Thanks for keeping us out there on the mission field
Editor’s note: Once a month throughout 2005 The Pathway will present columns from Southern Baptist missionaries around the world encouraging Missouri Southern Baptists to support the Cooperative Program. This is the second in this continuing series.
By Wilfred (Bill) and LaJoye Martin
February 8, 2005
What are the immediate needs for survivors of a killer earthquake? In one awesome moment in the early morning of Sept. 21, 1999, Taiwan lost over 2,000 souls. The international community responded well with relief efforts. But the survivors were not in need of medical assistance or clothing. Their homes had been totally destroyed and they were afraid to return to the ones still standing. Their request was for water and tents. The need was immediate and because our missionaries and the money were there, we were able to purchase the tents and water at the moment of need. One of our associates was able to get a water purification unit into the devastated areas because of his connections with the Austrian Trade Delegation. I took the tents, water and two men from our church to a relief center near ground-zero. The military had set up emergency operations, but the needs were too great for all the government combined and they welcomed others to participate.
After a few days, we relocated to a mountain region where the government agencies had not been. The people were in shock, but gracious and grateful for the supplies and support we brought in Jesus’ name. Because we were there at the moment of need, they disregarded their religious traditions and opened their hearts to the Good News of the Gospel. Not only did many respond to Jesus, but one family let us set up a “tent-city” chapel that became the mission center for a church planting movement in Nantou County. Our language missionaries are still there to work with the community and churches from all over Taiwan that have taken up sponsorship of the work that began in the aftermath of Sept. 21. Although this devastating event occurred five years ago, there are still many areas of Taiwan which have not completed the rebuilding of their lives and communities. We are reminded almost weekly of this event through our news sources. We are constantly aware of the potential for disaster in this part of the world. Romans 8:28 reminds us how God uses the times of crisis to reach the unreachable.
The relief effort really impressed one of the young men who accompanied me on this trip. He is from Taiwan, but he grew up in New Jersey. His family returned to Taiwan a few years ago and he came to trust Jesus as his Savior in our church in Taipei. Because of the impact of Sept. 21, he felt led to a special dedication of his life for serving the Lord and His church. Because of your faithful support we were able to be there for the international community and the people of Taiwan. At the moment of crisis, it is extremely difficult to mobilize help from outside the field. Thank you, Missouri Baptists, for keeping us there. Please pray for the continual growth of the spiritual awakening in Taiwan.
(Wilfred and LaJoye Martin serve as International Mission Board missionaries to Taiwan.)