Dear Praying Friends:Since arriving in Taiwan on April 25th, I have seen abundant evidence to confirm my previous belief that this island plays a strategic, even vital, role in the building of God’s church in China.
Even before travel between mainland China and Taiwan became convenient, Christians traveled from here to there with the express purpose of communicating the Gospel. I meet people constantly who go to China on business with an evangelistic goal, and even more who make trips to the mainland, alone or in teams, to reach out to those who haven’t heard. Far East Broadcasting Company has an office in Taipei, where eight hours of programs are produced daily, half of them evangelistic. Hundreds of letters come back monthly asking for counsel or answers to questions about the faith. These broadcasts reach all of China, including Tibet, in Mandarin and several dialects or minority languages.
Knowing that the greatest need in China’s church is for biblical literacy and accurate understanding of the Christian faith, Taiwan’s church engages in innumerable efforts to train leaders. Pastors and elders are sent out by many – perhaps most – churches to house churches in China for week-long intensive training classes. Some of them have been instrumental in bringing relational healing and reconciliation to estranged church leaders and their wives. Seminary professors teach advanced courses, some of them for degrees. FEBC produces mid-level biblical instruction, leading to a certificate, to thousands of Christians with pastoral responsibility in China’s house churches. House church leaders are asking seminaries here to offer short courses for them to attend in Taiwan.
The new development is actual formal exchange. Representatives from the leading official church seminaries in China met with their Taiwan counterparts for a three-day conference on cross-strait cooperation in theological education at the end of April. Since many from the Chinese side are evangelicals, there is tremendous potential for further cooperation. This is a truly astounding advance, with amazing potential. One of my former seminary students plans to attend a conference in Taiwan next week involving Chinese biblical scholars from all over the world, including China. He will rub shoulders with professors from the mainland and elsewhere who are having more and more influence on house churches in China.
Anything we do here to strengthen the hands of believers in Taiwan, or to add to their number by personal evangelism, will have an effect on the growth of the church in China, sometimes almost immediately. A few examples: One FEBC program writer told me that my book on Christianity and American society had helped him answer questions about the social impact of the Gospel from many listeners in China. My other books (eight titles in all) presumably provide similar support. Most Christian leaders here are under great pressure from several directions. When I am able to listen, pray, and sometimes offer advice, it encourages them. More than fifty taxi drivers have heard the Gospel for the first time. Several dozen copies of my books have been bought. My non-Christian hostess, an 80 –year-old widow, is reading my autobiography as I write these lines. I hope to meet with at least a half-dozen more Christian leaders before I leave Taipei on June 5th. In the past month or so, I have spoken at a church, a small group meeting, a seminary chapel, FEBC staff worship, and the OMF Taipei prayer meeting. I am to preach this Sunday at another church and deliver the annual theological lectures to about one hundred pastors and theologians at Tunghai University June 6th. Our newest China Institute Partner, Doug Anderson, arrived yesterday. After a summer of intensive language study, he hopes to teach English in a university as a witness to Christ. Please ask God to lead him to the right position. Knowing personally some of the key players and a bit about what they are doing (though I don’t ask for details), I am able to pray more specifically.
Your prayers are essential for any of what we and others do to bear lasting fruit (John 15:5). Thank you so much for taking Ephesians 6:18-19 seriously! Yours in His service, Wright