This is a summary of my e-mail newsletter posts about our interaction with Richard & Christine (the couple in the center of the picture) since we first met them in August of 2014.
August 2014 – For the last few weeks, a young family (pictured above in the center – Richard & Christine) have been attending the Saturday evening Bible study where Crista and I teach. They started coming so their two little girls could begin hearing and learning English. Richard speaks English quite well and Christine speaks a little and listens well.
When they started coming, they also started reading the Bible. Each week, they come ready with a list of questions from their Bible reading. Tonight, Christine was asking questions from the book of Numbers. (it is very typical for Eastern people to start at the beginning and work systematically through the Scriptures). After a little while, along with the help of my friends at the church, in both English and Mandarin, we reached the point where I told her how great our God was, overruling the universe, more powerful, more wonderful, greater than we could understand, but at the same time He loved her and her family. She and Richard both looked at me and together asked – “How can we know this?”. I held my arms open wide and said, “You can know this because of Jesus. This is how God told us He loved us and that He loves you.”
My Mandarin speaking friends jumped in at that point and together we spent the next 15 minutes sharing the Gospel with both of them. They listened so intently, you could tell the Holy Spirit was working in their hearts. She told us that she could not sleep at night, she has so many questions.
August 2014 – I want to ask you to please join me in praying specifically for these requests and a few others that I don’t have the space to tell you about:
1. Four students will join our church’s summer camp this Friday and Saturday. Pray they will know Jesus Christ.
2. Richard, Vivien and their two girls to know Jesus Christ.
November 2014 – You remember Richard and Christine, from our Saturday evening Bible study. This past Saturday, we continued working through our overview of the Bible – along with answering their questions about Baptism, the Holy Spirit, and some passages they had questions about from their Bible reading. At the end of the class, Richard said, “So, for next week’s class, can we just talk about how to believe in Jesus?”. They are really trying to understand what faith is and what it means to trust in Jesus.
Will you please pray specifically right now and throughout this week for Richard and Christine to hear the Holy Spirit’s call and respond in faith. Would you pray that they would know Jesus’ love and presence in their lives. Would you pray for John (my Taiwanese partner) and I as we prepare to lead them this next week.
Mid-November 2014 – As we continue to work through the questions our Saturday night group has about following Jesus. Richard and Christine (above) and others continue to question how they can follow Jesus and continue to honor their parents. Here in Taiwan, honoring your parents translates into worshipping your parents and all of your ancestors who have passed into the other world. Therefore, to follow Christ means to abandon your parents and ancestors to roam the afterlife as ghosts without anyone to care for them. It is the greatest shame and dishonor a son or daughter could bring on their parents.
December 2014 – My friend Stephen is one of the first people I met at Taichung Baptist Church besides Pastor Lu. Stephen has studied in the states, has a couple of teenage boys, loves sharing the Gospel and works at one of Nike’s biggest shoe suppliers. He has a passion for reaching lost people and together we have become a great team.
This past week, he sent me a message inviting me to an event on Sunday afternoon at the church. Turns out it was a new member orientation. We invited all of the people I’ve brought over the past few months and most of them came. Fannie, Vincent, Richard & Christine, Stone & Vivian and many others. I share this with you so you know that the people you pray for are being followed up with, loved and cared for by a church family. They are being loved into the Kingdom of God, drawn by grace.
Please keep praying.
After the meeting, Stephen took Richard, Vincent and I to a company sponsored basketball game over at the Sport’s University. After it was over, he and I walked back to where he parked his car and he told me that Richard’s father was getting pretty upset because Richard was going to church too often. Richard’s father is very involved in several of the large temples here in Taichung. The enemy is digging his claws in for a fight, so please pray that God will set Richard and Christine and these others free!
Maybe this will be their first Christmas…with Christ.
February 2015 – After you began praying for Richard and Christine, it seemed like things became worse. Richard’s parents own three houses of which they live in one. In their belief, they owe worship and honor to their grandparents and ancestors for providing these houses. It is their duty to worship them and give them honor in the afterlife in return for their provision in this life. This is part of their ancestor worship.
That night, Richard’s father gave them an ultimatum. If you become a Christian – get out. You can no longer live in the family house and we will no longer provide you any financial support. It’s a little hard to understand in our western culture, but it is very common in this culture for families to share resources intergenerationally.
Along with asking you to pray, I called our pastor and his wife, who already knew Richard and Christine and they met for lunch the next day to pray with them and give them wise counsel.
That night, Richard’s uncle, his father’s brother showed up at their house unannounced and uninvited. Richard told me this was very uncommon and out of the ordinary. His uncle spent a great amount of time talking with his father telling him it was no big deal for Richard and Christine to go to church. The uncle had many Christian friends and customers and thought they were great. In the end, the father told Richard and Christine they could stay in the family home and he would no longer oppose them going to church.
Oh, and the best part! Richard and Christine are trusting in Christ!
September 2015 – Richard and Christine (Click Here for their story) had their baby!!! Crista and I were able to go and visit them at their new home – away from their family. They are now free to attend church, have joined a small group and are growing in their faith. Richard told us they were praying together on Friday night when Christine gripped his arm and said – “We need to go to the hospital NOW!”. Please continue to pray for their growth in Christ and as new parents who really want to raise their children to know Christ and separate from the traditions of their past while still loving and caring for their family.
Today – Richard and Christine and their girls are all active in their church and continue to follow Christ. Join our newsletter for continued updates.