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December 2019 Newsletter

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My Newsletter – Dec 2019

Introduction

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. (Revelation 22:16-17)

Christmas greetings from Taiwan!

 Theological Education

Speaking of the seminary, from this semester onwards, we have incorporated many more interactions into our courses. For example, students are required to have certain interactions via an online forum. They are also required to attend two sessions of an online group discussion led by myself. In fact, I met many of them face to face for the first time. In the past, they only watched my lectures either live or recorded. Indeed, it was a remarkable experience for both myself and my students.

In the year 2020, we will coordinate with Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary (PRTS) to launch a PRTS Th.M. program in Asia. We need a residency requirement to maintain the quality of the program and allow students to graduate in 3 years. Therefore, the PRTS in Asia Th.M. program has a 36-week (210 days) residency requirement. For a day to count, the student must be on the campus for 8 hours with most of the time dedicated to the Th.M. program, either studying or taking a Th.M. class.

No doubt our focus for next year will be on developing our online Master’s and Bachelor’s degree programs. We need much more wisdom and human resources to fully develop our online programs in terms of how to train online students more effectively. We want to see that students will grow not only intellectually, but also spiritually.

 Church Planting

There are a lot more interesting developments in the church planting (Ren Ai Reformed Church). First of all, we just appointed our first two deacons. For the time being, with me and our church planter, Pastor Wesley we formed a combined elder and deacon board to oversee and minister to the church. As a mission church, we are still under the supervision of a temporary session formed by the local Reformed presbytery. The number of people who attend the church has increased steadily to over 50. We are planning to move to a new place in the near future. Two to three years down the road, we foresee that Ren Ai church will become an established church.

As for my personal ministry, on top of regular preaching at other Reformed churches, I will also start a new series of expository preaching on the Book of Revelation and Sunday school on Calvin’s Institutes at Ren Ai church next year.

 Biblical Counseling

Eunice has been counseling different cases for the past few months such as marital crisis, depression, cellphone addiction, and even homosexuality. Especially in the latter two cases, she has been very encouraged to see how people’s lives are transformed by God’s word and the work of the Holy Spirit. She has been enjoying her work and learning a lot from handling such cases. On top of leading a monthly group study for the pastoral spouses in two different townships, she is also leading a new women bible study series on Ecclesiastes at Ren Ai Church as well as co-teaching a Sunday school (age ranging from 10 to 15 years old) with a seminary intern.

 Family

As for the family, we have been busily occupied by our move to a new township called Linkou. God has blessed us with an old apartment in the new township. Although the apartment comes with a few shortcomings, it also has quite a number of benefits (e.g. close to our children’s school and amenities). These past few months we have been busy with unpacking and setting up our new home. Since we have a very busy schedule, we have to take one step at a time to unpack and set up our home. At one time, our entire apartment was flooded because the inlet hose connecting to our washing machine was broken. It caused some damages to our furniture and stuff. We still want to thank God’s protection that we were not electrocuted accidentally. Beyond that, we have been adjusting to our life in Linkou and exploring the new area. In terms of weather, the new neighborhood is cooler than Taipei city (3 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit lower) but at the same time also much more humid. Normally, most of Taiwan’s houses or apartments are not have heaters installed at home. Of course, eventually, the kids are very much looking forward to their new campus after the Christmas break.

 Prayer Requests:

1.      Pray for every aspect (e.g. overseas students, training approach, finance, etc.) of the seminary’s online programs/degrees.

2.      Pray for RenAi church’s new combined elder and deacon board for wisdom to govern and minister to the congregation.

3.      Pray for Eunice’s strength and wisdom to cope with different counseling cases.

4.      Pray for our adjustment to our new home and neighborhood.