Why take a year out?
Just before we moved to Taiwan 6 years ago, I felt God leading me to learn Chinese. I spent 2 years learning Chinese at a language school here in Taipei before starting work and am very grateful for that opportunity. However, since then I have found that my Chinese ability becomes a block when trying to have deeper spiritual conversations with people and when in groups.
Both of these are quite important for me to be able to share my faith with others. I have tried taking weekly lessons alongside working full time, as well as attending church and small groups in Chinese, but have found that this really only maintains the level I have. I have been advised by a more experienced missionary to take some focused time for language study and practice, and also feel that I need more time and mental capacity to move my Chinese to the next level.
This last year we also were able to claim a different type of residency which means that we don’t need to work to remain in the country.
Aim of the year out:
To be able to get my Chinese to a level where we are equipped to start a gospel community here. My goal is to be able to lead Discovery Bible studies in Chinese. This tool seems to be a widely used and effective tool for evangelism and discipleship and has been used in Taiwan by OMF missionaries for some time. I would start the year by enrolling in a 15 hour per week of Chinese classes to improve my Chinese. I think entering at Intermediate level would be appropriate for me. I would like to attain the FOCL level 4 (equivalent of B2 or high intermediate level). I think it will take 3-6 months to do this. After this I hope to be able to find ways to practise and deepen my Chinese through serving in the church we are attending, spending time with our neighbours or seekers and possibly organising events with our neighbours. There are also some short training courses for things like evangelism/ discipleship tools that are widely used in Taiwan that I could attend.
We would also look to take some time to rest. We will have been in Taiwan for 7 years and been through several big changes including having 2 children and starting a new career in teaching.
We hope to be able to visit the UK at some point.
Following the year:
Having completed the year I hope that my Chinese would be at a high intermediate level and that I could lead a Discovery Bible study in Chinese. We feel that God has called us to reach our estate and so starting a Discovery Bible study/ Small group/ Missional community on our estate seems like the next step for us. In terms of supporting ourselves financially, with a higher level of Chinese and new type of residency permit, it may be possible I could work in an all Chinese speaking environment such as a local school or company. This would be best for my Chinese language, however if not possible, I also hope to leave my current job in such a way that I could return after the year, subject to the school’s needs.
From a longer term perspective then Miriam and I are actively exploring the idea of setting up a business that offers training for individuals who are interested in mission to obtain good quality Teaching English qualifications and some basic training for mission. We were excited to hear of Odils and are working with them to explore if we could also offer low cost English classes to locals whilst also training individuals in English teaching for missions.
How can you help?
In order to make this happen we require financial support to cover our living costs for 13 months. Our living expenses are just over £3,000 per month. We are fully convinced that if this is God’s best for us He will provide these funds, and if not then we are happy to trust His leading for the future. If you would like to know more about how you can give financially then please follow the links below. We would also really value your prayers that we would walk closely with God and He would use both us and this time to bear fruit for His glory.
Thanks again for all your prayers and support over the years, we really do value them.
Pete (Miriam, Annabelle and Lydia)
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