Thank you for the volunteers and the work they do. We pray for continued growth in their spiritual lives and their service in your kingdom.
We love because he first loved us.
— 1 John 4:19
Lord, we pray for wisdom and good coordination as we mobilize more workers to serve in the field. We pray for the various initiatives, such as the “Take Flight” workshop, mission courses for churches, and the various media publications and sites, that they may reach their intended audiences, to develop a heart for mission and mission workers.
We pray for the missionaries who are coming home for their breaks. We pray for a good time of refreshing from you, Lord, as well as meaningful reunions with family, friends and their churches. May their experiences shed light on the needs and opportunities out in the fields, so that these needs may be met.
For those preparing to become long-term missionaries, please equip them. Please help the Taiwanese churches and mission agencies partner well, and be able to work well together to support these missionaries.
Lord, thank you that many Christians in Taiwan are keen to join in global missions, both short-term and long-term. We pray especially for the short-term mission workers who, after their stint, are seeking God’s direction. Please lead them and reveal your will for their lives.
One result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Asia is that governments, such as those in Taiwan, have extended the Spring Festival holiday and added more weeks of school to the end of the school year. This change is causing some logistical challenges for short-term Serve Asia teams and long-term workers who are planning summer camps that usually start the week or two after the scheduled end of the school year. Pray for wisdom in how to handle these changes. Pray also that these kinds of camps could still be held in Taiwan and in other parts of East Asia this summer.
Like most of East Asia, the OMF Taiwan team is poised to see how the coronavirus will influence life in Taiwan and the ministry there. Currently, there only 10 cases in Taiwan and no real panic, but facemasks are selling out in the Taipei area.
Many of OMF church plants in Taiwan are planning Summer camps involving Serve Asia teams at the end of the school year, but the government has just extended the school New Year break by two weeks and plans to add this on to the end of the school year. This extension will mean plans for summer camps and Serve Asia team timing will all need to be changed – even as the final dates are still unknown.
The OMF Taiwan field has seen an unusual number of people leave (or planning to leave) the field recently, which has been discouraging. Reasons include parents’ health, children’s education, health issues, or call to other work on the homeside or home church. Thus, despite many new arrivals our field numbers remain the same. Pray for the retention of workers and training of new leaders.
The OMF Taiwan Field Council meets February 10-11 in Kaohsiung. Pray for wise decisions and planning as the council meets.
The Republic of China (Taiwan) is situated between Japan and the Philippines. About the size of the Netherlands, Taiwan has a population of over 23 million people. While Taiwan’s population is predominantly Han Chinese (more than 95% of the population), there are also indigenous Malayo-Polynesian peoples and immigrants from all over the world. In recent years, there has been an influx of new migrants from China and Southeast Asia (over 520,000), mostly through cross-cultural marriages. Taiwan has three major language groups: Taiwanese, Hakka and Mandarin.
Most Taiwanese are strongly influenced by traditional Chinese folk beliefs (i.e. ancestor worship and the worship of various gods). Taoist, Buddhist, and Confucian beliefs have combined with other beliefs. Although the church has seen growth, a significant spiritual breakthrough has yet to come.
Christians are a small minority in Taiwan. Among Taiwan’s aborigines, this proportion is about nine out of ten. Roughly half of Taiwan’s Christians are Catholic, and half are Protestant. The highest concentration of Christians is found in Taipei, where the number could be as high as 10%, but in other cities of Taiwan, the number is closer to zero. Most Christians in Taiwan are middle or upper-middle class, well-educated, and comfortable speaking Mandarin. The working class however, are less educated, less open to ideas from the outside and much more comfortable using Taiwanese. Many of these people have not heard the gospel.
Churches need God’s help in helping people busy with ancestor worship, gambling, growing materialism, and opposition from family members. Although there is much evangelistic activity and many respond to the gospel, follow-up is often challenging and the attrition rate is high. New Christians are often looked upon as disrupting the family and not fulfilling their roles and obligations as expected in traditional Chinese culture, possibly alienating one’s family.
OMF Church Ministry
Over the last 60 years, OMF has partnered with existing local churches and organizations such as Campus Evangelical Fellowship, Taiwan Industrial Evangelical Fellowship, Christian Communications Limited, the Spring of Living Waters (church for the homeless), and the House of Mercy (AIDS hospice). (OMF helped to start some of these organizations.) Since 2002 OMF’s focus has been on the working class and urban marginalized peoples, as these groups remain largely unreached.
OMF Missions Sending Ministry
In 1977, OMF Taiwan sent out its first missionary to Japan. In 1981, the OMF Taiwan Home Council was established. We hope that by using creative ways of mobilizing and sharing, more Christians and churches will catch the vision for missions on their doorstep and beyond, working together to fulfill God’s Great Commission.
- Total: 23.6 million
- Chinese: 95%
- Austronesian aborigine: 2.39%
- Others: 2.61%
- (figures from www.ris.gov.tw)
- Chinese folk religion: 61.2%
- Buddhist: 27.3%
- Evangelical Christian: 2.8%
- Non-religious: 2.9%
- Other: 1.4%
- Islam: 1.2%
- (figures from Joshua Project)
Thank you, Lord, for growing your church in Taiwan, and thank you for your love for the people of Taiwan. We pray that you would continue to build partnerships between local churches, foreign missionaries, and other organizations to share your gospel with the working class and urban marginalized peoples. We pray that you would use your people in Taiwan to be a blessing to other peoples throughout the world. Please raise up people to pray, send, and go in mission.