3E Ministry Blog Updated – ALPHA Weekend News and Pictures!

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Dear Friends,

As you probably know, our English co-worker team at Truth Church maintains a ministry blog about the progress of our 3E ALPHA Ministry at this address: www.crossing7.com/taiwan.

Our English ministry team has just updated this blog with news from ALPHA Weeks 5 and 6. Read all about it here…

Many thanks for upholding us in prayer!

Erich and Kelley

What Exactly do we Eat Here?

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One of the many things we love about Taiwan is its culinary delights. Taiwan has a rich food culture, influenced by various provinces in China and also other surrounding Asian countries, which makes eating a bountiful adventure. We are often asked by family and friends what our diet looks like. Other than our staple, white rice, we enjoy a great variety of food. We thought it’d be fun to give you a picture introduction into meals we have recently consumed. Enjoy!

Breakfast

This is a typical Taiwanese breakfast- soupy rice and a spread of condiments that you add into the rice. Condiments range from egg to vinegar-soaked cucumbers to shredded pork, to different kinds of cold tofu. 

Lunch

The foods in this picture are some of our favorites. A spicy chicken dish from the Sichuan region of China, fried egg and tomato, and fried squid rings. 

Dinner

This was a dinner prepared by a woman in Kelley’s Chinese cell group. Check out the delicious looking fish!

Dinner

This was a restaurant that had a grill on your table, so you could order all the meat, vegetables, and seafood you wanted to grill yourself. So tasty!

Dinner

And, what do you think these little blurry creatures are? Yes, they are baby octopuses….heads and all. 🙂

3E Ministry Blog Updated – The News From ALPHA Weeks 5 and 6

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Dear Friends,

As you probably know, our English co-worker team at Truth Church maintains a ministry blog about the progress of our 3E ALPHA Ministry at this address: www.crossing7.com/taiwan.

Our English ministry team has just updated this blog with news from ALPHA Weeks 5 and 6. Read all about it here…

Many thanks for upholding us in prayer!

Erich and Kelley

ALPHA Pictures From Week 6

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Dear Friends,

We wanted to let you know that you can view online pictures of our recent ALPHA Week 6 pictures by clicking here:

https://picasaweb.google.com/erschindler/2010_11_05ALPHAWeek6?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCP7I69ibn67SJg&feat=directlink

We’re over halfway done with the course, and it’s neat to see lives being transformed by the Gospel! Please continue praying for many to join the ALPHA Weekend next Sat – Sun.

Thanks so much for your prayers!

For His Glory,
Erich and Kelley

Schindler Update 2010_11_05

November 5, 2010

Dear faithful supporters,

Greetings from Taipei! The weather here is finally beginning to cool off and with that we are reminded that the end of another year is just around the corner. The month of October passed us by in a whirl, but not without its share of joys, accomplishments, challenges, and blessings. Just today we were on the phone with a friend back in the States and she asked us, “Are you still enjoying living and serving in Taiwan?” And, without hesitation our answer was “Yes!”. Praise be to God for leading us to this island and for filling us with a love for its people.

How can you be praying for us?

  • Time management and balance- We are finding our schedules getting increasingly busier and are being given more and more opportunities to serve in different ways. While this is exciting for us, we feel we must stay focused on our main task right now- learning the Chinese language the best that we can (which is a long process!) So, please pray we’d have focus and be faithful stewards of our time.
  • Bilingual Alpha Course- Our Bilingual Alpha Course continues to go very well. We have old and new friends attend each week, and we see the Lord stirring in the hearts of many. Pray especially for our weekend retreat coming up November 21st and 22nd. Pray for many to attend and come to know Jesus.
  • Upcoming conference-  Next week, Thursday–Saturday, we’ll be participating in a conference at our church. A group of trained counselors/teachers are coming from England  to minister to the English speaking community at Truth Church. Knowing that often missionaries/foreigners face spiritual burn-out living overseas, they are holding a conference that will focus on inner spiritual healing. We pray that this will be a refreshing time for not only us, but for many of our co-workers and friends as well.

Let’s praise the Lord together!

  • Language learning milestone- We have moved out of textbooks and onto reading magazine articles and newspapers- in Chinese! This is a huge accomplishment for us, and we are so thankful for the strength the Lord daily gives us to study and understand this language. May we use it for His glory!
  • Pearl- We mentioned in our last update that our former landlady, Pearl, came to the first week of Alpha. Well, we are thrilled to say she has come back every week and is really enjoying it. We’ve been praying years for her, and are so excited to see what God is doing/going to do in her life!

This past week at our English cell group we sang:
“My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!

 My sin, not in part but the whole,
 Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
 Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!”

Thank the Lord for His Son, Jesus, and for the grace and forgiveness He daily extends.

For the Glory of God,
Erich and Kelley Schindler

 

Missionary Q&A

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Dear Friends,

We were recently asked to participate in a survey of 30 active missionaries for a “Missions and Mental Health” conference. After emailing the research team our answers it occurred to us that all of you might be interested in reading them as well. Our answers go a bit deeper into Taiwan’s church and cultural environment than our usual blog posts. 

Feel free to leave comments or questions for us to follow up on!

For the Glory of God,
Erich and Kelley Schindler

 

What are the two biggest challenges in the mission field where you serve?  How could they be approached?

  • Having to learn one of the most difficult languages on earth before becoming effective missionaries.
    This challenge can only be dealt with if one has adequate time, funding, and willpower to press on through years of daily language school with slow progress.

  • The working-class population is virtually unreached and has historically been resistant to the Gospel. One factor is that this population segment mainly speaks Taiwanese, which is more difficult to learn than Mandarin. Because of this, few missionaries even try learning Taiwanese. Also, there is a very tangible cultural divide between the white-collar, predominately Mandarin-speaking population, and the working class population, which makes it difficult for white-collar Taiwanese Christians to effectively share the Gospel with the working class.
    The Church could begin to meet this challenge by intentionally focusing on church-planting among the working class. But for this we would have to re-evaluate all of the current church-planting strategies that are effective among the Taiwanese educated class. At the same time there would have to be a real push for missionaries and Mandarin-speaking Taiwanese believers to associate more with the working-class, and make the study of Taiwanese a top priority.

What are two unique features (positive or negative) of your ministry?

  • We are taking advantage of the high cultural value placed on English education in Taiwan. Because everyone wants to improve their English, we have found that people are especially open to the Gospel if they encounter it in a bilingual setting. Over time we have adopted the ALPHA Course content, and have developed our own bilingual program built around each evening’s topic. We feel that this window of using English to share the Gospel will only be open for another 10-15 years, as the Taiwanese government is encouraging more quality English education in lower grade levels. Even now young Taiwanese people have a noticeably higher level of English than their parents’ generation.

What are two resources incoming missionaries need to be armed with (intangible/tangible) so they may serve well for their duration in your context?

  • The need to understand the nature and reality of spiritual warfare. In our experience, this is not something that is taught much in Western churches. But in Taiwan spiritual warfare is a daily reality, and shows itself in frequent sickness among missionaries, unexplainable spiritual dry spells, conflict with co-workers, and other forms. The sooner our new missionaries understand the plans and methods of the enemy, the sooner they can protect themselves through fellowship and prayer.

  • They need to be humble and submissive to their leaders. Especially in a collectivist (church) culture that often operates top-down, this is an important lesson for incoming Western missionaries to learn. If a Western missionary can’t shake off their individualism this can become an obstacle that will most likely prevent them from being effective for the Kingdom in the Taiwanese church context.

  • I would add the tangible resource of financial support to the list. Even though we welcome tentmaking missionaries, their time spent teaching English often hinders them from learning the language and integrating well into the culture.

What are some of the models of successful ministry work in your context; what do they have that has helped them?

  • The success of English  / Bilingual ministries rests on the high cultural value placed on English education.

  • The most successful church-plants in Taiwan are ones that connect with existing Taiwanese cultural values, such as community (family feel in cell groups, frequent meals together, visitation of family members part of the regular cell group life), use of current media (video interviews interspersed in the sermons, skits during the service), practicality (preaching heavily application-focused instead of on more abstract doctrine), flexibility (lots of impromptu meetings instead of scheduled ones; the willingness to change course on something that isn’t working), etc…

Identify any one other aspect of your missions experiences that stands out to you that wasn’t addressed in the previous questions.

It’s really important to serve on a team of people who are your friends at the same time. Investing in relationship with co-workers is key for effective ministry later.

Finally, as cliché as it might sound, we have always felt we are being served by the Taiwanese church much more than we are serving it. It’s a true joy to serve our Lord in a cross-cultural context, and the lessons learned are invaluable!