Congo

Entered: 1921 Churches: 626 Members: 327,488

Formerly known as Zaire, this country straddles the equator in the heart of Africa. Surrounded by nine countries, it is the third largest nation in Africa (after Algeria and Sudan) and home to more than 200 mostly Bantu ethnic groups speaking more than 400 dialects. Social welfare and health facilities are limited, but most children receive primary education. Of every four Seventh-day Adventists, three are under the age of 30, with total membership second only to Rwanda. Membership growth has been steady since missionaries opened schools in Songa and Lubumbashi. Despite difficult national circumstances, increase in membership is being realized through medical, educational, and preaching outreach.

Hong Kong

Entered: 1949 Churches: 18 Members: 4,054

A British dependency from 1842-1997, Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of China. Its 31-square-mile Hong Kong Island is the area's nucleus. Added to that are the three square miles of Kowloon Peninsula and the 355-square miles known as the New territories. Official languages are Cantonese Chinese and English. First of Asian areas to receive the gospel, Hong Kong-Pearl of the Orient-is a bridgehead to China. Church growth has been slow but consistent since Seventh-day Adventist literature was introduced. Home of the Chinese Union Mission, people are being reached through educational institutions, youth centers, and language schools, as well as the trademarked lifestyle program called NEWSTART®. Young people who come to know Jesus, in turn, reach out to other youth. Challenges to growth are traditional folk religions such as Buddhism, materialism, and lack of organized lay involvement. Seven out of ten members are under 30 years of age.

Mongolia

Entered: 1993 Churches: 1 Members: 454

Sometimes called Outer Mongolia to distinguish it from an autonomous region of China, most of its cities are mainly in the north, close to Russia. There are few surfaced roads in the land with a huge livestock population, and camels are still used in the south. The State heavily subsidizes health care and education and literacy rates are high. Two students who went from North America to the University in Ulaanbaatar witnessed to their faith, bringing the first baptisms in 1993. Once these students learned the language, they began to translate portions of Scripture and prepare Bible lessons-an ongoing project. The entire Bible has now been translated. ADRA has initiated a very active program. A multipurpose building has been acquired for mission and ADRA offices, and also serves as a meeting place for one of the Ulaanbaatar congregations.

Philippines

Entered: 1906 Churches: 4,035 Members: 923,589

Lying 500 miles off the southeast coast of Asia in an area of great tectonic instability, the Philippines form an archipelago about 1,100 miles north to south in a somewhat triangular form to include all its 7,107 islands. Phenomenal growth of the Seventh-day Adventist Church began in the 1980's, though no one program is more important than another. Students from seven church-operated colleges and universities, 22 academies, and elementary schools spend their summers in literature evangelism. Children and youth conduct evangelistic series. A pioneer program called Task Force sends people into an un-entered area for a year or two to develop Bible study groups. They are trying to harness the potential of laypersons to finish the work in the only Christian nation in Southeast Asia, where Adventists are one of the largest Protestant denominations.

Australia

Entered: 1885 Churches: 410 Members: 50,910

A federation of six states with two mainland territories and additional island territories, Australia is an island continent. Public evangelism by both laity and clergy is still a successful way of spreading the Advent message, with women and youth making a high impact. Influence from 60 schools and two hospitals continues, not only in Australia but also in other parts of the world where volunteer medical specialty teams share their expertise. In another unique ministry, Australia has led the world Church in the use of television spot advertisements in Seventh-day Adventist image-building. A Bible college has been opened in Western Australia for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ministries. Overall, one in three members is over 50 years of age.

Austria

Entered: 1902 Churches: 47 Members: 3,565

Formerly one of Europe's greatest empires, Austria has lost some of that power but remains a stable and neutral country with an international reputation as a center of culture and music. Growth of the Seventh-day Adventist Church has been slow, largely because of affluence and secularism. The average age of the membership is 47 years. However, women's groups and youth camps are being used as an evangelism tool, though one of the largest challenges is enlisting the witness of all laity to work with clergy in outreach. The Seventh-day Adventist junior college/academy rates as one of the top ten schools in the country.
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