Christianity can often be quite trendy. When I was a starting out believer, spiritual leaders would tell us that it’s not your giftedness but your availability that God desires & uses, which is very biblical. But these days there’s so much emphasis on spiritual gifts. The positive side is that it promotes discovery & utilizing of gifts in the church. On the other hand, it leads to the compartmentalization of the church where those who are gifted in teaching only teaches & those who are gifted in service never think about teaching or being in leadership even though servanthood & leadership are two sides to the same coin.

Nowadays it appears that many of the happening churches will have leadership with a certain look that is undeniably common. The same applies to worship style & setting as well. But why do we need to have these “hip” & common elements in worship or on stage? The simple answer is that this is what is IN. Many of us have this fear of missing out or not being IN with the crowd. This is not a serious problem, but it can lead to adoption of trends without verifying its soundness or validity because we reason that’s what everyone else is doing. We do need to prayerfully consider things like our background, history, demographics, etc. before following certain trends.

There are trends in missions too. Before I go any further, let me restate that there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with following trends because they show us what the masses are responding to, and we can certainly use them to communicate more effectively. But there is a danger because sometimes trends can blind us to what is so obvious. It can be something obviously wrong, unbiblical or an obvious need.

For a while now, much of missions focus has been on China, rightfully so because it doesn’t take a lot to see that harvest is plentiful in China & hearts are readily responding to the gospel. It’s an undeniable fact! But did you know that Taiwan isn’t the name of a country, but it’s really the name of the island? Taiwan is officially called the Republic of China, something that I first noticed on my visa.

Here’s a quick history lesson on Taiwan.

The Island of Taiwan was first inhabited by its aborigines until it was discovered & colonized by the Portuguese & Spanish first, and then by the Dutch, and it was called Formosa during the 17th century. It was at that time that the Han people from China started moving into the island and eventually overthrew the Dutch government. By the time the Japanese occupied Taiwan in late 19th & early 20th century, most of the inhabitants were Han Chinese. When Japanese finally surrendered in 1945, the Republic of China, which was established in 1912 & had its base in mainland China started governing Taiwan, and when the communists took control of mainland China, the Republic of China moved its government to Taiwan.

The sad part is that somehow on this China harvest field, Taiwan, the Republic of China is forgotten. Even though there are only 2-3 % Protestant Christians, and its working class is hardly touched by the Good News of Jesus Christ. We must continue to send missionaries & Christian resources to China. There is no question about that! But we must not forget about Taiwan, the Republic of China where everyday life is dictated by animism, Buddhism & folk religions.

Our prayer has become more ambitious now that we are here in Taiwan. It’s not enough that we learn the language & do effective missions work. What we are praying for is that God will move more hearts to join us on this forgotten mission field.

The reality is when someone is thinking about missions to Chinese, they are usually thinking about mainland China & not Taiwan. Our agency began in China as China Inland Missions started by Hudson Taylor almost 150 years ago. When China Inland Missions started reaching out to other East Asian countries, it changed its name to Overseas Missionary Fellowship International. What is so interesting is that Taiwan is the only country where the agency’s name was not changed. So we are legally still referred to as China Inland Missions here. This is a reminder that God hasn’t forgotten about Taiwan, the Republic of China.

The question is why not you? Please pray. If you find yourself on this forgotten China field, please know that you will not be alone.