Over the weekend, Sandy and I were invited to a Church that is pastored by one of her english students. The Church is about 30 minutes away from our home and on the sea shore. It is a famous town, we are told, because at one time it was the poorest town in Taiwan and the most densely populated. Now it is a thriving little fishing village.
The Church has a sunday evening english conversation class that is taught by the pastor. That evening, a dozen of the church members sat around the table and practiced their english on Sandy and I by telling us their names, ages, family constructs, and hobbies. They also asked us questions. It was really a joy. They were surprisingly friendly and open.
Afterwards, we were told that the youth were having an evangelistic even on a bridge near by. So, we all hopped in the car and drove over to support them. I expected a little two lane bridge in the middle of town. But once we got there I was greatly surprised!
About 20 youth and young adults were holding a concert with bass, drums, keyboards and more accompanying about 8 singers and they were doing a GREAT job singing the name of Jesus and telling of his glory. They were clearly happy and wanting to share their joy. One every corner of the intersection before the bridge, there were people handing out information about the church and tracts about Jesus to the waiting cars.
Now, you might say that you have seen this in the States and elsewhere. But you’d be mistaken...
They were IN the street.
The bridge turned out to be a large 4 lane main artery highway over the harbor. We were at an intersection of 5 roads totaling 18 lanes! The band was standing IN the corner lanes of the road blocking two whole lanes in two directions, giving them the most incredible coverage of the cars and business. I was a little stunned. Wont they get in trouble for blocking lanes on a busy road? the pastor informed be that the local leader (the Shay Zhan, kind of like an american City Councilman) had given them permission to do this every two weeks.
So for two hours every other Sunday night, travelers and shoppers are treated to some rather good musical performances and to some friendly and not overbearing witnesses who are genuinely EXCITED about Jesus. This is a rarity in Taiwan. The worship of idols through local Buddhism and Taoism (and others) is very personal and individual. You never see the local religions having excited and loving praise heaped upon their gods. They are not concerned with advertising the idol’s glory and attributes. Mainly that is because NONE of the idols “love” anyone on earth. They do not forgive, they do not love, they are not concerned. Worship for these idols is reduced to a basic Santa Claus list of “I wants” and “Please help me withs” and “don’t hurt me please” bowings and kowtowing.
These Christians are clearly different and it draws a crowd. Not an angry crowd of motorists! The crowd is of people pulling over to listen, people standing around to hear, and motorcycles that miss their green lite a few times to try and understand.
Oh, Lord, that more Taiwan Churches would show the JOY of the Savior. Perhaps then people could SEE the difference in the Living God.