AFMC 2018 – GO4GOD!
Around 800 people joined the 8th Asian Frontiers Missions Conference (AFMC) in Bangkok last December 8-10, 2018. Those who attended were mostly Thai and Filipinos, with a significant number from Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Laos. AFMC is an international missions conference where some OMF sending centers gather together, originally every three years. The last we had was in 2013 in Tagaytay City which the Philippine Home Council hosted. This year it was hosted by Thailand Home Council, merging AMFC with their own missions conference, Missions in Action.
Mission conferences like the AFMC are not new initiatives. A number of mission agencies like OMF hold a lot of mission conferences or seminars. Some of the AFMC topics were common and familiar, the same with the big question it raised: What are we going to do after the conference?
OMF International General Director Dr. Patrick Fung has correctly observed that most of us started to hear about cross-cultural missions from stories of other peoples—perhaps from a missionary biography we’ve read, or from an invited missionary who shared in our church or in a mission event, or from someone we personally know. We heard their stories. The question is, when will it be our story?
Rev. Jamie Taylor, OMF Executive Consultant for Chinese Ministries, creatively illustrated how our generation is hesitant in going even with the convenience of technology. He said, if Hudson Taylor, the founder of China Inland Mission who is his great great grandfather, appeared to us, he would reprimand us and say, “It’s so easy now to go, so why not go.” Hudson Taylor had to travel for almost six months by boat to reach China while our missionaries today can travel to their destined field in less than a day. Furthermore, in Hudson’s time there was no such thing as short-term missions trip while we can go short-term first to test the waters now. The illustration hints at the need to ignite our passion for the Gospel to reach those who have not heard.
OMF Thailand Home Council organized the AFMC in such a way that delegates will intentionally respond to God’s mission through action. Thus, they offered workshops on how to infuse missions into the local church, how to be a sending church, how to be involved in cross-cultural missions: whether in diaspora ministry, in open access nations, and in creative access nations.
We’ve heard a lot at the AFMC. When will we act? When shall we Go4God? Will you go labor in the harvest or will you go send laborers?