It was about this time last year that we began our weekly missions blog encouraged by good friends.  At first, I was somewhat hesitant because I normally don’t have a lot to say.  I know that I was a preacher for 20 years, but for me working on sermons & preaching them was one of the hardest aspects of being in ministry because as I have just mentioned I don’t have a lot to say.  Even when I was convinced that a particular passage is what God wanted me to preach that week I was not so sure how I would preach it.  It was not until I start studying the passage & praying over it that the Spirit guides me to write something that I alone could never produce.  It was always a humbling process of seeing & awakening to God’s heart full of wisdom & love.

So far in my experience, missions is very much like that.  God in His grace & sensitivity reveals spiritual things that I alone cannot see or too distracted to notice.

One of the blessings of being on the mission field is that I am removed from much worldly distractions & temptations.  We don’t have to worry about keeping up with trends in fashion or in technology nor our children complain about having less than what they are used to because it’s understood even in the mind of our youngest that’s what being on the mission field is.  The beauty of being in such an environment is that our goals & obstacles become very clear.  We become more sensitive to what God reveals about our world.

And I can’t help but to become more aware of the reality that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12).”

Being on the mission field definitely opens our eyes to the presence & power of evil in our world.  Underneath the surface of pleasantry, harmlessness & laughter, lies our enemy’s attempt to erase the reality of the incarnation, crucifixion & resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from human history & minds.  A similar phenomenon is also unfolding in the U.S. as those who oppose the gospel diligently try to take Christ out of Christmas.

But the real danger lies within our own hearts as we get distracted & desire the transient beauty of this world that tries to bury what is of eternal value out of our sight & minds.  This happens so subtly.

This week feels quite strange to us since outside the U.S. no one really celebrates Thanksgiving.  So after our regular OMF prayer meeting on Thursday, we might get some turkey rice, bits of turkey meat with sauce over rice.  That part we will enjoy since turkey rice is awesome!  What troubles us though is that Thanksgiving is followed by a greater holiday in December, but Christmas isn’t celebrated in Taiwan.  It’s not a holiday or a day off.  School and work will resume as normal.  Taiwan used to celebrate Christmas, just not anymore.  I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that the birth of the Savior of the world is not celebrated here in Taiwan.

It saddens our hearts this holiday season not because there won’t be any Christmas lights, decoration & music in the street of Taichung to make us feel merry, but because borrowing the words of Apostle John, “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him (1:10-11).”

The purpose of our move to Taiwan becomes clearer by day and we covet your prayers.

May God help all of us to keep our eyes on what is unseen & eternal.