You come over all inspired to be a missionary. But I have seen a trend. If you haven’t already been reaching out to the people around you right at home back in America, then the truth is most likely you won’t here in Taiwan either. Even if you come all pumped to witness and be a light, that zeal will quickly fade and die down after you come over and face challenges. Language barriers being one of the main ones. A true missionary heart says, time to get creative!
Luke McDondald said, “If you are not making an impact where you already are, there is little chance that God will take you to make an impact somewhere else.”
My husband and I have been talking about how we can make the most of each day in Taiwan, how to number our days to gain a heart of wisdom, because the days are evil. If you look out the windows of our living room every evening, when the sun goes down you will see several small red flames burning, Buddhist shrines set up in homes all around, in worship and adoration to a false god. I glanced over through the door of a home in our neighborhood as I walked down the street yesterday. One of those shrines was set up in the livingroom while the kids sat on the couch watching TV. My heart hurts as I look out on that every evening.
But Christians are also rising on every continent and nation every morning telling the world with their words and with their actions that Christ is risen! The beautiful words of the good news. Because He is risen, that changes everything. Because He conquered death, we can conquer death. He has risen for the nations.
Missions is impossible without the Holy Spirit. If sharing Jesus was easy everyone would be doing it. But we are in a war. There is light and there is darkness. There is truth and there is error. Jesus did not give us a sentimental message. He said “I come to seperate brother and sister.” In an age of tolerance this is not an easy message.
So why do we witness?
Because He has changed my life.
Because He has forgiven my sins.
Because I believe in a terrible place called Hell & you don’t have to spend your eternity there.
We are here in Taiwan because we love the Savior. And what a wonderful mission we have been given to be witnesses to Jesus! Not out of obligation. Not out of guilt. But out of love. LOVE!
Last week one of the girls on our team was mentioning the passage in 1 Corinthians 13. The very first thing it says is “even if I speak the tongues of men and angels…if I don’t have love, it’s nothing.” That tells me that our demonstration of love to every person we walk past is more important than our ability to speak their language. BUT, if we have love and don’t speak Chinese, but are willing and open to learn and be God’s love with every word we do know, and our body language from our head to our toes, from the moment we open our eyes in the morning until we lay our head down on the pillow at night, that is better in God’s eyes than being fluent in Chinese but not having love.
I have read many Facebook statuses where you guys mentioned feeling so loved by Taiwanese people that didn’t even say a word to you, but just gave you a gift or a smile or a helping hand when you were lost. So we’re not as handicapped as we feel when it comes to not knowing the language and being a witness and reaching out.
So how can you witness and share the gospel without speaking Chinese? St. Francis of Assissi said “Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”
This is how I preached the Gospel to the five year old daughter of one of Jerry’s basketball buddies last week. I was there with my husband watching his game, and there she was. Shy. Quiet. Staring. Curious about me. I motioned for her to come closer. She stood there unsure, so I smiled & pulled out a sticker and a piece of candy I found in my purse and put it on a table near her so she could get it from a safe distance without getting too close to me.
A few minutes went by and she scooted closer to me. And closer. I pulled out a brush from my purse and took down my ponytail and shook my hair loose. I took her hand, put the brush in her hand and made her “brush” my hair. She giggled and smiled. She got the idea. I looked in my purse and found several bobby pins and hair elastics. I put them all on the table beside her and she watched while I separated my hair in two bunches and then braided one and put an elastic on the end. I then handed her an elastic for her to do the other one. Soon she was busy, excitedly making all kinds of wild hairdo’s and braids on me. Her proud father looking on, with so much love in his eyes as his daughter “interacted” with this foreigner. When you become a parent you will see how blessed you feel when others bless your children.
I feel like I got half of my hair pulled out that day, but I don’t need it. I would give up all my hair if I knew I would see that little girl and her father in Heaven someday. My eyes are filling with tears as I type this because this stuff is real.
Guys, we are not English teachers. We are missionaries under the disguise of an English teacher. Instead of going about our day just focused on having fun and enjoy ourselves in Taiwan. Lets wake up every morning and ask God to open our eyes to the broken hearts around us. To put an urgency in our spirits about telling His story. Fire in our souls to the state of other souls. Think about it: Here in Taiwan we are just a few miles from a place where Christians gather underground to talk about Jesus. They are being tortured and killed for saying He is Lord. The wind might as well stop blowing! The sun might as well stop shinning! We have been given the immense privilege of telling this wondrous story by which the King of glory died! Together we are to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth.
When you take care of what’s on God’s heart, He will take care of what’s on your heart. So don’t worry about your family back home. Don’t fret about your dog. Don’t be sad that you weren’t at your friend’s wedding or birthday party. You will be back with them soon enough. Right now we have a story to tell to the nations. We have glorious news for all mankind.
This is how I’ve started to preach the Gospel to the three guards who rotate at the gates of our building where we live. I buy a green tea or black tea drink at 7-11 (or keep a bunch in my fridge-they literally cost less than $1 US dollar) from the grocery store. Then when I walk out to go to school in the morning or come back home from church or dinner out with my husband, I make sure I have something in my hand for the guard. A pastry from Donutes, a drink, you get the idea. I give it to him with a smile and I learned how to say, “God bless you!” in Chinese. How is that preaching the Gospel, you say? Well the Bible says that some sow the seed, others water it, and others get to see the fruit.
Maybe in a few months or years this guard will meet another Christian who loves Jesus ad is passionate about witnessing. Maybe he will be nice to him and reach out to him like I am, and water that seed. Maybe a few months or years later another one will be able to actually explain the gift of Salvation to him. He might not understand it or accept it right away, but that will “water it” some more. Lets say another person gives him the Gospel again and actually gets to see the fruit of his life being surrendered to Jesus. It could happen on the guard’s deathbed. Hopefully sooner. But each person and moment in time connected back to the blond girl that dared to let herself be used as God’s hands and feet, to begin drawing that guard’s lost heart in love, through the gift of some green tea.
“Pray for me that I would speak boldly as I ought.” Colossians 4:4
“…the people that do know their God shall be strong and do exploits.” Daniel 11:32