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March 2014

Teaching Missiology

"It makes sense now." Students made this remark at my classes here in Holy Light seminary. Thank you very much for praying for me. God is answering your prayers. God is taking over my lectures and making His word come alive to the students. He is there with us.

This week has been better than the previous three weeks. I see a few pair of eyes sparkle with enthusiasm. One student says: "I understand now how missions relates to theology." They are discovering new concepts. They are able to see the big picture. Sometimes missiological ideas can be confusing when seen through today's perspective.

For example, when I explain the missiological principle of God working in the world, several students find it hard to comprehend God's activity in a fallen world. "How can there be God's goodness among the unbelievers, when they are living in sin?" One student asks in class. "Their families are dysfunctional. How can they see God's love? How can we see God's grace?" She continues. These are legitimate questions. I have to explain the missiological principle that "God is already at work in people's lives even before the coming of a Christian." God is not threatened by sin. His holiness demands that we live a life free from the power of sin. However, God is free to work and display his goodness and mercy even among fallen people. God is not daunted by humanity's sin. Our job in missions work is to look for times and places where God is working and participate with his Holy Spirit. God is bringing people to himself. Our work is to join God in his activity. He is the one who is moving people. We simply follow the movement.

"It makes sense." Most of the students agreed. But, I had to bring out contemporary issues and present day stories to illustrate these concepts. I shared some case studies from different missions sources culled from different countries and cultures. 

Next week, I will be presenting to my two classes in Theology of Mission and Strategies of Missions some current issues related to most Taiwanese Christians here in this island. Please uphold me in your prayers. I will ask the question "Where is God already at work among the people belonging to the GLBT community, among new Christians and Seekers or Mu Dao Yo who are facing the challenges of ancestor worship, and among Christian leaders struggling with paternalistic attitudes?" We will have several months to discuss this one question. Pray for me.

My Classes at the Seminary

Three missionaries. One sending agency executive. Two local church missions directors. One international student. These are just some of the nineteen students I have from two of my missions classes. Most of them are second-career people, looking into a missions work in the future, whether at a local church in Taiwan or overseas.

It is challenging. Please pray with me as I prepare my lessons and help these students become better servants of our Lord. It is exciting. I love it when these students share from their experiences to illustrate a missiological lesson we are all discussing. The body of literature comes alive in our classroom meetings. Please pray that we will all learn from our Great Counselor and Friend, God's Holy Spirit.

Amazing Woman

Carol Mack says: "David, Thanks for sharing about your mother. She was a Godly example for all women to follow. I can see that you love her and miss her. I also wish she could have seen your amazing children." This is a response that Carol posted to an earlier blog I had about my mother. (See this link to read my reflection.)

Every time the month of March comes, I cannot help but think of my mother and how she passed away in 1990. She lived a full life. We have enjoyed her time here and know that God's time is perfect. The only regret I have is that she was not able to see my children and enjoy their company as a grandmother. Nonetheless, I know she can see us from heaven and rejoice with me in the ways that Jesus is taking care of my son, Jacob, and daughter, Carmen. So, when I love my children and embrace them with my care, these are reciprocal ways of honoring my parents and glorifying our God.

Today, I am staying home with the family. Jacob is sick with the flu. While he is resting, I try to encourage him, entertain him, and do everything to bring his health back. Carmen wants to practice her mile run. So, Sarah is taking her to an oval track at a nearby school. I am staying here with Jacob. In all of these, I know my mom is smiling at us, as she is enjoying the company of the heavenly host and reveling in the presence of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Set Me Free

"Please pray for my sister Pastor David. She has quit her job here in Taiwan. She is moving from one part-time work to another. I told her she needs to go back home, but she insisted on staying. She does not care if she is living a life of a TNT or illegal migrant worker." Romeo shares with me during one of our Discipleship Men's Group. Her sister's predicament is not too uncommon here in Taiwan. A few of these Asian Contract Workers (ACW) or Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) end up as illegal workers jumping from one odd job to another. It is at this time of their lives that they are most vulnerable. Abuse and violence frequently happen during this juncture. Many of these illegals become victims of human trafficking and live the life of a modern day slave.

Set Free Movement is organized to fight human trafficking and end slavery in this modern time. (For a more detailed explanation about this movement, please click on this link here.) We in Taiwan are joining this movement. We want to end slave-like conditions among our workers (ACW) here in Taiwan. Although, the story of Romeo's sister narrated above is not too many, it is still happening in not too obvious ways. We want our local churches to be aware of these things. We want Taiwanese Christians to be engaged with these issues. We want Set Free Movement in Taiwan to lead the way.

In some other countries, abuse of workers and exploitation of laborers are very common. The Philippine government is faced with many compelling situations out in the Middle East. One good example is in Qatar. You can follow this link for an illustration of what slavery in the work place looks like. We do not want this to happen here in Taiwan. Our prayer is that our Free Methodist local churches will lead the way, to ending the slave-like conditions among our Asian workers here in Taiwan.

Set The Children Free

When Super Typhoon Haiyan left the Philippines, it killed over 6,000 Filipinos and rendered many homeless affecting about 14 million people in the country. Now, it is a time of recovery. Filipinos are picking the pieces and beginning to rebuild their lives with what they have.

This April 15-19, 2014, I am joining other Free Methodists from Manila and Tacloban City as we organize a Stress Debriefing Camp for 60 children ages 7-12 years old. We want to contribute to this process of recovery. We want to start with our children. Most of these children who will be attending will come from the Tacloban City Free Methodist Church and its surrounding neighborhood. These children are experiencing trauma, not only from witnessing the devastation brought by Haiyan, but also from the experience of losing a family member during the typhoon. We want to be there for them. We want to set them free from the trauma and despair. Only God can do this. We will wait on God, wait for His healing.

I do not know where this will lead us. We will trust in God's leadership. My hope is that we can do this Camp annually. Our goal is that these children will grow to be responsible citizens and giving back to the rebuilding of their local community. My prayer is that God will use this Camp to equip these children with skills and emotional stability. They will experience the power of the Gospel in all of its dimensions. God's healing will bring hope, freedom from fear, and the courage to contribute to the rebuilding of Tacloban City. Only God can do this. We will wait for God to act. We will follow Him. We will participate in what He is doing among the people of Tacloban City.