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May 2010

A Not-Too-Serious Sermon on Missions

Today, I preached my first sermon at the seminary chapel of Holy Light Theological Seminary. Of course, I still needed an interpreter. My Chinese is still not there so that I can deliver a sermon on my own using Chinese.

I spoke on the importance of crossing cultures for Jesus, and what it meant for us students at the seminary. It was a very simple sermon. I decided to focus more on the need to respond to God's call for cross cultural missions. During the talk, most of the students responded, smiled, or otherwise nervously laughed in affirmation when I asked them the question: "Are you ready to go into the world and cross cultures for Jesus?" I won't be surprised when the time comes for us that a big a group from the seminary will sign up to go for a short-term missions trip outside Taiwan. When the time comes, I expect many students, faculty, and staff to take the challenge and participate in a cross-cultural ministry, only because God is already working in people's hearts and mind. I can sense in my spirit that the Holy Spirit is slowly convincing people to missions work. At the end of my sermon, I asked those who are going for a short-term missions trip this summer to stand up and I encouraged everyone to pray for these people. God visited us through a "gentle whisper." I cannot help but follow this inner gentle voice. It is a joy to witness God's Spirit working in people's lives. He is our Leader. To Him be the glory and honor!

A Visit to a Mission Center

Five hours of driving, straight from Kaohsiung to Taipei on Highway Number 3. Reminded me of my time in the USA last year, well, almost . . . driving for 13 hours from Avon, Illinois to Manton, Michigan. Last Thursday, I went to Taipei to bring a donated van from this city of Kaohsiung to Taipei for ministry use with a Vietnamese FM church. I drove straight and met up with our church-planter Barnabbas, who is studying at the Baptist seminary in that city of Taipei. While there, I had a meeting with Dr. Paul, one of the missions professor of this seminary, and he showed me around the seminary and gave me a tour of their Mission center. We had dinner together, the three of us, Barnabbas, Paul and I. I asked a lot of questions and directed them to Dr. Paul. I wanted to learn how they run their Center and what interesting things are happening in the seminary in relation to the students' experience with cross cultural missions. Paul was very candid with me. I came out of that meeting with more confidence on how to manage the Missions Center at Holy Light Theological Seminary.

One of the greatest challenge is to mobilize the students for cross cultural work. It is a challenge because students are financially hard up and obligated to their sponsoring churches for ministry experience and internship duties. Yet, it is a great opportunity because seminary students are excited about serving God in the mission field, whether full-time as missionaries or for short-term ministries. I have so many ideas swirling through my brain, but I need to wait and meet up with our President and Vice-President, so we can decide how to run our own Mission Center.

I came home very tired. I spent the whole Friday morning relaxing. I was glad to wake up on a Friday morning to the sound of my family getting ready for the day, my children preparing for school and my wife gearing up for a day of Chinese lessons. Not exactly the same as when we were staying in Big Rapids, Michigan. But still, it is the same anticipation of God's working and showing us His plan for our lives, one day at a time.

A Center For Missions Work

Today, I went to a Missions meeting at Chiayi Christian Hospital. It was a whole day of sharing from different ministries the hospital is in. It highlighted its Filipino and Thai congregations meeting in the hospital premises. Reports of its various overseas missionary work were given. Missionaries shared of their work in the Himalayas, Malawi, and Cambodia. I could not help but be amazed at the extensive work this hospital is doing. As I was listening to all the presentations, I realized the leaders of this hospital are truly serious about God's call for bringing the gospel to the ends of the earth.

Later in the afternoon, presentors shared about the challenges of missions work among the migrant workers, foreign spouses, and the working class of Taiwan. It was a pity that there were not a lot of churches represented in this whole-day missions meeting. It was such an important topic for the local churches in the country. After the meeting, we ended with a desire to do something. At one point, one of the participant asks the question: "What can we do to help?" Just like this question, I came out of the meeting more resolve to do something, starting at Holy Light Theological Seminary.

Festina Lente. "Make haste slowly."

Just finished these things

I just finished preparing my Course Syllabi for the next semester. I will be teaching three classes this first semester of the school year 2010-2011. I am looking forward to this coming school year. Maybe because two of the three courses I am teaching are classes in English. These are required for all students, courses that help them read theological works published in English. So, I only have one class to worry about with regards to my use of Chinese (and arranging for an interpreter to come and help me with my lectures).

We just finished our Taiwan Annual Conference meetings last Friday and Saturday. Bishop Thomas and Marlene were here to lead our different meetings. It was inspiring to listen our Bishop share about their recent visit to a Creative Access Country. Many more Chinese churches and denominations are joining the Free Methodist Church. What a blessing! Someone else have tilled the ground and nurtures God's work, and we (FMC) are harvesting the field, all to the glory of God.

Today, I just had a meeting with the Seminary Band members. It was all business. We discussed about our role in this music ministry and some plans for the near future. I am encouraged. We finished our lunch and left the restaurant with a sense of accomplishment. I know for certain that God is leading this music ministry and slowly challenging each member to be obedient to God's call to servanthood and fruitfulness.

I just finished all these things, but I know that there is more to come. I trust God will sustain me as I slowly serve Him here in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. I pray that He will give me patience and wisdom. I submit to our God again, knowing that my accomplishment is in our Creator, for He is the sustainer and keeper of our world.