Saturday, October 02, 2010

"Come Over and Help" (Ac 17:9) or: SEND Taiwan's Present Ministry Vision called "Vision 119"

"Come Over and Help" (Ac 17:9) 中文  Deutsch

The basic idea of "Project 119"*: The Good News shall be specifically spread to 60 communities in two particularly evangelistic neglected roads through to become spiritually established communities whose job it is to be as spiritual lighthouses in Taiwan, the local places to point the way to a future with God .

The majority of Taiwan’s population are in some 60 villages, towns and cities, from Taoyuan to Tainan, all along the western side of the island. Almost all these towns are connected by two ancient roads, Old Route 1 and Route 19. Although with modernization of the island by railroads, freeways, and highways, the church planting for the last 145 years has succeeded in reaching the largest 15 cities of Taiwan, there are still dozens of smaller communities along these two roads which are almost completely unreached with the sweet fragrance of the Gospel.
Old Road 1(above) and Old Road 19
Their average population is 40,000 people, most of these towns have less than one per cent evangelical Christians. Many have only two or three churches. These are the hardest areas to reach. They comprise the majority of the factory workers and farming-related industry in Taiwan. SEND International has a five year goal, 2010 to 2015, to start new churches in three of these areas. We see this goal as just the beginning of a much larger vision to reach all these 60 areas with the Gospel by 2029. SEND believes that strong churches in these areas, in partnership with the larger churches and seminaries in the bigger cities, will be effectively able to continue to complete the evangelization of Taiwan. If missionaries can establish model churches in even 20 of these areas, SEND should be able to begin withdrawal of our foreign mission presence in Taiwan and pass the baton to the national brothers and sisters. Will you pray about what you can do to help reach these areas?

The Western strip of coastal area from Tachia to Hsingang is the place of the annual pilgrimage of the goddess of Matsu. Every year on the 23rd of the third lunar month, there is an eight day procession of many idols of Matsu, the largest religious festival in Taiwan. The same areas that are traveled are also being heavily damaged by fish farms, especially in Yunlin and Chiayi counties and also Changhua County. The land is literally sinking, and the future is bleak for these coastal farmers. It seems the more they worship Matsu, the more severe their plight becomes. These are some of the poorest people and most uneducated in Taiwan, but comprise together, an aggregate of perhaps seven million population.

Especially now in this difficult times SEND International in Taiwan and at places close to cities with churches/theological seminaries regards it as vital to build new churches in cross-cultural partnership teams with local Christians to strengthen the local church's cross-cultural outreach ability in international teams.

The hope is by doing so the interior -missionary task within multicultural Taiwan under its unprecedented Holo, Hakka and Asian immigrants will be completed earlier. - The intention is to plant culturally matching mission minded Christian churches, for the next 20 years, especially among the not yet reached Chinese ethnic groups such as Hakka, the Holo, including the Asian ethnic groups at the Route 1 and Route 19 communities. Then, the earliest it is time for SEND to begin reducing missionaries and shifting the responsibility for the interior missionary work in local hands. Are you willing to support this in prayer?

The Hakka Chinese of Taiwan (4.6 million) only has a Christianity of 0.3% Christian and is the most neglected ethnic Chinese group in Taiwan. Outwardly Hakka look like other Chinese but their culture is much different and therefore they think different too. They have preserved their unique culture for more than 2400 years. Accordingly, the experience confirms unless Christ is presented to them in a culturally understandable way they can not be won for Christ. -

Unlike the Holo the Hakka recognizes in its folk religion a synthesis consisting of Taoism, the Yin-Yang concept and several magical rites originating in Tibetan Buddhism roots. They accept only a small number of gods. - According to missiolgical studies certain elements of their history and religion are helpful to contextualize them certain biblical truths.

There is a real small theological seminary for Hakka Christians at Chudung, which a few years ago begun to train local leaders.

The have the goal to see one new church established every third year. - This goal however would require to have enough local churchleaders trained. Because they are not sufficient Christian Hakka leaders this goal can not be reached without missionaries who also bring the know-how and techniques of biblical contextualization. SEND plans over the next five years to establish at least one Hakkachurch.

The western coastal strip between Tachia and Hsingang is the site of annual pilgrimages to honor the sea-goddess MATSU. Every year on the 23.of the third month on the lunar calendar, the eight days long pilgrimage begins. It is reagrded as one of the oldest folkreligious festivals in Taiwan, and goes back to the immigration of Chinese from the province of Fukien 280 years ago. MATSU today is revered as the most important deity in the pantheon of folkreligious Holo (Taiwanese, about 13.6 million) - It is no wonder that this exact area is also the main breeding area of marine animals and fish, especially in the cantons of Yunlin, Chiayi and Changhua. By this industry right now loses, not only the soil's fertility it also decreased living conditions for the coastal farmers significantly and until recently no one helped them to improve their situation. -

As the fishing industry, of course, attributes the good income on MATSUs blessing the processions become more and more costly. The fish industry tells the impoverished and uneducated peasants, but the opposite occurs, it is getting worse. From this system 7 million people are affected in their existence affected. The government until recently saw no possibility for change. To someone in a Christian Church in Taipei God gave a good idea. He shared this plan with the government, and government has decided to try it as a test project. The initial project will begin in Dongsher, one of the worst affected lands, on the coast of Chiayi. If this successful, they will try other areas. The government had no solution for this land reclamation until recently , a brother in the Taipei (Shilin) Bread of Life church was given a good idea by God, for how to reclaim the sinking land. We pray that the Holo (Taiwanese) and also some of the 19% Hakka in Chiayi county recognize in these areas that the Creator has a rescue plan for them and that in Christ is rich and real life.
We pray the land can be reclaimed. If you feel you should support this project pray about and write quickly to SEND TW Field project manager Bobby Law  for more information.

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