May 2018–Mr. Tu’s business is selling joss paper. Joss paper is what is burned in ancestor worship, folk religion, and taoism. Almost every non-Christian Taiwanese person we know does or has burned joss paper on a regular basis.
A neighbor down the road from us is a sculptor. Every day we walk by his home he is making sculptures for temples and shrines. These men’s livelihood is directly linked to temple and ancestor worship.
A lady in the neighboring village became a Christian several years ago. Not soon after she started to experience conflict in her family as a result of no longer participating in ancestor worship or temple offerings. The concern over losing face in the community and apparent disrespect for family members was too much for her so she decided that it would be better for her and her family if she resumed their traditional folk religion practices.
For them, and many other Taiwanese, becoming a Christian isn’t just assuming a new set of religious beliefs, it also means finding a new job, causing your family to lose face (honor), and rejecting what some believe to be your very culture.
“For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it” (Luke 14:28).
Pray that the Holy Spirit will stir peoples’ hearts to “count the cost” and realize that God’s grace is worth the loss they will experience by choosing to follow Him.
Pray that the local church/missionaries will not shirk away from sharing up front the struggles new believers will face as a result of becoming a Christian.
Pray that the local church/missionaries will support and encourage people after they choose to follow Christ alone.
Pray that God will show His faithfulness to new believers by providing new jobs, new ways to honor and respect family, and the strength to persevere.