How God Is Changing Lives in Asia
Across time zones, languages, and cultures, men with the same core needs and desires are being transformed by the same God. Robert Lim shares from Malaysia the exciting ministry that is taking place in Asia—and how you can be a part of it.
Director of Man in the Mirror Asia
A question I’m asked sometimes when speaking to people in America is this: “In what ways are men different where you are from?” My answer isn’t that interesting. Because truthfully, men in Asia want the same thing that men in America want—they want to feel loved. And when you’re leading a small group of men, you must lead with love.
The Apostle Paul begins 1 Corinthians 13 with these three verses:
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Paul knew something that many of us are still learning. Without love, our words and actions mean little. When men don’t feel loved, they feel insignificant. And only through love will we reach them.
I became a Christian in 1992 but have been a cultural Christian most of my newfound life. There were times I felt closer to God, but applying the truth and walking in obedience to Christ evaded me.I became a Christian in 1992 but have been a cultural Christian most of my newfound life.Click To Tweet
One of the most formative times in my faith was when I joined a men’s group at my church, where I was introduced to The Man in the Mirror book. I can’t overstate the impact the book had on my life. It was like reading my memoir. It spoke so much to my life and the things I was dealing with.
When I finished it, I had two options. I could either hand off the book to another man who might benefit from it, or I could gather with several men and start a small group, studying the book together chapter-by-chapter. I chose the latter.
The Start of Man in the Mirror Asia
I prayed to the Lord to send someone to me, and God led me to David Ong, who had already been using the book with some men. We agreed to identify leaders from different churches and form a small group to go through the book together. We called ourselves the MIM (for Man in the Mirror) Small Group. And after we did this for 18 months, I told them, “Hey, let’s multiply and each man start his own group. Let’s make a ministry and a discipleship movement with this book.”
God’s timing was perfect. A few months after we started to multiply, the book’s author, Patrick Morley, was invited to speak at a men’s conference in my town, and my church was hosting the event! We met with Patrick, and he told us we had a razor-sharp strategy for moving forward.
So that’s what we did, with the goal of establishing MIM small groups in every city and town—not tied to a specific church, but rather, gathering men from all churches, as well as the marketplace. Our first group started meeting in 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia.
God has blessed us all greatly. We have Catholic men, Baptist men, Anglican men, Methodist men, and many others. At the end of the day, we all have the same goals: growing to be more like Christ, applying the gospel to every area of our lives, building one another up, and cultivating the same love for others that He has for us.
We use The Man in the Mirror book and two workbooks from Man in the Mirror as the topics for discussion and meet fortnightly to go deep into the issues that men face.
Men are encouraged to take a probing look into their own lives and take ownership of the issues and sins they are struggling with. Pointing each other to Jesus, over time men are convicted to surrender their will to God and walk according to His ways. Accountability with each other in the group happens naturally and they feel comfortable, over time, being totally transparent. This is how we build disciples—through these close, honest relationships.Pointing each other to Jesus, over time men are convicted to surrender their will to God and walk according to His ways.Click To Tweet
Today, we have 29 MIM men’s small groups throughout the city of Kuala Lumpur, as well as groups in Indonesia, Philippines, and Singapore. Even China, with all its difficulties, has some Man in the Mirror groups meeting. We are looking to start groups in Nepal, India, and Australia next.
The ethos of our MIM small group is what I call “M&M.” (Who doesn’t love M&Ms, right?) It stands for missional and multiplication. We want each group to have a missional mindset, reaching men for Christ. We also desire for these groups to multiply. Our aim is for men to participate in a group and then one day start their own group. Disciples and disciple makers.
Together, men begin to change into the likeness of Christ and live victoriously. Life change is constantly occurring. We see men caught in the throes of addiction to substances or pornography. We see men with broken marriages. We see men who struggle to keep from losing their temper. They get involved and their lives are changed. The ROI is incredible.
Different Time Zones, Same Gospel
As an organization, Man in the Mirror is continuing to develop ways to move across the globe with this vision of discipling men. And while languages and cultures are different, in many ways men are much the same no matter where you land the plane. They’re all dealing with hurt, shame, guilt, and brokenness. They all have questions. They all need help. They all need love. They all need Jesus.
No matter which time zone you live in, God is the same. The gospel is the same. Yes, the methods of sharing the Gospel change and evolve. But the message stays the same.
The model, too, is the same: Think big, start small, and go deep. Jesus had a big vision to bring people back to God, but He started small, with 12 men, and He went deep with them. This is what we are trying to emulate in Asia.
THE BIG IDEA: Across time zones, languages, and cultures, we are brothers in Christ.
Moving to the next level, we are currently developing a three-year curriculum for international use called My Journey. It’s in the form of a workbook consisting of 18 chapters per year, with each chapter adapted from one of nine books by Patrick Morley, edited for the purpose of sparking meaningful, small-group discussion.
We want to help men live in Christ, live like Christ, and live for Christ with other men, and we’re excited for what this will mean in Asia and elsewhere around the world.
Discipleship Changes Everything
We know that the men themselves aren’t the only ones affected by all of this. Their wives, children, workplaces, and communities are also affected.The model we are trying to emulate in Asia is: think big, start small, and go deep.Click To Tweet
With this in mind, we do something special with our MIM groups. Once a year, we have a dinner for each group, and the men invite their families. It’s a wonderful time of fellowship around a great meal.
But the best part comes when we offer the microphone to the wives and children there. And each one shares the changes they have seen in their husband or father. Wives talk about how their husbands are more loving, less angry, and more responsible. Children, with tears streaming down their faces, talk about how much their fathers have changed and how attentive and gentle they are.
Discipleship changes everything. God allows for this amazing transformation to take place. And it’s happening in America. It’s happening in Asia. It’s happening everywhere. Man in the Mirror is striving to equip Christian men all around the world to engage in meaningful relationship that changes lives and build the kingdom of God.
It is not easy work. It is not quick work. But I believe discipling men is the most rewarding work I could ever be a part of. You can be a part of this work, too—personally, prayerfully, and financially.
As brothers in Christ, I hope you’ll be encouraged and inspired by this short video about how God has transformed Paul through his group in Malaysia.
Robert has been active in evangelism and discipleship for the last 20 years. In 2013, he started his first Man in the Mirror men’s small group, and in 2019 Robert opted for early retirement from his advertising business, to fully invest in men’s discipleship. His heart’s desire is to see men’s lives impacted by the gospel, and he believes that, many times, this happens when men find a safe space to be open about their hurts, fears, and struggles. It is then that they’ll turn to the only One who can heal them, Jesus Christ.