When IMB missionary Jeremiah Farmer* moved to Taiwan, he recognized a need in the churches — no one was being sent out as missionaries.
According to Jeremiah, in the year 2019, less than seven Taiwanese in the entire world were serving on the mission field. While many of the Taiwanese churches are healthy and have a strong faith history, only a few churches are large enough to support and send their own members to serve on the mission field. They also have preconceived ideas about career missions.
“[Churches] thought, ‘If one of our church members wants to be a missionary, they can just go with a foreign organization and do that,’” Jeremiah says.
Jeremiah and other IMB missionaries focused on training Taiwanese believers — encouraging and equipping them to send. With Taiwanese pastors who had the same vision and heart to see believers sent to share the gospel away from Taiwan, they laid the groundwork for a Taiwanese mission sending agency.
While the IMB did help fund some aspects of the agency, the goal was a self-sustaining missions organization.
“We were really careful to not make it ‘our thing,’” Jeremiah explains. “We wanted to make sure the sending agency was locally owned. The goal has always been for local ownership, local sustainability, local mass sending.”
Jeremiah and Taiwanese pastors worked with IMB missionaries Fred Hillman*, a logistics coordinator, and Steve Remington*, a key partner to Taiwanese Baptist Convention leaders.
After six months of preparation, Huayu International Missions (HIM) opened in February 2020, right before the restrictions of COVID-19. However, those who had joined the agency and were ready to be sent in 2020 did not falter in their commitment to go. HIM’s process of sending is much like the IMB’s process of preparing missionaries to send; the Taiwanese missionaries are vetted, interviewed and trained beforehand.
In 2020, HIM was able to send five Taiwanese missionaries to areas of the world where IMB missionaries were already located so the Taiwanese missionaries could receive encouragement and training.
This year, nine more Taiwanese missionaries are being sent. Those being sent are young and old, married and single, male and female. One woman sent in 2019 moved to the Northern Africa and Middle Eastern region. Luna, a single woman in her 30s is learning the local language and has already been building relationships with those she meets in the city and markets.
Jeremiah sees the mission legacy continue through his Taiwanese brothers and sisters.
“The IMB sent our earliest missionaries to East Asia, a mission field, and now, 175 years later, they are beginning to be ‘sent’ along with us to other mission fields.”
Pray for HIM to continue to prosper and send out more Taiwanese missionaries with each passing year.
Pray for Taiwanese missionaries who have already been sent out; pray God would bless their ministry.
Pray for IMB missionaries and Taiwanese Baptist partnerships to continue to grow for the sake of the gospel.