As Li Qing sat fishing off the coast of Ludao, a tiny island in east Taiwan, a question kept troubling his mind. He knew he hadn’t lived a perfect life, and the weight of his sin burdened him.
He didn’t know what to do about it. When he needed extra luck or blessing, he often prayed to his ancestors, but they offered no path to forgiveness.
Several days that week, the pattern was the same. He’d load up his boat, set out on the water to fish, and in the quiet, the question returned: How could his sins be forgiven?
No answers came.
One night after fishing, he went to his son’s restaurant. As he sat outside, he overheard someone sharing with his son that God made a way to forgive everyone’s sins. He listened attentively from the doorway.
A few minutes later, the same person he’d heard talking came outside to say hello. Mei Li, a Taiwanese global missionary partner, asked if she could share some good news with him. He agreed, and she shared about a God who loved the world and sent His own Son to pay the price for sin.
Li Qing knew this was the answer to his question.
“I really need to repent of my sins,” he told her. “I’ve been thinking about this problem, and today God sent you to help me know how to resolve it.”
Li Qing, his son and one other family member all chose to follow Christ that night.
“I was so moved,” said Mei Li. “Our God listens to every prayer and knows our hearts. He prepared us at the right time to reap the harvest and I was so happy.”
Li Qing’s story is just one of many testimonies the Taiwanese GMPs shared about the months they’ve spent working alongside IMB missionaries Jonathan and Tommie Anne Guffey in eastern Taiwan.
Six Taiwanese GMPs were commissioned by Taiwanese Baptists in the fall of 2021 to spend two years serving with IMB teams in other parts of Asia as well as in Africa.
The COVID-19 pandemic, however, caused visa delays and closed borders, which meant the Taiwanese missionaries couldn’t immediately leave Taiwan. While waiting for travel to re-open, they temporarily joined the Guffeys’ team. The Guffeys live in Taitung, Taiwan and serve all of east Taiwan.
Jonathan trained the GMPs in a simple gospel presentation that can be given in under three minutes, and each day they went out to share in the community and train local churches to do the same. Together with local believers, they have shared the good news over 500 times in the last three months and seen over 100 people decide to follow Christ.
“We’ve discovered that the hearts of the people in east Taiwan are so soft and ready for the gospel. Even though we’re about to leave for other countries, we hate to part with east Taiwan, and we hope you will continue here sharing the gospel,” Xunyi Wang, one of the GMPs, told a local church recently as she shared her testimony. “Sharing the gospel is not just a pastor’s job, and not just a missionary’s job. It’s every believer’s job.”
Jonathan said this was exactly the mindset he hoped to instill in the GMPs when they joined his team, so that when they left to serve overseas, they’d be prepared to join God at work.
“God gave you all a purpose. He already knew you’d come to east Taiwan first, so that many people would get to hear the gospel. My purpose was to give you healthy DNA, so in your new places you can teach others who will teach others,” he told the group as they talked about their time together.
Taiwan’s eastern coast has far fewer major cities than the west coast, and it is also home to many of Taiwan’s 16 Indigenous tribes. Each people group has its own distinct language and culture. Because of this, ministry in east Taiwan can be challenging. Two of the six GMPs, however, were from Indigenous tribes and members of Baptist churches in Taitung.
Joining the Guffeys’ team provided a unique opportunity for them to encourage believers and share the gospel in their own neighborhoods before they were sent out as missionaries. It also helped the Guffeys, who moved to Taitung less than a year ago, build relationships with local churches and gain momentum in ministry.
As borders opened and visas arrived, it was bittersweet for the group to realize they’d soon be parting ways. The date the first GMPs left was marked on the Guffeys’ calendar with a sad face.
“[The Guffeys] have really treated us like family and given us training we needed,” Mei Li said. “They’ve really taken care of us. Every time we come to their house, we’re so happy. We don’t know how to express how thankful we are.”
Pray that the gospel will continue to bear fruit in east Taiwan, and pray for the GMPs as they transition to live and minister overseas with other IMB teams. To find out more about how to support national churches in the Asia-Pacific Rim sending their own missionaries, read about the Asian Missionary Sending Initiative.
Some names may have been changed for security reasons.