This quarter features the Southern Asia Division, which includes the countries of Bhutan, India, and Nepal, plus the islands of the Maldives.
With a population of almost 1.3 billion people and more than 1.6 million Seventh-day Adventists, the Southern Asia Division has one Adventist for every 804 people. Most of this growth has occurred in the past 16 years. In 1995 the division had a membership of fewer than 200,000.
The foundation for this tremendous growth was laid over the past 100-plus years as Adventist schools were established throughout the region. Thousands of non-Christian students enrolled in Adventist schools, where they could study in English, one of the official languages of India. They learned far more than just their classroom lessons. Many of these children were baptized while studying in Adventist schools. And many more thousands who were not baptized were influenced by the Christian values that were introduced to them while they studied in Adventist schools.
Today Adventist schools continue to have a reputation for academic excellence and a caring and safe environment for children. Student applications continue to exceed enrollment capacities. Enlarging three schools in India will help more children receive excellent educations while they learn how much Jesus loves them.
Churches in India fulfill the adage “Build it, and they will come.” On any given day some 3,000 congregations of believers need a church in which to worship. As quickly as a church is built, it’s filled with those wanting to know about Jesus. Other congregations continue to form as evangelism spreads across the division, and more simple churches are needed to house them.
Often in southern Asia a congregation without a church is ridiculed or shunned by their neighbors. “You say your God is so mighty; why can’t He build you a church?” they ask. And they point in any direction to temples made for gods of stone. But when the congregation completes even a simple church, those same people come to hear the message of God’s love.
Let’s let our lights shine for Him!
Gina Wahlen, Editor