Taiwan Prayer Letter - Summer-Fall 2006
Greetings from Taipei, Taiwan. After our abbreviated home-assignment, we returned to Taiwan in June, just as the boiling summer months were beginning. The 24 hour-long trip from Alabama to Taiwan is usually a concern for us, but our three girls did wonderfully. They walked briskly through miles of airport and patiently waited quietly through incredibly long lines, even when it was middle of the night for them. We thank God that we're seeing the fruit of our child training efforts.
Upon our return, Joel hit the pavement running. He was incredibly busy during the summer with the following:
2) This summer we had four guests stay with us in our Taipei apartment: Intern Thomas McIntyre from Reformed Seminary - Orlando and three students from Georgia Tech. Joel was busy training them and planning various activities with them. You can view Thomas' intern log from the link on www.taiwanchurch.org. James, Katie and Edmund from Georgia Tech had multiple opportunities to share their testimonies with people they met. They also helped plan a Da Vinci Code lecture outreach. They passed out over 300 flyers to business professionals. On one particular day while they were passing out flyers, Edmund 'ran into' another friend from Georgia Tech. This friend was with his dad, who is the boss of a company here in Taipei. Edmund's friend's dad grabbed a bunch of flyers to pass out to his employees at his company. Only 3 people attended the lecture. They were all employees of Edmund's friend's dad.
We learned a few things from this outreach attempt. First: outreach in Taiwan is most effective when done through 'relationships'. There has to be some sort of guan-xi in this culture. Second: people are very busy in Taiwan, especially Taipei. There are a million activities going on in this city. People work long hours and will not readily go to any event that may be considered out of the way. We need to think hard about how to draw people in spite of all the competing 'busy-ness' of the city. Perhaps, we need to go to their offices instead of asking them to come to our events. Three, God encourages us even through our feeble efforts. The three people who did attend the lecture, how did they know about the event? It was because of Edmund. Edmund does not speak any Chinese but decided to spend his summer here in Taiwan doing missions. Perhaps it may have felt futile at the moment to be passing out flyers in the scorching heat. But God chose to have Edmund handing out flyers just at the precise time when Edmund’s friend and his dad would be passing by. And subsequently, three people came to attend the outreach.
God did multiply our efforts. The three ladies who attended the outreach liked the lecture so much they asked Joel to go speak at their ToastMaster's meeting. So a couple of weeks later, Joel spoke at their office (hooked up to the internet) through a web seminar to 11 more listeners from various companies. May the Lord water the seeds that have been scattered.
3) Two 'chance' meetings: While we were still jet lagging, Joel was at a bookstore when a young man came up to him and started talking to him, mistaking him for someone else. After the misunderstanding was cleared up, the conversation continued a long while (Joel invited the man to a near-by Starbucks) and Joel eventually ended up sharing the Gospel with him. A week later, while Joel was teaching intern Thomas McIntyre about Bible interpretation and preaching at a coffee shop, a young foreigner came up to them and asked if he could sit and listen to what Joel was saying. He's one of the many foreigners in Taiwan teaching English. Afterwards, Joel spent more time talking with him and he has since attended church several times. It was interesting that in less than three weeks of being back in Taiwan, Joel had the chance to share the Gospel with two complete strangers, both of whom 'came up' to Joel to talk with him. Only in Taiwan. Please be in prayer for this young man. He attended church regularly for a while and has stopped in the last month. And please pray for more of these 'chance' meetings.
In Judy's corner:
So I decided to write a book based on what I learned from Dr. Denmark and Aunt Madia. I really wanted to help people enjoy having kids again! I wanted to provide some alternatives to moms who were exhausted and hating parenting. The book was officially released on Mother's Day of this year. When we first returned to Taiwan in June, the book seemed to have gotten off to a slow start. We then met with a few reporters and attended a couple of TV and radio interviews. Eventually, readers who felt greatly helped by the book recommended it to other moms. And currently, the book is selling well on a couple of websites. Believe it or not, it currently ranks #18 on Taiwan's most popular website bookstore. (FYI, book sales are a few hundred per month.)
I'm excited about the book sales, but I'm even more excited that God has used the book to help many moms (and babies). Dr. Denmark always says, "If you can help even one child, it's well worth the effort." Every week, I get at least 2-3 readers' e-mails, some expressing thanks and many asking infant-care questions. This book has given us access to a whole group of non-Christians we had never had access to before. A few readers have gone on the website and read my testimony. One reader also ordered my former testimony book then wrote me about her own struggles and life story. A sister from our church is currently befriending this reader through e-mail.
2. The Opposition: Parenting is a very personal issue. While many are being helped by the straightforward methods in my book, there are many others who also oppose the methods (and me!) to the core. One night I went on the web just to see what people were discussing, and realized that a host of people have spent months attacking my book and me! They even mentioned when I would be appearing at a book signing event and suggested rallying at the event to bring me down. I almost felt concern for our safety. Needless to say, I went to bed with a heavy heart that night. But God comforted me the following morning at church. A sister who was observing me teach Children's Sunday School (7 kids ages 2-8) told me that she and her husband thought our three girls were the happiest children they had ever met. I replied with, "You probably have not met that many children," which was true. But her comment did encourage me. Well, pray for us as we sometimes stand up for what may be unpopular.
3. My own parenting: Pray for me, as it is my heart's desire to be a good wife and mother.
- We are happy to report that in the last three months, God has brought four new families to New Hope Taipei. The church is growing and the members are beginning to "own" it for themselves. We're planning to move towards formal membership and electing elders and deacons in the next few months. But our church seems to be lacking in strong native believers. Our new challenge for this upcoming year is to bring in more native Taiwanese to our bi-lingual church. Joel has issued a challenge to the men of the church to begin praying and each individually seeking out two Taiwanese men to evangelize/disciple and bring into the church. Please pray for us as we seek to bring more Taiwanese men to Christ.
- This bi-lingual church is slowly but surely adding new converts among the Taiwanese. However there is a lot of turnover among the foreigners who stay for a year or two and then move overseas. So the church is still small, with only about 25 people meeting each Sunday. We've lost two of our translators, and so will need help in that area.
- Caleb Tian, our Taiwanese church planting intern, will finish up his Bachelor's of Divinity this December at the Reformed Theological Seminary in Taipei. His heart has been drawn to this area for a while and he intends to devote more time to outreach once he graduates. Please pray that there will be some breakthroughs and new families come to Christ in this poor neighborhood of Keelung City, comprised of about 600 Ami Tribesmen and 2400 Taiwanese Hoklo.
We are now under two missions boards.
In September, Joel returned to the USA for three weeks. His primary purpose was to complete our approval process under Mission to the World (MTW), the missions board of our denomination Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). We are happy to report that we are now officially approved as missionaries under MTW. MTW has given Joel the go-ahead to recruit two church planting teams, one to focus on the Taiwanese language group (70 % of Taiwan with only 1 % Christian) and one team to focus on the Hakka language group (15 % of Taiwan with only 0.5 % Christian). Joel will become the team leader for the Taiwanese-language church planting team. We can now receive funds through MTW and our affiliation will help us with recruiting more missionaries.
In this transitional time, we will also continue to receive support Taiwan Church Planting Partners's U.S. mission board (TCPP), whom we have been with since 2005. Heartfelt thanks to our many supporters who gave to us financially through TCPP. Your contributions to us has enabled us to do ministry in Taiwan.
Many of you are asking: "So to which organization should we send our contributions?" If you have been supporting us through TCPP, you can keep sending checks to our support account there. Please let us explain in detail here.
Thanks for your interest, love, concern and prayers. God bless you all this Fall. IN Christ,
the Lintons in Taiwan
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