Taiwan Prayer Letter 7.1

Joel & Judy Linton

Missionaries to Taiwan
w/ Taiwan Church Planting Partners



Dear friends and partners for the Gospel,

We have so much news in this new year that it’s hard to know where to begin, but we will try to keep it concise.

Looking back over the past six years:
From biology Ph.D. program to ordained minister of the Gospel, and missionary to Taiwan.

In 1999, I left the New York University Ph.D. program in Biology when I followed a call to full-time missions in Taiwan. We did not know then exactly how everything would work out. We joined China Ministries International, moved from New York to Alabama and spent the whole year raising support. Some of you reading this have been faithful supporters from the very beginning and we thank the Lord for all of you.
After support raising, because I wanted to be trained as minister of the Gospel (also called “pastor”), I did a one-year internship at a Presbyterian Church in America church, one of the PCA’s requirements for ordination. Also that year I took Greek and Hebrew at a local seminary. I interned at a church in Hawaii since my future missions partner, Rev. Tim Conkling, was studying Chinese language and culture for two years at the University of Hawaii before returning to Taiwan.
The Northern California Presbytery of the PCA graciously took me undercare in 2000 and also approved a non-traditional course of study. I would not be going to seminary but instead study all of the same material under a mentor, like Paul mentored Timothy in the New Testament era. The presbytery gave me four years. I went to Taiwan in 2002 with Tim Conkling and continued my theological studies even as I helped begin a church-planting work.

You can see my course of study at www.taiwanchurch.org/~linton/joelstudy.html


And then late in the summer of 2004, the whole Linton family flew back to the United States so I could take my ordination exams. The presbytery put me through a very rigorous series of written then oral exams in front of the committee in August and then the full presbytery (40+ elders) in October. Special & grateful thanks to Tim for all your hard work and time put into mentoring me.


And praise the Lord, by His grace, I was approved. On November 19th, 2004, I was ordained as a teaching elder of the Presbyterian Church in America (another word for “pastor”)


In late November, we came back to Taiwan for a very busy series of evangelistic concerts and outreaches in December in many different cities across Taiwan. *


Launching a New Mission Board

We have been blessed to work under China Ministries International for six years and have appreciated all the help and love we received from the administrative staff and other missionaries.

However, after much careful consideration, we have felt the need to launch a new mission board. This January 2005, we resigned from CMI with their good will and understanding. And we have formed a new mission board, Taiwan Church Planting Partners together with our missionary coworker and some PCA elders from Philadelphia. There were several reasons why we formed this new mission board. Among them:


1. Taiwan Focus: Over the past six years it has become increasingly clear that Judy and my calling is specifically for Taiwan. CMI’s focus is on China. We did not want to distract CMI from their focus and we wanted to have a mission board with its focus on Taiwan, since the two mission fields are so different in strategy and needs.

2. Recruiting New Missionaries: We wanted to be able to recruit new missionaries to Taiwan and felt that the administrative staff in the CMI-US office was already stretched to their limit with work.

3. Added Administrative Support: We wanted to create a mission board that would not deduct any administrative fee from our support account but also be able to help us with more tasks including sending out prayer letters, etc. so that we could spend less time than we do now on administration and be able to spend more time on ministry.

So effective immediately, all of our personal support will be processed through Taiwan Church Planting Partners. Please begin writing checks payable to: “Taiwan Church Planting Partners” and mark “For Linton Support” on the memo line. See Support information at the end of the letter.

Survey of Missions Activities in 2004

We did so much last year, it’s hard to fathom. Here are covered some categories.

Spring and Summer:

• Expanding the church planting work to three church plants, one in Taipei City, one in the Chidu District of Keelung City and one in the Lotus Hill Community of Shichi City. Many evangelistic outreaches, as well as much training of church leaders were done.

Mass media evangelism through Judy’s evangelistic concerts, television and radio interviews (many of which I participated), and the release of her testimony autiobiography.

• Hosting a short-term missions team from Alabama in June, and a short-term evangelism worker from Alabama in December.

• Meetings with MTW for future mission work cooperation. The planning of a new missions board, Taiwan Church Planting Partners.

• Language and Theological Study. Ordination written exams in the summer, and two theological papers.

Fall:
• Trip to the USA for Joel to take his ordination exams. Committee exams in August. Presbytery exams in October. Ordination in November.

• Attended an International Chinese Christian Music conference in San Francisco in September.

• Returned to Taiwan in Late November

• December: An exhausting series of 8 evangelistic concerts and outreach events.

Judy’s Survey of the first two years in Taiwan

JUDY
- From my perspective, these are some major events of our first two years in Taiwan:

~ Move To Taiwan: trying to manage family with 2 young kids while adjusting to new culture.

~ 4 Dark Months being bedridden for 4 months while having severe morning sickness with 3rd child.

~ CD Release preparing for release of CD, such as shooting music video, while in second trimester of pregnancy.

~ Concerts and Interviews performing over 30 concerts and doing over 65 media interviews. Half of the events were done while pregnant with Ashlyn.

~ Baby Ashlyn Giving birth for the first time in Taiwan (in a clinic). And then bringing nursing child along to do some more concerts.

~ Move #? With the help of my parents, we bought an apartment. So a few weeks after Ashlyn was born, we moved out of our former apartment and lived out of suitcases for over 3 months until our new apartment finished renovations. Our move to the new apartment in March 2004 was our 7th move in our 6 years of marriage. Faith, our four-year-old, has now lived in 5 homes. This last move was the 28th move in my lifetime.

~ Musician’s Highest Honor I was nominated for 4 Taiwan Grammies. Finally, the media paid special attention to my music instead of just my background life-story.

When I went on stage to receive my best album-religion Grammy, I had the opportunity to publicly thank Jesus and my husband, Joel. And say hi to our three girls. Seeing my husband’s joy was the best part of it all. The interesting thing is that the hostess of the Grammy show took several minutes after I walked off stage to tell the viewing audience my testimony, attributing my hopeful demeanor to my having ‘found God and faith.’ The Grammy show was re-aired over 25 times. I later went on a radio program hosted by this same hostess, and she had read my book front to back and asked some very intelligent questions. She is one of the most famous media personnels in Taiwan and not a Christian. But she ended up donating her own piano to our church.

~ Book Release We officially released my book a few days after the Grammies. And often I tell Joel, “I’m so glad I wrote this book.” We hand out my book like it’s a Gospel tract. It’s so easy to hand them out because it’s my story! It has been a great way to share the Gospel with non-Christians.

~ 100,000 copies! This last Christmas 2004, I cooperated with an organization called Cosmic Light who puts out a special Christmas book each year. This book is especially designed as a high-quality gift which Christians can buy for cheap to give to non-Christian friends. The book is designed with a whole family in mind. It contains tear-out 3-D calendars, tear-out special occasions cards, games, a VCD for kids, a collection of interesting testimonies, and a DVD. This year, not only was my testimony included, but the DVD was an interview Joel and I did on a Christian program. It also contains my music video. This organization’s goal was to sell 100,000 copies all over the world and they accomplished their goal. I was amazed, honored, and delighted to be a part of their evangelistic efforts.

~ A Funny Story My grandpa lives with his helper in the city of I-Lan, an hour and a half away from us. Since he seemed so isolated, I’d often felt at a loss as to how he would be able to come to faith in Christ. So this last Christmas, along with our short-term missionary Mrs. Shih from the USA, we went to visit him in hopes of sharing the Gospel with him. During our conversation, my grandpa revealed that a downstairs neighbor had copied my CD and given him a copy. This neighbor was sharing the Gospel with him and encouraging him to go to church. So, unknown to me, God had been using someone else to share the Gospel with him. My grandpa may have seemed isolated to me, but God has his ways. Please pray for my grandpa as well as all my extended family. To date, I am the only Christian in all my family.

Upcoming in 2005

JUDY~ So...what’s next? When I go on media interviews, they often ask me, “So after the CD, the book and the Grammies, what are you going to do next?” I usually look at them incredulously and exclaim, “REST! I’m going to rest!” So for 2005, I’m trying my best to say ‘no’ to all concerts. I’m concentrating on home life and I’ve allotted myself two days a week to work on an English translation of my testimony autobiography as well as a book on taking care and training children.

JOEL will be concentrating on - Full-time Taiwanese language study, continue to help with church plants, and begin preparing for future work in the countryside. This includes surveying target areas, recruiting more missionaries and recruiting and training Taiwanese coworkers.

Some Prayer NEEDS:

• As Joel was writing this prayer letter, he felt sore in his throat again. This will be the third time he’s gotten sick in a month. The first time being a stomach virus and the second being a severe sinus infection. He has been out for most of January. We went to visit a family earlier this week and another family brought a child who threw up a few times during our visit. Two nights later I was throwing up and I’m just now recovering. There are many ways to keep missionaries ineffective in their ministries, and sickness is one. So please pray for all of our health here in Taiwan.

• In a month, Joel and I will be interviewed by 700 Club Taiwan. Please pray for that interview and all who will watch the program on TV.

• Our support account is low so please pray that we will pick up some more regular supporters.

• We also need more coworkers.

We are always very happy to hear how you are doing and answer any questions you may have. Please contact us:

Joel: pub @ taiwanchurch.org
Judy: web @ judylinton.com



May God bless you all richly! To God be the Glory.
In Christ,
The Linton family
Joel, Judy, Faith (4), Charis (2) & Ashlyn (1)

www.taiwanchurch.org/~linton
www.judylinton.com

Support Address:

Make checks payable 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
________________________________
NOTE: Please use the full name, “Taiwan Church Planting Partners,” on the check and address and not the shortened initials. Please do not use “TCPP” as the post office may not recognize it.

Taiwan Church Planting Partners is a registered Pennsylvania non-profit organization. As it is a new organization, we are applying with the I.R.S. in May for approval as a charitable tax-exempt organization. Once our approval is received, all gifts given in 2005 calendar year will be retroactively tax deductible.