Has the climate of Christianity changed in China? An article by the Gospel Coalition, Reason for Optimism in Policy Towards Chinese Christians shares a glimpse into the lives of believers and people who love their country. Most of the Chinese believers I have met really are loyal and truly love their country. It is encouraging to see them praying for their local and national leaders while desiring to obey laws and respect authority. (It is often different than I sometimes imagine about being rebellious or law breaking because of constraining policies.) We can also join them in praying for their leaders. As well as other countries with believers facing tough choices associated with faith in Jesus. The difficult reality is these people, including us, will face degrees of persecution for our faith in Jesus. We should lift these brothers and sisters up in prayer that they may stand firm on the foundation of Christ through all their possible prosperity or adversity; and praise God with them as they celebrate his provision of hope! Please pray for these fellow believers!
The 2012 Alishan Cherry Blossom Festival is in full bloom beginning last weekend. The China Post published a recent article highlighting the beauty of the mountain top trees. Although, I was never able to see the festival over the past few years, the Alishan Scenic Area truly displays the great beauty of Taiwan. I look forward to an opportunity to see the the bright flowers backdropped with the rising mountain peaks and blue skies! The fragrance of the flowering trees will also be wonderful accent to the fresh mountain air and appreciated relief from the heavy air of the congested cities.
Great fact about Taiwan Christian Population: Taiwan has a fewer percentage of Christians compared to China: Taiwan (2-3%), China (6-8% and growing fast). Please pray for Taiwan, there is a huge need for many more missionaries to help with evangelism and church planting! (http://www.taiwanchurch.org/) The total number of missionaries has decreased significantly over the past decades.
OMF Taiwan has worked hard in the past few years to really increase the awareness of the needs of Taiwan. They are doing a great job helping new missionaries arrive on island and get started in language school (before strategically placing them in areas to help the working class)! I am very thankful for the many friends I have made who are serving Taiwan with OMF and deeply respect the organization in Taiwan.
There is also a case for local missions work and church planting. But there is a cost of supporting these Taiwanese gospel workers. Many times it is hard for churches to give beyond the needs in their own local body or for new believers to raise support from family. So many young believes who feel called to ministry are working really hard in tough temporary jobs to make enough to live on and still have time to serve in new outreach areas. Two of the volunteers working with the NCUE student fellowship are in these sort of job positions.
Please join them in 'praying for more stable jobs that can free them up to help more with the student fellowship outreach, but this is extremely difficult in Taiwan, considering that work is difficult to find and requires increasingly difficult exams that can take up to several years of diligent study to even pass. Please continue to pray for God's provision of jobs and of new individuals who are emotionally, socially and spiritually equipped to return and carry on the ministry of reaching out to students.' -JN
Taiwan needs Christian workers, missionaries, church planters... to come live on the island and be the light of Jesus on this hard ground.
The first time to Alishan was very memorable for me... It was one of the very first couple weekends while Julie, Rachel and I were in Taiwan. I joined a couple friends for some time in the cool mountains for a weekend. Since we didn't have a car or know how to use the bus transportation well enough, we hired a local taxi driver to take us to our where our friends were staying. We learned quickly about the intense skills of taxi drivers and how fast you can push a car up tight mountain switchbacks (sickness was near and fear for our lives was constant). Thankfully, we arrived safely and were not disappointed with the great time with friends and views of God's handy work throughout the park!
This album is thanks to Teacher Em, living the life in Taiwan! I hope you enjoy her photos from one of those unique places on the beautiful island of Taiwan!