SBTC, Taiwanese Baptists plan for 2004 mission

Plans are being developed for Southern Baptists of Texas Convention churches to be able to send mission teams to Taiwan next July for a week of evangelism in the Buddhist-dominated island nation off mainland China.

Dub Jackson, the SBTC’s partnership missions consultant, said the Taiwan Baptist Convention has invited the SBTC to send 50 teams of 4-10 people?one for each of Taiwan’s 50 Baptist churches?to lead in preaching, music and outreach July 18-25. The teams will leave Texas July 14 and return July 26.

Of 23 million people in Taiwan, only 3 percent are Christians, according to information from the Taiwan Baptist Convention.

“We want to take advantage of the opportunity while we have it,” Jackson said. “We know we have the freedom (to share the gospel) now. We have the invitation now. We have the command to go?now. That ll adds to the urgency of it. ? We really have to consider this as if it’s the only opportunity we have to witness in Taiwan.”

Jackson said because of Taiwan’s proximity to mainland China, the freedom to preach the gospel might cease soon.

A veteran of international missions work, much of it in east Asia, Jackson said invitations from native people groups are necessary in such partnerships. Nehemiah Tsai, executive director of the Taiwanese Baptists, initiated the partnership, Jackson noted, because of the Taiwanese Baptist Convention’s desire for a greater evangelistic emphasis in 2004.

He said a similar mission effort in which he participated at the invitation of Japanese Baptists in the early 1960s yielded more than 25,000 conversions among Buddhists. He said through prayer and participation something similar could occur in Taiwan.

“Dub Jackson has been involved in more international Crusade Evangelism projects than perhaps any Southern Baptist,” said Jim Richards, SBTC executive director-treasurer. “The SBTC is blessed to have him coordinating the effort in Taiwan for 2004. The Baptist convention leaders in Taiwan have expressed a passionate plea for help. Theyfeel an abundant harvest is near. If you have an interest in cross-cultural crusade evangelism, I encourage you to go. People will be saved if we are obedient.”

Under the supervision of the local churches, the Texas teams will likely present the gospel in schools, service clubs and jails and have opportunities to address the news media and civic leaders.

Many of the Taiwanese are Buddhists, and many Westerners believe wrongly that a straightforward gospel presentation is inadequate in witnessing to Buddhists, Jackson said. The partnership needs people “with the faith to believe that a person can receive Christ by just a simple prayer of faith, asking for forgiveness and accepting the eternal life that is promised.”

The estimated cost will be $2,795 per person, which includes travel, lodging in a quality hotel, and meals, Jackson said.

For more information, contact Ronnie Yarber, SBTC interim director of evangelism, at 972-953-0878.

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