Here is a copy of Mark’s September newsletter from Taiwan.
Start of a New School Year:
I know it has been a while since I have written, and this newsletter comes after a much needed break in America, and then a quick start to the school year. It is hard to believe that it is already nearing the end of September.
I would like to use this newsletter with as a quick reminder of the ministry that I have going on here in Taiwan. I live on the Campus of Concordia Middle School in Min Hsiung, Taiwan. My primary ministry is to serve as an English and Bible teacher here at CMS. This year I will be teaching 2 grade levels. The first is Junior 1 (7th graders). I teach 3 classes of kids 2 times a week, once for Bible and once for English conversation. The conversation class is new this year, but has been a real blessing so far, and I will have to spend more time on that in a future newsletter.
The other grade I teach is Senior 1 (10th graders). I teach 6 Senior 1 classes, twice a week. Each class I see one time for Bible class and one time for English writing. In addition to these Senior 1 classes, I am again teaching the Senior 1 Advanced English class. I see these 33 students twice a week. In this class we read and discuss English novels. Our first one this year will be Bridge to Terabithia.
I have several other ministries that I help with on the campus of Concordia Middle School. Every Tuesday morning I lead a small group for 8th grade students. We meet from 7:30-8:15 and sing a couple of songs, talk about the Bible and share thoughts or feelings with each other. In addition to this, I help with a Thursday evening Fellowship Group for students that live at school. The English name for this group is On-Campus Student Fellowship (OSF). This fellowship time is used to play games, talk about God, sing songs, eat snacks, and grow closer as a group of students who live at the school.
Outside of school there are a several other ministries that I help with. Every Wednesday night I help with a Bible study in Chia-Yi City (which is about a 20 minute scooter drive from Concordia). This Bible Study has been a real blessing so far this semester. It started about a year and a half ago. Last March it was down to 2 members who attended, both of whom were members of that church. There were 2 other missionaries who attended that Bible Study with me, and we debated about stopping it for a while, until there was a need again to continue a study at this church. It started to pick up in attendance, but remained a small group of about 4-5 people attending for the rest of last spring. This August has brought great blessings from the Lord. The group has had 23 people attend the last 2 weeks, and every week attendance has been in the teens. Praise God for the growth of this group, and continue to pray that He will guide it and bring more students eager to here about His love.
In addition to this Bible Study, I help at Salvation Lutheran Church, which is my church home here in Taiwan. At Salvation, I help with a Friday Night Bible Study which meets every week from 7:30-9:30. We sing songs, have 4 English Bible classes, and then have snack and fellowship time. There are usually about 40-50 students who attend FNBS, and it has been one of my highlights of my time here in Taiwan.
I am also helping out this year with the Salvation Lutheran Church Youth Group. This group is comprised mostly of Jr. High and High School students from Chia-Yi City. The Youth Group is currently in a state of transition, as Salvation does not have a Pastor, and the old Pastor (Pastor Lio) was the leader of the Youth Group. Pray that God would bless this group in its transition, and that He would build it even stronger than it was before.
Well, I know this is quite a bit of information. I look forward to sharing specifics about these ministries in future newsletters. If there is something specific you would like me to share about in a future newsletter, please do not hesitate ask me.
If you want to learn more about my mission work, I would encourage you to check out my online blog. I am going to try to update this online journal 2 or 3 times a month this year. The address will appear at the bottom of this newsletter.
It’s Prayer Time!
Here are the prayer requests. As always we lift these up according to the will of God, praying for Him to be glorified through everything.
- Pray that God would be with all of the ministries I described above. Pray that God would give me wisdom and discernment in how to best use my time and gifts that He has given me.
- Pray for the new missionaries: Ray, Heidi, and Matthew. Pray that God would help them to get adjusted to the culture and that He would give them opportunities to share His love and word with the Taiwanese people.
- Pray for my continued learning of Chinese. Pray that God would help me to continue to improve, and that I can use my knowledge of the language to bring glory to Him.
- Pray for Salvation Lutheran Church, as we do not have a Pastor at this time. Pray that God would prepare the people and future Pastor for work together in the kingdom.
- Pray for my students that I will be teaching this year. Pray that God would bless my relationships with them, and help me to boldly share Christ’s love through my words and actions.
It is great to be back on the field. I absolutely love serving out here in Taiwan. It provides wonderful opportunities to share the love of Jesus. While I serve as an overseas missionary, I also recognize that there is much work to be done back in America. While home in August, I had a wonderful conversation with one of my teachers from high school. We talked about sharing Jesus with people throughout the world, but also talked about how many people back in America need to hear of God’s love. She commented on how difficult life must be without the support from Jesus, our foundation. These words are so true. Christ gives us strength, hope, peace, and joy in this life, and the promise of a home in heaven. This is great news that we can share with people everywhere, even in our home towns and at our jobs. May God give you all the strength to boldly proclaim His love wherever you may be, overseas or in America.