Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Peace to you in this Christmas season for celebrating Christ’s birth. We are sorry for not writing to you during Thanksgiving due to our busy schedules; Toon went to Korea, and Pam was quite busy with her teaching. However, we want to use this opportunity to update you on our ministry in East Asia and to greet you and your family a “Merry Christmas”.
Undoubtedly, 2015 is about to pass in days. After coming back from the States last year, our ministry has gradually become much busier. Because our kids were back in Taiwan this summer, we did not travel to the States. It seems that we missed many opportunities to see friends in the States, yet surprisingly many came to Taiwan and visited us. We are so grateful that we could get together and fellowship, especially when we heard God’s grace and mercy in their lives. Toon stepped down from the position as the coordinator of Overseas Theological Education at CRTS. His schedule does not seem to be less occupied for he shifts his time to help four graduates to plant churches. It is quite comforting to see that these newly planted churches are growing, their ministries are getting stabilized and the number of attendance is increasing. Certainly, some churches are better off than others, yet we see God’s hand is in His church. In addition to Toon’s regular ministry in China (2-3 trips a year), he was also recently invited to teach at a Chinese seminary in Korea. All students are from the northeastern China, and all are called to have a good theological preparation in order to do full-time ministry. This seminary needs helps badly due to the limitation of Chinese Reformed teachers. So Toon might irregularly travel to Korea to train leaders for God’s kingdom.
Maybe some of you have heard about our plan to plant a new Reformed church in Taipei/New Taipei area. This project begins next year; we will spend a year to do the preparation. Toon will recruit seminary students and interns to help him, and the project starts with a small group Bible study, a book-sharing group, counseling sessions, and theological workshops. We hope that we can launch our Sunday worship a year later (around 2017). Our goal of planting this church is to see more Bible-teaching and Gospel preaching Reformed Churches. In Taiwan, Charismatic churches have overthrown the mainline denominations; it is sad to say that many Sunday worship programs are designed to entertain the congregation or to meet people's needs. As a result, believers are weak spiritually, and they do not know how to discern the truth, for they are not well fed through pulpits. Again, we are not here to criticize these churches, yet it is something that saddens our hearts and creates our burdens for God’s Kingdom and His flock. Although we know we are weak vessels as well, we surrender ourselves in the hands of the Lord. Prayerfully, may God use us to be a useful vessel of His. We can imagine even now that Toon’s schedule will be terribly busy when he starts the church planting project. Certainly, we want to ask you to remember him in your prayer, so that God will give him power and wisdom to manage his time.
Pam serves as a part-time counseling staff at a counseling center at Friendship Presbyterian Church of Taipei, and her roles are to help members who are in need and to mentor and train other co-workers. Besides this, Pam teaches online counseling courses at the Graduate School Program at Liberty University. Also, she turned down some teaching invitations due to her busy schedule. We believe that her schedule in the future will be even more packed when Toon starts planting churches. She plans to reduce her involvement at Friendship church when the time arrives.
Zephy - Since his last stay in Taiwan, he has transferred as an online student this fall. We found that this study approach is more suitable for him, and it is more workable for us as well. So we decided to let him continue to stay in Taiwan, and he also agreed to the arrangement. Hopefully, he can graduate in less than a year. In addition to his study, he is also a part-time English tutor, and he seems to enjoy teaching. Actually, he does not mind staying in Taiwan to teach English after he finishes his college. Anyway, we’ll just wait and see how God will lead him.
Anna is in Italy this semester to study abroad. It seems that she is having a good time there because her study is much easier and her life is more relaxed. Also, she often spends her weekends with friends travelling to various places around Europe, and these really inspire envy in her brother and sister. As we were told, travelling through trains in Europe is quite cheap and convenient. At present time, she is leaving Italy and going back to the United States; on the way to the States, she will stop at England to stay with her classmate’s family in England. She is very good at making the most of every opportunity of her time. Anna is a very sensible and independent girl, and we seldom worry about her. She always thinks about how to help us save money by finding jobs to subsidize her living expenses. Although she will graduate in 18 months, she has sought God’s guidance for her future direction. She has discussed with us about the possibility of working at Youth With A Mission (YWAM) after her graduation, but it is not very clear yet. Usually we will analyze with our kids and pray for them. However, we will respect their decisions. Please pray for her, so that she will see more clearly God's guidance.
Praisye - In this semester, she has experienced a lot of change. We take every opportunity to talk to her, to comfort her, and to support her. She has to learn to face these issues herself. The best way is to be there for her, pray with her and for her. Actually, she herself found out that she was involved in too many activities this semester, and she decided to stop some school activities, such as the worship team and the school newspaper clubs so she could have more quiet time. Then she discussed with us, and we supported her decision. Praisye is an outgoing girl. However, she is the most attached to the home of the three siblings, so she loves to come home if she has an opportunity, and she calls home almost everyday. As for us, we appreciate this last year that we spent together with her before she goes to college. Her Morrison dormitory life is a good exercise and preparation for her college life in 18 months. We ask God to help her to be strong, independent and trusting in God when she faces all sorts of challenges.
The following are our prayer requests:
1. Toon: Pray that he will be spiritually strong, intellectually wise, and physically healthy to accomplish his tasks, and that he will know clearly God’s guidance in his ministry, especially with the issue of Church planting.
2. Pam: Pray that God gives her wisdom to teach and to counsel or help her clients. Also, she will be Toon’s good helper and partner in church planting.
3. Children: Pray for their relationship with the Lord, their studies, and their future. May the Lord lead them to walk in His way and to please Him.
Pray for Zephy that he can smoothly finish his study and enter the next chapter of his life after his graduation; pray for Anna’s trip back to Boston, and her search for housing, and her readjustment to Gordon College. Also, pray for Praisye that she knows how to balance her time, and for her study and life at Morrison Academy.
Recalling 2015, we have had some difficult challenges, yet God has shown His abundant and uncountable grace and mercy to each one of us in the family. May the Lord bless you and your family the same. You are welcome to write us emails or send us any prayer requests, so we can experience God’s grace with you.
Toon and Pam,
Zephy, Anna, & Praisye