Adventist Volunteers in Southern Asia-Pacific Unite to Strengthen Global Mission Efforts

Southern Asia-Pacific Division

Adventist Volunteers in Southern Asia-Pacific Unite to Strengthen Global Mission Efforts

Only two countries in the Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD) territory are predominantly Christian.

Mission | Thailand | Edward Rodriguez

Only two countries in the Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD) territory are predominantly Christian; the rest remain to be a challenge in fulfilling the objective of ensuring that everyone hears the message of Christ. With this task in hand, the SSD chapter of Adventist Volunteer Service (AVS) gathered its volunteers to learn, collaborate, and refocus their purpose to reach more people for Jesus.

From July 17–25, 2023, AVS leadership from the world church to the division gathered at the Thailand Adventist Mission office to encourage one another, learn from experiences, and explore new strategies to strengthen community relationships. Pastor Joni Oliveira, AVS director for the SSD, admitted that most Asian countries have varied and unique cultures and the Adventist Church must find new ways to offer Jesus in the mission field.

“Jesus was genuine in reaching out to people. His character is something that we need to learn and practice so we, too, can be effective like Him,” Oliveira said. 

In the spirit of global unity, the support of the world church resonated throughout the meeting. Present were Elder Ronald Kuhn, associate director of the Institute of World Mission; Elder Elbert Kuhn, AVS director for the Adventist World Church; and Elder Khamsay Phetchareun, director of the Center for East-Asian Religions (CEAR).

In his talk, Elder Ronald Kuhn eloquently conveyed essential insights on cross-cultural communication, fostering understanding and harmony across borders. "In our diverse community, cross-cultural communication becomes the bridge that unites hearts and minds, allowing us to embrace our differences as strengths and work hand in hand to fulfill our shared mission of spreading love, compassion, and hope to every corner of the world."

A Call for Mission

Elder Elbert Kuhn challenged AVS volunteers to accept a profound shift in perspective and prioritize what truly matters in life in an encouraging devotional talk. He passionately addressed the group throughout the gathering, emphasizing the need to break free from the attraction of comfort and convenience, which frequently blinds people to the larger purpose of their existence.

"Satan tries to divert our attention away from what truly matters in life, leading us into complacency with the illusion of comfort. But I urge you to venture outside of your comfort zone and take risks. Write your own story,” Elbert advised, "one that reflects your purpose and lives for things that transcend earthly boundaries."

Elbert spoke frankly about the yearning for a life of meaning and importance beyond financial riches and transient pleasures, drawing on his personal experiences and spiritual journey.

"I'd like to ask each of you to go on a journey of self-reflection. Ask yourself if you are truly living a life of purpose or if you are simply existing in the comfort of the status quo," he went on. "If our actions have the potential to positively impact someone else's life, it becomes a risk worth taking."

Elbert emphasized the emptiness that often accompanies people who participate in destructive behavior throughout his lecture. He urged the audience to fill their hearts with love, compassion, and service to others in order to achieve fulfillment and meaning in their lives.

"Our existence gains meaning when we discover why we were born and devote ourselves to serving others," he declared. "Just as the apostle Paul found joy in selflessly serving and sharing the Gospel, each of us is here for a purpose."

Elbert asked the volunteers to consider their abilities and whether they were being used to raise and empower others, bring hope to those in despair, and create forgiveness and reconciliation.

Volunteers were left with a sense of introspection and inspiration as the devotional message concluded. Many attendees expressed thanks for Elder Elbert Kuhn's call to action, resolving to live a more meaningful, productive life.

"Elder Kuhn's message deeply moved me. It helped me rethink my priorities and challenged me to apply my skills for the betterment of others," stated Rosana Bertoldo, an AVS volunteer in Timor-Leste.

The AVS volunteers are set to embark on a new chapter of service, compassion, and spiritual growth in their different mission fields. The beginning of the meeting started on a high note that left encouraging thoughts and a persistent commitment to delivering a message of genuine change.

Those who are interested in volunteering within the Southern Asia-Pacific Division territory or other divisions, please visit

The original version of this story was posted on the Southern Asia-Pacific Division website.