Followers of Chinese Traditional Religions

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Many East Asians practice a complex, syncretistic blend of Buddhism with traditional folk beliefs steeped in Taoism, Ancestor Worship and Confucianism. These practices are often animistic, polytheistic and even contradictory. Various practices like fengshui, qi gong, meditation, incense offering, fortune telling, amulet buying, communicating with spirits and spirit possession are prevalent.

For example, it is not uncommon for the most popular deity in Taiwan – Mazu the goddess of the sea – to be worshiped in the same temples across the nation with the Buddhist goddess of mercy, Kuan Yin. Temples across other East Asian countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, etc often house different deities and idols for worship according to the needs of the culture and local people. Most blessings sought from these idols are health, wealth and harmony related.

Asian ancestor worship, on the other hand, is practiced for many purposes, but mainly so that the deceased elders do not wreck havoc on one’s life and to set an example to one’s descendants to continue the practice of ancestor worship. Children, especially eldest sons, are warned against becoming Christians because doing so will mean the ancestors are not worshiped and left to wander as ‘hungry ghosts’. Some Asians practice these religions out of tradition, while others continue the rituals to preserve harmony (a Taoist tenet) in the family and out of respect for the elders. There is a deep sense of filial piety – the utmost Confucian virtue – attached to the Asian practice of ancestor worship and many Christians struggle with a sense of guilt for their faith and find it hard to strike a balance between honoring Christ and their parents.

In these traditional religions, East Asians are seeking for peace and the assurance of a good life now and after death. Yet it leaves them in constant fear and uncertainty. OMF International is burdened for these peoples across East Asia and desires to point them to the one true God. We want to patiently journey with these East Asian followers of Chinese traditional religions and establish a new worldview of respect and care for elders without compromising their culture while reserving worship for God alone.

We seek workers who:

  • Have a passion for advancing God’s kingdom among the followers of traditional Asian religions.
  • Are excited about seeing the Holy Spirit at work among God’s people.
  • Are dependent on God through his word and prayer.
- Are walking by faith, humble and willing to learn new things.
  • Are patient, flexible, creative and able to take initiative.
  • Are lifelong learners willing to grow in engaging the lost with the gospel message
.
  • Can be committed and active members in a multicultural team.
  • A desire to help encourage others realize their ministry potential.
  • Must be committed to learning the national language and studying the culture.
  • If required by the context, have appropriate qualifications of education, expertise and/or experience to help them to seek job opportunities.
  • Have some formal bible and cross-cultural training. Certain countries require missionaries to spend one to two years in Christian ministry.
  • Have a long-term view of ministry to East Asia through OMF’s 6 Ways To Reach God’s World.

You may live in small provincial towns with limited amenities (eg intermittent or no hot water), modern and crowded cities, or in the rural steppes with harsh winters. Accommodation is sometimes different from the Western norm.

You may live in small provincial towns with limited amenities (eg intermittent or no hot water), modern and crowded cities, or in the rural steppes with harsh winters. Accommodation is sometimes different from the Western norm.
The first 1-2 years of your ministry will spent in full-time language, culture and worldview study. Upon completion of language and culture program, you will then begin transition to ministry location and adjust to your new ministry context.

If you have burden to reach the peoples of East Asia, contact us to share your vision and explore opportunities.

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