Reaching a More Diverse Nation
Asian/Pacific Ministries (APM) has never been as vibrant as in the past five years, and they expect to accelerate growth momentum as the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ draws near. From the first Asian immigrants (Filipinos who arrived in Morro Bay in 1587, long before the gold rush) to the first Asian Adventist congregation (founded in Mountain View by Japanese immigrants in 1926), APM continues to inspire multicultural outreach. APM now serves 33 language groups, with established congregations in 15 languages.
APM aligns its work with the Pacific Union Conference’s chosen theme of “Love. Serve. Lead.” We believe that this well summarizes our commitment to the Asian and Pacific peoples in our union as we demonstrate our love for them, work to serve them, and lead them to Jesus.
VicLouis Arreola III, APM Director for the Pacific Union Conference (PUC), reports tremendous missional enthusiasm among Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities across the union territory. Net membership has remained steady at 21,109, with 869 recorded baptisms in five years. APM added eight churches, five companies, and two mission groups, including Tongan, Filipino, Indonesian, Cantonese, Korean, and the first Fijian and Hmong churches in the North American Division. Dr. Arreola himself conducted 21 Our Great Hope evangelistic series.
APM efforts thrived at the height of the pandemic with the establishment of 18 media presences, the translation of Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy into several Asian languages, and the circulation of 1,000 copies of eMyGrant, a quarterly magazine aimed at reaching non-Adventist AAPI families and friends.
Other initiatives included lay-pastoral training through the Pacific Institute of Christian Ministry and annual conventions with 400 to 500 participants boldly affirming the APM battle cry, “Many Cultures, One Message, One Savior.” Below are conference-specific highlights over the last quinquennium:
• Annual convocations, revival, and family ministries workshop
• Organized a Fil-Am church and a Kenyan congregation through public evangelism
Central California Conference
• Total of 24 churches with 18 pastors; organized the first Hmong church in the NAD
• Operated a food bank and distributed GLOW tracks in the Bay Area
• Established Behold Ministries and Sabbath evangelistic meetings reaching a weekly audience of over 1,000
• Tongan Ministry lay training and Youth Ministries collaboration with Samoan churches
• Filipino/Ilocano livestreams reach mainland audience and Pacific and Caribbean islands
Northern California Conference
• Organized three new language churches in Sacramento: Tongan, Indonesian, and Fijian (first in the NAD)
• Annual Christmas outreach programs and Vacation Bible School serving 100+ children
• Community and online evangelism initiatives mobilized through 10 small groups; distributed 10,000 pieces of literature
Southern California Conference
• Organized a Mongolian mission group and three companies: Cantonese, Filipino, and an international congregation
• Strategic positioning of the APM Region ministry aimed at seven anchors
Southeastern California Conference
• Annual tithe increase totaling $50.8 million, 599 baptisms, 32 churches, two companies, and nine mission groups
• Added one Korean and two Indonesian churches and one Tongan mission group
• 65% involvement in mission trips to home countries, including a medical/dental mission to Haiti; conducted a Reformation Tour for pastors and a leadership convention for the youth
• Developed Post-baptism Syllabus study series that involves local church leaders as facilitators and engages new members in fellowship
The U.S. Asian population grew more than 82% in the past 20 years and is projected to comprise 36% of all immigrants by 2050, to top other ethnic groups. Pastor Arreola believes the prophetic missional focus of APM will continue to be the outreach to burgeoning people groups in North America. “If we were quick in discerning the opening providences of God, we should be able to see in the multiplying opportunities to reach many foreigners in America a divinely appointed means of rapidly extending the third angel’s message into all the nations of earth” (Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, Oct. 29, 1914).
To support PUC strategic growth through 2025, APM will expand language groups church planting through the NADEI ACTS residency, youth and lay-pastoral leadership pipeline development, post-modern post-millennial generational ministries, and Innovative Social Medial Evangelism (TMI Is Me) personal-virtual platforms.
By God’s grace, APM will continue to trailblaze in mission as PUC remains the largest AAPI frontier, with 7.8 million people residing within its territory. The prayer is to establish five congregations in new languages, increase 20% overall membership, and 5% tithe impact year on year.
At APM we closely identify with the session theme of “So Send I You.” We are convinced that God is calling all of us to be His witnesses, and for us particularly this means reaching out to the Asian and Pacific peoples around us. For this reason, the image of the Good Shepherd is compelling, as we work with Him as His under-shepherds to lead others to become part of His flock, following His voice. We commit ourselves again to doing just this, full of joy to be part of this work of calling others to come to the Good Shepherd. “When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice” (John 10:4, NIV).