I have learned some lessons this week.
We normally line up some guest speakers who are from the country we are visiting. One day during our trip, we heard a guy talk about presenting the gospel. He used "EvangeCard" which is a type of tract. I am not a real big "gospel tract" user. I normally do not use that method of evangelism. I normally focus on getting to know a person relationally and then sharing the Gospel within the context of the relationship. I try to let the person know that I am a Christ follower early in our relationship and this will at times set the stage for spiritual conversations.
At the end of our time that day, he challenged us to go out and talk to some people. As we finished the time and people left the room he asked if I would go out with him for a while. What do you say?
So we took off and went to a near by section of town. He was the translator but he wanted me to engage in a conversation with an older gentlemen setting on a bench. I looked across the street and saw a group of people playing basketball and I thought to my self this is where I need to be talking to people. This is much more in my comfort zone.
I know in the context where I serve most of the time you need to hang out some before you talk. I raised my objections and he told me that I needed to understand his context some. He said "you are in this country and these people here actually respect you as an American most of the time. They will listen to you. They may or may not accept the message but they will listen and talk to you".
I still did not believe him until about 10 seconds later when he led me over to this man to talk. I started the conversation with a hopeful "do you speak English?" He did not but luckily I had my friend who was able to translate for me. Sure enough I asked if I could share something with him and he said yes. I spent the next 10 minutes talking to this man and he responded favorably. I did not do a good job with folding the card the way it was suppose to be folded but luckily I had help and I tried to focus on presenting the gospel message. I was especially excited at the end when he told me he knew where he could go buy a Bible and my new evangelist friend invited him to his house church this weekend? I feel better that there was some follow up to this conversation and I can only pray and hope that life change would continue to happen in this man's life.
Several things that I learned from this.
I needed to trust the cultural guide who was helping me in this situation.
I have had the opportunity this week to talk with several Taiwanese people and all of them have been quite friendly and open to talking about spiritual things.
Obedience is important. Again, I am not a tract type of guy but I knew in my heart I was suppose to go with this guy. I am glad I did.
Taiwan seems to be a receptive place but the receptivity is seems to be about being open to spiritual conversations and not so much making decisions to follow Christ on the spot. I am still processing this but I think it takes time and the trust of a significant relationship.
This is my first time in Asia. Without a doubt it has stretched my thinking regarding contextualization amongst other things.