In the space of one week, we have ministered in two very different countries; first Sri Lanka, then Taiwan. In both places, we have been warmly welcomed and loved by the believers in the local churches. In both nations, we have learned much from the faith of the Christians. One thing travel teaches us is that no two nations are the same. Every nation has its redemptive features and every nation has its weaknesses. And yet, the needs of people everywhere are the same. People fear death, sicknesses, loneliness, and long for love, peace, security and meaningful relationships.
Last week in Sri Lanka, we were in Jaffna, a town that suffered much during the civil war. Streets were narrow and untidy; you could sense a lack of orderliness. Shops were small and filled with local sundries. Vehicles were old. The train that took us to Jaffna from Colombo shook and rattled for most of the seven-hour journey. There were still bullet holes in the walls of the old Dutch fort we visited. But we learned much from our brethren there, about interceding for their land during a divisive sectarian war; how they prayed from above as God sees, not from beneath, as the media sees. We saw how they built early bridges across the racial divides, how their prayers brought an end to the war and birthed a post-war nation. We were awed!
Then, this week we are in Taiwan ministering in a large affluent church. Here transport is fast, efficient and orderly. Internet is everywhere. Streets and restaurants are clean. Skyscrapers and malls fill the skyline. But something has gone wrong here. Recently, it became the first Asian nation to legalise same sex marriage. The church was caught unawares. Now, they are coming together to pray for this to be reversed. Pastors have realised that the church must influence the marketplace to change the nation. Hence, the urgent need to raise workplace pastors and churches. They have also committed themselves to twenty-four hour prayer chains for Taiwan. We were blessed!
Ps Philip Lyn 医生牧师