__MAIN_TEXT__
feature-image

Page 22

Friendships and faith with Southeast Asians

Tara Sing

A

manda Mason (above) has noticed Southeast

Asians are largely absent from our churches. Given that this time last year Australia was home to almost 435,000 people born just in the SEA countries of Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia – and their languages are commonly spoken in a range of our suburbs – why the people aren’t also in our churches is a question we should all be asking. This pattern mirrors a global problem in Christian mission among Asian Buddhists. After two centuries of missionary presence in Southeast Asia, in some of its countries as little as 1 per cent of the people are part of Christian fellowships. Seeking to make church a place where we embrace and understand Southeast Asians, Mason – a Thai Australian herself 22

– works with the department of Evangelism and New Churches to help parishes rethink how we can respond to the needs of Southeast Asian Buddhist communities. Here are five helpful things for Christians to consider about Southeast Asian culture before they jump into sharing their faith. 1. HOW CAN WE BUILD TRUST? We’re keen to tell people about Jesus, and so we often provide too much information too fast, before the other person is ready to listen. “In Southeast Asian cultures, trust is essential, and trust can’t be built in a short time,” Mason says. “Southeast Asian cultures are so relational. How can they trust you if they don’t know who you are? What’s the point in listening to your words? Words are hard to understand when English isn’t your first language, so why should SouthernCross 

June 2021

Profile for Anglican Media Sydney

Southern Cross JUNE 2021  

The news magazine for Sydney Anglicans

Southern Cross JUNE 2021  

The news magazine for Sydney Anglicans

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded