GCI: GCI Churches and Work in Southern Asia, New Zealand and the Pacific
Rod Matthews helps coordinate activities in nations from Afghanistan in the west to French
Polynesia in the east; Nepal in the north to New Zealand in the south (although
the church is not involved in activities in every country in this region). He
is responsible to the denominational president for overall supervision of the
activities of the church in the region, except for Australia.
Nepal and Pakistan
There is ongoing communication with various ministries and church groups who have seen and appreciated our website and as a result desire further contact. Some request direct association and most are hopeful of material support. The communication process takes time as we strive to see what we can offer within our limited resources with what they need and desire.
In Nepal we have developed a close working relationship with a Kathmandu-based ministry which has planted congregations in many rural areas, especially in the east of the country. We have jointly established a basic medical clinic for the poorest people, focusing on the needs of those working in the brickyards on the outskirts of Kathmandu; and have translated literature into Nepali to provide Biblical educational material for pastors to use in teaching and working with disciples of Christ.
In Pakistan we are assisting an established ministry based in Faisalabad in their programs of evangelism, distribution of Bibles in the local languages and pastoral resources, as well as offering humanitarian assistance in response to natural disasters and the social needs of minorities.
Bengali Evangelical Association
PO Box 4
Secunderabad AP 500 094
P.O. Bag 3786,
Bangalore 560 037
Grace Communion International
Locked Bag 2002
Temporary mailing address for Sri Lankan communication:
PO Box 190, Willetton, WA 6955, Australia
GPO Box 16697, Suva
New Zealand and other Pacific islands:
PO Box 304055
For other nations, click here.
The church has been established in India for many years and has a number of small congregations and groups around the country. In Secunderabad we operate a community counseling and development center, and the local congregation supports orphanages for homeless boys and girls, and runs an annual youth development camp. In Bangalore, we publish a free quarterly national magazine titled Living Light and the members in the region provide support for a school and orphanage for disadvantaged children in a rural area of western Tamil Nadu.
The church in Sri Lanka is focusing on developing Biblical educational literature in Sinhala and Tamil to provide teaching and training resources to pastors working across the country but especially in rural areas. A warm relationship has developed with the Colombo Theological Seminary which publishes this literature and uses it as a text in its basic Bible classes.
The church’s presence in Bangladesh is through an energetic and active ministry operating as the Bengali Evangelical Association. It provides humanitarian, vocational, educational and Christian outreach initiatives from a base in a village in southern Bangladesh near the city of Barisal. The facility includes a major building funded by our Canadian churches containing an assembly hall, seminar rooms and accommodation for students during courses; and a new three-story concrete building providing a meeting hall, class rooms and other facilities which also serves as a disaster refuge in the event of cyclones, storms, tsunamis and floods. Vocational, self-employment, medical aid and agriculture projects strive to lift the people from poverty while sharing the good news of God’s message for them.
Malaysia and Singapore
Two congregations and a number of smaller groups make up our Malaysian church, plus we have a congregation in Singapore. We publish a free magazine designed for the non-Muslim population in Malaysia and Singapore – now the largest circulation free Christian magazine in Malaysia. The Malaysian church also provides pastoral support for our activities in Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei and Myanmar.
We provide pastoral and humanitarian support for a congregation of Karen refugees in an internment camp in the western region bordering Myanmar. We offer personal support for a Christian Thai couple in their outstanding and well known English language schools based in Chiang Mai, where God’s values are being taught and churches have been formed.
We have two congregations in very remote areas where we provide humanitarian and pastoral support; and are in the process of developing Biblical educational literature in Burmese.
The church in New Zealand has congregations and small groups throughout the country. Details are available on their own website at archive.gci.org.nz
Southern Light is a community service initiative established by the local congregation in the city of Invercargill where donated secondhand household goods are displayed and sold at discounted prices for needy citizens, and often given away to those in severe need. Profits from the center have been shared amongst other local charities involved in assisting the poor and needy.
The church in New Zealand produces a free national magazine called Inside Life which is distributed to households in the vicinity of local congregations as a public service. Issues can be viewed on-line at www.insidelife.org.nz
Papua New Guinea
We provide pastoral oversight for congregations in Mt. Wilhelm and Port Moresby. Infrastructure development at the Mt. Wilhelm facility has included the installation of solar power for the church-owned buildings in this remote part of the central highlands so the local congregation can have evening functions as an evangelical outreach to neighboring villages, which have no electric power. Water, agriculture and income projects feature in tandem with Biblical education and personal development for the entire community.
Our primary congregation is on the remote island of Ranongga which has no roads or electricity. A motor boat has been provided for the Ranongga congregation to allow them safe transit to the regional center of Gizo for supplies and mail, and to enable them to continue outreach and evangelism activities in this large town. A copra collection and re-sale facility had been established to support the church and help serve and fund outreach projects.
The greatest concentration of members is on the island of Malekula where we have a life development program in the village of Rory. In addition to the church activities which focus on the annual Christian family festival, we have provided a self-contained water supply by building a large tank to contain rainwater harvested from the roof of the meeting hall, and a building for women’s activities and the promotion of economic livelihood activities. The New Zealand churches have provided long term funding and manpower in the development of these projects.
More About Asia
Outside of Australia, the church directly employs only five people —two in India, one in Malaysia and two in New Zealand. Activities in other countries are guided by either local partly-funded or non-salaried pastors or congregational leaders. Designated supervisory and support pastors from other countries make annual or bi-annual visits to the more remote areas. Therefore, there is much individual communication between the Missions Director and the leaders in other countries involving the coordination of resources and events, in addition to the need for routine pastoral supervision and care. Training and pastoral education and member development is important, but especially for those who have very limited contact with colleagues during the year. Therefore, the provision and organizing of conferences, seminars and training weekends and personal visits are part of the annual calendar.