Asbury is dedicated to taking the Good News of Jesus Christ to places around the world where it is not. You might be asking yourself, "Why does Asbury go to the effort and expense to be on mission on the other side of the world, when there is so much need right here in Tulsa?" It is a great question... and one that should be asked. We do so because there is a Biblical answer – God has a heart for the nations and desires for every nation, people, tribe and tongue to worship Him. It is the privilege and responsibility of the Church to help accomplish this.
Asbury began work in Mexico in the 1980s, which continues today. In addition to Mexico, we currently have connections in Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
In Monterrey, Mexico, we support Juan Wesley Methodist Seminary, providing strong theological training and leadership to the growing orthodox church in Mexico. An annual trip allows personal interaction as well as project work. We also support a local pastor in the Monterrey area, and partner with his church for an annual vacation Bible school. We support and regularly visit Big Heart Orphanage in Reynosa, Mexico.
In Central America, we partner with Hope For Tomorrow Children’s Home in Guatemala City. Our team trips there work with the physical and occupational needs of the children and do construction tasks around the properties they own.
Asbury supports missionaries in Colombia, Ecuador Peru and have provided medical clinics in Arequipa, Peru in partnership with 1Nation1Day.
Asbury began its work in the Northern European country of Estonia in 1994 after having supported an Estonian pastor during his seminary studies. Estonia was a former Soviet republic that gained independence in 1991, and there was (and still is) much opportunity for the gospel. The Methodist Church had survived the Soviet era, and after Asbury’s first exploratory trip, we helped the Estonian Methodist church purchase an old Soviet pioneers’ camp right on the coast of the Baltic Sea. What was once a camp to indoctrinate youth into Soviet teaching is now a place to declare the gospel! Asbury still takes an annual team to serve a week at summer camp.
Asbury was also present early in the process of helping to establish the Baltic Methodist Theological Seminary in Tallinn, Estonia. This seminary provides higher education and prepares students for vibrant ministry in Estonia and beyond. Asbury’s Senior Pastor Tom Harrison and Asbury member Mary Ann Smith are on the board of the Seminary.
Asbury also has a Connecting Congregation, Agape Church, in Pärnu, Estonia. An Asbury team goes each year during Agape’s vacation Bible school.
Kami Tribe in Tanzania
In 1997, Asbury engaged with the Kami Tribe in Tanzania. This was an intentional effort to help reach an unreached people group. (What’s unreached or a people group? Get a definition at the Joshua Project.) The Orthodox Lutheran Church of Tanzania was in the general area, but not specifically working with the Kami. Through a partnership with them, Asbury has had a major role in the planting of churches in over 30 Kami villages. Over the years, we have helped train and support pastors and evangelists, provide medical care, provide water wells and rain catchment systems, and build church buildings. We continue our partnership with relationships, financial support and an annual trip for church construction. One of the churches in Tanzania hosts a vacation Bible school modeled on Asbury’s VBS when after a Tanzanian pastor was here one year. It is possible that the Kami are no longer considered “unreached” by the Joshua Project’s definition. Praise be to God for working through Asbury and the ELCT!
Central Asia/Caspian Area
In 2002, Asbury intentionally chose to engage with another unreached people group that is Muslim and in the 10/40 Window. (What’s the 10/40 Window? Get a definition at the Joshua Project.) This is a large unreached people group of over 30 million people, spread across several nations. Asbury supports missionaries in this part of the world and has been involved with a number of projects over the years including humanitarian aid, vocational training, English teaching, Bible translation and printing, prayerwalking, and ministry through television and social media.
Syrian Refugee Crisis
After ISIS became visible on the world stage in 2014, the world’s attention was brought to the displacement of approximately 12 million people because of ISIS and the Syrian civil war. During this time, Asbury began hearing amazing stories of God’s moving in the lives of people in miraculous ways. Many people were having dreams or visions of a man in white, and either in the dream or in conversation with someone later realize that it was Jesus they had seen. Their hearts were prepared through the dream to become followers of Jesus. Praise be to God! Asbury began looking for ways to be a part of what God was miraculously doing in that part of the world. We are now part of the Kinship Network, a partnership of churches and ministries in the U.S., Lebanon and other Middle East countries. The primary ministry partner in Lebanon is Horizons International, and the primary partner in other countries is Ananias House.
Asbury assists these ministries along with local orthodox churches in providing humanitarian aid, children’s education, and spiritual teaching to refugees and displaced persons. Much spiritual fruit is seen amongst the chaos of uncertainty. An Asbury member moved to Beirut in 2019 to work on the staff of Horizons International.