Southeast Asian territory dissolves into two union missions and one attached conference

Southern Asia-Pacific Division

Southeast Asian territory dissolves into two union missions and one attached conference

Philippines | Edward Rodriguez, SSD Communication Secretary

The Southern Asia-Pacific Division Executive Committee voted for the dissolution of the Southeast Asia Union Mission (SAUM) into two new unions – the Southeastern Asia Union Mission (SEUM) and the Malaysia Union Mission (MAUM) – and an attached field, which is the Singapore Adventist Conference (SAC). The Southeastern Asia Union Mission (SEUM) covers the countries of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. The Malaysia Union Mission (MAUM) covers the countries of Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam. 

The Southeast Asia Union Mission (SAUM), was officially dissolved during the SAUM Dissolution Ceremony on December 13, 2021. The ceremony was attended by General Conference President, Pastor Ted Wilson, Southern-Asia Pacific Division (SSD) Officers led by Pastor Sam Saw, and SAUM leaders. Now, the SAUM is divided into two unions and one attached conference; the Malaysia Union Mission, Southeastern Union Mission, and the Singapore Adventist Conference. This video captures the history of SAUM since its founding days.

Elder Ted Wilson, President of the Seventh-day Adventist World Church, Elder Saw Samuel, President of the Southern Asia-Pacific Division, and workers from different organizations and institutions graced the online Dissolution Ceremony.

Elder Ted Wilson expressed his encouragement and excitement that, despite the fact that the Southeast Asia Union Mission will dissolve, it will be separated for a greater purpose of reaching more people in this uniquely diverse region.

“God has a purpose for [each] of you and for His church in all the precious countries in SAUM… Even though you (SAUM) will become separate entities, two unions, and an attached conference, we are still part of God’s worldwide family,” Wilson said during his message in the SAUM’s dissolution ceremony. 

“As you face the challenges of reorganizing and recalibrating how you will approach, not only administrative activities, but especially mission-oriented activities, I wish for you God’s richest blessings and the power of the Holy Spirit,” Wilson added.

Elder Saw Samuel, in his message during the dissolution ceremony, also conveyed his appreciation to the leadership of the Southeast Asia Union Mission, both past and present, for bravely accepting the feat of developing and pushing the Lord’s work in this challenging region.

“In these fourteen countries, where Buddhism and Islam are most dominant, we still have a lot of work to do. Eighty-five percent of our population in SSD have not heard of the blessed message of hope. We will work together to make the Lord’s message be heard across this territory,” Saw emphasized.

The Southeast Asia Union Mission (SAUM) was organized in 1917 with an objective to bring the message of salvation to seven diverse countries within its territory. In 2019, it was voted that it would be dissolved into three organizations that will strategically cater to the needs of its people and to create an effective contextualized approach to various cultures, religions, and ethnicities within the vast territory of Southeast Asia. The final transfer process has now been completed.

Since 1917, the Southeast Asia Union Mission has grown in leaps and bounds in its mission to spread the gospel throughout its territory. From the earliest official missionaries recorded, to our present SAUM leaders, the people who have been a part of the continuous growth of the work in Southeast Asia shared and expressed gratitude through testimonies during the ceremony.

Former Executive Secretary of SAUM (1992-2000), Tom, reminisced the challenges of acquiring property during his term to expand the work and begin a mission in different parts of Southeast Asia. Nevertheless, the Lord’s work will never be hindered and true enough, through people and situations that the Lord provided, everything worked into place and Adventist facilities and institutions started growing like mushrooms all throughout the territory.

“Raise your flags from where you belong and embrace it with God’s love,” Tom stressed.

The Southeast Asia Union Mission will no longer be existent, but its legacy will live on. The influence it created and imparted to people who witnessed its genuine work for the mission will continue to carry the light that will spark brightly in other places.

Territory and Statistics

The Southeast Asia Union Mission territory includes seven countries: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. It contains one conference, six missions, and one region. Respectively, they are Singapore Adventist Conference, Cambodia Adventist Mission, Peninsula Adventist Mission in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah Adventist Mission in Malaysia, Sarawak Adventist Mission in Malaysia, Thailand Adventist Mission, Vietnam Adventist Mission, and Laos Attached Region.

Three Adventist hospitals operate in the region: Bangkok Adventist Hospital (Bangkok, Thailand), Phuket Adventist Hospital (Phuket, Thailand), and Penang Adventist Hospital (Penang, Malaysia).

Eight elementary/secondary schools are located in the region: Adventist Ekamai School (Watana, Bangkok, Thailand), Cambodia Adventist School (Khan Sen Sok, Phnom Penh, Cambodia), Chiang Mai Adventist Academy (Maetaeng, Chiang Mai, Thailand), Ekamai International School (Sukhumvit 63, Bangkok, Thailand), Goshen Adventist Secondary School (Kota Marudu, Sabah, Malaysia), Sabah Adventist Secondary School (Tamparuli, Sabah, Malaysia), San Yu Adventist School (Singapore, Singapore), and Sunny Hill School (Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia).

As of June 30, 2020, SAUM is home to 391 churches with 97,585 members out of a population of 224,501,000 people. As of that date, its headquarters are located at 798 Thomson Road; Singapore 298186; Republic of Singapore. (Ref. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/assets/pdf/article-FASS.pdf)

This article was originally published on the Southern Asia-Pacific Division’s news site.