Training leaders for the Chinese church from Taiwan, working with Mandarin-speaking Chinese, of whom only about 3 percent are Christian, less than 0.3 percent in the Dodds’ area in central rural Taiwan.
The challenges include strong family ties rooted in ancestor worship make becoming a Christian difficult, and make becoming a Christian leader almost impossible. Materialism decreases interest even more. Pray that the church leaders will remain strong and that they will have a vision that extends beyond the border of Taiwan to the greater Chinese world.
“I will be a committed Christian as long as you won’t make me a missionary.” That was my (Debbie) prayer in junior high as I recommitted my life to God. It wasn’t until I had graduated from college, that I unwillingly began to sense God’s call toward missions. It took a 2 1/2 year short-term mission in Palau, Micronesia, for me to recognize the wisdom of God’s will.
I (Peter) grew up in a Christian home and always thought missionaries were the super-Christians. I didn’t even consider going into ministry until after I graduated from college. While studying at seminary, I was challenged by my Hebrew professor to consider being a missionary. After talking with my pastor and other good friends, I decided super-Christians were rare even among missionaries. Though still not counting myself among the super-Christians, I could consider being a missionary. So I married my professor and we were appointed to Taiwan in 1993.
During the last 50 years, God has caused the Chinese church to explode, multiplying at least 80-100 times. Yet there have been minimal opportunities for leadership to be trained. It is that lack of trained leadership that burdens us. It was a vision to see the church in Taiwan begin to get a burden for Chinese around the world that took us there in 1995.
After language school, we ministered in two churches, one urban and then one very rural, walking aside the church and strengthening the leadership. In 2006, along with Chinese co-workers, we planted The Grace Place. It has grown into a healthy body of believers that has seen many come to Christ is a very gospel-resistant area. It has also send out several who have gone into full-time ministry. The goal of planting the church there was to not just to plant a single church, but to develop a network of churches that would be mutually encouraging and share resources and personnel.
Debbie also teaches future pastors and church leaders at Central Taiwan CB Seminary in Hsilo, teaching Bible, Hebrew, Greek and missions. Peter also serves as field leader. We both invest in national church leaders, walking alongside, praying for and encouraging them. In all our ministry, our goal is to live out 2 Timothy 2:2, And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.