Delegates vote on NSD territorial shift. [Photo: Lucas Cardino / AME (CC BY 4.0)]
United States | Maryellen Hacko, for ANN

The North Asia-Pacific Division (NSD) of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists will expand to receive four new territories, effective immediately, after Executive Committee members voted to support the change on October 9, 2023 during the Annual Council meetings, with a majority of 202 (96.16%) voting “yes” to 8 (3.81%) “no”.

This expansion places three territories previously within the Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD), Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan, now within the NSD. This vote also places within the NSD the country of Nepal, previously a part of the Southern Asia Division (SUD).This territorial adjustment aligns with the NSD’s Mission Refocus initiative and will allow the Division to impact the 10/40 window as detailed in the NSD report.

Background to Realignment of Territories

Saw Samuel, associate secretary of the General Conference (GC), presented to the Executive Committee the background on the proposed territorial realignment. Saw read the Asia-Pacific Territory Review Survey Commission Proposal, which was presented by the NSD Executive Committee to the GC on June 30, 2023, in which they requested an official recommendation be made to the GC Administrative Committee (GC ADCOM) and Executive Committee at Annual Council 2023.

GC Associate Secretary Saw Samuel presenting the proposal. [Photo credit: Enno Mueller / AME (CC BY 4.0)]

GC Associate Secretary Saw Samuel presenting the proposal. [Photo credit: Enno Mueller / AME (CC BY 4.0)]

The document, made available to delegates via their general agenda, outlined how the 2019 decision to attach the Chinese Union Mission (CHUM) directly to the GC, left NSD with four regions–Korea, Japan, Mongolia and Taiwan–and a lack of access to the 10/40 window.

These four countries were chosen, although physically separate from the rest of NSD, due to the divisions desire to focus on mission. “The Division asked if they could somehow receive additional territory that would provide them with 10/40 window opportunities,” shared Ted Wilson, president of the GC. Addressing Executive Committee members, he continued, “We are hoping to create an enlarged perspective within NSD for many countries and cultures, and to encourage a multicultural approach to mission.”

Explaining the administrative technicalities related to this shift, Hensley Mooroven, Undersecretary for the GC, carefully outlined how delegates would be distributed across NSD, SSD and SUD. Delegates currently serving, regardless to which they division they have now been realigned with, would continue to remain as Executive Committee members for the remainder of this quinquennium. This will allow those who have invested time in their offices and roles to remain Executive Committee members and GC Session delegates through 2025.

“This is a short-term accommodation so that you who represent us will stay for the next Annual Council,” Wilson said, supporting Mooroven’s presentation. “Our quinquennium is three instead of five years. Everything will reset at the new quinquennium according to the policy.”

NSD President Yo Han Kim sharing ministry plans for the new territories [Photo provided by: Annual Council Live Stream]

NSD President Yo Han Kim sharing ministry plans for the new territories [Photo provided by: Annual Council Live Stream]

After the Executive Committee heard the proposed territorial adjustment, Yo Han Kim, president of NSD, shared a comprehensive video report outlining four areas of focus for ministry across their expanded territories. After the presentation, EC members shared their thoughts on the presentation and the proposed agenda item.

Four Areas of Emphasis and Delegate Responses

Health ministry will be a major focus for NSD, with all hospitals and clinics invited to join the division health care association to improve institution management.

Multiple delegates including Peter Landless, director of Health Ministries, Myun Ju Lee, president of the Pakistan Union, and Roger Carderma, president of SSD, highlighted the importance of this health-focus and the challenges faced by Karachi Adventist Hospital in Pakistan and Lakeside Adventist Hospital in Sri Lanka.Both hospitals will now be managed by NSD.

“I’d like to express an appreciation to the divisions that have cared for those so far, and an appreciation that if this is voted to the NSD, as to the commitment they are making to these hospitals that are key to our evangelism and outreach in these areas,” said Landless. 

“We need to pray earnestly for this institution,” added Elder Wilson, speaking of Karachi Hospital. “It’s in a very precarious situation, and if we don’t take care of it, we will lose much. The NSD has committed to doing just that, and Peter Landless is actually traveling to the hospital in two weeks to do an assessment. So we will have a very comprehensive plan to make sure Karachi Hospital is not only stabilized, but that it grows.”

Another major focus of discussion was the NSD’s plan to establish an Urban Center of Influence in Bangladesh. “The plan is to start this project in Bangladesh while praying that we can extend this to the other three countries,” said Kim. This US$4 Million project will create a 10-story building with a total area of 10,000 square meters, that will serve as a business hub and include an Adventist Primary School, Adventist dental college, international school, hospital, pharmacy, office, and a wedding hall.

NSD further plans to establish an academic curriculum for pastors lacking theology degrees, and introduce an evaluation program for pastors hoping to follow the ordination process. A leadership certification program for elders, deacons, and deaconesses is also in production to foster the growth of lay leaders.

“Our primary objective is the nurture and empowerment of pastors through ministerial support and comprehensive training,” said Kim. “We believe we can achieve great things together in carrying out the Lord’s work in these new countries.”

Kim’s presentation also included plans to form small groups, prayer gatherings, mission projects and outreach focused on Muslim women. Plans to broaden the missional focus of Adventist educational institutions within NSD include increasing daily Bible studies, and spiritually-focussed community events.

“We have an ambitious plan to establish international Adventist schools that offer high quality education rooted in Adventist principles,” Kim continued. “Additionally, we will implement English language teaching programs to facilitate the integration of foreign students.”

A focus on digital outreach methods, integrating Hope Channel, Adventist World Radio, and other collaboration opportunities found at the GAiN conference earlier this year was also mentioned in the presentation.

Kim concluded his presentation with a message of encouragement on behalf of NSD, “We extend a heartfelt welcome to our brothers and sisters from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal. It’s our privilege to embrace you into our fold, and we look forward to working alongside you.”

GC President Ted Wilson introducing the leaders of NSD, SUD and SSD. [Photo provided by: Annual Council Live Stream]

GC President Ted Wilson introducing the leaders of NSD, SUD and SSD. [Photo provided by: Annual Council Live Stream]

Special Thanks and Leadership Recognition

Following the vote, Wilson invited the leaders of each Division, Union, and Mission within the NSD, SSD, and SUD that were present on stage to express appreciation for their leadership, being prayed over as they navigate their newly realigned territories.

“We want to show you a united approach to the beginning of the reconstituted NSD,” said Wilson. “We need to pray for this special new team. God will bless them amazingly.”

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