Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Jack's Big Day

This has been a GREAT week. We have seen five people come to call on the Name of Jesus and take the Lord into their heart! Five people have chosen, publicly, to be called "Christian" and to follow the Lord. More and more people are asking us about the Good News and more and more Bible Studies are getting started. The Holy Spirit is active, I pray that I am obedient to His call.

I have written about Jack for a long time. I have prayed about Jack for a long time. I don't have to worry about Jack anymore. Something has happened... something wonderful.

I met Jack the very first time I came to Taiwan back in 2002. He was not interested in Jesus at all. But he loves music and wanted to hear the Christians singing their songs. He seemed a very pleasant man, quiet and with a constant smile. I lost track of him after that. I did not see him on the two subsequent visits that I made to Taiwan the following summers.

Then, after I moved to Taiwan, I was sitting at a 7-11 having a morning tea before class when Jack showed up and reintroduced himself. We have meet weekly ever since. Jack is a music teacher, holds a masters in music, studied under the father of Yo Yo Ma, and owns a Bed and Breakfast in Meinung. He is an avid mountain hiker and the two of us climb a mountain every week. When the weather is bad, we go swimming at a local sports pool.

I have shared the gospel with Jack on numerous occasions and he has translated my English into Hakka, Taiwanese and Mandarin as I witnessed to others on many more occasions. Yet, he has never chosen to accept Jesus. One day he toyed with it... he and his wife asked Jesus to live in them, but the next morning they did not feel any different so they assumed they were still Buddhists. Oh, the door he opened that day! Some people worry about if they are or are not within God's Will... once you ask Him in, I dare you to TRY and get out of it!

Jack was never happy with Buddhism. All his life he has searched. The writings of the Tao and of Buddha never gave him comfort. He tells me that they are not able to answer the really important questions of sin, forgiveness and mercy. They play at them, demand them, but offer no cure that is lasting. He sees no hope in Taiwan's temple worship culture as it is so self-centered on luck, money, health and personal glory. He is hungry for a faith that not only saves, but reaches out to the world and heals it... not in works that fall short, but in a healing balm that is universally curative.

Christianity seemed different and attractive... but he was never sure. Catholic priests, Mormon missionaries, Baptist evangelists, and various campus ministries all touched his life through High School and College but somehow they fell short of answering his questions. The work of Wes Thrush, Dana Smith and myself came the closest to helping him understand Christ than any other, but still something nagged at him and kept him from obeying Christ as Lord.

Last week, after some sessions of intense Bible studies that our Friend Rolland had started with the help of Dana Smith... Jack was faced with the dead end, the cross road; now is the time to choose, there is nothing else to know or learn. Still, he could not. he said, "I would be a liar to say I could follow Jesus as Lord."

Two things happened the next day that changed him.

He had a dream in which his family were facing judgement, lost without hope, and with no answers. He woke to hear that this day was the day in which they had to exhume his mother's body from the grave. In Taiwan, bodies can only be buried a short time and then they must be exhumed and cremated. The dream, the exhumation of his mother, seeing his family's lostness in all of this... changed him.

For years he assumed that he could not escape the culture of being Chinese, of being Hakka. He assumed that he could not have Christ and give up these things. He assumed, as many of us do, that when we gain Christ, we give up too much. And he is right. We do give up too much! We give up our life!

Jack saw that his life was already lost. Giving it to Jesus and losing it fully was the only way to gain life abundantly.

He called Dana, Rolland, myself and others and said, "I want to be baptized now."

On Saturday, November 17, 2007, Jack and another man, James, both were publicly baptized in the Meinung Municipal Swimming Pool with their families and friends in attendance. Both men offered their own confession of why they wanted this. They asked their families to consider the Good News.

This week Jack gave me his own lesson that he had learned from all this. With a joy I have NEVER seen on his face, he told me how he can now see how God was at work in his life. All the Catholic priests, Mormon missionaries, Baptist evangelists, and college ministries all worked together to bring him to the growth and fruition that allowed him to be affected by Christ "at this time." He praised God for His faithfulness and tenacity in loving His children and calling them to His kingdom.

Jack has a lot of new questions, but I don't have to worry about him anymore.

1 comment:

belledi said...

I live in Pingtung and would be interested in visiting your church. Could you please contact me with directions and time of service? Thanks!
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