The Taiwan Times – October 2009

Mark’s monthly newsletter from Taiwan.

The Taiwan Times
By Mark Wolfram
Reporting on God’s Mission in Taiwan
October 2009

“Rags! Rags! Rags for sale! Give me your old ones, I will give you new ones.” Have you ever felt like you had struggles, difficulties, or shortcomings that you continually deal with? Would you like to trade all of those “dirty rags” for a fresh clean one? This is the main focus regarding one of the skits we performed recently out here in Taiwan. It is titled, simply, “The Rag Man.”

The Rag Man is a nonverbal skit, with guitar played in the background. In the drama a strong, energetic man walks around and takes the dirty rags of people with problems, and replaces them with a new, clean rag. In our version of the skit, there was a person with headaches, a person out in the cold, a person crying, and a person with a broken leg. For each person, the Rag Man took away their problem. In the process, they received healing, and the Rag Man in turn began to experience their pain. The drama ends as they Rag Man, having taken all of the pain, stumbles around and finally falls dead. However, a little later is back to life, good as new, showing that he is stronger than death.

The symbolism, should be obvious. The Rag Man is Jesus, taking our sins and shortcoming on himself, and while he died, he rose again in victory. We have new life, “new rags” because of him. This fall, some Americans teachers and I performed this skit on two different occasions, and I would like to use this newsletter to share with you the ministry opportunities God gave us in those settings.

The first one was on the Saturday evening of Moon Festival. Moon Festival is the traditional fall holiday in which families get together, eat a big meal and celebrate the autumn. I liken it most to our celebration of Thanksgiving, however this is a bit of a stretch because it is not specifically set aside as a time of thankfulness. But nonetheless, I hope this gives a little perspective.

This year on Moon Festival, Glory Lutheran Church (our principal’s church) organized an evening program and meal for people living in a community near Concordia Middle School. The event was being put together for people who lost their homes or had severe damage from the typhoon that hit this past August. It is part of an on-going outreach by Glory Church to the people in this community. As part of the program, Principal Lin asked if any American teachers would be willing to perform a drama for the people. We did, and we used the Rag Man skit to help share the message of Jesus in a visual way. After the skit, Christy Lu (one of our Taiwanese friends) explained the idea behind the skit in Chinese to help non-Christians connect the action with the Gospel.

The second place we performed the skit was at the Senior High Chapel Service. Every Friday at CMS, students from 8-12th grade can voluntarily attend chapel from 7:30-8:15. (The school also has mandatory chapel for the 7th graders every Thursday morning at the same time.) Usually 3-4 times a semester, the Religion Department will ask the American teachers to take a chapel service. Last week, we lead the High Schoolers in songs, Bible reading, and performed the Rag Man skit. While the students are often quieter for songs at that time of the morning, all of them seemed to be paying attention to the skit, and all of them had the chance to read Bible verses both in English and in Chinese. It was a wonderful opportunity to share the message with the students here at school.

It’s Prayer Time!

1. Praise God for these chances to share the Good News through skit, and pray for those who were at both performances.

2. Pray that God would work in their lives, and also pray for the Religion Department and Glory Church in their continuing ministry in those areas.

3. Pray for my teaching, that I would also be ready to share the love of Jesus with my students, in what ever capacity God presents it.

4. Pray for Andrew, Ben and I as we plan the upcoming missionary retreat which will take place the first weekend in December.

Thanks for your continued prayer and support. May the love of Christ and his true peace be upon you all!