Connected by the mighty Mekong
River, the five countries of Mekong Southeast Asia
are Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. The region is known for war, natural disasters, and poverty, and only a percent or two of the region’s 220+ million people are Christians. Most are Buddhists with a blend of other animistic and traditional beliefs. Evangelicalism has been considered an offensive American conspiracy intended to undermine the people’s historical cultures and beliefs. And repressive governments have enacted laws restricting house churches, a serious constraint as the majority of churches meet in homes.
In spite of persecution and setbacks, the government in Vietnam has, in some settings, been more tolerant of church planting if done by Vietnamese rather than outsiders. Partners International is helping these ministry partners
to emerge and develop organizationally. In Cambodia and Laos, people are increasingly open to hearing about the Gospel, yet their Buddhist traditions remain strong. Myanmar (Burma) remains a challenge. Much Christian work has been done among tribal groups, but extreme underdevelopment and a repressive government make significant evangelistic outreach among the majority people very difficult.
Yet, with memories of decades of war fading and the loosening up of some historically repressive forms of government, many of the people in the region are open to the Gospel like never before. As a result, the Church has grown quickly in the last decade and increasingly involved itself in ministry to the poor and advocacy for religious freedom.
Vision & Strategy
Most of the organizations we partner with in the Mekong Southeast Asia region area are relatively young, a reflection of the increased religious freedom believers have enjoyed in recent years. Many Christian leaders are young in their faith and have not had many opportunities for training, yet they are committed and courageous servants with a deep compassion for the poor. Partners International is supporting a number of training programs to help build up the core of the Church—its leaders. We also reach out to new areas through holistic community development.
Our efforts in Mekong Southeast Asia are led by a field-based Area Director (name withheld for security reasons) with 15 years of experience in economic development in Southeast Asia. His role as Area Director is to identify opportunities for Partners to serve the indigenous Church and to provide pastoral care and strategic planning consulting to our partners.
How You Can Be A Partner
We invite you to partner with us in building the Church in Mekong Southeast Asia. Develop relationships with Partners International staff doing ministry in the region and with the leaders of our indigenous partners there. Pray for the region. Join our initiative that focuses on the needs of women. Use your professional skills. Join a short-term ministry team from your church. Financially sponsor a ministry outreach. Working together, we’ll see God build His Church in the least Christian regions of the world.
Total Area Funding Need: $375,600