Christians in Taiwan are reportedly committed to spread the Gospel around the world through partnerships with international churches.
The Baptist Press said a Taiwanese Baptist Church, partnered with International Missions in Southern Baptist Convention (IMB) in the face of a great lack of missionaries not being sent out from the said country. The Baptist Press cited International Missions member Jeremiah Farmer who moved to Taiwan and revealed the need for this by local churches.
Farmer told Baptist Press that there were very few Taiwanese missionaries in the world even though churches there are "healthy and have a strong faith history." He pointed out that the churches there are even large enough to support missions but are not doing so because of having "preconceived ideas about career missions."
"(Churches) thought, 'If one of our church members wants to be a missionary, they can just go with a foreign organization and do that,'" Farmer said.
In line with this, Farmer then set out to train local believers on missionary work so that they would be encouraged and be equipped for it. He partnered with local pastors who also have the same vision and heart for missionary work and they laid the groundwork for this in Taiwan through a mission-sending agency. Farmer also worked with the leaders of the Taiwanese Baptist Convention leaders.
IMB also assisted the agency financially with hopes to make it self-sustaining. Farmer said that despite the extent of assistance they provided, he made sure that the said agency retained its individuality and able to operate with self-reliance.
"We were really careful to not make it 'our thing'," Farmer said. "We wanted to make sure the sending agency was locally owned. The goal has always been for local ownership, local sustainability, local mass sending."
The mission-sending agency was then launched on February 2020 under the name Huayu International Missions (HIM) after preparations that lasted for six months. The people Farmer trained were already to be sent out to the world for their mission despite the pandemic looming a month after. As such, five missionaries were actually sent out to various areas in the world. Farmer said they were able to send almost double the number of missionaries this year.
Those sent out vary in age, gender, and civil status. One of the missionaries is a 30-year-old single woman named Luna. She is adjusting well by learning the local language and building relationships where she is.
Farmer said he has high hopes that the missionary work will now continue in Taiwan and that it will be his church's legacy to the country that such an endeavor actually began.
"The IMB sent our earliest missionaries to East Asia, a mission field and now, 175 years later, they are beginning to be 'sent' along with us to other mission fields," Farmer shared.
According to the United States Department of State's "2020 Report on International Religious Freedom: Taiwan" released on May 21, 2021, the country's constitution "provides for freedom of religious beliefs." However, there are some areas of concern when it comes to labor standards since domestic workers are not "guaranteed a weekly rest day" and this actually prohibits them from attending religious services. Christians in Taiwan are mostly composed of Protestants at 5.5% followed by Catholics at 1.3%.