Ministry in Taiwan

Our Vision

Through God’s grace we long to see reproducing communities of disciples among the working class peoples of Taiwan.

 

 

Our mission is to evangelize, disciple and mobilize Taiwan’s working class peoples through pioneering ministries and partnership with local Christians.

 

 

Our purpose is to contribute to the building of the church in Taiwan through the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We give priority to the working class, as they are the primary unreached people group in Taiwan.

Our Challenge

We are here because most people in Taiwan do not know of the hope that Jesus Christ offers to them. This is especially true of the working class—the vast majority of whom are in bondage to idolatry and superstition and the destruction these bring.

  • Why are working-class Taiwanese “unreached?”
  • Why did OMF decide to focus on the working class?
  • What are our ministry needs?

 

Why are working-class Taiwanese “unreached?”

 

Like much of Asia, Taiwan is in the midst of unprecedented social, political and economic change. This has led to an erosion of traditional values and social structures. Families have started to break down, with Taiwan having one of the highest divorce rates in Asia. With this have come many other social problems, especially among the working class.
Despite over 100 years of missionary involvement in Taiwan, Protestant Christians make up only about 2-3% of the population. As many as 10% of all university graduates are Christian. These are the kinds of people who are generally most welcomed by local churches.
Yet among 15 million working-class Taiwanese (about two-thirds of the total population), only about 0.5% are Christian.
Most working-class people do not easily fit into existing churches because of differences in background, mindset and education. Others are alienated from society or belong to subcultures that local Christians have difficulty relating to. Some believers do seek to reach these groups, but few resources are devoted to them. Most local Christians do not have the vision to reach out to people different from themselves.

The working class tend to:

* have a lower level of education and socio-economic status.
* be more traditional, holding strongly to Chinese folk religion.
* prefer speaking Taiwanese, their “heart language.”

 

Why did OMF decide to focus on the working class?

 

There are many needs in Taiwan, but we have decided to focus our energy on reaching the working class. Our reasons:
* The Taiwanese working class is a large unreached people group. They are separated by culture and language from the local Christian community.
* Very few local Christians and churches are reaching the working class.
* OMF Taiwan has a long history of ministry among working-class people.

 

What are our ministry needs?

 

There are many areas in Taiwan with no Christian witness.
We are praying for 5-10 new people each year so we can establish new church-planting teams and expand the current work. We need people who are able to share the gospel with working-class people, establish non-traditional churches, reach out to youth and care for families.

Our Ministries

We use a variety of strategies to serve working-class people and help to gather them into churches. We work together in teams with other missionaries and with Taiwanese Christians to pioneer outreach in needy communities.

 

Church Planting

 

Church planting teams are seeking to establish Christian communities in some of Taiwan’s most unreached areas. The main focus of OMF’s work is in the southern half of Taiwan from Taichung to south of Kaohsiung. Towns and villages in this area have the lowest percentage of Christians and most are deeply steeped in traditional folk religions. For example, 2 teams are serving in Zhongpu, a cluster of 22 villages with a population of 50,000 on the edge of Chiayi city. Currently there only one established church and less than 1% of the people are Christian.
In 2014 OMF has ministry teams in Wanhua (Taipei), Taichung, Taiping (near Taichung),  Puxin (Changhua County),  Zhongpu (Chiayi), Qiaotou (Kaohsiung) and Dongang.

These teams use a range of methods to build relationships in the local community, including children’s and youth activities,  support for families,  small businesses, counseling, medical care, etc. The gospel is shared in traditional markets, local parks, schools and with neighbours.

There are many communities not yet reached and there is a need to multiple new teams into neighborhoods and villages which still have no gospel witness.

 

Urban Marginalized People Ministries

Within Taiwan’s cities there are many people who are poor or marginalized. Few of them are Christian or have the chance to experience the love of Christ. OMF is seeking to serve some of these people through evangelism and caring for practical needs. Currently most of this work is focused within Taipei city.

These ministries include include The Spring, a worship center for the homeless in Wanhua; the Pearl Family Garden, a women’s center for prostitutes and other marginalized women; outreach to low-income families and at-risk kids in Wanhua; outreach in a juvenile detention center; outreach to the handicapped in Taichung.

 

Shopworker Evangelism

 

The Taipei Shopworkers Church brings together church planting and mercy ministry. Most church activities take place late in the evening after shops are closed to cater for those who work in department stores, beauty salons and restaurants across Taipei. The church also ministers to single mothers and those fleeing domestic violence. To serve them the church provides housing and operates a couple of small businesses to provide employment. OMF missionaries help provide guidance, training and support to the church leadership.

 

Youth and student work

 

OMF missionaries are reaching out to unchurched young people through school and college activities and in local communities. The focus is on students from the less academic vocational schools who often come from more working class backgrounds. Gospel work in such schools is often neglected. OMF youth workers serve in conjunction with church planting ministries or with local churches.

Our Values

Our ministries are governed by a few core values. These values come first from the Scriptures, and second from our years of experience in Taiwan. These values are:

 

Priority of Prayer

We believe that all ministry involves spiritual warfare and all growth comes only from the work of the Spirit of God. Therefore, we serve in prayerful dependence upon God. We also seek the participation in our ministry of Christians around the world through prayer. Without prayer there will be no fruit.

 

Partnership

Jesus gave us the example of ministry with other believers in pairs or teams. We aim to work in teams that may include other missionaries and/or local believers. This may involve the designation of missionaries to work with Taiwanese churches and organizations, or the establishment of ministry teams to develop new ministries. Where teams are not working under the authority of the local churches they should strive to ensure that good relationships are maintained with local Christians, conscious that a key role of such teams is to both learn from the experiences of national believers and model pioneering ministry. All missionary teams should aim to seek to include or train local co-workers with the ultimate aim of handing over to Taiwanese leadership.

 

Proclaiming the Gospel

The goal of all our ministries is to see the establishment of healthy churches among all the different working class peoples in Taiwan. We are not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes (Rom 1:16) so we seek to proclaim it effectively to the Taiwanese working class. Whilst in many cases seeking to genuinely minister to the physical and personal needs of Taiwan’s working class, all our ministries have the ultimate aim of leading people to Christ and to become members of His Church. Healthy churches are those that are based on a careful teaching of scripture. It is our belief that our entire ministry should be characterized by a desire to help people understand the Bible and through that understanding; seek to live as Christ’s disciples. OMF missionaries should be continually studying the Bible to understand its teachings and how best to both apply and teach it within our ministry contexts.

 

Living the Gospel

We believe our personal godliness is the key to effective ministry. An OMF leader once said, “One of the greatest contributions made by missionaries in Taiwan has been through the beneficial influence of the missionary’s spiritual character and conduct.” OMF encourages its workers to continually develop and grow in their relationship with God and to demonstrate such growth through personal holiness and integrity in our ministry and personal relationships. This godliness is achieved through prayerfully seeking to live in submission to the Bible as the word of God.

 

Boldness

Successful Christian ministry is characterized by a boldness from God (1 Thess 2:2, Phil 1:27-28) Like Timothy, we are called to avoid a ‘spirit of timidity’(2 Tim 1:6-12). Boldness in Christian ministry is matched with personal humility as it is based upon: the power of God at work in us, not our own ability; the love of Christ which drives us, shunning pride and boasting (1 Cor13:14); and self-discipline, avoiding being driven by our emotions and desires, but instead focusing on the vision and mission to which Christ has called us. Our boldness will be characterized by 1. a willingness to pioneer new ministries, seeking to reach the hard places of Taiwan. 2. a willingness to be creative in ministry, trying new and untried methods. Personal humility means we give ourselves and others permission to fail, knowing that God teaches us through success and failure and that ultimately it is God who will grow His church (1Cor 3:6). 3. a willingness to release control of ministries to others, including Taiwanese working class believers knowing that they too have the Spirit of God (1 John 2:20).

 

Perseverance

 

The writer to the Hebrews paints a picture of Christians cheered on by the saints that have gone before, throwing off all hindrances to ‘run the with perseverance the race marked out for us’ (Heb 12:1). This has always been an image that has challenged our mission as we consider those in OMF and CIM who persevered in the past, ‘Ours is the same commission, The same glad message ours. Fired by the same ambition…’ (lyrics from ‘Facing a Task Unfinished’ by Bishop Frank Houghton.) The call to perseverance applies to both our personal call to holiness and also to our vision for ministry. This means we commit ourselves to prepare for long- term ministry through language and culture study. It means we persevere when ministry is hard work and discouraging, being patient and standing firm. It means we are willing to persevere even through suffering (James 5:8,10) fired both by the longing to see disciples among Taiwan’s working class and the desire to be ‘counted worthy of the kingdom of God’ (2 Thessalonians 1:5) and the special task to which we have been called.

Our History

The Early Days

The first China Inland Mission (CIM) missionaries came to Taiwan from China in 1951. Those were turbulent days. China had fallen to the Communists and it was hoped that the regime would not last long. As a result, missionaries jumped in to do whatever they could in Taiwan.
Because these CIM missionaries already spoke Mandarin, CIMers gravitated to work among Chinese ex-soldiers and other refugees from the mainland, rather than the local Taiwanese. Dispirited, discouraged and lonely, these Chinese refugees were unusually open to the gospel.

 

OMF Taiwan’s Contributions

Since OMF has traditionally worked through local churches and organizations it is not easy to measure the contribution OMF missionaries have made ot the church in Taiwan. Much of the impact has been through the changed lives of individuals, many of whom are now church leaders.
The most visible contributions to the kingdom of God in Taiwan have been through the following milestones:

1957 – Campus Evangelical Fellowship (CEF) was established with OMF assistance. This student organisation is now a major force for evangelism and discipleship in Taiwan.
1969 – OMF missionaries began the first “industrial evangelism ” to Taiwan’s factory workers. These efforts helped open the eyes of the Chinese church to this need. In response, the Taiwan Industrial Evangelical Fellowship (TIEF) was founded in 1979.
1972 – OMF Taiwan’s literature ministry became a branch of the Hong Kong-based Christian Communications Limited.
1977 – OMF helped established a Gospel Center for factory workers in the Tantze Export Processing Zone.
1981 – The Hsinchung Gospel Center was established in cooperation with TIEF.
1991 – “The Spring,” a worship and witness center for street people, was established in the Wanhua District of Taipei and handed over to Taiwanese leadership in 2004.
2000 – OMF instigated the establishment of an AIDS hospice, “The House of Mercy.”
2002 – A decision was made to commit all of OMF Taiwan’s resources on ministry to Taiwan’s working class, including urban marginalised people.

 

Lessons Learned

It is clear that successes on the field are related to the personal qualities of the missionaries involved. In addition to spiritual maturity, successful missionaries have generally possessed:

  • Vision – they identified something God was calling them to do.
  • Initiative – they took action on their vision.
  • Chinese Co-workers – they forged positive working relationships with Chinese colleagues.
  • Ministry Experience

 

The availability of personnel has been a major factor in the development of Taiwan’s work. Tribal ministry did not develop the way it had been hoped because new recruits did not feel called to it. But church planting has expanded in recent years due to a number of new recruits who have been interested in it.

 

The choice of language has had a definite influence on the direction of OMF’s work here. Since a majority of Taiwan OMFers first study Mandarin, most of OMF’s ministry has been in Taiwan’s Mandarin-speaking community. This has changed in recent years, as there has been an increased emphasis on learning Taiwanese.

 

Throughout its history in Taiwan, OMF has sought to partner, rather than compete with the established churches. As a result, OMF has been accepted very warmly by the Chinese church. OMF’s policy in this area has created many open doors for ministry, but it has also made the work more complicated. Partnership is often difficult across cultures, especially when visions conflict.
OMF continues to partner with local Christians and organisations in the current focus on reaching working class and marginalized people.

Northern Taiwan

Ministries in northern Taiwan are based in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan and one of the most densely populated cities in the world. Greater Taipei has a population of almost 8 million people. In Taipei we minister to the urban marginalized, such as homeless people, juvenile delinquents, prostitutes, at-risk kids and low-income families. We reach out to service industry personnel and we partner with local churches to mobilise and equip more believers into ministry within Taiwan and abroad.

Linda McFerran

McFerran

Linda is from Northern Ireland. She works with young adults who have grown up in Bethany children’s home, providing them with ongoing support and a safe place to visit. Linda provides pastoral oversight for OMF missionaries in Taipei.

Will & Edna McKelleher

McKelleher

Will and Edna, with Joshua, are from Australia. Edna is working with the Pearl Family Garden ministry to prostitutes. Will is involved in outreach in a juvenile reformatory.

Steve & Megan Noble

Stephen and Megan, with Conrad, Isaac, Liam and Faith are from Australia. Stephen is the Finance Manager for the Taiwan Field whilst Megan is the teacher/librarian at Morrison Academy, Bethany campus.

Philip & Irene Nicholson

Nicholson

Phil and Irene, with Zac, Ben & Matthew, come from Australia. Phil is helps the OMF Taiwan homeside team in several capacities . Irene focuses on mobilizing more workers and prayer for Taiwan. They also assist the work of the Shopworkers Church

Veronika Rieben

Veronika is Swiss and leads the Wanhua Hope team which has a special focus on at-risk kids and youth. Outreach takes place within local schools, through churches and in community centers.

Martha Oates

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Martha is from Canada. She began working with the Shopworkers Church in 2017

Teo Sin Ee

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Sin Ee is involved in the Pearl Family Garden ministry, reaching out to marginalized women in Wanhua.

Tera van Twillert

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Tera is from the Netherlands. She leads outreach to prostitutes through the Pearl Family Garden in Taipei and serves alongside local churches in red-light districts in Keelung city.

Elisabeth Weinmann

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Elisabeth, from Germany, has established a church ministering to shop workers (department store workers, hairdressers, restaurant workers). Most church activities take place late at night, after shops have closed. The story of this work is told in the book “Unbound” by Jennifer Su McIntyre.

Margret Zingg

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Margret is from Switzerland. She works with juvenile delinquents, visiting them in prison, leading gospel activities and assisting them after their release. Margret is also involved in various ministries to young people as a part of the Wanhua Hope team.

Esther Chin

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Esther is from Malaysia. She formerly worked with OMF in a different country in East Asia but joined the Taiwan field in 2016. She is now working with the Shopworkers church.

David & Sigrun Jansen

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David comes from Texas in the USA and Sigrun is from Berlin in Germany. They have 4 sons: Emmanuel, Nathan, Benjamin, and Daniel. They live and serve in Wanhua amongst low-income families.

Central Taiwan

OMF ministries are centered in Taichung, the third largest city in Taiwan, with over one million people. These include church planting and outreach to unchurched youth. New missionaries are also based here for language study and cultural adjustment.

David & Lucy Eastwood

Eastwood

David is from England, and Lucy is Taiwanese and they have one daughter, Naomi. Lucy is involved in outreach in Taiping, a working class region of 200,000, on the southern edge of Taichung.  David is also the OMF Taiwan field director and oversees the various ministries that OMF has in Taiwan.

Jason & Hiwin Tam

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Jason & Hiwin were born in Hong Kong but came to Christ in Australia. They have one son, Ashar.  They lead the church planting team, reaching out to the villages of Pusin in Changhua County.

Nathan & Tina Keller

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Nathan & Tina joined OMF from the USA but Tina is Taiwan born. They have 3 small sons, Timothy, Gabriel and Jonathan. They are serving in the Taiping church planting team. Nathan also serves as the Language Advisor for those OMF members who are studying Mandarin or Taiwanese.

Wayne & Angela Chen

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Wayne and Angela are originally from China and HK but now call Australia home. They have started a new outreach in the villages of Puxin in Changhua County.

Timothy & Jennifer McCracken

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Tim and Jennifer are from the US and are members of World Team, but serve with OMF in Taiwan. They are members of the Taiping church planting team.

Southern Taiwan

Ministry in southern Taiwan is spread over a number of locations, including the area around Chiayi, Kaohsiung city and the fishing town of Donggang. This region is includes some of the most unreached towns in Taiwan and is steeped in folk religion and traditional practices.

Calvin & Jeanette Kim

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The Kims from come from the USA with their children Ethan, Megan and Alison. They are serving in Gangshan in Southern Taiwan.

Aaron & Amy Koh

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Aaron and Amy with Zoe, Felicity, Jonathan and Mitchell are Australians. Aaron and Amy are learning Taiwanese while the kids are learning Mandarin at school.

Christine Dillon

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Christine comes from Australia and leads the ministry in Donggang. She shares Bible stories, trains others to do the same and gathers groups of those willing to be discipled.

Nancy Elumba

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Nancy comes from the Philippines and is working with Christine in Bible storying and seeking contacts in order to plant simple churches amongst working class people.

Seann & Amy Gibson

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Seann and Amy lead the village church planting team in Zhongpu, near Chiayi. They are members of World Team but serve under OMF in Taiwan. They run a small coffee shop to connect with the residents of their village.

Birgit Glaw

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Birgit is from Germany. She works with the Gibsons, focusing on reaching out to youth in their village.

Judith Jackson

Judith comes from New Zealand. She establishes and helps lead high-school fellowships around Tainan in cooperation with Campus Evangelical Fellowship. Her goal is to see a Christian fellowship group in every high school in Tainan.

Brian & Faith Janssen

The Janssens are from the US. Brian is in church planting ministry with the Ullstroms while Faith teaches at the Morrison Academy, Kaohsiung campus.

Thomas & Jennifer McIntyre

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Thomas & Jennifer come from the USA, and have two children, Ashlee and Tyler. They have begun a new outreach to families in the village of Sanhe in Zhongpu near Chiayi.

Linda McKerrell

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Linda lives in Donggang, studies Mandarin part-time and is reaching out to people through the use of Bible storying. Linda comes from Australia.

Marcus & Annie Laurinkari

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The Laurinkaris have come from Finland. Marcus and Annie live in the same village as the Gibsons and serve with them in church planting ministries.

David & Ruth Ullstrom

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David & Ruth have started a new outreach in the Qiaotou area north of Kaohsiung. David also provides pastoral care for OMF missionaries in southern Taiwan. Their four children, Stephen, Sarah, Peter and John are all studying or working in Canada.

Simon & Helen Johnson

Simon, Helen Henry and Eva are from New Zealand. They are working with the Sanhe team in Zhongpu,  near Chiayi City