New Year 2008 ~ TPL10.1

Dear prayer partners,

We're in limbo here in Taiwan -- between the solar new year and the lunar new year. The lunar new year is such a big holiday that you cannot really get started on programs or projects until you get past those days. But limbos are good for preparation time, and that is what we are doing at our New Hope church plant in Taipei. We are preparing the church to be able to do some outreaches to Taiwanese in Taipei City later in the year.

We have elder and deacon nominees now, and hopefully in the next few months they can be trained and then we can have an election. Also, we've just brought on a Taiwanese pastoral intern to come every Sunday, so he can in particular focus on the follow-up of Taiwanese newcomers.

Speaking of which, we have two new families (non-Christians). Both are young professionals (they are -doctor, architect, and ministry of health official). One family actually lives in our apartment building and began to attend church after we held a Christmas party outreach at our apartment. The other family is one of the readers of Judy's infant care book. Please pray that as they come to church, God will bring every single family member to become believers.

Please also pray for Taiwan. It is going through some tough times politically and internationally. Some even worry Taiwan's democracy is in danger. Pray that while seeking justice in their own nation, Taiwanese will not put all their hopes in political reform but instead look to God for an eternal hope. Now in this time of disillusionment, they could turn to two totally different things: making money or maybe they will start considering eternal things. So pray their hearts will be open to the Gospel.

Judy and I have tried to keep up with the presidential elections in the United States and are planning to vote by absentee ballot, but it is hard to keep up with that when Taiwan's own campaigns right now are frenetic. With legislative elections just past us and then presidential elections in March here in Taiwan, the campaigning has been non-stop. Flags everywhere. Ads on TV and newspapers. Have you ever thought about how much energy and resources it takes to get elected? I wonder what would happen if Christians in churches put even a tiny fraction of that type of energy into sharing the Gospel.

COSTS OF BEING MISSIONARIES:

We actually don't think often about what we've given up in order to be on the field as missionaries. Once in a while we wish for fresh air, a yard for the girls to play in, but we change our thoughts and focus on our purpose for laboring in Taiwan. Lately, however, we have had to come to terms with a sense of loss. While on the field, beloved friends in our supporting churches have moved away. It is very sad for us that the next time we go on home assignment, we will not see them at our home churches. This made us realize how much we have missed kindred spirits back home in the US, how much we have missed being able to spend time with good friends back home, or Christmas time with family. Judy has shed some tears, but overall we have grown more grateful.

We're grateful that God has given us kindred spirits in our lives to love us and support us even though we are so far away. And we are thankful that though life changes back home, our good God is leading each of us to what is best for us and for His kingdom. Though change is sometimes difficult, we are thankful for all the new members joining our supporting churches (so you'll have to introduce us!) If any of you would like to help us keep up by sending us letters or emails telling about your life now and what you are up to, Judy and I would very much love to hear from you.

Just to let you know what's going on in our own family -- The girls and I have been focusing on language study. The girls are homeschooled, but the city government allows them to attend classes at the local elementary school so they can learn Taiwanese and Mandarin. I've kept up with my Taiwanese-studies with three days a week of two-hour classes, and this Spring will have about one talk or sermon a month that I will prepare and speak in Taiwanese. The girls are making some friends at the elementary school and we are making friends with their friends' parents.

Next week is the beginning of winter break in Taiwan. The girls will head to the countryside to be with Judy's parents while Judy and I try to make progress on our writing. We both have books that we want to get finished, but have not gotten the time to just sit down and work through them.

Some FAMILY SNIPPETS from Judy:

1. When Faith (7) came home from her first day of attending the public elementary school, she told her younger sisters about her classmates. She mentioned that the girl who sat next to her is named "I-Ting." Well, this set Charis and Ashlyn all into giggles. " 'Eating?' 'Eating?' Why would anyone be named 'Eating?' And thus, our girls have made their first bilingual pun.

2. Taipei has a Costco, which has been a great place for us to shop for our family. Around Thanksgiving time, there is usually a small shipment of turkeys from the USA. Having missed out on this shipment in prior years, we make a point of snatching it up whenever Thanksgiving rolls around. Last November we bought three turkeys and today, I'll be baking the last one. Anyway, the point is, when I baked a turkey a few months ago, the girls asked, "Where's the turkey's head?" And I thought, "Ah, my girls have become Taiwanese!" It is customary to see all fowls with their heads attached in Taiwan!

On a similar note...
I took the girls to the local street market last week for grocery shopping. We got our vegetables at an excellent organic shop, then we walked over to get our chicken from a vendor. The chicken that was laying out on the stall was a bit small, so I asked the vendor if he had a bigger one. He said, "You want a bigger one?", then he reached under the table and pulled out a live chicken, and proceeded to slit its throat with a knife. My three girls were fascinated, and I acted as if it's completely normal to have a live chicken's throat be slit right before your very eyes. The girls saw the man put the whole chicken in some pot and then into some noisy tumbler so that in went a black feathered chicken and out came a featherless naked chicken! They saw him pull out the innerds and clean out the chicken overall. And I didn't have to pay tuition! And less than a week later, this same chicken was on our lunch table. How many of you have had the chance to have such 'fresh' chicken??

3. Talking about eating ("I-Ting"), the following is a conversation I had with our three year old the other day:

Ashlyn, "There's not going to be any eating in Heaven, right?"

Judy, "Why do you think that?"

Ashlyn replied, "Because you told me that nobody will be hungry in Heaven."

Judy, "Hmmmm..."


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Well, Judy and I just want to end with saying, God has great plans this year for all of you and us, His adopted children. So may you enjoy this year.

Hebrews 13:14 "For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come."

The future is beautiful and bright.

In Christ,

the Lintons
Joel & Judy (Faith, Charis & Ashlyn)

(P.S. By the way, if you are curious who we support for president in America, check out this link:

taiwanchurch.org/~linton/election08.html

However if politics is a polarizing topic for you, probably better not to know.)

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Rev. Joel and Judy Linton
Missionaries to Taiwan
Taiwan Church Planting Partners & Mission to the World

Support address:
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Contributions through TCPP

Please make checks out to "Taiwan Church Planting Partners" mark "for LINTON support" on the memo line and mail to:

Taiwan Church Planting Partners
Suite 200
2200 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

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Contributions through MTW

- make check out to "Mission to the World",
mark "for Lintons # 014456" on memo line and mail to:

MTW
P.O. Box 116284
Lawrenceville, GA 30368-6284