East Asia 2017: Our Journey in Kaohsiung!
Since our last update, our team has gone to Kaohsiung, shadowed Jeremy & Ruth Hsu's ministry for four days, and then left for Chiayi on the fifth day. We are now staying with Mark & Ruth Harbour and filming their ministry, Taiwan Harvest 119.
Overall, our experience with Jeremy & Ruth was great! We started off our first full day with the Hsus by interviewing them about how they came to Christ, their journey to becoming missionaries, and their ministry in Kaohsiung. Since my team and I hardly knew the Hsus, this was a great way to break the ice and prepare us for what was yet to come.
Throughout the following three days, we had the opportunity to visit the Hsu's community center in the Da She district, sit in on their weekly small group, interview a couple of former and recovering drug addicts who became Christians, and hang out with kids who had attended the community center. On the last evening, the Hsus brought us to downtown Kaohsiung and to the Kaohsiung harbor so that we could sightsee a little and relax with the family.
Every night, my team debriefed about the day and prayed with each other about what was on our hearts. One thing that caught the attention of my team was the massive burden and heart that Jeremy and Ruth shared for the working class people in Kaohsiung. Their ministry is centered upon showing Christ's love to people who often have no opportunity to hear about Christ or are afraid to step into a formal church setting (which usually caters to middle-class Taiwanese) to learn about Christ, specifically in Dashe, a poorer suburb in Kaohsiung. Though their passion to minister to these people was unquestionable, we also noted there was some tiredness, fatigue, and stress that they experienced as well. During the interview, Jeremy & Ruth shared about how they had been serving for the past 15 years and have not had the chance to take an adequate or restful break, besides when their youngest child was born. On top of that, they have been serving without any coworkers or physical help for the past couple of years. They have been blessed with the building space and the budget to have a community center for their ministry, but they simply do not have enough helpers to open up the center on a daily basis or host multiple small groups throughout the week to truly make the most out of the center. Multiple times throughout our stay, the Hsus mentioned how they felt exhausted at times and lonely, patiently waiting for God to send more laborers to Kaohsiung to assist them in their ministry.
Though there are many responsibilities that Jeremy and Ruth carry, they still remain very optimistic, faithful, and passionate about loving on the people who come to their community center and small group. They never once looked to numbers as a measure of success, but at the hearts of those who attend the ministry and come to them for help. In their eyes, their ministry has already progressed further than they would have thought in the beginning of their careers. Through our time spent with them and through their honest sharing, they reminded us that being a missionary is ultimately about responding to God's will, not running a church. Being a missionary is about maintaining a deep relationship with Christ, not leading a Bible study.
The five days with the Hsus flew by quickly, but one thing is for sure, we need to do our best to help raise more awareness about their ministry and the work of the Holy Spirit in Kaohsiung. There are so many people who are trapped by darkness and few believers in that city.
Please pray for Jeremy & Ruth as they faithfully serve the working class community in Kaohsiung. Pray that they will receive much needed rest, but even more, that they will receive more help and laborers so that the workload can be distributed more evenly. Pray that more people will come to know Christ in Kaohsiung and that they will see the community center as a safe haven, filled with God's love and presence.