The Vision for the Future: The Manila Center

My wife, Joanne, and I have lived and served in Southwest China for most of the past 30 years. We feel privileged to have been called by God to serve in this great land among wonderful and diverse groups of people. Yunnan Province is home to many different minority peoples as well as the Han majority.

Since 2018 the situation in China for Christians, especially those who seek to worship and minister outside the confines of the government-recognized churches, has steadily deteriorated. Nevertheless, we believe that we can and indeed must continue the ministry of training Chinese believers for the harvest.

We recognize that in the current setting, we must use new methods. The vision that has emerged is for our current leadership and regional coordinators to engage in a hybrid form of instruction. The instruction will be provided by Chinese faculty members and delivered through various secure platforms via the internet and, at times, through intensive, in-person sessions with small groups. We believe there is a great need for training and encouragement at this time and that the scattering of believers that has taken place in China is part of God’s sovereign plan (Acts 8:1, 4). We sense that this is God’s way of connecting our training efforts more closely to the actual planting of churches.

In order to facilitate this training ministry, we feel led to establish The Manila Center, a meeting time and place during which our faculty, including those in China, might come together for spiritual renewal, on-going training, and planning for and discussion of training strategy. 

We believe God has blessed us with dedicated and gifted Chinese colleagues and that He will use them greatly. However, our colleagues need to be equipped for the various tasks they are called to take up. The Manila Center will serve as a hub for the sharing of gifts, knowledge, and resources. It will also be a place for building relationships, both with God and one another, and discussing together concerns and challenges.

In short, we believe that God’s providential scattering of our friends, like that scattering due to the persecution of the apostles noted in Acts 8:1-4, represents a great opportunity. Please pray with us for China, and especially our colleagues and friends. And pray with us for The Manila Center, a meeting place and time during which our faculty, including those in China, might come for prayer, renewal, training, and fellowship. I do believe The Manila Center will play a key role in re-igniting the ministry of training Christian leaders in this great land. We pray that God will enable us together to fan into flame the gift which is in us.  The Spirit that God has given us does not make us timid, but rather the Spirit “gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Tim 1:6-7).

Robert Menzies
Pentecost Sunday, May 28, 2023