Dear Praying Friends:
In previous letters, we have explored the value of short-term trips, Christian literature, training Christian leaders outside of mainland China, using the Internet, mobilizing Westerners for China ministry, and of Taiwan as both a field and a base. In this letter, we shall weave these strategies together, using my upcoming trip to Taiwan as a focus. Short-term trips can promote the Gospel among Chinese if they build on existing relationships, increase our knowledge, contribute something useful, and lead us to pray. Dori just returned from a two-week trip to China, where she connected friends here with friends there, and shared some principles of marriage with believers. While in Taiwan (April 25- June 7), I hope to strengthen ties with old friends and colleagues, as I always do.
Producing suitable Christian literature stands at the top of my priorities. Twelve volumes edited or written by me have been published in Taiwan, but I have not been there to promote them. I hope to introduce people to these, especially the latest one, on several different occasions this time.
We spent several years training Christian leaders when we lived in Taiwan, and I have concentrated upon this on each visit since we returned to the States to live. In addition to visiting former students and colleagues in leadership positions, I shall speak to the faculty and students of China Evangelical Seminary (CES) in Taipei on May 20th and deliver four theological lectures at Tunghai University, in Taichung on June 6.
Our Webmaster, Jason Truell, studies at CES. On Saturdays, he builds, maintains, and updates our three Web sites. I hope to discuss these sites with him as well as to find new translators for the China Institute site and recruit new writers for the Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity (www.bdcconline.net).
In addition to visiting Jason and Kristie Truell and their two children, I shall see Cole Carnesecca, who is finishing up a third year of Mandarin language study. I shall also attend a conference on ministry to Chinese as well as deliver a plenary address. At the end of May, I shall welcome our newest CI Partner, Doug Anderson, to Taipei. I hope to help him find a place to stay, register in a summer language program, and get into a church. Two men from here will join me for 12 days in May. One will give lectures in two seminaries; the other, who is a member of our Board, hopes to share his counseling skills and experience with missionaries and Taiwanese believers. They also plan to learn as much as they can so that they can equip themselves and others to pray for God’s work among the Chinese.
Sadly, most Western Christians, and even many Chinese, ignore Taiwan when they think of ministry to Chinese. As I have said before, there are twenty-three million inhabitants of this island without the saving knowledge of Christ, and there are only a few Christians to share with them. Surely this under-evangelized place deserves our prayers! Furthermore, with increasingly close ties to mainland China, Taiwan can serve as a base for helping believers who already speak Mandarin to reach out to their kinsmen across the narrow straits. As it is, many – perhaps most – Taiwan Christian leaders travel frequently to China to train their counterparts. Others visit or even live in China for tourism, business, and education. Depending upon the quality of their life and witness, they can make a significant impact. Whatever we can do to strengthen their hands will pay rich dividends. On June 7th, I shall be preaching in the chapel of Tunghai University. Actually, often what they need most is a listening ear and sincere prayers, for they face tremendous challenges not only in fast-paced and idolatrous Taiwan, but also on the mainland. To be frank, I see this as the main purpose of my visits. I just want to be a friend in Christ.
As always, your prayers can be used by God as mighty instruments in His hands to fulfill His gracious purposes. Could I ask you to re-read this letter and pray for each of the matters mentioned in bold type, asking God to make my companions and me a blessing to His people in Taiwan, and thus to Chinese worldwide? Thank you! Yours in His mercy, Wright