Editor’s note: I served with SEND in Ukraine for 12 years, but in my new role with SEND’s Communications department, I get to see the big picture of how the organization engages the unreached all around the world. From this bird’s eye view, I’ve developed a deep appreciation for SEND’s willingness — even eagerness — to seize the opportunities God puts in our path, even if they aren’t part of our original plan. That’s how we got involved with refugee ministry in Macedonia. It’s how we started harvesting seaweed in Japan. And it plays a crucial role in today’s stories from Taiwan, shared by Asia Regional Director Jon Eckstein.
There are well over 100,000 Vietnamese in Taiwan. They’re mostly factory workers and often marginalized. Here in Taiwan we are both completely free and encouraged to engage them with the gospel.
SEND started ministering to the Vietnamese in Taiwan around 2010. Today, thousands of Vietnamese have heard the gospel and more than 100 have come to faith in the past three years alone. We’ve seen one church take root, plus several Bible studies and cell groups are reaching these migrant workers. Just this past Sunday, we saw three Vietnamese friends obey Christ through baptism! The call has gone back to Vietnam for pastors to come lead these new believers.
It’s been such an unexpected thing, and I’ll share two quick stories with you that illustrate that:
From jail to Jesus
A Taiwanese detention facility where people stay during the deportation process called our co-worker Rita and said, “We have this Vietnamese lady. She’s pregnant and has already escaped before. We can’t really keep a pregnant lady in the jail here. Could you take her for two weeks?”
Rita did, and that began a special relationship not only with this women but also with the detention facility personnel. Now, if the police or the immigration officials have any issues with Vietnamese migrants, they call us and ask if we can help out. This has opened many doors for us. What’s more, some of the immigration officials and police officers have come to faith through our example of helping these migrant workers out whenever there’s need.
‘What happened to our worker?’
The second story is about a young migrant lady who works as a caregiver for the grandparents of a wealthy Taiwanese family. She started coming to one of our outreaches and became a Christian. Her life change was radical — so radical that her Taiwanese employer had to come and find out, “What happened?”
Soon her employer, too, began to ask questions about who God is — and has now accepted Christ through this Vietnamese migrant worker. Now, the employer even provides food and fruits and vegetables for the ministry! It’s been neat to see God using this employer because of the changed life of a worker.
Missiologically, these stories are not the way it’s supposed to go!
We generally don’t expect those who are vulnerable, those who don’t have a standing in society, to share Christ up the social chain.
But this is one way God is working in Taiwan. We have a lot of opportunities among Vietnamese migrants. In fact, we have too many! We need more people. So, when you think about Taiwan, think about the Vietnamese people and working among the diaspora here.
Diaspora ministry in Taiwan isn’t limited to Vietnamese. The other two groups we’ve done work with are Indonesians and Thai. There are about 250,000 Indonesians in Taiwan. They are, by and large, Muslims and we have complete freedom to work among them here. There are also about 60,000 to 70,000 Thai Buddhists here, and we have open doors to work with them as well.
God has opened up this opportunity for global workers who are interested in these people groups but can’t go live in these people’s home countries. They definitely can come live and serve in Taiwan! There is such a huge open door for migrant workers in Taiwan to be engaged with the gospel. Come join us!
Learn more about the unreached
- ‘Is Jesus some person living in your village?’ — An exploration of what “unreached” means, and what it doesn’t mean.
- Uncovering the unreached — A missionary’s treasure hunt leads to prayer guides that inspire Ukrainian believers to engage the cultures around them.
- Exploring the faith she mocked — Building trust in unreached communities can take decades, but SEND is poised to invest more in Ummi.
- Three ways to inspire prayer for the unreached — A church-planting movement’s foundation rests on prayer — and global workers can help lay that foundation.
- ‘Are you a new creation?’ — A young woman from an unreached people group ponders this most-important question.
- SEND offers hundreds of opportunities — long term. mid term and short term — to engage the unreached.
- Find ideas for daily prayer for the unreached.