A few days this week, we are travelling back and forth for our 2nd ministry visit to discern where God’s will lies for us for our more permanent ministry. We are visiting Puxin which is a rural town located about 45 minutes from Taichung. There is one OMF couple who chose to move into this location because it is a county with especially low percentage of Christians.
What this couple has established within a year is truly amazing & points to God’s gracious & powerful hand working in their ministry. After they chose where they needed to be, it took some time to find a home/ministry center. One day they were driving around and saw a sign on a home which had been vacant for a while because it’s right next to a funeral home. The Taiwanese don’t want to live there because they believe it’s bad luck to live next to a funeral home. It is a great location for this missionary couple because it’s close to many public and government facilities. The best part is that they are across the street from a middle school through which they would build many relationships with students, parents, teachers & even with the principal of the school.
Currently at the middle school, they go in every week to teach a curriculum on morals & ethics and during summer break they run week long camps. The first floor of their home is set up as a ministry center where they hold Sunday worship, Bible study, English tutoring, and fellowship. When we visited the ministry last Saturday, we were so encouraged by how well our friends have assimilated into this rural town. They have truly become insiders to the community.
For us, being insiders to the community means that apart from dwelling in the same community, you understand the heart issues of the local people, their joys & hurts. But what may be more important is that your neighbors could see that you understand them. It is at this juncture that our Taiwanese friends will open their hearts to us and our words will be heard by them. Although many Taiwanese have been very respectful & kind to us, at this point we are still outsiders. To be an insider, it will take much more than merely speaking the language. It will take humility & even humiliation at times. And it will definitely require letting go of many things that make us different from the Taiwanese. We believe this is what Jesus has exemplified in His ministry.
Philippians 2:6-8 explains,
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
This servant’s attitude is what we observed in Puxin. Please keep us in your prayers on becoming not only missionaries to the Taiwanese, but their close & trusted friends.