Taichung is surrounded by mountains and hiking is an activity that many locals enjoy. Soon after I arrived in Taichung, I was invited to a massive group chat where local Taiwanese arrange hiking activities almost every week. I decided to join them a couple times.
The first hike was a trail called Dakeng Trail No. 9. It is supposed to be one of the easiest hikes in the area. Throughout the trail, there were many stalls that sell things such as fruits, vegetables, cooked corn, and baked sweet potato. The hike itself was very pleasant.
During the hike, my “co-hikers” asked many questions about why I am in Taiwan. It gave me a chance to tell them about Jesus and Christianity. They immediately associated me with Mormons, which I had to clarify.
I am thankful that they understood enough English as I was only in my second month of language learning and didn’t speak much Mandarin.
The end of the hike was to a shrine and statue where many locals stopped to pray at. They would put their hands together, pray, and bow every time they passed by it. As I witnessed two of the people in my hiking group do this, the voice inside my head cried out, “Nooooo!” I silently prayed for them.
My second hike was to Yuanzui Mountain, which was much more difficult. This hike requires using pre-installed ropes to climb. This was a much longer hike, and it also presented more time for me to share with them why I was in Taiwan and what I was doing. As I shared, they had many questions for me.
“Wait, so if you’re a missionary, does that mean you’re a Mormon?”
“Then does that mean you want to be a priest? Are you allowed to get married?”
I love that the people of Taiwan are so open and curious. The hikes were very enjoyable by itself, but the opportunities to share something about the gospel to fellow Taiwanese “co-hikers” made every second of the hikes even more enjoyable and worthwhile.
-Kyong Yu, OMF Ministry Associate