M. Joseph Swanson
As a long-term missionary in Taiwan (Republic Of China - R.O.C.), I am partnering with a Taiwanese family to start a dynamic, reproducing church based in a community center in Xindian. Since non-believing Taiwanese are mostly unwilling to visit a Christian church unless invited by a close friend or relative, rather than waiting for them to go to church, we want to bring church to them by meeting in a public space in our neighborhood. We are currently doing various outreach activities throughout our target area to meet people, share our faith with them, and build a community of believers and seekers.
Taiwanese people are polite and very hard-working, and warmly welcome guests in their country. With the traditional influence of Confucianism still strong, family ties are honored above all else, with ancestor worship continuing through each generation. Chinese folk religion (traditional idol worship) is the default religion of Taiwan, blended to various degrees with more strict Buddhism. In the 21st century, Christianity is growing but remains marginalized, viewed as a foreign/western belief system, and in most areas churches are few, weak, and not used to cooperating in ministry.
Culturally, Taiwan blends 21st century technology and ancient Chinese traditions, shaped by the island's tumultuous history and native influences, resulting in a unique and vibrant culture all of their own. Though its economy boomed during the latter part of the 20th century, wages have remained static for a decade, and there is a marked decay of traditional standards and morality. Many young Taiwanese now do not see the opportunities their parents did, and hope to work abroad.
Primary Prayer Request:
I am currently applying for my visa for next year; please pray that it will be granted within the next two months.