Missionary Insight: The Johnsons in Taiwan
By Simon and Helen Johnson
“I’ll make you a contract,” Yong I, one of our new believers, said to her husband Kevin. “If you want to keep worshipping your idols in our shop, then you have to come along to church with me each week.” Kevin agreed, and he’s been coming along ever since – about three months now. Kevin is an interesting guy; he’s an elementary school computer teacher, was brought up in a countryside village in Tainan, studied agriculture at Chiayi University and likes to laugh. He’s a good guy to have around with a group of people; the sort of person who keeps the party going.
He’s been instrumental in organising some of our recent church outings. One was a men’s hike around our local reservoir, where he bought roast pork to share afterwards. Another was a trip to a Buddhist garden with lovely evergreen trees, a twinkling waterfall and oversized gold fish swimming around shimmering pools. It seems he was thinking “This is a beautiful place, near where I grew up. I’ll show you my home town and also introduce you to some religious aspects of Taiwan, different from Christianity, that you may not have been aware of.” It was an interesting trip, which is what you’d expect from such an interesting guy.
Twice now, Kevin has brought workmates along to our regular Wednesday night Bible study meetings. “How can this guy be reaching out to his co-workers if he’s not even a Christian yet?” I thought to myself. This just doesn’t seem normal. But ‘normal’ is a parameter that is being broken down in my mind as I work and minister in Taiwan, and in particular as I work with Kevin. He’s got a lot going on in life; he teaches kids computers each day, comes along to our Bible studies, organises church outings and invites his friends to church, and on top of all that runs a part-time business in the evenings and weekends. It’s a second-hand bookstore, where he also makes wooden keyrings with Christian messages on them to give away. His wife Yong I just recently held her first book reading club for kids, which was attended by children from our church. This is a family and this is a man that is already proving to be influential for God’s Kingdom… and we pray that when he is able to make a public commitment of faith in Christ, his influence may grow. And perhaps this greater influence will be sooner than we expect, as Yong I excitedly let us know recently that she thinks Kevin wants to be baptised. She suspects he probably already believes in the One God, Jesus Christ, but he is just a little frightened of what his parents will think if he makes this pronouncement.
Please pray with us for Kevin, that his heart will continue to be softened.
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