Thomas Michael Hieber is a German who has a passionate Father's heart for the South Asian people. After completing secondary education in Germany he got a degree in Business and worked for about 12 years in business and sales promotion at his uncle's company in Germany. During that time, he was involved in missions in our church, youth ministry and served as an elder in the same church. During a mission’s conference in Germany on the unreached peoples groups in the world, Thomas sensed God’s calling for fulltime ministry amongst the unreached. At the age of 31, Thomas and his family left Germany for further studies in the UK. A 5-month language course in English, followed by a 3-month short-term ministry trip to Zambia prepared him for his college entry. From 1993 -1995 he did a 2 year course at the All Nations Christian College (ANCC) in Heartfordshire UK, from where he graduated with a Diploma in Biblical and Cross Cultural Studies. A further Internship with a multi-cultural church in London as well as several courses with South Asian Concern (SAC) prepared him for his ministry in Kenya amongst the South Asia community. After joining Africa Inland Mission International (AIM) in 1996, Thomas and his family came to Nairobi in 1997 where he started a ministry together with another couple from AIM called ' South Asian Outreach'. His involvement in this ministry was mainly developing training material, prayer guides, research, as well as training of lay people, theological students and churches for Asians ministry. He was also involved in friendship evangelism with out Indian friends. Over the last 3 years, he was able to visit several African countries and do a survey on the South Asian communities. The aim was to get reports of possible opportunities to organizations that are concerned about the South Asian Diaspora. With information people can pray and prepare to go to Africa. Out of this research and other publications, a booklet developed called ‘ 30 days of Prayer Focus on Asians in Africa’ Another vision is to help facilitating networks with other like minded organizations and partners that want to reach out to the South Asian community in the Diaspora or to unreached people groups. Thomas would like to connect people and ministries together for the purpose of networking, sharing of ideas, resources as well as prayer. In 2006, Thomas and his family moved back to Germany for various family reasons. Since November 2006, they live in Berlin and work with INTERSERVE Europe. Like in Africa we want to research the German and European South Asian scene. It is Thomas Hieber's hope and prayer that, as more information is made available on the South Asian Diaspora on mainland Europe, people around the World will start praying and God will send workers to come to Europe to help. I also would like to give the churches in Germany a vision for their neighbors, who have come from many parts of the world including India. I want to be an advocate for the Unreached People Groups, especially from South Asia.View all articles by Thomas Hieber
"And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat her/him. The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love her/him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God" (Lev. 19:33-34, NKJV)
Who are Asians...?
There is much we can learn about our Asian neighbors, such as how they view themselves, what they believe about family, and why they have come to America. The more we know, the greater our understanding and enjoyment of Asian individuals-and the easier it is to share the good news of Jesus Christ with them. Below are a few facts about Asians in general.
The word 'Asian' refers to a race of people, not a language or a country
They prefer to be referred to as 'Asian' or, even better, to be identified with their specific country of origin ('Indian,' 'Laotian,' 'Korean,' 'Chinese,' or 'Indonesian,' for example)
According to the 2000 Census:
(1) The total Asian population in the United States is 11.9 million and growing fast;
(2) Asians in the United States are from more than 30 different countries of origin;
(3) Almost half of the Asian-born population have a Bachelor degree or higher, compared to 27% of the general population; and
(4) About 15% of physicians and surgeons in the United States are Asian-Americans
Each country in Asia speaks a different language; some nations like India have multiple languages and dialects within their borders
Every country has a distinctive culture and its own unique set of values. Some countries have cultures and diverse set of values within their boundaries
One shared value among all Asian nations is strong family ties; parents are willing to sacrifice for their children's education and success
Asians come to the United States for a variety of reasons:
(1) Most immigrate seeking the American dream;
(2) Some come as refugees;
(3) Some arrive as foreign students ranging from short-term language students to college-level and higher;
(4) Some seek temporary job opportunities;
(5) Some come as brides or bridegrooms to US service persons;
(6) Some are simply tourists; and
(7) Many are second- or third-generation Asians who were born and raised here
Love Thy Neighbor...
Once Asians were completely strangers totally disconnected by the Pacific, but now God has brought them to US as neighbors and coworkers to the nationals. They bring rich cultures and strong values that add flavor to their new homeland-America, the most wonderful and multi-cultural nation on planet Earth.
Anyone who has experienced what it's like to relocate from one place to another knows how we feel like strangers when we arrive. God has brought to US new neighbors that would appreciate the kindness of the nationals to them during times of transition. Pray that God would lead the nationals to relationships with the Asian neighbors in which they can share the life journey to God's kingdom. Here are some wonderful ways to build relationships that will open up opportunities to share your faith in Jesus:
Be a Neighbor: Give Asians a warm welcome; show genuine kindness, for they are strangers
Be a Student: Be open to all they can teach you. You could be pleasantly surprised at the fascinating things you learn about your Asian neighbors that may well be contrary to your current perception. Learn who they are, where they are from, and discover all you can about their rich culture and the values they hold
Be a Friend: Accept Asian people as unique, God-sent opportunities to share your life experiences, especially your faith in Jesus. Offer your assistance in times of need or just to help out
MAP International can assist you in effectively sharing the Gospel with these people groups. We exist to assist churches, associations, and conventions with ministry evangelism strategies for reaching Asian and other ethnic communities with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Indebted to NAMB