe I don't need to say too much about India because he is an India specialist and I'm an India generalist who work there and am fascinated by what God is doing in India as well. According to Todd Johnson and also Patrick Johnston from Operation World. And also Todd Johnson, who here at Gordon Conway now with the World Christian Encyclopedia. It's estimated there that the church has probably grown from somewhere around 30 million to anywhere from 50 to 70 million in the last 20 years. And the church is growing, especially in the north, where it has not really had a major foothold. If you know India and know its history, much of the church has been in the southern part of the country where you have less than a third of the population and there has been resistance in the north. And now with the BJP, the political government which is in power now, there's talk about religious nationalism, which is a code word for resurgent Hinduism, which means they want to reassert Hinduism as the way of life in the country.


And of course, you've heard about some of the persecution that has taken place in provinces like Gujarat, in the northwest part of India. But despite that, the church in India, which is also a strong missionary church, many indigenous mission movements, really more indigenous movements in India than any other single country. And of course, you know that when you think about India, you don't think so much about a country as you think about a subcontinent, a mosaic of nations, because there are so many different peoples there in that complex country. I'm not going to talk more about India since so many of you have had exposure to Dr. Tenet. But I would like to move on now to a country as unlikely as Mongolia. Probably there are few people in history that have influenced the shape and the direction of history. Like Genghis and Good was Khan, who established the largest empire in terms of the physical dimensions of their empire, as was true of that Mongolian empire. There again, if you think of the world map, what ocean is Mongolia on? Nothing. Okay. It's a landlocked country, which means it has no navy. It's separated by hundreds of miles from China, by the Gobi Desert. And then you go north of Mongolia. And what do you move into? Siberia. So there you have this country. A very small population base which created a huge empire and moved around masses of people. I mean, if you travel all the way across China to Tibet, you'll see a civilization that very strongly resembles Mongolia because of the influence of Genghis and Cuba's Khan. And also, as people trace DNA, which is increasingly possible to do because of medical and scientific advances, you see the way in which bloodlines were changed and traced more dramatically because of the migration, the huge migration of people which they forced in building their empire.


But Mongolia is as a country that by virtue of having been I mean having gone in decline with the fall of that empire and being a land locked country with China to the south and Siberia, Russia to the north had very little access to the gospel. And in fact, in 1900 night I'm sorry, 1990, it's estimated that there were fewer than ten Christians in the entire country. At that time, up until 1990, for a period of about 40 or 50 years, Mongolia had been occupied by the Russians. What happened in 1990? What was happening in history at that time? The Soviet Union was collapsing. There had not been any huge revolution in Mongolia, but the Russian army and the Russian occupiers simply withdrew because they couldn't afford. They can no longer afford to keep troops out there. And so here is this country that has been dominated by a communist society, absolutely no religious freedom. In fact, it's said by many scholars that communism, in a sense, saved the Mongolian civilization, the Mongolian population, because the Buddhist priest prior to the coming of the communists had become so corrupt and so immoral that socially transmitted diseases were rampant and were killing off the population. And as they put an end to the Buddhist temples and monasteries, it helped to eliminate the venereal diseases that were rampant in the country and in a sense saved their population and also paved the way for the coming of the gospel. And here again, as Americans, what kind of time spans do we tend to think in? How do we typically plan? By quarters. Three months at a time. We know from watching the news recently that the problems that they've had of the New York Stock Exchange, a lot of it has to do with these big companies.


The pressure is to report quarterly earnings. And so we think in terms of 90 days or six months or a year or whatever. But when you think in terms of of God's strategy for the nations, God promised a messiah to Abraham, Right, I will bless you and your seed will be a blessing to all nations. Okay. We'll get the whole world to be evangelized. How long did it take God to fulfill His promise? Wonder the promised Messiah finally come in relationship to the promise of Abraham. 2000 years later. A long time. Was God in a panic? Was God in a hurry? I mean, I don't understand that, but sometimes I hear missionaries talking about acceleration. We have to hurry up and accelerate. The population is growing so fast and we've got to get to the cities. There's a sense in which that's true, but also God has never been in a big panic. So you think of the fact that God allowed the Communists to come into Mongolia in the early middle part of the century in a big way, wiped out Buddhism for all intents and purposes. And then in 1990, when they left, the Gospel came. And interestingly, there was a mongolian woman who had been in London studying. While she was there, she met an Englishman. They were married. They knew that there was the need for a translation of the Bible into the Mongolian language in the Cyrillic text. They began working on that in London in the eighties, and then in 1990, the Communist pulled out. The door is open for this woman and her English husband to go back to Mongolia with a fresh translation of the New Testament. And they're able to circulate it. And the church was planted and the flame of the gospel was ignited.


And from 1990 to the year 2000, the church grew from about five to about 15,000. I remember being in Mongolia in about 1993 or 1994, and in a sense, those were the gold rush days in Mongolia. The church was growing so fast. Mongolian leaders are quick to take over. Remember, they have a history of conquering, and so they don't wait very long for the missionary to get established. Once the missionary is basically giving them the four laws, it's like, okay, I think I can run this church. And so you had missionaries who were relatively inexperienced. You had pastor, you had Mongolians who wanted to be pastors who were brand new Christians, and you had all kinds of people rushing in, you know, throwing sand in each other's eyes as they're looking for the gold to be discovered there in that country in a figurative sense. And so we had gone up there to see if there might be some contribution we could make to the work of leadership development, helping to train pastors and so on. I remember meeting a man named Barter. Who looked like a mongolian conqueror. I mean, he was strong physically, had a flat top haircut that was cut very well. Kind of a square jawed. I heard that he had been the captain of the Mongolian national hockey team, which is coterminous for captain of the boxing team. And so this guy was a tough guy, but he had been converted to Christ. When I was at his home a couple of days later, I met his father, who'd been the head of the KGB while the Russians were still there. He'd also been converted to Christ. He was 40 years old and his wife and his children had also come to faith in Christ.


And so as a 40 year old Christian, you don't have been a believer for about four years. But he was one of the oldest believers in the country because many of them were still in their teens and twenties. But having heard about him and having met him, I just asked him, I said. But I'd be curious to know something about your vision for ministry in the future. And I expected this guy who'd only been a believer for three or four years and said, Well, you know, that's not really a very well-developed, but this is kind of what we're thinking about. I mean, think of people that you've known who've been Christians for three or four years, who there's no church they could have gone. There's no pastor. They could have known they didn't have a Christian father or mother, any exposure to the Bible. What kind of a response would you expect from a guy like that? Well, he said just a second. He left the room and was gone for a second. And then he came back with a map of Mongolia. And on this map there were purple dots and red dots and blue dots, and they're all connected. And he's showing to me his his his strategy for national saturation evangelism and church planting. And I remember thinking, how in the world would this guy get this? The guy hasn't been to the Fuller School of World Missions. He's never read a book on planting churches cross-culturally. And I thought, this is a miracle. God has given this guy a vision which is a gift from heaven and is put upon the heart and mind of this man who is obviously a capable person. I mean it administrator by background and by training and a leader by nature and by by giftedness.


God is raising up people like that in Mongolia today. And of course, you also have a mongolian diaspora. Just as is true with almost any country in Asia. You go to almost any country in Asia and they say, Oh, you're from Boston, I've got a cousin who lives there. Have you heard of the church in Brockton? And you realize that there is a fellowship of whether it's Chinese or Thai or Cambodian or Mongolian. Let me talk about another country in addition to China and Mongolia. Also the nation of Nepal. What do you know about Nepal before? Who are we looking at? Is there somebody from Nepal? Are you from Nepal? Oh, you're from Nepal. Okay. Well, I'm eager. My daughter and your son are in the band together over the high school. So I've heard about you. Okay, well, it's great to meet you. So who am I to talk about? Nepal? But I'm going to talk about Nepal. And you can. If I'm right, you can do this. If I'm wrong, you can go like this. Okay. This will be the test. Now, let's skip Nepal and go on to the next country. Oh, now, I'm really very happy to meet you. But here's the situation. This is one of the most fascinating stories in terms of the growth of the church. Tamang, who is the missionary who first took the gospel to Nepal? Trick question. Okay. How did the gospel come to Nepal? Actually, I see a. He also. Where is the water in that water? Mm hmm. He started praying and allegedly. What about started? Mm hmm. That's right. Right. You know, Robert Karthik broke out of the gate there in Kathmandu. Yeah. Okay. Well, it's interesting. It was not Englishmen who had a tremendous burden for the Indian world, of which Nepal is a neighboring country.


It's a separate country. It was not Americans. It was not Europeans. But as he mentioned, there was this community right on the India Nepal border. Nepal is one of the most beautiful countries in all the world. And have you been to Nepal? Okay. How many of you would like to go to Nepal sometime? Okay. Okay. There we go. This is. Okay, Well, plan a trip. We'll plan a trip. Our daughter was in Nepal last year. She graduated from college a year ago and then she went and lived in Kathmandu and worked with an organization called Save the Children. So we were there to see her in August, and I've been there several times, but we were out in the western part of the country in an a city called Pokhara, which there is this Ranger mount has called the Annapurna Range. And I like the mountains and I like the Rocky Mountains. And I've climbed several peaks in Colorado, and they're all right around 14,000 feet. Okay. Some of you may be mountain climbers. We've got a little mountains up in New Hampshire and Vermont that they think are real mountains. Then you see the Rocky Mountains, and those are really mountains, I thought. But we were there in Pokhara, and we're looking at, you know, a fish tail there in Pokhara, 26,000 feet. And we got up one morning and we're maybe about 5000 feet elevation. Oftentimes when I have climbed in the Rocky Mountains, you start around 10,000 feet, so you're only climbing 4000 feet vertical. But to be in a place like that where you're maybe at 5000 feet and you're looking at mountains that are 21,000, I mean, 26,000 feet in elevation. And then, of course, Mount Everest, which is about 29,000 feet, is just spectacular.


And the whole country is a mountainous country and most people live in most of the population. Over 80% still lives in remote mountain villages, and many of those villages are not connected by paved roads. And of course, when you've got snow covered mountains and when you've got all these mountains, you're not a lot of room for airstrips. So the transportation system, apart from the major cities, is not thoroughly developed. You also had this country, which was the Hindu kingdom, that until 1953, foreigners just were not allowed in. There was a Swiss surveyor. Do you know his name? The famous Swiss man who came to the United Nations to survey the country. I've forgotten his name, but he. Yeah, Anyhow, he. He was the person who came to check out the country. So here you have this beautiful country, remote, pristine villages, the Hindu kingdom and the Himalayan world, which is largely esoteric Buddhism or Hinduism. I mean, there is a spirit of oppression in much of that world. But you've got this refugee community. And think again about diaspora people. And they some of these people on the border begin to get a burden for Nepal. And then there are some refugees from Nepal who move south of the border into India and they hear the gospel. And so you have Hindus from Nepal and some Christians from India who meet. And it's actually then some of those people who went back into their own country with the gospel. And the church was started in the early fifties, again under very repressive circumstances and from the early fifties until 1990. And this is it. I mean, how many times have we talked about 1990, the fall of communism, Tiananmen Square, the withdrawal of the Russians? I mean, something's happening in Asia, which is dramatic in many countries of Asia.


But in Nepal in 1990, you finally had the introduction of democracy and this old oligarchic monarchy, whatever structure. And you had the king who signed legislation granting more religious freedom. That was in September of 1990. It so happened that I was in the country at the time this was signed. I was there to visit Charles Mendez. You know, Charles, I know he's in India now. His father was Indian. His mother was, I think, Canadian or English. Charles was an advocate of religious freedom, had been imprisoned and became kind of an international symbol. Anyway. So you had the church growing from nothing to a handful in 1953, and then from 1953 to 1990, it grew to, I think, around 10,000 people, maybe 15,000. 1930. Yes, 1990. Okay. Well, it was about 100,000. Okay. And what would it be then, from from 1990 until today, What is the size of the church and. Double. Okay. Well, the church in here again, I think it depends on whose numbers you use, but anywhere from 250,000 on up. So dramatic growth of the church there in Nepal. And prior to 1990, almost all of the church was under one umbrella of the National Christian Fellowship of Nepal. With a new growth came new opportunities and new challenges. Some divisions. But there you have a church flourishing in a formerly Hindu kingdom. Now, you would acknowledge that there are new challenges. The king was assassinated two years ago. His brother, who is now the king, does not seem to be nearly as skilled in terms of governing or nearly as trustworthy. He and the prime Minister dismissed the parliament and then after they did that, he fired the Prime Minister. And so currently in Nepal, you really don't have any elected officials in the entire country of 20 some million people.


I just got an email from a friend in Nepal last week saying, Please pray for Nepal. The situation in our country is not so good because you have these Maoist insurgents who are causing a lot of trouble. Any questions you might want to ask just about the church in Nepal, either from me or from Tamang. Nice to have a Nepali expert here in our classroom. What church are you a part of? Oh, okay. Okay. Yes. Did you have a comment or question? We just thought. I'm real of that. Mm. Okay. Thank you. We're going to actually come back to this more later on in terms of international partnerships, because one challenge. As I mentioned earlier, from 1999, there were new opportunities and new challenges and challenges being a code word for difficulties, problems, divisions, strife. And so there are there even today, I mean, whether you talk about China, which we've talked about, Mongolia, India, Nepal, I may say a little bit about about Cambodia. But there are some people would say, please don't come with another American group. Don't come with another denomination, don't come with another group. So I'm going to talk about the implications of that, because there are other people who say, please come in oftentimes. And I think you would agree with this. Mr. Tamang, is it Tamang as your family name? Yeah, that in many cases I'm getting ahead of myself here a little bit. But but sometimes people who will say please come. Oftentimes they realize that this partnership may be a resource, maybe a conduit for resources, including financial resources. And when you live in a country which is underdeveloped economically and you have it can create tremendous opportunities and also tremendous challenges, temptations and problems. So there are a variety of factors to look at in establishing partnerships, because I think there is a legitimate role for denominations and for many denominations.


As long as there is a spirit of unity and a spirit of seeking after the kingdom. Yes. Yeah. Okay. Okay. John, right? Yeah. Good. Good question. Now, the question is, how do you gather statistics? Because I've used a variety of statistics. And it's interesting because, I mean, even here you see that there are some discrepancy numbers that I have used. Don't correspond with numbers that you have. Yes, there are different ways of computing. Now, if I said that there are now 5 million Christians in Nepal. That is so far I'm not nobody I've never heard anybody is a number like that. But I have heard numbers up to 400,000. You say 200,000 so that it played out. Mm hmm. But. Yeah, right. Mm hmm. Yeah. Okay. A couple of comments. I mean, Mark Twain. American humorist said this, and I'm quoting him. He said, There are lies, there are damned lies, and there are statistics. And so that's was his view of statistics and statisticians. However, the Bible includes a book with a title of numbers. And so even God, I think, was interested in numbers. And you see lots of numbers in the Bible in terms of it Give some sense of the dimension of work. But your question, John, is how do you gather these numbers? And actually, the probably the best person in the whole world. I think I missed a good comment you want to share with everybody now? Okay. All right. Here in the crowd, I always feel like, oh, shoot, I missed something because I don't say that to embarrass you, But if there's something good that we all would enjoy, you can tell me during the break. Okay. I'll get it from one of you. Now, I lost my train of thought, Julia.


What was I talking about? Numbers. Okay, I was going to say probably the best person in the whole world when it comes to gathering statistics and numbers is in the office next door. Probably not there now, but Todd Johnson, he is the director for the Center for the Study of Global Christianity. And think I mentioned earlier that he and David Parrot, David Barrett published the World Christian Encyclopedia published by Oxford University Press. So very reputable publisher, one of the best in the world, publishing basically a book full of statistics. And they cannot publish and be used in libraries around the world, used by the Vatican, used by Christian organizations, used by the Mormon Church. Their figures are the most reliable. They can't be accurate in every single one because you'll see hundreds of pages of statistics. But there are lots of ways of gathering statistics. And of course, one thing is you begin just with population. What is the population of a country? Nepal, 23 million or so. And so those are statistics that are on record with a country, with the United Nations, whatever, then when it comes to church statistics. That's a little bit more complicated. But but one way you look at is when you can do surveys and you talk to all the Christian groups, you can identify the you would ask in a place like Nepal, what is the assemblies of how many members do they have, how many worshipers? So you count members, you count worshipers, different categories. And then there are also places where you do limited surveys and you extrapolate from that. So there are lots of ways, John, that these statistics. These numbers are gathered and then you float them. I mean, you publish them and other people then correct them and say, well, actually the government says 500,000.


We say 200,000. This group says 300,000. So there you say it's a range. Conservatively, it's probably not less than 200,000. Aggressively, it's probably not more than 500,000. But I would say that when it comes to statistics. You always need to be a little bit skeptical. I mean, ask those kinds of questions because it's very important. You've heard the phrase that, you know, we had 800 people at a meeting, evangelistic or speaking, which means that probably those are inflated numbers. But I would say be careful with the numbers that you use. I mean, I might not have known that we had a brother here from Nepal, but I would have been embarrassed had I given you numbers that I knew were not true. But I was trying to excite you. And then I said, Oh, my goodness, sorry, I didn't really mean it. I was just, you know, this was part of a pep talk. But to say, no, those are numbers that you want to confirm as a person who lived in Japan for many years. Any time I would speak at a church back in America, in my mind, I would always place three people in the back of the church. My wife, a Japanese pastor who I knew and trusted, and a non-Christian Japanese. And they were always imaginary. But I thought if they're there, I would want for them to be able to say whatever you said about Japan is true and reliable, because these days you don't know who is listening in your church or your school or your classroom. So with statistics, I mean, I hope I've answered your question, John. You can get a more complete answer from Todd. But I would say to all of you, be careful with the numbers you use.


There is such a tendency. Humanly speaking, to make ourselves look better than we really are. Car salesmen like to roll back the numbers of miles as a dad. With my children, I often joke about how fast I was when I was in high school and college. And they say, Dad, the older you get, the faster you work. Because it seemed to me like I ran the 109 flat, but nobody ever has. So I don't think that I was the world's fastest man. But I mean, that's that can be done in a caring way. But you need to be careful with numbers that you use. Other questions. Yes. The question is how evangelistic or how missionary minded is the church in Nepal, especially with regard to Tibet? And then speaking of political factors and so on. As you probably know, Tibet is just to the north of Nepal on the other side of the Himalayan mountain range. Whereas Nepal is largely Hindu. Tibet is largely esoteric Buddhism. The Dalai Lama, of course, is from Lhasa, Tibet. There are some churches that would have a very strong missionary impulse and a very strong missionary theology there, intentionally trying to take the gospel to neighboring Bhutan, which is to the east or to Tibet, which is to the north or into India, parts of India to the south. There are other churches like you would find anywhere else in the world who don't have a missionary theology or practice. But an interesting thing here. What is your name? Rachel. An interesting thing here again. I'll come back to it again because I think it is so important. I think one of the greatest challenges that the church faces today when it comes to mission strategy and mission theology is diaspora people.


There was a massive landslide somewhere in Tibet and a number of people were resettled in Nepal. And I believe that they were from the Mustang people or the much spelled like Mustang. They came over into Nepal. They were there as a part of a camp. Schools were started. There were Christian Nepali teachers, and there were people who were coming to Christ from Tibet and Nepal and then who were journeying back over the Himalayas into their country and taking the gospel back with them. So in a country like Tibet, where they don't want any Americans, especially no American missionaries, to us, we would say Tibet is a closed country to Tibetans who are refugees in Nepal and simply returning home. That's a completely accessible country. But I would say that Tibet remains very resistant. I mean, Tibet as a society remains resistant to the gospel. And this is one of those things you ask, why is the church thriving as it is in China, in Mongolia? We lived in Japan, as I mentioned, for 20 years. And a question I was often asked was, how do you explain the phenomena of Korea and Japan? I mean, the church in Korea, you know, grew so fast. Huge churches and then a society close by like Japan, very resistant to the gospel. And I think it's one of those things where you say the spirit moves. Will It's hard to explain. I mean, there are human factors that we've talked about, but you see gods orchestrating matters in history in ways that are most often unpredictable. Yeah. Any other questions? We're going to take a break in a minute or two.