Serve Asia is our short-term mission discipleship program. As we come into the summer, it is one of our busiest period of the year. As individuals, teams, and churches come to Taiwan, we hope they will see what God is doing here; but also, how they can be part of it.
In the past, most people came to consider if God could use them on the mission field. Praise God some have returned to Taiwan or other countries as long-term workers. Praise God others are now pastors and leaders in churches promoting missions around the world. Praise God other are now partnering and supporting the long-term ministries in Taiwan.
Now, as international travel becomes more affordable, we are seeing a different kind of short-term worker. One such group is from partner churches, or those interested in partnering with our ministries. Another such group is from our neighboring countries in East Asia. These introduce some great opportunities, but some challenges as well.
Partnership teams are short-term mission teams from churches or groups who are either supporting or want to support a long-term worker or ministry. In recent years, we are seeing more and more partnership teams come to serve in Taiwan.
Partnership teams are great as they continue to build relationships between ministry partners and the ministry here in Taiwan. It is often difficult for people to understand the context and situation of our local ministries, so the opportunity to experience and see them firsthand provides better understanding of the work they support.
A number of people who come on partnership teams return their churches excited about the work they support. They start new initiatives to support long-term workers, begin prayer groups, and find other ways to encourage the church. For example, one church started translating workers’ newsletters so non-English speaking members of the church could read the newsletters and pray.
Workers from East Asia
As the church continues to grow across East Asia (praise God), we are beginning to see more and more short-term workers come from East Asia. They come as individuals or groups, but often are limited in the time they have available. Many working people in East Asia do not have the flexibility to take 2 to 3 weeks off from work, instead, they are generally only available for up to one week.
One advantage of workers from East Asia is physical appearance, language, and culture. Some workers are already equipped with language, coupled with their physical appearance, looking just like the locals, allowing them to be more involved in ministries compared to non-Asian workers.
They also share a similar cultural heritage; still bear in mind, the cultures are different, but the differences are not as significant as someone coming from a Western background. This can present some challenges if workers are not aware of the differences, which would could cause problems within the ministries. However, we are committed to find ways to partner with our brothers and sisters in East Asia to be part of God’s work here in Taiwan.
Our prayer for all short-term workers, regardless of where they come from, is that they will capture a vision for God’s kingdom work. Whether they return to Taiwan, whether they go to another country, or whether they stay in their home countries is irrelevant. We simply want to see their short-term experience have long-term impact.
Serve Asia Coordinator for Taiwan