Current Developments in the Western Hemisphere Missionary Work
Derren Liang—Irvine, California, USA
Editor’s note: Two issues ago, we talked about the work in the
Eastern Hemisphere; in this issue we will turn our eyes towards the
The Western Hemisphere includes the four major continents of North
America, South America, Europe and Africa. The main organizational
bodies within the Western Hemisphere Department of World Missions
the United States General Assembly (USGA),
the United Kingdom General Assembly (UKGA),
the Canadian Coordination Center (CCC),
the Central and South American Coordination Center, and
the European Coordination Center.
The responsibilities of the WHDWM are to understand the operations and
needs of the various committees, provide manpower and resources, and
give suggestions and coordinate activities with related committees.
Latin America comes under the care of the USGA. Within Latin America,
the Central and South American Coordination Center is responsible for
Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Paraguay, while the Dominican Ministry
Committee is responsible for the Dominican Republic.
Latin America is fertile ground for the gospel. Currently, we have a
church in Argentina, prayer houses in Chile, Foz, and Sao Paulo, and
places of worship in Ecuador and Bolivia. There are about five hundred
members in this region. Apart from the members in Sao Paulo, who are
mostly Portuguese-speaking Brazilians, the rest are primarily of Asian
descent. Every year, the church holds a Youth Theological Seminar in
Argentina to train the youths in Latin America. As the main language in
Latin America is Spanish, we ask that God prepare more Spanish-speaking
workers, so that the gospel may be spread more widely, starting from
each place of worship.
The USGA has established the Spanish Ministry Committee (SMC), which is
responsible for the Spanish-speaking populations in the USA and also
assists with the ministry in the Dominican Republic. The SMC divides
workers into groups every year to take care of the work in the Dominican
Republic. Volunteers accompany ministers to help with Religious
Education (RE) training and the establishment of the local RE system. In
addition, a Spanish camp is held every summer, and the Spanish-speaking
volunteers are sent to conduct street evangelism in different countries.
At this time, Latin America most urgently needs Spanish-speaking members
to assist its ministry. Youths are encouraged to learn Spanish, equip
themselves spiritually, and prepare themselves to serve in the Latin
The African ministry is divided into English-speaking and
French-speaking African countries. The African Missionary Committee
(AMC), under the UKGA, is responsible for the English-speaking African
countries, whereas the African French-speaking Committee, under Paris
church, takes charge of the French-speaking African countries. The South
African Ministry Committee, established by the International Assembly in
2008, is responsible for South Africa.
There are four hundred members in South Africa, dispersed throughout the
country. Most of the members came from China after the year 2000. There
is a church in Johannesburg and a place of worship in Cape Town. Regular
Sabbath services are held in both places. The church in Johannesburg
serves as a coordination center for the nationwide ministry.
The gospel has been preached to ten English-speaking African
countries—six in central and western Africa, and four in eastern Africa.
The main center of work in western Africa is in Ghana. The main center
in eastern Africa is Kenya, which conducts pastoral and evangelistic
work for both regions. There are approximately one hundred churches and
places of worship in eastern and western Africa; each place of worship
has approximately 10 to 250 members.
As with all pioneering regions, one of the goals of the African ministry
is to establish churches that are self-reliant, self-supporting and able
to conduct their own work of evangelism. As such, the AMC sends workers
to the various churches and places of worship annually to train and
equip the local members. These workers help in different areas, for
example, in religious education, and by training full-time ministers and
church council members. The training of workers is important as this
establishes the foundation of evangelism and is the basis for the stable
development of the local churches.
In order for the holy work to progress in the long run, the AMC is also
actively training youths in various countries to take over the work
eventually. These youths help to train up RE teachers among the youths
in Africa, and also help to set up the RE system in the African
churches. In addition, volunteers also help to conduct Youth Theological
Seminars (for youths over eighteen years of age) and National Student
Spiritual Convocations (for those below eighteen). For example, student
spiritual convocations have been held in Kenya for the last eight years,
and this has helped to build up the faith of hundreds of youths. Both
these events require many volunteers who can serve as counselors. In
order to enhance this work, the African ministry needs more volunteers
with relevant experience.
As the African missionary work requires workers with different talents,
the AMC conducts an annual volunteers’ training program in the United
Kingdom (UK) since 2004. Volunteers from the UK, Continental Europe,
America, Canada, and even Asia have attended this program. Once the
volunteers are trained, they are divided into groups to accompany
full-time ministers to Africa. Some youths return to attend this
training program year after year to encourage and share their
experiences with new attendees. As the pioneering work expands, the need
for dedicated voluntary workers to support this ministry becomes
In 2010, the AMC established the Volunteers Team (VT) to aid in the
work. The VT is divided into three teams: the Religious Education Group
(REG), the Religious Seminar Group (RSG), and the Recruitment Awareness
Group (RAG). The REG aims to build up the religious education system.
The RSG plans and manages the annual National Student Spiritual
Convocation including teacher recruitment. The RAG recruits volunteers
and oversees the promotion and central archiving of the missionary work.
The VT also holds regular meetings to discuss ways to improve the
missionary work in Africa.
If you are interested to serve as a volunteer in the African ministry,
or would like more information, please contact the VT via e-mail at
Continental Europe, RUSSIA, Dubai
The pioneering work in Russia began in 1995, and to date more than one
hundred people have received baptism. However, most of these members
have since returned to their homeland China, leaving only around forty
to fifty members in Moscow, which has its own church building. The
Russian Ministry Committee, under the UKGA, is responsible for the
There are also fixed places of worship in the United Arab Emirates
(Dubai), Italy, Spain, and Greece. There are a total of around two
hundred members and regular services are held in these places. Most
members in these countries are from mainland China. The Care Team for
Pioneering Areas in Continental Europe periodically sends workers to
provide pastoral care and conduct spiritual convocations in these places
of worship. The European Coordination Center is responsible for the
communication and coordination among the churches, prayer houses and
places of worship in continental Europe.
Currently, the UKGA and USGA provide most of the manpower and resources
required for the missionary work of the Western Hemisphere. In the
future, we hope that the UKGA will exclusively lead and support the work
in Africa and Europe, and that the USGA will focus on the work in Latin
America. Additionally, if the various coordination boards and
coordination centers are able to grow rapidly, they would be able to
play a much bigger role in the missionary work of the Western
Hemisphere, greatly benefiting the ministry. Therefore, let us always
remember this important work in our prayers.
The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. There are
still many undeveloped areas in the Western Hemisphere that are waiting
to receive the gospel. May God move more brothers and sisters to prepare
and equip themselves, so that they will be able to join in the work of