The speakers at the Asia Messianic Forum 2019 (AMF 2019) brought excellent teaching that not only encouraged the delegates but also challenged us both in our personal walk and our national callings.
Throughout the conference, Asher Intrater (Revive Israel), Joseph Shulam (Netivyah Bible Ministry) and Peter Tsukahira (Kehila HaCarmel), spoke on the practical application of oneness between Jews and gentiles; whether it be reading the weekly Torah portions, in prayer for the leaders of Israel, for the salvation of the Jews and so on.
The AMF was formed primarily for the purpose of bringing together churches and organizations in Asia with a heart for Israel to see God’s redemptive plan fulfilled. We gather for fellowship, to hear from participating nations their journey on fulfilling this redemptive plan and to receive teaching from messianic speakers. It is also a platform for inter-nation networking to encourage and help each other. We affectionately use the AMF abbreviation to mean the “Asian Messianic Family”.
AMF 2019 was held at Avana Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand between 13 and 16 August. It turned out to be a large conference with over 600 registered participants from over 20 Asian countries. The Thai organizers brought together the programme and the logistics of the conference with an excellent spirit. The various worship teams also served with excellence through a variety of Thai, English and Hebrew songs of praise and worship.
How it began
The AMF was birthed in 2009 but its inception was probably in 1929 when Pastor Juji Nakada in Japan received a revelation regarding God’s heart for His chosen people, Israel. He began to teach his disciples to pray for the salvation of the Jewish people. During the Second World War, when Jewish refugees arrived in Kobe, these disciples reached out to them by giving them food despite their own difficult circumstances.
This group formed a church called Sekai Kyusei Kyo (World Messianity). In the 1980s the leaders of this movement met Joseph Shulam, a messianic leader in Jerusalem. They continued to establish relationships with other messianic Jewish leaders like Eitan Shishkoff and Peter Tsukahira. These three Israeli leaders started going to Japan separately in the 1990s to teach the church. In 2008, the Japanese leaders went to Israel to discuss with the messianic leaders the teaching schedules for 2009. However they were unable to find suitable dates for each one of them to come separately. It was then that the Messianic leaders suggested that they come together and for the Japanese team to hold one big conference as well as invite other Asian nations to join in.
The Japanese leaders were reluctant as they felt it was too big a project for them to take on but went ahead anyway. Brothers Naoji and Shoji Ishida took the lead by creating a website and called it “Asia Messianic Forum”. They waited a long time for responses from other nations but were discouraged to receive none. Just as they were about to give up, a response came from South Korea followed by Singapore and Thailand. The Asia Messianic Forum was birthed.
Since its birth in 2009 in Japan, the Forum it has become a biannual event with an increasing number of churches participating in it. In 2011 it was jointly held by Japan and South Korea. That year, other nations joined the fellowship of AMF. These included the Philippines, India, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
So far AMF has been held in Singapore (2013), Philippines (2015), Taiwan (2017) and this year in Thailand.
Besides the teaching session, the fellowship over meals and other occasions provided a platform for the delegates to connect with each other and discuss cross-border projects to increase the understanding of God’s heart for Israel in our nations.
For some nations, the number of people with a heart for Israel is small and they have received little teaching on this subject. Other nations have a greater number of people with a heart for Israel and have received more teaching on this subject. Through collaborations, we aim to increase this understanding and community throughout Asia.
Some nations also have many Israeli tourists visiting their country and many in these nations want to find ways to bless these tourists. Other nations, on the other hand, already have experience in this area of reaching out to Israeli tourists. So this is another area where we can help and encourage each other. AMF 2019 was a bridge for us to connect.
As we progress, we are also asking how we can work together to serve the messianic community in Israel and help them fulfill their calling to bring the Gospel to the nations.
The AMF leadership team made a decision that the next Forum will be held in Goa, India. Goa is a strategic location where thousands of young Israelis visit annually after their stint in the Israel Defense Force (IDF). AMF 2021 will be an occasion wherein we can put “boots on the ground” to pray for these young adults whom we understand to have experienced trauma during their time serving in the IDF. We hope to be able to meet to release God’s healing upon them.
We have also been discussing the need to raise the next generation of AMF leaders and exploring to arrange special sessions for the Young Adults in AMF.
We also desire to see greater participation from the messianic body in Israel at AMF 2021. Especially since India is a much shorter distance to travel to from Israel.
AMF 2021 in Goa, India
As the team prepares for the next AMF in 2021, please do remember us in prayer especially on the following points:
- For God to raise up a strong leadership team in India to lead AMF 2021.
- For believers in the land to rise up to the call to prepare and work on the ground.
- For wisdom on how to raise awareness and need for the Forum in Asia and in particular among the churches in India.
- For tangible resources to be made available such as a large enough venue, accommodation and funds to run the Forum.
We are excited about what God will do in the next two years in Asia and Israel and we are certainly looking forward to meeting friends and making new friends at AMF 2021.