‘For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.’ (Luke 19:10)
Take Melbourne as an example. Over 50% of those who live around Melbourne come from a non-English speaking background. Over half of this population group communicate in either Mandarin or Cantonese. For those who live in Melbourne, over half of them use English as their first language. Other languages include Mandarin, Cantonese, Indonesian, Vietnamese and Korean. It is estimated that about 20% of the residents in Melbourne are Asians. Most of these people come from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia and Vietnam. However this proportion varies with time.
In the past, most of the people in the Chinese churches came from Hong Kong who speak Cantonese. The main media used in their church services is Cantonese. These days there is an increasing number of people from mainland China migrating to western countries. Alongside with that, there are also more immigrants and students coming from Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan. As such, the proportion of the community groups speaking in Mandarin has been increasing.
Some years ago Gospel Hall has started the Mandarin ministry. With the support of the Council and guidance of the ministry group, we started the Mandarin speaking Cai Hong Fellowship in 2008, and since 2013 it has been renamed to Agape Fellowship. We conduct our Sunday services in three languages: Cantonese, Mandarin and English (translation through wireless headset). We pray that God continues to guide us and provide us the wisdom and resources to serve in these multicultural ministries.