KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan – Six small faces pressed up against the window into the fourth-grade classroom in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Their eyes danced with excitement, curious about what was going on inside.
IMB workers setting up for a special Easter presentation turned to smile and wave at them, knowing they’d soon have a chance to see for themselves.
After the class filed in and settled down, IMB worker Cambell Wood welcomed them and pointed to a vocabulary card with the word “Easter” written on it.
“I love the Chinese word for Easter,” he said. “It literally means ‘come back to life holiday,’ and that’s what Easter is all about. We can’t wait to share the story with you today.”
The students listening were just a handful of the hundreds in Taiwan who will hear the Easter story explained in detail this month in their English classes at public schools in two different cities – Taipei and Kaohsiung.
Every year at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, IMB workers partner with local believers to present in several dozen classes, using the holidays to explain the gospel story. They use Creation to Christ, a method of sharing the gospel by explaining chronological Bible stories.
The school presentations began approximately 20 years ago when IMB workers were prayer walking in Taipei and passed a local school. The guard at the front of the school gate struck up a conversation and asked them if they’d share their culture with the students.
In the years since then, more and more schools have welcomed IMB workers for presentations during the holidays because it gives their students a chance to practice English and learn a bit about another worldview. This year, Easter presentations will happen in nine schools total, as well as two community centers.
“It’s become a full-blown program, and it really is a great ministry,” said Jamie Cho, an IMB worker in Taipei who coordinates the presentations. “For me, it felt like a huge calling to go into, and there’s been so much growth that’s come from it.”
Cho said one unique part of the ministry is the collaboration it takes between IMB workers, Taiwanese partners and stateside supporters. Schools prefer the presentations to happen in English, but Taiwanese partners come to each class and translate to help the students understand the content. They also are often the ones to talk with teachers and principals and open more doors for the presentations.
Though Taiwan’s borders are currently still closed due to COVID-19, for many years volunteers from partner churches in the United States came regularly to help with the ministry and have been faithful prayer supporters while they wait for borders to open again.
“We need each other,” Cho said. “This ministry happens because we work together.”
“When I heard the story you shared today, I felt so happy,” wrote one student in a thank-you note after her class heard the Easter presentation. “Thank you for coming to share with us. I hope that you can come again next time.”
Pray for all the students who will hear this month about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Pray that the seeds of the gospel will bear fruit in their lives and that doors will continue to open each year for holiday presentations to happen in classrooms across Taiwan.
Some names may have been changed for security reasons.
Stella McMillian is a contributing writer for IMB.