Dear Pastors, Prayer Warriors, Supporters, and Friends of the Ministry,
We are honored to share an update from the AFBM Asian Director, Jim Taylor:
“Those of us who have served in the Armed Forces have a clear understanding of the military ‘mission’. There is a broad and all-encompassing mission ‘to support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies – foreign and domestic’. Each military installation also has a more specific mission in support of the main objective.
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen”. ~Matthew 28:19-20
The Great Commission is our mission. No single church, however, can accomplish the Great Commission by itself. God has given each church a more specific mission of reaching its local community and sending missionaries into the field to preach the gospel in areas that the local church cannot reach.
AFBM, likewise, has a mission. Our mission is to “establish fundamental, independent, evangelistic ministries near [military] bases under the auspices of the local church”. This statement defines who we are and what we do and explains our part in the responsibility of completing the the Great Commission. Each missionary and member of AFBM, as well as each sending church, has a part in “completing the mission”.
God has sent the Taylor family to Korea to labor in our responsibility to complete the mission of influencing Asia for Christ. Current military strength in the Asia/Pacific arena is estimated at 100,000 troops. The majority of these men and women are in either South Korea (28,500 personnel), Japan (36,700 personnel), or on board sea-going vessels (14,000 personnel). The remaining personnel are scattered in small advisory or support groups all across Asia and the Pacific. Many of these men and women remain in the Asia/Pacific arena for between one and three years, then move on to other assignments. A large number of them serve out their entire tours separated from their families. It is often very difficult and always stressful on their homes. They continue, despite the hardship, so that they can fulfill their part in completing the mission.
The number of English-speaking Independent Baptist churches in Asia is estimated at 35 or fewer. That means there is only one Independent Baptist church for every 2,857 military members in the Asia arena. I personally know of at least six locations in Korea and Japan where there are military men and women with no viable option for a church.
The Haven Baptist Church of Gunsan Air Base, South Korea, where I serve as Pastor, has never been a large church because the base itself is small and very transient. But after having been here for as long as I have, I can tell of at least ten missionaries, nine pastors, one pastor’s assistant, and at least thirty-three others in some kind of full-time service, with another twenty men serving in other church leadership positions. All of these men and women came through the doors of a small Independent Baptist church that sought to provide a “home away from home” for our men and women in the military.
For us, watching men and women leave Gunsan and go out to serve God is completing the mission!”
Thank you for your continued prayers and support for this ministry.
On behalf of our AFBM family,