OMF’s work goes beyond planting churches. We also support them to see them grow and reach out, both to those around them and to people around the world. The Shopworkers Church in central Taipei has planted small meetings in other cities in Taiwan and is now planning, when international travel is allowed, to send a team of young people overseas.
A big step forward at a Sunday service in July was sending their 13 young people up to an aboriginal village in the mountains. They went for a week to run children’s activities through the church there and gain some cross-cultural experience. Hopefully, next year they will be able to go to the church in rural Myanmar they’ve been connected with for the last couple of years.
However, this story starts in the suburbs of Taipei before most of these young people were even born!
Over 20 years ago, Elizabeth, a German OMF worker, and a local church in the suburbs of Taipei saw shopworkers’ long hours meant they had less opportunities than most to hear about Jesus. So, they started meetings at times of day when shopworkers could hear about Jesus. In time, the first Shopworkers Church was born.
Around 15 years ago, with a group of Christians from the first Shopworkers Church, Elizabeth helped start another congregation to reach the department store workers of central Taipei. This central Taipei Shopworkers Church is now led by Kevin, a former chef who came to know Jesus through its ministry. (You can watch Kevin tell more of his story in this video).
While the members of the Shopworkers Church have always shared the good news of Jesus with those around them, they have long dreamt that they would be able to send some of their number overseas. Yet, for many of the adults, it was unlikely they would be able to go themselves. Many have met Jesus later in life from difficult backgrounds. Nevertheless, they have been praying that the next generation would be able take up the opportunity to share the good news of Jesus’ love beyond Taiwan.
In the last few years, this desire has seen them support this congregation in rural Myanmar with prayer and finance. At the same time, many of the young people have grown significantly in their relationship with God. Irene Nicholson, one of the OMF workers supporting the Shopworkers Church, says, ‘one after another young people in the church have been saying to Pastor Kevin, “I recognise I can’t do things by myself, I can’t deal with my sin.” and seven of them have been baptised in the last two years! It’s just been unbelievable!’ Several more of the young people are also considering baptism at the moment.
The young people on the team truly belong to the church family. Many of these young people grew up in the church since it offered accommodation and support to their single mothers around ten years ago. Wonderfully, the team is led by Peh Han, the daughter of one of the very first members of the Shopworkers’ Church, who has plans to go to Bible college in the future.
Give thanks with us for all God has been doing through the Shopworkers Church over the last 15 years. Praise him for how this incredible dream of sending overseas looks to be coming true.
More from the Shopworkers Church
Hear more of the story of the Shopworkers Church from Elizabeth, Kevin and others involved in the church in the video below.