Context: The original inhabitants of Southeast Asia were animists, and at their core they remain so, despite layers of Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, or Christianity having been added through the centuries. Each culture in the region uniquely combines the primary influences of the two giants — India and China — that flank its borders.
Southeast Asia is home to some of the world's fastest growing economies and to ones that struggle significantly. Each country has had to deal with its particular legacy of being colonized, of being pawns in the hands of larger powers during World War II, and of living with the consequences of communism's sweep through the region.
Workers were sent to Vietnam in 1957, the Philippines in 1971, and Indonesia in 1977. In each of these nations, we have seen churches emerge whose leaders are now our partners and peers in mission.
EMM launched new church planting initiatives in Thailand in 1990 and in Cambodia in 1995. In northeast Thailand, EMM personnel walk with a delightful "homegrown" church movement among Lao-speaking Isaan farmers.
In Cambodia, we have provided a dorm in Phnom Penh to facilitate discipleship of young people, and have walked with the church that has emerged in that context. We also have a solid presence in a densely populated rural region of Cambodia — offering access to medical care through a clinic and tuberculosis program as well as proactive supplementary character development for at-risk children. Also, long-term relationships with leaders of house churches put us in an ideal position to nurture what God is doing in raising up His church.
Other work in this region includes the creation of a business entity that hires local employees and provides an affordable product that can dramatically impact health throughout the region, especially in isolated tribal areas.
Vision: We envision multiplying communities of discipleship growing, thriving, and glorifying God throughout Southeast Asia.
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