All posts by Kirsty Bond

Solar Powered Bibles for Pastor Sun

Solar Powered Bibles for Pastor Sun

Thanks to generous donations from AO Supporters, we recently shipped off 70 more solar powered MegaVoice audio bible players to rural Cambodia. These little devices are like precious treasures in the hands of church leaders wanting to share the good news with fellow villagers. Pastor Sun Art for example, cannot read well himself. So imagine the challenge it would be to share the word of God with his mainly illiterate home-church if he didn’t have the MegaVoice bible!

A few years ago, Pastor Sun and his family were, as far as they knew, the only believers in his mainly Buddhist village. God answered his prayers and connected him with other Christians when a team from Asian Outreach Cambodia (AOC) provided a water-well in the area where he lived. “I used to cry because I felt hopeless but now I cry because I have found new hope” he says. “AOC staff have provided me with resources like bibles, books and MegaVoice audio bibles and now my home church has more than 20 members and we work together to tell the good news to other people!”

Pastor Sun Art and his family listen to their MegaVoice bible before they go to sleep and before they get up in the morning. One hour in the sunlight will power the device for four hours of listening time. “But there are not enough to go around” says Pastor Sun. “We need a lot more MegaVoice players to share to other people who want to know about Jesus Christ”.

Thankfully a portion of the players recently sent will help fulfill Pastor Sun’s need, but there are always more villages and villagers who are yet to hear the good news. If you’d like to donate towards providing more MegaVoice bibles (each player costs $50 NZ), then please contact

Taking the Gospel to the Ends of the Earth

Taking the Gospel to
the Ends of the Earth

After a period of about 65 years of communist rule, Christian missionaries entered Mongolia in 1991 and estimated that only around four Christians existed in the entire population. They had their work cut out for them! Good thing the success of their efforts didn’t rely entirely on their own efforts, but on the power and goodness of the gospel message and the Holy Spirit. Now, several decades later, there are around 70,000 Christians in Mongolia and Asian Outreach church planting activities are instrumental in growing this number further. The majority of Mongolian Christians live in the main cities, however much of Mongolia’s population live rurally and have not yet heard the gospel message. Asian Outreach Mongolia (Genesis) teams have recently accepted the request from churches in the capital city, Ulaanbaatar, to assist them with establishing churches in the geographically isolated (and predominantly Buddhist) counties in the Khangai Mountain area.

So what is it like heading into such territory? We spoke to Tuguldur (Tuugii) Tsogtbaatar (41 years old) who pastors Bethany church and lives with his wife and two boys, 6 and 11 years, in Ulaanbaatar city. Tuugii’s 20 years experience pastoring and church-planting in Mongolia make him a wealth of insights.

How did you come to accept the Christian faith for yourself and get involved in ministry?

In 1993 one of my classmates at school shared the gospel with me on the phone and invited me to her church. I told her I would come but didn’t. She accused me of being a liar so the next time she invited me, I went. Two things really touched my heart from that first church service – how kind, friendly and hospitable the people were and the worship songs. I went away with a voice in my heart  saying “this is what you’ve been seeking”. Then I knew that I needed this Jesus and believed in Him. I was baptized in 1995 and became a full-time staff member at church the same year. I went on to graduate from Mongolian Bible College (UBTC) in 2001 was ordained as a pastor in 2002.

Can you describe the lifestyle of people living in rural areas of Mongolia where you work?

The main residents living in the villages are herders – they tend the cattle and are on the move constantly, seeking better pasture for their sheep, goats, cows, horses and camels. They utilise services from the village centres such as banking and schooling so usually their kids attend boarding schools and stay in the dormitories.

How open are the people to missionaries and the gospel message?

They’re generally very hospitable, friendly and welcoming but Buddhism is widespread and the major religion of Oberhangai province – these people can be hostile and closed towards Christians. People usually come to Christ through their Christian relatives, friends and family members – if their lives are consistent with what they share about Christ. 

What are the biggest barriers for people accepting Christianity? 

The Buddhist mentality and suspicion that Christians are linked with the west and want to convert Mongolians to Western culture. They fear that eventually their wealth and resources will be exploited through Christian influence and they get Christianity mixed up with western culture in general.

What approach does AOM take to church planting in Mongolia?

We deploy evangelism teams in partnership with local churches and focus a lot on discipling and mentoring leaders through our Great Commission Institute (GCI) training courses. For our mission into Overkhangai province specifically, we will travel into the region at least six times a year and add a wealth of experience and leadership to our local partners. We’ve also raised funds to run activities alongside our church planting efforts.

How can we best pray for the teams involved in rural Mongolian missions?

Please pray for the right people to join our team and health and wisdom for the leaders, especially as they must travel for many hours. Please pray that we can help effectively mentor the local leaders and disciple them to become leaders who help spread Christianity in their communities.

Under the Radar in South East Asia

Under the radar in South East Asia


Some places where our missionaries work, like China and some South East Asian countries, are “creative access nations”. This means the governments are not welcoming of Christian mission activity and missionaries need to be creative in how they operate there. For this reason, the missionary profiled here is not named and we cannot publish photos of him and his family, nor reveal the exact country where he works. However, if you’d like to learn more about him and his work and/or send a donation to assist him financially, please contact

How did you know God was calling you to missions work in South East Asia?

Though I grew up in a Christian family, I went off the rails for a few years while at university. When I came to saving faith in the Lord Jesus, I realized the field that I was studying, and not enjoying, could be a blessing to many in creative access nations. Within a few months of being saved I felt called to SE Asia to serve in a tent making role.  

Did you experience culture shock when you first arrived?

Yes! People were very friendly and helpful but I found it hard to communicate on any deep level. I made a lot of efforts at language study which has helped. Sometimes in the first few years, I wouldn’t want to go out of the house or meet anyone for a few days or weeks. Now I suffer more from reverse culture shock going back to NZ.

Can you describe the kind of environment where you live and work?

Although I was based in rural areas for a few years doing poverty alleviation projects, I am now based in a large city. I live in a flat with my family and drive a scooter around the city to work and meet people. If I go out with all of the family, we tend to take a taxi.

What is the main focus of your work in SE Asia?

I work with a team of church planters, who focus on training and supporting rural churches. This also involves mentoring and coaching new leaders. I also work in a consultancy company for a fair part of my time.

Can you describe a typical day?

There aren’t many typical days for me but if I am in a routine it will be up at 6:00 am for a quiet time. I pray with my wife and then head off to a meeting with the AO team. We do a bible study and discuss our recent and upcoming activities, strategize next steps and coordinate our work. Then I head off to another office and work with a team of local consultants. I get home around 6:00 pm and tend to eat rice fairly often.    

Why is it important for you to keep your work with AO under the radar?

Although the central authorities seem more open to see the benefits of Christianity than in the past, it can be hard to predict what will happen in the future. Some of AO’s activities are now open, but our role in church planting isn’t at this stage. In the past, many missionaries have had their visas revoked and not been allowed to return. This hasn’t happened very recently though.

What positive change have you seen since working in SE Asia?

The church is now much more free than when I first came. In the late 1990’s police would follow around both foreign and local Christians. Now the church is relatively free in urban areas and repression is localized and often mainly from family.

How receptive do you feel people are to the gospel message?

There is growing interest as people meet issues they cannot resolve such as illness and personal crises. However, many start off well but turn away due to family pressure. Not participating in ancestral worship is considered a betrayal of family. It is one of the main obstacles to growth.  

What are the major cultural differences you face?

After my first few years I was near giving up working here due to the corruption I was surrounded with. But working more with the local AO team has encouraged me about what the Lord is doing. Locals are very pragmatic and tend to be looking for what advantage can be gained from you. It is much easier to have a genuine friendship with Christians as you understand each other on a deeper level.

What is your vision and hope for the people in the community where you are based?

The AO vision is “holistic change at all levels of society.” Seeing the openness of government authorities to the Good News is encouraging. Now we pray we will see this openness spread to the rural areas and towns. Approval for Christian education, influence in media, business, healthcare and government would be wonderful.    

What do you find most challenging about the lifestyle you’re living?

Most challenging now is the extreme heat, and increasing pollution. Also, with children the recreational and educational options are quite restricted and expensive compared to home.  

What food and cultural-experience do you miss most about NZ?

Chocolate and cheese and ice cream. Driving a car through the countryside with beautiful music playing. And going to the beach.

How can we best pray for you and the local people you’re working with and serving?

I often ask people to pray Psalm 67 for my family and the nation we serve. There are many people groups here who don’t yet know to direct their praise and worship to their Creator and Saviour. 


Getting Stuck in – a Cambodian Mission Trip

Getting Stuck in –
a Cambodian Mission Trip

Stuck in the mud while driving in the wet season

A team from the Frontline discipleship course (run out of The Village Church in Horsham Downs), recently spent a few weeks on a short term mission trip to Cambodia. It was great for our kiwi staff managing the base in Stung Treng to have a bunch of friendly faces turn up to help! With lots of energy to get stuck in practically, the team made a real impact and of course were impacted themselves too. Here’s a brief report from team member, Zoe Finlay, on her experience.

The Frontline team outside The Hope Centre, where they stayed in Cambodia

As a Frontline team, finishing our 6 months of discipleship in Cambodia with AOC was an experience none of us will ever forget. We were privileged enough to spend two weeks in Stung Treng and were the first team to stay in The Hope Centre’s accommodation. Frontline was involved in a variety of things while visiting Stung Treng. The four boys in our team spent almost all of their time building a much needed cow shed on the farm and putting up fence posts at the AOC base. Meanwhile the five girls helped with cleaning in The Hope Centre, taught English classes twice a day, helped the staff at a children’s club and even did a bit of building and gardening.

It was a huge blessing for us to be able to come into AOC at a time when they needed the help and we could be of use. We really enjoyed serving in Cambodia and came away from the trip having thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Over the two weeks we visited we were able to build great relationships with the staff at AOC – even though some hardly spoke any English! The way the centre works there is a real testament to Jared and Emily (the kiwi couple managing the Asian Outreach operation in Stung Treng).  We were amazed at the love flowing through that place and could really see God’s work in the people and at the centre. 

By Zoe Finlay

A Cambodian Internship – Sam Darby’s Experience

A Cambodian Internship –
Sam Darby’s Experience

In 2016 Sam Darby (then a university student), traveled to Cambodia where he spent time working alongside Asian Outreach staff (both kiwis and Cambodians) as an intern. We asked him a few questions about the experience and it turns out he had an awesome time and would recommend it to other young kiwis looking for a missions-oriented adventure. Have a read below and if you think you’d be up for something similar, then consider applying to become our AONZ 2018 intern in Cambodia. Click here for more details

What sort of study and work experience did you have prior to heading to Cambodia?

When I left for Cambodia I was halfway through an Arts degree at Auckland Uni, studying Politics and Sociology. I’d worked in a number of different jobs since leaving school, including two years of building, which was a real asset during my time in Cambodia.

What were the main projects and activities you spent your time on in Cambodia?

My main focus while in Stung Treng was on business development, researching how we could best utilise the 6ha business farm and looking at how we could make the training farm more self sustainable financially. Although this was my core focus, every week looked different. Some weeks I’d spend a couple of days helping install bio-sand filters, working on construction projects back at the farm and helping with one of the many ACTS (Assisting Children to School) projects.

Did you feel you were able to positively make a difference there? How so?

Yes, I do think that my time there made a positive difference. Most significantly for me was working with and mentoring the local staff at Asian Outreach Cambodia and helping them to grow into being better leaders – this can contribute to a lifelong impact for their communities as they continue to do amazing work long after I’ve gone. 

How was your experience connecting with and learning from the team of AO staff in Cambodia?

The AO staff are amazing and were always keen to learn new things whether it be new English words, new practical skills or better ways to do their job. It was really enlightening to learn about Khmer culture from them and experience a different approach to life

What did you gain from the experience that has benefited your character and/or skill-set?

Understanding and existing in a totally different culture was definitely character-developing and taught me a lot about how to approach conflicts and problem solving. Rushing in with “this is how we do it at home” was not always the right path and required me to think how Khmer culture played a part in challenges we faced.

What sort of impact did the trip have on your Christian faith?

Because there were no English churches within a 6 hour drive, a Sunday church service would mean sitting in 30 degree heat listening to a sermon preached in a language I only understood every fifth word of (on a good day) Needless to say my enthusiasm for attending these services quickly waned and I was forced to find my own space to spend time meditating on and growing my faith.

Do you think the experience you gained, improved your career prospects upon coming home to NZ? How so?

Yes I definitely think the experience has improved my career prospects back in NZ. Employers are always looking for qualities that distinguish one candidate from the rest. Spending a year in a foreign country shows that someone is adaptable and teachable. To work in such an environment requires life skills that can’t be generally taught in a classroom. Time spent travelling generally leads to people having a better understanding of who they are and what they want to achieve in life which means they will have a purpose to their work.

What was most challenging about your time in Cambodia?

Language is always challenging and isolating in foreign cultures. Not being able to communicate with people can be immensely frustrating but is also a great motivating factor for learning and pursuing time with the staff. Also the isolation of Stung Treng was a real personal challenge for me as I discovered just how much I’d come accustomed to having friends and family being a support structure in my life


Did the trip leave you with any lasting desires or intentions to return to working in a missions environment at some point in the future?

I have always had and will always have a desire to be involved in work helping developing nations. Whether this is in a missions environment or professional capacity, my goal is always to look at how my skills and passions can best serve those in need.

Why would you recommend doing an internship in Cambodia with AO to other young people? 

I think an internship like this presents people an amazing opportunity to develop themselves both personally and professionally while allowing them to make a positive impact on a country very much in need of people who are passionate about building a better future.