Our home in Qiaotou has three floors but we live on the first and second floors. The third floor has a small room that we use for storage and has roof access. For most Taiwanese this room is for the family’s idols. From our roof at night, you can see the glow of red lights around our neighborhood. These red lights shine on each family’s god shelf. It is an eerie feeling to see the lights scattered throughout the community. We live in a place that is friendly and welcoming but spiritually dark. Yet, in the darkness we see God at work.
Towards the end of last year I (Brian) had the opportunity to lead a Bible study with a young Christian couple, Chuan and Li-ting, and their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Lin. The Lins are recently retired and had lived their whole lives with a very traditional Taiwanese religious worldview. David and Ruth Ullstrom had begun a relationship with this couple and had shared the gospel with them. Before the Ullstroms left for home assignment, the Lins had begun their journey of faith towards the God of the Bible. We are grateful that the friendship that the Ullstroms started with this family was naturally extended to us.
While preparing for Bible studies, I often felt a little apprehension that my Mandarin would not be strong enough. It was a challenge for me but it was also an exciting opportunity. By God’s grace, I was able to communicate well enough and I was able to see God’s truth breaking into this couple’s life.
A couple months ago, Mr. and Mrs. Lin made the significant step of deciding to remove the idols from their house. About 20 people from a local church came to their house and we sang songs and prayed together while the pastor shared a devotional. Then some of us went to their third floor and dismantled their god shelf and removed their idols. Others went to different parts of their home and prayed.
It is extremely difficult for Taiwanese people to remove the idols from their home. I know this to be true, but on the evening that the Lins removed their idols I did not see sadness or fear in them. I saw joy. I believe that God had already removed their desire for their idols from their hearts. The natural next step was removing the idols from the house.
The Lin’s were baptized at Easter. It was a privilege to witness the joyous celebration and to be part of their journey to God. The Ullstroms are now back from home assignment and their relationship with the Lins is picking up where it left off. Mr. and Mrs. Lin are still very young in their faith. They are excited about growing in their walk with God and have already displayed their faith as they have faced family religious obligations. We ask for prayer for our community; that the many who are worshiping idols will come to know the true God.
We give thanks that the light of the world is at work in Qiaotou. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5
Brian & Faith Janssen – Qiaotou