Global discipleship for a changing world

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Working Hand In Hand

‘We need a youth leader for our church plant. We don’t have anyone available, and we wanted to know if David would be interested.’ asked Isabelle Wen, the pastor’s wife. ‘I was very interested indeed!’ says OMF’s David Jansen. He was thrilled to have the opportunity of working with a brand new group of mostly non-Christian young people.

The youth group started and the atmosphere was … well … completely unstable at first. Weekly incidents included swearing, yelling, and even, occasionally, physical fights. People came and went, and almost none hungered for God. David lost hope more than once. ‘How will a Christian fellowship ever arise out of this?’

However, the team persevered in prayer and, despite the many setbacks, a stable group of about 14 regulars has sprung up. A lot can be learned from this time – especially about working with the Taiwanese church.

Many people in the district of Wanhua are on state benefits. Unemployment is widespread and families are completely dysfunctional. When Bread of Life church started a ministry, they agreed to partner with the OMF missionaries already working there.

At first David had questions about of some of the methods used by the church as they staged big events and gave out prizes to a community already dependent on state benefits. ‘Are we making rice-Christians out of them?’ he wondered. But the events got people attending, and when these events paused, he was surprised to see several staying on, some getting baptized. Over the space of a year about 50 people have started attending church.

David has also considered how Taiwanese Christians must feel about working with a Western missionary. He humbly admits that he has had to apologize many times for stepping on people’s toes in ignorance or pride. However, Pastor Wen and Isabelle have had experience of working cross-culturally themselves and seem to understand.

Partnership is rarely easy but Faith2Share and our members – including OMF International – are committed to collaboration in order to enhance effectiveness in disciple-making.

Original article: OMF International website, Working Hand in Hand