The monthly “From the Mission Field” column includes brief updates from LCMS missionaries around the world.
Andrew and Noel Schaff serve as LCMS missionaries in Taiwan, where Andrew teaches Bible and English-as-a-Foreign-Language (EFL) classes at Concordia Middle School in Chiayi City. In a recent newsletter, Andrew wrote about the faith he witnesses daily in Christians in Taiwan:
About 4% of people in Taiwan are Christian. In the same way that most towns [in the U.S.] have a church on every corner, Taiwan has a temple or shrine. The entire yearly Taiwanese calendar revolves around the temple’s lunar year. None of the holidays that Americans are familiar with celebrating, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter, are holidays [in Taiwan]. Children grow up being brought to the temples where they learn to “baibai” [worship] by bowing down to statues. …
When an elder in the family dies, children and grandchildren are expected to worship their ancestors to prevent that relative from being caught in limbo and to allow them to enter heaven. Thus, when a Taiwanese person does become a Christian, he or she is often ostracized by the family. …
For these reasons, the Taiwanese Christians I know rarely take the Gospel for granted. Perhaps one of the strongest examples of this was a [Chinese Christian] friend of ours named Gloria. … Gloria faced regular torment from her family. They refused to see her or speak to her much of the time. When they did communicate, they told her that they thought she was insane. At one point they tried to have her committed for giving to the church.
Gloria understood what a privilege and blessing it was to meet in Bible class and worship. After facing a challenging journey, Gloria was called to be with Jesus. She remained faithful in spite of persecution to the end.
As I look at brothers and sisters who walk by faith in worship, I am both humbled and moved to take another look at my sinfulness and to look at my Savior. We do not “baibai” to please a little gold, inanimate, scowling god. Instead, we have a living God who became man, hung bloody on a cross, was pierced out of love for us, overcame death and calls us by name as His own.
Posted on Nov. 14, 2022