The first China Inland Mission (CIM) missionaries came to Taiwan from China in 1951. China had fallen to the Communists and it was hoped that the regime would not last long. As a result, CIM missionaries invested themselves in service to God in Taiwan.
Because these CIM missionaries already spoke Mandarin, they 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.
Since OMF has traditionally worked through local churches and organizations it is not easy to quantify the contribution OMF missionaries have made to 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 organization is now a major body for evangelism and discipleship in Taiwan.
1969 – OMF missionaries began the first “industrial evangelism” to Taiwan’s factory workers. The local church 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 marginalized people.
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.
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. Our teams strive to ensure good relationships are maintained with local Christians. We seek to both learn from the experiences of national believers and model pioneering ministry. We aim to train local co-workers with the goal of handing over to Taiwanese leadership.
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.
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.”
Like Timothy, we seek to avoid a ‘spirit of timidity’ (2 Tim 1:6-12). Our boldness will be characterized by a willingness to pioneer creative new ministries seeking to reach the hard places of Taiwan with new and untried methods.
‘Run the with perseverance the race marked out for us’ (Heb 12:1). 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.) We commit ourselves to prepare for long-term ministry through language and culture study. We persevere when ministry is hard work and discouraging, being patient and standing firm.