Since we last wrote we have completed almost 2 months of Mandarin Chinese language study. It is certainly keeping our brain cells active!
For Ruth a lot of it has been review, as she was able to study Mandarin a lot about 12 years ago. She has finished most of the books at the school now and is going to cut back to 4 hours of classes a week and use the time to get help learning Bible stories in Chinese.
David is almost finished the Intermediate Chinese level books and is able to understand and say more and more. He gets a lot of laughs at school when his Taiwanese pops up in the middle of a Chinese sentence! Actually it is very common here for people to switch back and forth from Mandarin to Taiwanese ‐ even in the same sentence. That is one of the reasons we feel the need to do this language study.
On Monday night we were invited by our landlord and his wife to their friend's house to sing karaoke. We had fun trying to sing songs in Taiwanese and Chinese with them, and they clapped along as we sang some English songs. Our landlord's wife is Japanese, so we even got to hear her sing some Japanese songs too. Such is life in multilingual Taiwan! Pray for these 2 couples, for natural opportunities to share
more with them about God. Our landlord's wife has been going to a Bible study on and off for over a year now, but the family still follows the traditional folk religion with a big idol shelf in their house.
We are very thankful for the many opportunities we have had since moving here to meet people in the community. Ruth shops most mornings at the local wet market in front of the big local temple down the street. It turns out that the sister of one of the sellers lives across the street from us. They also know our landlord's parents, who live a 5 minute walk from us. We have met other people while walking our dog in the evening. One man told us that his younger brother and sister, "are the same as you." He said that they believed in Jesus when they went away to school, but that he still practices the folk religion.
We have also been meeting several Christians in Qiaotou (pronounced "Chow‐toe"), who may be potential coworkers in reaching out here. David has started meeting separately each week with Mr. Deo and Mr. Jia for mutual accountability and prayer. We are challenging each other to read 20‐30 chapters of the Bible each week ‐ all reading the same book or section. We were originally going to meet all together, but
their schedules would not allow it. The best time for Mr. Jia to meet is at 6am on Tuesdays! Pray that other men will join us for these "Life Transformation Groups" (see the book "Organic Church", by Neil Cole), and that they might be the seed of a new church here in Qiaotou. Ruth plans to start a women's LTG soon as well.
In other news, and for prayer, David has been elected back on to our OMF Taiwan Field Council. They will be meeting next week, August 26‐28, in Taipei to discussion mission business, including where new workers will begin their ministry after
language school. We have a number of new workers in language school right now,
with one couple hoping to come down to Kaohsiung to join us next summer.
Then, also next week, we are planning to fly to Singapore for 10 days to visit our
daughter Sarah as she has a week long break from her regular teaching schedule.
David has also been invited to speak at the Hokkien (same language as Taiwanese)
speaking service at St. Andrew's Cathedral in Singapore on September 1. It will be
Ruth's first time back to Singapore since we were there 25 years ago for Orientation
Course when we first joined OMF. August 1st marked exactly 25 years since we first
arrived in Taiwan! It has been quite the adventure, and we look forward to seeing
what God is going to do in the years ahead.
Special items for prayer:
- 1. Pray for Jiacheng Church, for guidance as they seek to reach out into the community. I will start teaching Bible story telling there on September 22. Also pray for the right person to come and lead the church.
- 2. Pray for an elderly man, Mr. Su, who we have been visiting in hospital. His 2 daughters are Christians, but his wife and 2 sons are not. He is afraid of death but has a lot of pressure not to trust Jesus. He probably does not have much time left in this world.
- 3. Pray for our son John in Canada. We have not been able to talk with him for some time and we sense that he is particularly in need of prayer right now. As far as we know he has stopped going to church.
David and Ruth