As I have shared in our last post, we need to decide on 3 places to visit to see where God is leading us to move & live permanently to do missions work. OMF in Taiwan’s target people are the working class & the urban marginalized. Since 16 million people out of 23 million fall into this category, where we could do ministry is really limitless. But because we are so new and much we still need to learn, we have to go where there is already someone there. At least in our first term, we have to work with a veteran missionary to learn about the people in that particular area & how we can effectively minister to them.
At this point we are still in prayer, but feel that we should explore ministries in the north, the central & the south. It seems like in the north, there are more opportunities to minister to the urban marginalized. We have OMF members working with youth in reform school, prostitutes, homeless, small shop workers, broken families & so forth. But in the central & southern parts of Taiwan, we have teams working in more rural areas to minister to the working class & their families.
We do somewhat feel badly that in one more year we have to leave Taichung, where we are slowly getting used to the lifestyle, not to mention people we are getting to know more & more. Moving to another city means that we have to start all over. But it is also exciting to hope & think about what plan God has for us here in Taiwan. I just know that wherever He takes us, it will stretch our faith, make us more dependent on Him, but we’re also confident that we will witness His power in a mighty way, especially in our weaknesses. We will tell you more about each place as we visit them one at a time.
In the meantime, when opportunities arise we are always willing to take them. God sent an opportunity for Jeanette, Megan & Alison to work with an OMF family who are church planters in Taichung. During the summer they have a special ministry to reach out to our local community. They lead a session at the public library for Taiwanese elementary students to learn English. Our children read them a picture book in English & and then together they lead the children in fun activities. They pick books with a good character building theme and enhance them with an example and verse from the Bible to tie it all in. It’s a great way to teach & minister to the children, but to get to know the parents as well. We are grateful that our girls have been working hard & preparing joyfully for this special ministry.
When we began our missionary journey, I knew that it will affect our whole family. I still thought that only Jeanette & I will be doing the “missions” part of it. But we do pray that God would somehow use even our children here. He led us to the library ministry that the girls can be involved with. We also saw God using Ethan at his school. He was able to use his love for music by helping with praise at chapel times & special events, mentored other students one-on-one, lead Bible study, etc. He also did something that surprised Jeanette and me, knowing how introverted he is. He felt a need, took on the initiative to talk to a staff leader, and started a bimonthly praise night for high schoolers. There were many obstacles to overcome, but with perseverance, it ended up being a very encouraging time for himself and others. We were told that some other students will continue the praise nights next year.
Missions work involves and affects our whole family. Missions work involves and affects many others around us as well. We are seeing more and more that God sends people our way that He sees fit even before we know it ourselves. We are realizing that we need everyone because God’s redemptive will is designed to unfold, not when an individual gets involved or even a family, but when the Body of Christ gets involved.
There are a couple of things that I am reminded of almost every day. One is that no matter who you are or where you are, what kind of obstacles you are facing, that which will level the ground for all is only Jesus Christ. Although people’s situation do not change as we would want them to, it is clear that through Jesus Christ anyone can enjoy & savor the same freedom, joy & love that you & I are blessed with. There is injustice, oppression & exploitation in our world, but the Good News is that Jesus can restore peace & justice in the lives we are praying for. The second realization is that no matter how gifted one may be, how brilliant, he or she cannot accomplish great things for the Lord without the help of other Christians. Everyone matters and has a part in His kingdom, even our 9 year old daughter. He has a purpose for us all.