Last year about this time, eager to get to know our new Taiwanese church members, we went to church hurriedly. Imagine the surprise when we got there, there was no one at the church! Could it be that we came on the wrong day? After coming to the mission field, it was not uncommon for us to lose track of which day. I even briefly thought about the possibility of rapture. Well, it was neither. Due to our lack of language, we didn’t know that the church had an outdoor service that Sunday. Our inability to understand Mandarin resulted in missing a crucial fact about that day, and we didn’t even know it until it was too late.
This month being the beginning of the Ghost Month, I am reminded of this sad fact that most people in Taiwan do not know about the Lord Jesus Christ who will return to take His church away. Rather than Christ & His truth guiding them to life, they are misinformed & misled by long traditions & eastern religions while being fueled by fears. They are afraid that evil spirits will take away their good fortune & replace it with bad ones or that the upset ghosts will oppress & harass them. Efforts to appease the ghosts & evil spirits can be seen everywhere, and I do mean everywhere. It’s no exaggeration to say that almost every household in our neighborhood has some sort of objects of idol & ancestor worship. Although idols may provide a false sense of security, they cannot prepare them for that day when they must face the Truth.
Ultimately this is the hardest truth for us to share, but the Word Incarnate clearly explains in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” 1 John 5:12 concurs, “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” The hard reality that we rarely address is that our family members who love & care for us dearly, our loyal friends who have always been there for us and those whom we consider to be good & innocent in our world, unless they hear the gospel & embrace it, none of them can be in Jesus’ eternal presence. It is through this lens that we must look at all activities & relationships under the sun. Communicating the gospel is the most urgent task there is. Nothing can compare to its eternal significance. This is true whether you are here in Taiwan or other places.
I think nowadays many Christians have made Jesus too personal. That is to say, we are content at making Jesus my personal counselor who brings healing & raises my self-esteem, my personal coach who challenges & encourages me, and my personal God who answers my prayers & blesses my efforts. Oftentimes this is where we remain in our relationship with the Lord. Everything mentioned above is biblical & true, but we have to understand that Jesus is way too big to be only for me. He is the Savior of the world, and He must be proclaimed everywhere. This is the call of every believer in Christ.
Let me end by talking about last Sunday. It was a very special & meaningful day because it was our outdoor service again! We were so grateful this year because a lady in our church made it her responsibility to let us know about the outdoor service & all the information on when, how to sign up & what we needed. It probably didn’t take a lot for her to share the information with us, but it sure made a world of difference to us. Because of that sister, my daughters & I got to enjoy worship & fellowship with our fellow believers in the midst of God’s beautiful creation.
On our way back home, we as a church went to a restaurant to break bread together. As I shared food & conversation with our spiritual family, I couldn’t help, but to imagine the Banquet that Jesus is preparing for us at the end. I believe what will make that perfect day even better is to see faces we have known, loved, prayed & longed for there with us. How amazing & joyful that would be! Although our means may vary, this is God’s calling for our lives!