cemetery ritualsLast week, we were in Hengchun for the OMF 1st term missionaries conference.    This is anybody who has been here under 4 years.  What we appreciate so much about OMF International is their commitment to provide ongoing support & training for their missionaries.  At the conference, we learned about evangelism, church planting, urban marginalized ministry, process of language learning, etc.  Of course, we spent a lot of time praying for Taiwanese, our missional endeavors & each other.

When I was a pastor, I preached numerous times on 1 Thessalonians 5:17, which commands “pray continually.”  I’ve tried to explain this verse in practical ways that could be applied, but never literally because how can anyone pray without ceasing?  Now, I have a somewhat different perspective on praying continually.  Though we cannot pray 24/7, it does mean living a life of continual reliance on the Lord & finding peace in His presence & promises every moment of our day.  Presently we have a couple of missionaries with serious medical issues that we are praying for.  In fact, many missionaries face medical problems on the field. We are indeed in an ongoing spiritual battle, and our enemy uses all & every means to stop us from preaching the gospel.

The reality of it all is that whatever we may face, the best & the only place to be is on our knees with our arms held high because when it comes to all things that truly matter in life & missions, only God can bring them to pass.

I am reminded of this all the time, but definitely more so yesterday, which was Tomb Sweeping Day in Taiwan.  It’s a national holiday where Taiwanese visit the tombs of their parents & loved ones to clean, burn offerings & bow down to the dead to appease them.  Taiwanese culture & life are dictated so much by such practices of worshipping the dead that we wonder sometimes what impact we could have on this society as a whole.  It does feel like a drop in a bucket.  At such times, we find ourselves in prayerful reliance on the Lord once again.  In His presence, we continue to find hope, strength & excitement to persevere for He reveals to us time & time again who He is.  To our Father in heaven “nations are like a drop in a bucket (Isaiah 40:15a)”, and surely He can heal, justify & transform lives no matter how unreachable they may seem in our own eyes.

How exciting!