A Place for Homesick People
"They are very lonesome," our speaker shares to the whole group. It is our Students Mission Fellowship (SMF) meeting here at the seminary, and our speaker, Iris Wei, narrates to us her experience working with Muslim friends under the sponsorship of Christian Missions Overseas. "They are so open," she continues. "They are really not serious about their faith." She explains the reasons for this state of openness among Muslim visitors in foreign countries.
While listening to Iris speak to the SMF gathering, I cannot help but think about the many Indonesians around the city of Kaohsiung. I agree with her that these migrant workers, home caregivers, and foreign students are very open to hearing about the Christian gospel. But I disagree with her analysis that they are not serious about their faith. I think, these people are open to the gospel, not because they are weak (not serious) in their religious convictions, but because they are displaced and so lonely for anything that reminds them of home. They are willing to try new things just so they can "appease" their feelings of loneliness. Actually, loneliness is a strong word, and quite negative in describing the experiences of foreigners here in Taiwan. I would say, they are homesick. They are longing for comfort and someone to understand their displacement and cross-cultural experiences. They need friends to sit with them and chat.
Who are the people here in Taiwan who are homesick and need Taiwanese friends to listen to them? I mentioned the Indonesian caregivers. There are also many post-modernist English teachers who come from many different Western countries. We have Filipino factory workers, Vietnamese housewives, and Spanish speaking foreign students. They all need to hear the story of Jesus and his salvation and forgiveness. They also need a friend who will listen to them. Can you be that friend? Can your friendship be a place for homesick people?
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