The Australian Christadelphian Bible Mission is very effective in preaching and supporting the work of the Truth
outside of Australia. Many would like to know the role and extent of this work or, when travelling overseas, how
to assist. This article provides the answer to these questions.

The body of brethren monitoring the preaching of the Truth outside of Australia is known as the Australian Christadelphian Bible Mission Inc., the ACBM for short.

The Bible Mission and its Role

 All Australian ecclesias have been invited to be represented on the ACBM. There are three Bible Mission organisations throughout the world in England, North America and Australia. The Australian Bible Mission is responsible for preaching in the Asia-Pacific area.

Most South Australian ecclesias are represented on the South Australian Regional Committee (commonly referred to as SARC). The SARC is responsible for preaching in Korea, Japan, Fiji, New Guinea and the Pacific Islands. The SARC meets monthly. The meeting welcomes visitors, especially if there is an interest in becoming a “fieldworker”. It is essential for any fieldworker to come to know and understand the culture and customs of the people and brethren and sisters in the area concerned.

How can I Help?

 Many brethren and sisters travelling overseas for business or holidays can support the work of the ACBM. To do so, all they need do is contact a member of the SARC so that arrangements can be made with the overseas ecclesia. It is not expected that all visiting brethren will be required to address ecclesial gatherings. By just being present at a midweek study, or participating around the Table of our Lord can bring joy to a small group and enrich our own experiences in the Truth.

All of the Mission areas have a need for support in Sunday School activities. Korea and Fiji operate Sunday Schools. The teachers always appreciate help on:

  • the aids that are available for Sunday School work, including maps
  • how to prepare and present expression work to the younger scholars
  • how to prepare and present relevant work for each age group

Then there is the important work of leading studies for the ecclesias and preaching the Truth. Dynamic speakers who clearly present our teachings are always needed. In many mission areas the people understand English, but in the areas where their understanding is limited, there are brethren available who are excellent translators.

How Contacts are Generated

 Contacts are generated in the following ways:

  • Just by walking down the street. Being a foreigner you may be asked why you have visited the country. This gives an excellent opportunity to give an answer for the hope that is within you. This is particularly true if your attire is neat and respectable. If you look as if you have come straight off the beach, it is likely the question will not be asked by the serious minded.
  • Pamphleting or “billing” as it is also known. In many cities there are no letterboxes near the front gate–there may not even be a front fence, as many of the people in Asian cities live in apartments. The usual method is to stand by the local train station, or in the town square, or by the bus stop and offer a pamphlet to the people as they go past. As many are naturally inquisitive they will approach you and ask for a leaflet. The pamphlet, with a reply paid card, usually invites them to apply for a Bible Correspondence course or a Herald.
  • Radio advertising is used in Fiji, as a brother works as an electronics technician for the local radio station.
  • Large banners have been used in Korea to great effect. The banner is strung across the face of the building and in large letters proclaims our doctrines, or advertises a coming lecture or seminar.
  • Local area newspapers (similar to Messenger Press) are used. Small advertisements can be placed free of charge. Large advertisements are not allowed.

Personal Contact

 In Korea, a number of people have continued to make personal contact with Brother Hyun Roe because of their previous association with him as a publisher of religious books. As a result, two of these people are now in the Truth. One person was so concerned that his pastor had called Brother Hyun a heretic when he left the “church”, that he set out to track him down to make him reconsider his stand. On finding Brother Hyun on a Friday evening, he rang his wife to say that he would be late. After hearing the Truth from Brother Hyun he stayed the whole weekend! On the following weekend both he and his wife travelled over four hours to hear our Brother Hyun teach them the Truth as it is in Jesus Christ.

How Contacts are Followed Up

 The follow-up of postal applications is similar to what is done here in South Australia. When the application is received, it is recorded, and then allocated to a brother or sister to write to the applicant and supply him with the required material. A young brother and sister (in the flesh as well as in the spirit) in Korea have over twenty active Bible correspondence course students between them.

In one place a team of four brethren and sisters has been travelling four hours on a weekly basis to the city to help a group of five brothers and sisters present the Bible Seminars we are familiar with in Adelaide. As a result, they now have two contacts attending the meeting and a mailing list of over fifty people doing the correspondence course.

Qualifications Needed

 A personal conviction of the Truth and the ability to clearly and succinctly explain the Truth to others is a primary qualification. There is a need to be sufficiently versed in the Bible to give a credible explanation of the Truth as it is in Christ Jesus.

Another important qualification is patience. When teaching in a foreign country, the people who come to hear may not have a good command of the English language. We need to remember, too, that the English we speak is coloured by our culture. Words we use may not be known to them; others have a different meaning. There is a need to be careful not to use expressions that are purely Australian.

We often make the false assumption that all people have a similar concept of God. That is not even true for Australia and even less so in pagan countries where there are “lords many and gods many”. Even people living in today’s modern lifestyle may worship idols, or spirits in trees and rocks. Ancestor worship is still strong in many cultures around the world and remembrance ceremonies are held for years after the death of parents. They believe that their parents continue to care for them. In preaching to these people, where possible we should avoid offence, as their culture is based strongly on giving respect. In our own mind we must be very clear of the difference between worship and respect. We can learn from the Apostle Paul on Mars Hill. The God we worship “is above all”, and is not to be compared to the gods of the gentiles–even the Trinity of the churches is no god.

So in our preaching we must progress slowly and surely, showing that the God of heaven and earth now calls all men to repentance. When asked what we believe, or where we are different, we must not assume the person asking is aware of basic Christian beliefs. I made this mistake on my first trip overseas, and I was quite confused when the enquirer said he did not understand my answer to his question, “Where does your religion differ from others?” I explained where we differed from Christendom, but he had no knowledge of the accepted “Christian” doctrines.

Teaching Techniques Used

 Because we cannot assume any knowledge of the Bible or the “Christian” religion (you may be talking to a Buddhist who has never heard of the Bible), we can only appeal to reason, as the Apostle Paul did when addressing the people of Lystra and Athens. The Biblical perspective of God will need to be taught.

The people of Korea work very long hours coupled with extended travel time to and from work for five and a half days a week. Therefore it is essential that the brethren are creative in their approach to assisting interested friends. Some friends have time available in the middle of the day, so Bro Hyun stays at the “hall” to be available to give tuition.

The Logos Correspondence Course has been translated into Korean and Japanese. One of these courses is run by Brother Matthew Jamieson and is well organised. He has co-opted some young people to help him write replies in Korean. They need more help but only from those with a thorough knowledge of the Korean. Two young people are handling over eight replies each per week.

The seminar series “Learn to Read the Bible Effectively” has been used in Seoul and central Korea at Taegue last November. The response has not been great, but there are two young people regularly attending the meetings at Taegue as a result. This was a special campaign supported by brethren and sisters from Australia and UK. A campaign is arranged for September this year and an appeal has gone out for our support. There has been little response to date.

How to Assist Bible Mission Work

 There is much that you can do.

  • Finance is required to help pay the costs of advertising, printing and follow-up phone calls. As well, there is the purchase of many of the facilities we have in our halls or our homes or businesses, such as photocopiers for the reproduction of notes, writing materials for seminars, extra seating—there are only about sixteen members in Seoul, and they had over twelve visitors for their seminars—and supper facilities, etc.
  • They need our prayers for the continued support and guidance of our Heavenly Father that He might strengthen them to do His work.
  • We can go over and help them. They love the fellowship of those that share the same faith. Many of the brethren and sisters of Seoul can speak English, somewhat slowly, but they are our brothers and sisters and our support and dedication for God’s work will help them develop. In Fiji the common language is English. This is typical of the South Pacific where each island may have many dialects, but the common language for business and education is English.
  • Read the publications of the Bible Mission. There is a newsletter sent to each ecclesia every three months. This will inform you and assist you to keep the work in mind.
  • Discuss the work with your ecclesial representative. Most ecclesias are affiliated and have an ecclesial representative on the South Australian Regional Committee.
  • Give support to a specific area by assisting with correspondence. You can write letters of encouragement and support to a brother or sister or an interested friend who needs help.
  • The South Pacific Islands of Vanuatu, Western Samoa and Solomon Islands are only just being opened up to the Truth. These areas are in need of some brethren and sisters to go and preach to the contacts already on hand.

Tuition and Baptism

 Our brothers and sisters overseas are as careful as we are in preparing candidates for baptism. In Korea it is quite common for tuition to take up to two years as our brethren and sisters want each baptised person to be fully conversant with the doctrines of the Truth and have a good understanding of what its commitments entail.

Inspiring Examples of Converts

 Brother Hyun Roe of South Korea escaped from North Korea with only the clothes he was wearing and his Bible. He was brought up by his parents to read his Bible. Then at almost sixty years of age he went to Sydney on business. While there, he attended a special lecture and sat enthralled. What he heard surprised him as he knew in his heart that it was the Truth of the Scriptures. He had read many religious writings but none of these had said the things he heard. His first question to the speaker whom he sought out was, “Where did you learn these words?” He then attended interested friends classes and was instructed by the late Brother Richard O’Connor. Upon his return to Korea he was upset that no one had asked him to be baptised, because in his culture, it is the prerogative of the teacher to know when his student is ready, not for the student to presume he has enough knowledge.

A current contact in Korea has been attending since November 1996. In May her parents travelled to her to tell her to withdraw from that “heretic church”. Her parents are atheists and they did not want her to belong to such a small group. “Because they are so small they must have no credibility and who will she marry?” Her response has been to continue on at university to study and at the conclusion of her lectures, she then attends the ecclesial meetings. By this means she has been able to continue to attend our classes. She has been communicating with a brother in Australia, via email. She has regular discussions with her fellow students and vigorously defends the Truth. If she wants more help she quickly types a request for help via e-mail. Some of the questions are, “Should we pray for personal requests?” and “Is the punishment on Egypt consistent with God’s love?”. Her last request was, “Teach me how to pray”.

Appeals for Help from Overseas

 Appeals for help coming from ecclesias and/or brethren and sisters overseas in mission areas should be confirmed with the SARC before being acted upon. This will enable all such requests to be co-ordinated through the Mission. There have been instances where brethren have been sending aid, only to find that the request was not from a brother. Appeals from outside of the Asia-Pacific areas should be confirmed with the Mission responsible for that area. The SARC would be pleased to help in this approach.