The Mission Field Is:-

Taiwan.

Post-event participants on the streets of Taipei.

Although the Taiwanese church has been steadily growing, this year’s New York Times article on the Mazu / Matsu (goddess of the sea) pilgrimage reminds me that there are still so many people who are looking for spiritual help.

The New York Times article highlighted that people used to think that worship of Mazu was for old people from the countryside but this year, out of the 180,000 people who registered officially for the pilgrimage, a significant number are younger people in their teens and 20s. These younger, middle-class people take part to experience Taiwanese culture. They are also using language that echo Christian slogans e.g. “I love Mazu and Mazu loves me.


Worship in church with the younger community.

To share the Gospel effectively, we have to understand what people need. They desire security and protection as Taiwan faces an uncertain future. They are looking for community to combat loneliness and isolation. They want a clear identity and sense of belonging beyond mere survival in a materialistic society. How can the good news meet these needs in a holistic way?

In Taiwan, people understand intuitively that spiritual needs are not separate from physical, emotional and mental well-being. How can we contextualise God’s word and make it relevant to daily life and concerns? How can we model a way of living at peace with God, ourselves and one another, while the world struggles with war, climate change and natural disasters?

OMF has always worked to plant churches focused on reaching working-class people. It has also worked with local churches, NGOs and communities to reach the marginalised- the at-risk children and youth, sexually exploited women, the homeless and the list goes on. We need to build partnerships that testify to our identity as followers of Jesus, “By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)

 

Read the latest Go Asia Magazine on the same topic here.

References:

nytimes.com/video/world/asia/100000009442379/taiwan-pilgrimage-mazu.html
nytimes.com/2024/05/03/world/asia/taiwan-religion-mazu-pilgrimage.html

Written by Sin Ee

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