Making God’s Word Accessible
Some people say a visit to Taiwan isn’t complete without a trip to one of the bustling night markets. They’re big, noisy, and crowded with shoppers looking for bargains on everything from housewares to toys. But mostly, it’s about the food. Smells waft down the long aisles of tented stalls, drawing in hungry shoppers.
Beside the steamy food stalls in one night market, missionaries set up a table and give away free resources, like colorful little booklets called mini-Bibles. On the cover is a beautiful watercolor picture that relates to the simple Bible story within. Many working-class Taiwanese do not have much education and are not good readers. The colorful pictures, large characters and short length make the booklets less overwhelming than a full Bible.
A-xiang is one of the tens of thousands of night market workers who trade off the grueling overnight shifts for decent pay. The tough schedule leaves her with little time for anything beyond work, family and bed. Certainly no time for church on Sunday morning, and traditional churches are intimidating to most working-class Taiwanese anyway.
World Team missionary Amy Gibson tries to visit A-xiang weekly, but it’s hit-and-miss depending on the woman’s busy work schedule and family life. The two friends caught up again recently and A-xiang shared that she had been sick and going through a difficult time. Amy shared from a mini-Bible that included verses relevant to the woman’s circumstances. Then she prayed and gave her the booklet to keep.
A-xiang asked: “When should I chant this, in the morning or at night?”. Amy was confused at first, but then she realized that someone from the local religious tradition naturally expects to have to chant the sacred text for it to have power. Amy explained to her the meaning of the Scripture and where it comes from, and she seemed to understand. She continues to pursue A-xiang to help her grow in her understanding of God and his Word.
Reaching Taiwan’s working class is challenging. It takes time, flexibility, and a willingness to go where others won’t. Amy and her teammates want to see a new kind of church in Taiwan – one where the average Taiwanese-speaking person feels at home.
For 12 years the Gibson and McCracken families have been creatively building relationships through mini-Bibles, park outreach, puppet shows and drinking lots of tea. Behind them is a team of sending churches and individuals who share the team’s vision. They give so that people like A-xiang can hear the gospel in a way they can understand, and so that every Taiwanese has access to a welcoming church.
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