Last week, we were in a small town called Dajia to attend the annual field conference for OMF missionaries in Taiwan. Dajia is about 30 minutes drive from where we live in Taichung, and like many other rural towns in Taiwan there is a high concentration of temples for idol worship. It was a good reminder of Taiwan’s desperate need for the true God. The 5 day conference was truly a God given opportunity for OMF missionaries laboring throughout the island to come together to be trained, be encouraged & be refreshed by the presence of God, the One who has called us to this place. The conference also helped us to take a step back & see the bigger picture of what God is doing, not only in Taiwan, but in our world. Currently, there are about 60 OMF missionaries in Taiwan. That may sound like a lot, but in the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace to the working class of Taiwan (16 million), workers are still very few. We are praying for 80 workers, and we hope you can join us in our prayer for more missionaries.
There were many aspects of the conference that encouraged & touched our hearts, but I have to say that what was most compelling were the stories shared by missionaries, and how lives are being changed by the power of the gospel. Still the reality is that ministering to the lost is never easy nor results seen immediately. Leading the lost to Jesus Christ requires patience in prayer, perseverance independent from the outcome, and commitment to love unconditionally.
OMF has a special ministry facility called Pearl Family Garden. It’s a place where our female missionaries counsel & help older prostitutes to get out of their unhealthy, hopeless & lonely life style. What is so shocking & heartbreaking is that the most of the prostitutes OMF missionaries are helping are in their 40’s & 50’s. Reasons for choosing this path range from poverty to abuse to supporting their loved ones. They know that they need to get out, but because this is all they have known, it’s extremely difficult for these ladies to get out of prostitution, especially when they have no other skills to support themselves financially. As she was sharing about her ministry, one young worker at Pearl Family Garden couldn’t hold back her tears. She wept out of frustration & helplessness at times to help those who cannot help themselves.
The longer I am in Taiwan, I’m progressively realizing more that our missional endeavors are always spiritual for missions is about helping the blind to see the light & life in Christ, setting those who are in bondage of fear, lies & addictions free by the truth of Christ, and bringing healing to those whose lives are hopelessly shattered & restoring their innocence as children of God. It is our prayer that many lives in Taiwan will come to experience what it means to be in the arms of God who is all powerful & who loves righteously.
To be honest, it will not take much to rent a small space & put up a church sign to show progress. Something about setting up physical spaces & buildings give us a sense of growth & accomplishment, but what Jesus has exemplified in the gospels teaches us something quite contrary. We learned that building the church, the body of Christ, entails investing in the transformation of the human heart. That kind of building is often paved with sacrifice, countless prayers, disappointment, and even regression of those we are helping to transform. The bottom line is cultivating the soil of human hearts is a continual but slow process, and ultimately it is the Lord who makes things grow. What is so ingenious & beautiful about God’s way is that not only does He have the lost in mind, He also allows transformation to take place in our hearts as well, so that our perseverance will be fueled by genuine love, refined faith & complete dependence on the One who can do the impossible.
No matter how long it takes, we desire to see the impossible become possible here in Taiwan. Human hearts have no chance against the unrelenting love of Christ. It is to this end that we pray & labor.