December 2006 ~ TPL8.3

Dear praying friends.

Now that the Holiday season is upon us, you might have been wondering what happens during Thanksgiving - Christmas time in Taiwan.



There is definitely a big difference: The weather is not snowy, but gray, cloudy and rainy -- almost a perpetual twilight except for the few sunny days that break through. You do not hear Christmas carols, but instead blaring campaign slogans pumped out of speakers by little poster plastered trucks driving around the back alleys, for December is election time in Taiwan. And in Taiwan, Thanksgiving and Christmas are work days. People do not do much to celebrate unless they think about going out to a restaurant in the evening to have a Western-style meal.

These holidays, though, are a good time for evangelism. People who would not normally come to your house or your church would accept an invitation for an event related to a Western holiday. It is a great time for Christians to have an excuse to get together and bring their non-Christian friends along.

How was our Thanksgiving?

We did celebrate Thanksgiving. Fortunately there is a Costco in Taipei. Costco here only carries frozen turkeys around this time of year. When we initially got to the store, they were sold out of turkeys. We asked the manager to check availability at other stores and they realized that they had just gotten a shipment in. The manager went into the cold freezer rooms and found only one box of four frozen turkeys. We snatched up all four turkeys. The manager was shivering as he rang up the order because he had not had a coat on when he went into the chilled storage area to look for the turkeys.

On Thursday night we were invited to a Taiwanese family's home. They also celebrate Thanksgiving because they have lived in the U.S. for over twenty years and only returned to Taiwan recently to start a new bio-tech company. At the party there was one other Christian, a world-famous Taiwanese composer. There was also a world-famous violinist and his family and a conductor. So it was a good time for relationship building with everyone there. That night there was no turkey but they had steak and a whole chicken on the grill. The host joked that it was "Taiwanese Turkey." They had also tried to buy turkey at Costco but there were none left. (Judy and I must have bought the last ones.)

On Friday night we cooked one of the turkeys and had some of Judy's relatives who are not Christians over to our house -- again, the chance to spend time together and develop relationships.

On Saturday lunch, we had our New Hope Christian Fellowship church over to our house. It was feasting all afternoon. There were Taiwanese and also some foreigners -- Canadians, Brits, South Africans, Malaysians in addition to Americans. And everyone contributed to the feast. A few non-Christian friends came as well.

In the middle of the afternoon, I and a friend Richard, had to step out and go to a nearby German restaurant for a few hours. Why? One of the members of our Taipei church owns the restaurant and a Discovery Channel (Travel & Living) television crew was over there to do a piece on his restaurant. They wanted Germans to come, but the owner did not know many Germans in Taiwan so he invited us (both of us looked a bit German). So after already having eaten a full meal at our apartment, we had to continue to eat at Bernie's restaurant as a camera crew filmed us talking and eating.

There was another man there, Milan, a professor of literature originally from Serbia. He had been a boy during World War II and saw the Nazis then the communist take over his country and finally had had to flee to Canada. After being required to retire at age 65 in Canada, he was invited by a university in Taiwan to continue teaching. He listened to Richard and me talk about the Bible and how people do not think Christianity is relevant any more. We had some good discussions with him after we moved to sit at his table.

On Sunday, I preached a Thanksgiving sermon from Romans 12:1 about why we worship and serve God -- in view of God's mercy. I contrasted it with idol worship at the temples in Taiwan and how people go there to worship in order to cause the idol to help them; it is like trading favors. We worship God because he has ALREADY helped us and loved us when we are unlovable in our sin and there is nothing we can do for Him and nothing He needs from us. Paul mentions this in his sermon to the Athenians in Acts 17:24-25. There were several non-Christian Taiwanese present visiting our church for the first time. They plan to return next week.

American Holidays are often not vacation days for us, but rather opportunities for evangelism. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas is often a very busy time because of outreach events. Judy has several speaking events in different cities related to her infant care book. Churches will sponsor the event and be able to draw non-Christians in their communities. On Christmas Eve Sunday, we all have a huge outreach planned for the Taipei New Hope church. That same evening, while Taipei New Hope outreach is still going on, I will be going to a different city to preach a gospel message for an outreach at another one of our church plants in the Lotus Hill Community.

Although I was also invited to speak in another city on Christmas day, I am reserving Christmas day just for family. But on the day after, we will be heading to this city to join and help with a youth culture tour. The entire week after Christmas we will be traveling around Taiwan with college students and young professionals.

Sound busy? Please pray for our endurance and joy as we seek to make the most of every opportunity. Pray that we will "Conduct yourselves wisely towards outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person." (ESV) Colossians 4:5-6




Thanks for all your prayer, care, and support.

In Christ,

The Lintons
Joel, Judy, Faith, Charis, Ashlyn
Missionaries to Taiwan w/
Mission to the World
& Taiwan Church Planting Partners

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Some links you might be interested in:
taiwanchurch.org/~linton

For family photos: judylinton.com/Judy

Church Plants in Taiwan
New Hope Christian Fellowship
Lotus Hill

Mission to the World: mtw.org
Taiwan Church Planting Partners: taiwanchurch.org



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

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